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Posted on: June 30, 2010 11:17 am
 

Is Carmelo Anthony on the trade block?

With all this talk of a Carmelo Anthony extension, could it be that the two sides are so far apart they're considering a trade?

Hey, sure, we've speculated on every other major player in the NBA getting traded, let's not leave 'Melo out!

The Denver Post reports that the Denver Nuggets may be willing to consider trading Anthony if the team cannot reach an agreement on an extension with him. The report states that there is a three year, $65 million contract extension on the table, but that if Anthony rejects it, the Nuggets refuse to find themselves in the same position as the Heat and Cavaliers, desperately trying to clear space in order to woo Anthony back home, or the Raptors, simply accepting that their franchise player is gone.

So just to recap, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amar'e Stoudemire are all free agents (most likely) considering new teams, and Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul are being considered for trades . We're realistically looking at the possibility of a completely different NBA landscape in the next 12 months, and that's before we look at the probable lock-out in 2011-2012.

Crazy times in the NBA.

-Matt Moore
Category: NBA
Posted on: June 30, 2010 9:19 am
Edited on: June 30, 2010 9:39 am
 

Point guard rift in Orlando?

With Ken Berger's Free Agent Buzz report that Dwight Howard is pushing for the addition of Chris Paul to the Magic, we can anticipate some fallout.

Paul has been discussed as potentially "on the block" as far back as midseason, but it was just before the draft when talk of him as a possible trade target really heated up . Darren Collison's performance in relief of Paul during injury, still in-the-meantime owner George Shinn's desire to slash costs to facilitate the sale, and good ol' fashion superstar unhappiness have all been discussed as reasons why the dynamic point guard might want up elsewhere.

Hornets bloggers are, predictably, in deep denial over this possibility . (Hornets fans also refused to believe that the team would make trades based on cutting salary only, until they slipped the Thunder Cole Aldrich just to get rid of Mo Peterson.) The truth of the matter is that when you have a team that falls off the pedestal as quickly as the Hornets did, with a superstar on the payroll who wants to win and an ownership with an active history of making finance-based moves, there's going to be talk. And the Magic are notorious for not being shy about adding payroll. They could send the Hornets a deep package of flexible contracts and talent they need, while still having a stud sophomore point guard to develop. It only makes sense to explore possibilities.

But the question that may need to be asked is, what about the Magic? How is this kind of talk going to impact their squad? Chemistry on the Magic was down significantly last season from the year before. Part of that was Vince Carter, or as I like to call him "the cure for what isn't ailing you yet." Part of it was just a strange run of events, including Marcin Gortat being unhappy the Magic matched his offer from Dallas and Brandon Bass being unhappy he got inked to get no run. But in general, this team still likes one another. And Jameer Nelson, the center of any trade talks between the two teams, has been with Howard the whole way through.

Nelson wasn't particularly good in 2007-2008, but hit his stride in the playoffs (a shiny +18 PER through 10 games in the postseason), and launched into being a star the next season, before getting hit with a shoulder injury. He came back with a bang, and his combination of perimeter shooting, speed, athleticism, and playmaking ability has been a big part of the Magic's success. How will he react to being moved as the "weak link" for the Magic starting unit?

From there you've got to wonder about Howard. Howard pushing for this trade says two things. One, he's got the same fever the rest of his superstar peers have: the drive to play on a team stacked with multiple All-Stars. And two, he may not recognize that what the Magic need more than anything is for him to continue working with Hakeem Olajuwon in Houston to develop a post-game. Of any kind.

Would Paul help the Magic? Undoubtedly. That's just as terrifying a combo as you're going to find in the league, and the way Paul used Tyson Chandler in the pick and roll for alley-oops means that he and Howard could set the record for most alley-oops in a season. It would be an unstoppable combo. Paul's also a better shooter than Nelson, and Nelson's really good. Before injuries started to hit him last season, Paul was on pace for a 45-50-95 season, which is, to be honest, freaking absurd. Working with the kind of perimeter options the Magic have to create space for him would make Paul somehow more lethal than he was before.

But if the Magic can't find a package the Hornets find enticing financially or basketball-wise before Shinn's sale is complete, they'll probably be left without Paul, and the repercussions on a locker room that now could start tearing apart instead of drifting. Pushing for progress is a good thing. But it comes with its price if you fail.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: June 29, 2010 3:58 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 8:41 pm
 

Michael Beasley is considered damaged goods

All things considered, it was probably going to wind up like this. It's not fair, and it's not right, and really it's unfortunate when everything shakes out. But Michael Beasley is damaged goods in the NBA. That's the cold, hard truth.

