Tag:Houston Rockets
Posted on: September 8, 2010 9:20 am
 

Shootaround 9.8.10: Super Scola

Posted by Royce Young
  • Luis Scola was a one man wrecking crew yesterday against Brazil. He finished with 37 points and scored six in the closing minutes for Argentina. He was so good, he got his general manager to tweet, "Scola goes into video game god mode to finish off Brazil. Wow."
  • Jason Friedman of Rockets.com on Scola's performance: "Having watched him for three years now, Rockets fans know the truth: Scola is simply passion personified. He loves the game. Loves the competition. Loves the challenge of improving himself every day. The Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen once wrote that Scola is the walking, talking embodiment of every fan’s ideal: that if we, too, were able to compete at the world’s highest level, we would do so with the sort of passion and professionalism Scola displays on a daily basis. 99.999 percent of us play the game we love for free. If every professional basketball league on the planet were to suddenly dissolve, rest assured Luis Scola would play gratis, too. And he’d do so with a giant smile on his face."
  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star looking at Team USA's added incentive against Russia: "If the United States is looking for any extra motivation as the quarter-finals of the world basketball championships unfold, the players can look back on one of the darkest moments in the international history of the sport in that country, to a time before any of them were born. It was at the 1972 Munich Olympics, in one of the most storied games in international basketball history, that Russia beat the United States in a gold-medal game marred by a replayed finish that had all the stench of a pre-ordained result."
  • Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! looking at the same thing: "Thirty-eight years later, all the hate and acrimony between the Americans and Russians is gone on the basketball court. They used to look across the floor and wonder what in the world they had in common. All those Eastern European states – Serbia, Croatia and Lithuania – gobbled up the best players, and Russian basketball is left fighting for its identity, its soul, its future. Chicken fingers and potato skins in the shadows of the Ottoman Empire and Sea of Marmara — yes, the final victims of American sporting capitalism have paid a steep price."
  • Charles Barkley had a history of demanding trades and potentially chasing rings. Yet, he continues to rip on LeBron for the same things. Matt Bunch of Hot Hot Hoops looks at it: "So what’s the end result? Let your biases be known. Identify you’re being hypocritical, and explain why your present-day view is right and your past one is wrong. I don’t think anyone is clamoring for ideological rigidity from Trent Dilfer or Mark Schlereth or Charles Barkley, but if you’re going to say something that will figuratively make the listening audience’s ears bleed, preface it (or follow it) with an explanation of why you just said that thing. It’s the least you can do; we’re not stupid."
  • Could Chris Bosh's departure lead to Andrea Bargnani's breakout? RaptorsRepublic looks: "Maybe it’s a psychological thing with him, Bosh’s departure might not open up space on the court, but it could in his mind? Huh? Or maybe it’s simply a matter of hoisting more shots? Perhaps 14.3 FGAs a game doesn’t cut it for him and if he ups that he’ll be more interested in playing defense and will be more comfortable making plays for others. I’m clutching at straws here, but any way one looks at it, the burden of proof of whether Bargnani can become the player he was touted to be rests solely on him, not anyone else. It is no-one’s “fault” that he’s been under-performing except his. The coming season presents a different opportunity for Bargnani to excel, not necessarily a better one."
Posted on: September 6, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 3:30 pm
 

Pop Quiz: When does Carmelo Anthony get moved?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

When does Carmelo Anthony get traded?

First, a different question: Does Carmelo Anthony get traded? Based on multiple reports from Ken Berger, Ric Bucher and Adrian Wojnarowski, all signs point to yes. New Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri is trying to convince Anthony to stay, but unless he plans on using some Jedi mind tricks, it sounds like Melo is taking off. Chauncey Billups plans on having a conversation with Anthony once he returns from Turkey, but it's not likely to work.

So we're going on the assumption he does get moved. The Nuggets need to trade Anthony, otherwise they're facing the same situation the Raptors and Cavaliers faced this past offseason. They don't want their superstar to walk without getting anything in return. And the longer they wait, they less they can get in return. So the Nuggets have the most leverage now.

I don't know if you realize this, but training camp starts in about three weeks. So if the Nuggets are going to get Anthony traded, they've got to get moving. There really isn't a pro to waiting until the trade deadline to deal Anthony, other than hopefully during that time you can convince him to sign that three-year extension. Other than that, there's nothing that is to be gained. Other teams know the Nuggets hand is being forced, so they know they can offer less and get more. If Denver trades Anthony sooner than later, there's more potential for a better return.

As Ken Berger said, the Nuggets are likely set to unravel, with or without Melo. The window is closing on Denver, so getting something done to try and look ahead to the future is pretty necessary.

So when does Carmelo get traded, since I think we've settled on the fact he will be? If you have an office pool going, I'm not going to give you a specific date, but here are the odds for four different time periods.

Before the season (2/1)
Nothing makes more sense for both parties involved. The sooner Denver trades him, the more they get. But I think I've been over that. Probably like 15 times. And Carmelo would be wise to push for a deal sooner than later. A big hangup could be the looming CBA coming next summer, so Anthony wants to get into his new digs and get started hammering out a new contract extension before that hits.

Plus, the market is broader the earlier you trade. A team that might not be a contender to re-sign Anthony could have a shot at using this season to convince him their franchise is the right fit. Maybe he's lukewarm on Sacramento and the Kings makes a deal to get him. Not only do they have a fun 2010-11 campaign, but potentially this is an audition to get him inked long term. More than likely Carmelo goes somewhere he is ready to sign, but the point is, the earlier the trade, the wider the opportunity.

By Christmas (4/1)
Waiting two months and then dealing Anthony? Not the best choice, but it's better than waiting any longer. Maybe Denver waits in order to try and convince Carmelo to stay. It's a little risky, but other teams might want to wait to see if not only Anthony would fit in well with whatever kind of push they're making, but also to try and give up less to get the Nuggets' star.

At the deadline (10/1)
What's the pro to waiting until the deadline? Well, I guess Denver might be able to get half a season of winning in their pocket and with the trade, still try and make the playoffs. But this scenario is just unlikely. If Denver is going to deal Anthony, trading at the February deadline probably makes the least amount of sense. You get less, you don't get a full season with Anthony and you limit your trade market to only the teams that know they can get Anthony re-signed.

After the season via sign-and-trade (25/1)
For Denver, this makes more sense than waiting until the deadline simply because you just bought yourself 82 more games with Carmelo (and maybe more than that). Plus, you get a season to try and win Anthony back, and then a little bit of the offseason to bring in new players with the cap room the Nuggets will have to hammer the point home.

But this is the highest risk scenario. If you don't convince Anthony to re-sign, you're faced with the LeBron/Bosh situation. Your star is leaving and all you're getting back is a second-round pick and maybe a trade exception. You get the least in return because your hand has been forced. In some ways, I see this as the most likely situation because things tend to play out this way, but in another, the Nuggets just watched an offseason where the Raptors and Cavs got burned. They don't want to be the next victim.

And just for fun, let's rank the teams he might be headed to. So far, about half the league has been tossed out as a potential landing zone. We've heard the Timberwolves, the Kings, the Warriors, the Clippers, the Knicks, the Magic, the Rockets and the Nets. Here are my top five contenders:

1. Houston Rockets
The Rockets are the favorite in my mind, because it makes the most sense all the way around. Houston is a contender with Anthony, something he wants. Houston is still a large TV market, something he wants. The Rockets can trade back quality pieces to Denver, something the Nuggets want. And Daryl Morey gets the star bedrock piece, something he desperately wants.

Anthony likely wants bigger lights for him and his celebrity wife to head to, but a lot of it comes down to what Denver can get back. I'm sure Anthony prefers New York or Los Angeles to anywhere else, but it's about finding a proper trade partner for the Nuggets. And the Rockets can give a quality return while Anthony gets a good city and good franchise.

2. New Jersey Nets
Carmelo was birthed in Brooklyn. The Nets are moving to Brooklyn. Hey, I'm just putting it all together here.

Of course there's the Jay-Z connection which seems to be a draw to pretty much every young star player. But not only that, new owner Mikhail Prokhorov has a stupid amount of money and toys that could entice Anthony. The Nets have a new arena coming, new ownership and potentially even a new name on the way. Anthony could be The Face of the rebuilt New Jersey franchise, which has to be intriguing. Plus, he would basically be in New York, somewhere that he wants to be.

The Nets have the necessary assets to reel in the Nuggets. Brook Lopez is probably out of the question, but there's Derrick Favors, Devin Harris, Terrence Williams and Troy Murphy. All of those could be something that Denver would want to pull the trigger on.

3. New York  Knicks
It's not just that Carmelo wants to be in the Big Apple, it's that he wants to be the face of basketball in the basketball holy land. Save the Knicks, save basketball in New York and you're hoops royalty. What player would want to do that? Well, other than LeBron James I guess.

The issue with the Knicks is having the pieces to get a deal done. Whatever New York offers, it won't be as good as what New Jersey, Houston or a number of other teams can do. And the Nuggets aren't going to be in the thinking to do Anthony a favor and just trade him somewhere he wants. They want pieces or at least assets back, two things the Knicks don't have a lot of. But if Carmelo wants to be there bad enough and the Knicks know it, Donnie Walsh would have to put together some kind of package to get it done, even if that means he has to part with some of his prime young players.

4. Los Angeles Clippers
There isn't a team in the running that has available trade pieces that can compete with the Clippers. Chris Kaman, Eric Gordon, Blake Griffin, Baron Davis, Al Farouq-Aminu - any combination there would be almost impossible to turn away. Now Griffin is likely not going to be part of any trade, but Kaman, Aminu and Gordon would make for a fairly equal trade. So of Anthony's potential suitors, I would bet Denver prefers to talk to the Clippers first.

Obviously Melo would like to be in L.A., but he probably wants to be part of the other Los Angeles franchise. Playing for owner Donald Sterling and the hapless Clipper franchise isn't something basketball players dream of. But at the same time, going to the Clippers, building that franchise into a winner and competing for L.A. against the purple and gold would be something a real competitor would relish.

5. Denver Nuggets
They might be a major sleeper, but don't rule out the Nuggets. Most agree Anthony has already mentally left Denver, but people change their minds. Chris Paul already did it after Dell Demps sold him on a plan. Maybe Ujiri can do the same. Or maybe the Nuggets can't find a good trade buddy early on and in the first two months, Denver is winning and Carmelo is having a great time. Now that three-year extension doesn't look so bad anymore. You know how it goes, everybody can change.

Posted on: August 31, 2010 5:40 pm
 

Offers starting to pop up for Carmelo

Posted by Royce Young

There's no telling how many times Masai Ujiri's phone has already rang. Some were probably congratulatory calls on his new position with the Nuggets, but I'm guessing 95 percent of them have included the words "Carmelo Anthony," "trade" and "we'll offer."

And according to John Rothstein of the MSG Network, the Bulls have already inquired offering up a package that includes Taj Gibson and Luol Deng. That doesn't mean that is the offer, but it means that the Bulls are reportedly offering a deal that includes those two players. Rothstein also reported that the Nets have made a few calls, but any trade discussions with Denver aren't including Brook Lopez. Smart move there by the Nets.

Those are just two of the teams reportedly interested in Anthony though. We've heard the Kings, the Warriors, the Hornets, the Timberwolves, the Knicks, the Magic and the Rockets all pop up as well along with the Nets and Bulls.

What's interesting about any offer that comes in to the Denver front office is figuring out what the Nuggets are aftet? Is it talent? Is it assets? Is it picks? It's pretyy well agreed upon that Denver won't get equal return on Anthony, but just because you trade a star doesn't mean you can't come out sunny on the other side.

Jeremy Wagner of Roundball Mining Company put together an interest list of offers from fellow team bloggers. He ranked them and interestingly, both offers from the Nets' bloggers didn't include Lopez and Wagner didn't like the offers. Devin Harris, Terrence Williams and some picks isn't doing much for a Nuggets fan and it's likely not doing much for Ujiri either.

Ujiri reportedly will meet with Anthony soon and told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! that he wants Anthony to be a Nugget. But Ujiri also said that the door hasn't closed on the possibility of trading. Of course Ujiri would prefer not to trade Carmelo because replacing the face of your franchise is almost impossible to do in a trade, but sometimes your hand is forced. And in this situation, that appears to be the case. The phone calls are going to keep coming for Ujiri, and not very many will involve much congratulations.
Posted on: August 31, 2010 2:43 pm
Edited on: August 31, 2010 2:48 pm
 

Pop Quiz: Can the Rockets jell?

Posted by Matt Moore

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a few short weeks. To get you ready for the NBA season, we've put together 25 pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question..

Can the Rockets jell?


Normally the year after you lose one of your biggest stars is supposed to be a tough one to swallow. But the Rockets are liberated after losing Tracy McGrady, and have put that cap space to good use. Tack on the return of their other star in Yao Ming, and the Rockets have high hopes for 2010. They only added three players of note, Courtney Lee via the Trevor Ariza trade, Brad Miller in free agency, and Patrick Patterson in the draft. But those players combined with the assets they picked up through trade last season and the return of Yao Ming are what make people so high on the Rockets.

The Rockets built a roster based on versatility last season but injuries left them scraping things together, and in the meantime, their primary lineup didn't produce as expected. As a result, GM Daryl Morey went even further towards the versatility approach. The trade of Trevor Ariza was the most controversial, essentially starting over after only a year with Ariza. When we look at the lineups, though, that doesn't sound so crazy.

You always have to take plus/minus with a grain of salt, but there are circumstances where you can notice specific outliers. The Rockets lineups are such an example. The Rockets' three most-often used lineups (via 82games.com) all featured Ariza at small forward, and were a combined -19. That's in contrast to their fourth, fifth, and sixth most used lineups (all over 100 minutes), which were a combined +91. That's a big number. It's not conclusive, but it does provide some evidence for why the Rockets elected to ship him out for a backup shooting guard best remembered for a missed alley-oop in the Finals.

Kevin Martin was the other significant acquisition. The Rockets were able to snag Martin at the trade deadline after an injury plagued season was compounded by his inability to gel with Tyreke Evans. Martin wasn't bad with the Rockets but he was far from the instant fix-all for their problems and they lost steam (again with the injuries) down the stretch. But he and Aaron Brooks seemed to be finding their way, despite both of them being heavy usage players.

So the big question for the Rockets isn't one of talent, it's one of chemistry.

"" Yao Ming has been away from the practice floor since May of 2009. Kevin Martin has been with the team only two months of actual playing time. Courtney Lee is completely new. Luis Scola and Kyle Lowry just received new contracts. Jordan Hill is a newcomer, still settling in. Patrick Patterson is a rookie. Brad Miller just hopped on board. And for a team that relies on ball movement and separation like Rick Adelman's, this is a dangerous approach to trying to throw it all together.

Luckily, egos seem to be sparse in the locker room. Kevin Martin is certainly going to want his chances to score, and he'll get them. There's enough to go around. The rest of the team is largely filling in the gaps. Luis Scola should get a step back since he won't be guarding or guarded by centers with Ming on the floor, and Chase Bundinger and Lee give the team versatility and shooting. Shane Battier is the leader and prime example of the sacrifice this team will need to instill as a virtue in order to make a run in the West. This is not a case of any one player shouldering the load. Morey and Adelman have built a system based on depth and versatility, and they need to use that, exploiting matchups and tendencies where they can.

The addition of Yao cannot be understated. This was a dogged, tenacious, well-balanced team last year that struggled due to injuries and a lack of size. Yao provides them depth (vaunted post-defender Chuck Hayes is now third string behind Brad Miller), unparalleled post offense and defense, and a focal point for the perimeter cuts to work around. He's a willing and able passer, and even Miller works well in the pinch post with those wings slashing around. Consider all the perimeter shooter/slashers they have to work around their bigs:

Aaron Brooks (39.8% from the arc, 47% on 3pt attempts in hand-off situations)
Kevin Martin (44% in spot-up situations)
Chase Budinger (37% 3pt, 40% as a spot-up three-point shooter)
Courtney Lee
Kyle Lowry
Jermaine Taylor

And here are their mid-range defenders:
Shane Battier
Jared Jeffries (.84 points per possession allowed defensively, allowing only 39.2% from the floor)
Patrick Patterson - who can also stretch the floor

And their low-post guys:
Yao
Miller
Scola
Hayes
Jordan Hill

That's just a ridiculous amount of depth, and all of them with multiple skills. Martin can work on-ball or off, slashing or spotting up. Scola can work in the high or low post and has a reliable mid-range jumper. Making it all work will be Adelman's job, and there is such a thing as too much depth. It can cause discontent when players feel they're not getting time. And there's the ever-looming threat of the Big Move.

Daryl Morey has said repeatedly that though they've been successful in finding high value players, you cannot win in this league without superstars. And he clearly wants one to go with Yao's potentially final year with the Rockets. With Jeffries, Martin, Lee, Scola, Hill, and others, along with the picks he's acquired from New York, he has a set of assets to use if he wants to pursue, say, Carmelo Anthony. But that means more changes to the ship. All of this and they have to hope they stay healthy, which is an unlikely scenario given Yao's feet history.

In a perfect world, the Rockets could be contenders for making the Western Conference Finals, and facing a Lakers team they have consistently taken it to over the years. But that's the best case scenario. In the meantime, they'll have to try and integrate all the moving parts into one machine, and see how far it takes them. They've got the parts. They've just got to make them work together now that they're assembled.

(Situation-based data courtesy of Synergy Sports )
Posted on: August 30, 2010 12:19 pm
Edited on: August 30, 2010 12:33 pm
 

So where do we stand with Carmelo Anthony?

Posted by Royce Young

News about Carmelo Anthony's potential departure from Denver started coming out about a month ago. First it was Ken Berger's report saying Melo wanted to play in New York. Then Ric Bucher of ESPN informed the world that Melo was pretty much a lock to be moved. Everything cooled a bit, but then Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! came along to shake the tree once again.

All signs (and news) points to Anthony leaving Denver. But that doesn't mean that new general manager Masai Ujiri isn't going to try and pull a Dell Demps and salvage the relationship. Nuggets executive Josh Kroenke already had a meeting with Melo, but Wojnarowski reported it didn't go that great. Now Ujiri will meet with Anthony and try and convince him of the Nuggets plan. This goes against Wojnarowski's report that said Denver was basically finished talking to Anthony. But then again, it might just be a front by the Nuggets to put on the appearance that they're desperately trying to keep Melo.

"I love Melo," Ujiri told The Denver Post . "I grew up in this league with Melo, kind of. It was my first years in the league, and I watched him grow. The Denver Nuggets want to keep Melo, and that's our priority. Carmelo is the Denver Nuggets, he's the city of Denver. He's done so well on this team. So we're going to deal with the issue full force."

Ujiri will have to sell Anthony on the chance to win. He can't convince him that he can maximize marketing in Denver. He can't convince him that his profile will rise. He can't convince him that his wife will get to be closer to bright lights. He can't convince him of a lot of things. But he does have the ability to tell Anthony that the Nuggets are good enough to win now and that he has plan to     make them better. But Melo doesn't want to test free agency because he'll likely lose millions because of the new CBA and if he had interest in staying with Denver, he'd have signed that three-year extension weeks ago.

So it comes to down to Ujiri's pitch and if that doesn't work, then it's off to finding a suitor. Whether that's now or later, the Nuggets have the most leverage by making a move sooner than later. And one interesting thing to go with this: As John Hollinger of ESPN mentioned, if Denver trades Anthony, there's really no point in them hanging on to Chauncey Billups in his last year of a contract either. Which of course makes this whole thing so much more intriguing.

A lot of teams are popping up as destinations for Anthony, with some making a lot more sense than others. Sam Amico of NBA.com reports that three teams lead the pack for the Nuggets right now and that's the Timberwolves, Kings and Nets. But the biggest key in a deal for any team willing to give away assets to get Anthony is if he's willing to sign an immediate extension with his new team. And other than the Nets, those teams haven't really been a prime location for Anthony, if we're to believe the multiple reports out about where he prefers to sign.

Right now, the Rockets, Knicks, Magic, Hornets, Clippers, Bobcats, Timberwolves, Kings, Nets and Warriors have all been mentioned. In other words, basically one-third of the league. And of course, there's always the possibility that Anthony will stay with Denver. I think the serious contenders here are the Rockets, Magic, Knicks, Clippers and Nets. But that's just my own personal inclination.

While the Bobcats have the Jordan connection, the Warriors have nice assets to offer, the Wolves have picks, the Hornets have the draw of Chris Paul and the Kings have, well, I'm not really sure, I think you can eliminate them all. Anthony is going to go somewhere he's happy with and I can't see one of those destinations making sense for him, especially with all the hassle he's going through getting out of Denver.

Anthony is almost assuredly headed out of the Rockies. But that's not stopping Ujiri from trying to salvage the situation at the eleventh hour. It's unlikely he can convince Anthony to stay, but you definitely can't blame him for the effort.
Posted on: August 24, 2010 6:13 pm
Edited on: August 24, 2010 6:14 pm
 

Yao Ming is back

Ming looks good in workouts after resuming basketball activities. Also, he's very tall.
Posted by Matt Moore

Yao Ming may be over the hill. His body may have simply broken down too many times. He may be unable to return to his former glory. But he still is one thing. Tall. He is really, really tall. And he works his tall tail off.

The Rockets today posted video evidence of Ming back on the floor, resuming basketball activities and generally being Mingish. In the video, he showed a lot of things Rockets fans want to see. Most notably, the feet seem to be moving without much gingerness. He looks strong and fast. And for basketball fans all over? That turn around one-touch drop-it-and-make-'em-suffer shot is there. And it looks... good . But hey, don't take my word for it, take a look and see for yourself what a seven foot tall Chinese guy sweating through his clothes and nailing post-j's looks like:



Posted on: August 24, 2010 11:27 am
 

Young Kroenke meets with Carmelo

"" Posted by Royce Young

The storm on the Carmelo Anthony front has calmed for a bit. Nothing new has been dropping and no new rumors to report. Wait, there is one that surfaced late yesterday via Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post who said he's hearing the Clippers might be a possibility for Anthony. But other than THAT, not too much going on.

So this was probably a good time for the Nuggets to talk with Carmelo. And that's what executive Josh Kroenke did, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. Kroenke attempted to sell Anthony on the Nuggets, Denver and the team's future while pushing for Carmelo to sign the three-year extension that's been on the table for months.

Wojnarowski also said the Rockets are the likely frontrunner for Anthony and that the Knicks have likely been overstated. One other interesting note is how this thing might go down.

Wojnarowski writes:
Anthony still believes he can get the maximum possible money from re-signing with the Nuggets now, sources said, with his sights on engineering a trade to a preferred destination later. For him to opt out of his contract at the end of next season would be an immense risk. With league owners determined to shorten the years and lessen the money on max contracts in the next collective bargaining agreement, Anthony and his representatives know they could cost themselves tens of millions of guaranteed dollars.
Anthony is looking at a sign-and-trade, which the Nuggets likely don't prefer. With a sign-and-trade, the team is a bit handcuffed because its leverage goes out the door. Instead of being able to get up from the table and say, "Fine, we won't trade him period," other teams negotiating know the Nuggets have to get the player moved. So with the sign-and-trade, Denver would probably get back less.

But there still is the possibility that no one seems to be considering and that's the option that the young Kroenke made an impression on Anthony, sold him on Denver's future and that Carmelo wants to stay with the Nuggets over uprooting and going somewhere new. From what we've heard lately, that's probably not happening, but it's obvious that the Nuggets haven't given up quite yet.
Posted on: August 19, 2010 10:55 am
 

The Knicks may not have enough for Carmelo

Posted by Royce Young

It's pretty clear that Carmelo Anthony wants to play in New York. And though there are solid deals to be drawn up to get him there, it might not be enough to satisfy the Nuggets.

The New York Daily News is reporting the Knicks might not have sufficient pieces to please Denver. "What do they have?" a Nuggets source told the Daily News. "That makes it tough."

There are reports that the Knicks' offer would include Eddy Curry's expiring contract, a future first-round pick and Danilo Gallinari. Though as the NYDN points out, Donnie Walsh would definitely try and insert Wilson Chandler in place of Gallinari in that deal. But it still might not be enough, especially when other teams can offer better options.

Right now, according all reports, 'Melo would sign with Houston, Chicago, New York, New Jersey and Orlando. All of those teams can put together packages comparable to what New York can, and likely can top it. That puts the Knicks in a tough position.

At the same time, you never know when these executives are just playing the game. The Nuggets are reportedly close to hiring a general manager with it possibly happening as soon as today, so Denver might just be trying to ramp up future offers for Anthony.

And don't rule out the fact that the Nuggets new GM talks Anthony into staying put. With the growing probability of a lockout coming next summer, a three-year extension worth $65 million might look much more appealing.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com