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Heat have bought out James Jones from his contract. That's not really the big news, clearing $300,000 from their space. No, the meat of the story is in the last few lines, where Berger describes the Heat's situation with trying to trade Beasley. That situation can be summed up with the phrase "no one will touch it with a ten-foot pole."

Beasley's history is well documented. He came in as a goofball, obviously immature. Then there was the entire ordeal at the NBA rookie transition program . That was followed by the photos . Then the rehab stint , which was reported to be part of the fallout from the rookie program debacle.

This past year? Beasley kept out of trouble. He just showed up and went to work. But the work, the most important part, the element that would forgive all the rest of the shenanigans, that part suffered as well. He was constantly berated on the court by Dwyane Wade, who pretty clearly had had enough of the youngster. He was bigger, a little big to play the small forward spot, not big enough to play the power forward. Beasley's got one go-to offensive move, the pull-up 15 footer. And it is a thing of beauty. As silky as it was when he was knocking them down in Manhattan, Kansas, where he wishes he would have stayed .

But his game isn't there. He hasn't become a leader. He's still acting a clown.

All-Star Sophomore practice is a pretty ridiculous event. It's a bunch of media guys vying for time with a bunch of second year guys, mostly to ask them questions about their more famous teammates or how it "feels" to be part of All-Star Weekend. It deserves ridicule and a little bit of fun. And Beasley had his fun, dancing around the floor interviewing other players (including interrupting a riveting conversation I was having with O.J. Mayo) (it was not a riveting conversation), and playing around with Craig Sager. It was fun. Who cares? He's a big kid!

The issue is that in the context of his career, it belies a pattern of unprofessionalism. While the other players dutifully went through the process, Beasley had to stand out. It shows how he thinks of himself, where he considers himself in life. And the truth is, he's just not ready.

The Heat aren't struggling to move Beasley because of his game. It's not especially helpful being a low-rebound percentage, mid-range-jumpshot shooting tweener with questionable defense. But the kid has crazy athleticism and can shoot. That description is one of an NBA player. But the Heat can't get him out the door because of his head, and because of his reputation. If Beasley doesn't want to fade to the margins before falling through the cracks, if he wants to capitalize on the enormous amount of potential he has, he's going to have to go through substantial personal growth in a very short amount of time.

This league doesn't take care of its young, nurture them, or hold their hand. It lets the system work out its own kinks.

If Beasley can't get the kinks in his head worked out and contribute to whatever altered roster he's on, in Miami or elsewhere, he's going to be worked out, too.

Posted on: June 29, 2010 2:18 pm
 

Steve Nash leads team to charity soccer victory

Steve Nash hosted a charity soccer event last week featuring Nate Robinson, Jared Dudley, and Tony Parker. As part of CBSSports.com's continuing coverage of the 2010 World Cup and our partnership with Steve nash, we're pleased to bring this exclusive coverage of the event. Highlights include Jared Dudley climbing a fence and Nate Robinson taking off his shirt. Man, that guy pops up everywhere ...


Posted on: June 29, 2010 2:11 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 2:33 pm
 

Yi traded to Wizards for Quinton Ross

Speaking of seven foot tall Chinese dudes ...

CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the New Jersey Nets have traded more of their assets to clear cap space. This time, they've jettisoned Yi Jianlian to the Wizards in return for Quinton Ross . The move saves the Nets about $3 million and will put them close, but not over the space needed to sign two max free agents, leaving them still behind Miami, New  York, and Chicago. They'll have a little over $30 million in space, needing a little under $33 million to sign two max free agents in this class.

The Wizards get an interesting player, but one who has clearly not lived up to the hype surrounding him coming into the league. Jianlian has been criticized for being soft. Okay, that's an understatement. Imagine the creamiest, most whipped yogurt you can imagine. Now drive a truck through it. That's what most people consider Yi's defense to be like. He's seven feet tall, but plays at the small forward spot. On Washington, he'll battle with Al Thornton for the starting-small-forward-that-needs-m
inutes-and-shots-even-though-they're-not-efficient-at-all spot.

Jersey on the other hand now can revamp it's team pretty cleanly, even if they whif on one of the big three.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: June 29, 2010 1:24 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 1:29 pm
 

Yao Ming will not opt out

Go ahead and cross the big seven foot Chinese dude off your list of free agent hopefuls for your favorite team. Yao Ming isn't going anywhere. Fox 26 Sports in Houston is reporting that Yao Ming will not opt-out for the last year of his contract with the Houston Rockets, a report that is confirmed by General Manager Daryl Morey via Twitter .

Ming's decision was probably equal parts loyalty and realism. Coming off a year that he missed entirely with yet another foot injury (Ming hasn't played since the 2009 playoffs), his value was likely to be downgraded, especially in a year with so many other stars available. But Ming has always been loyal to the club that drafted him, and with the success the Rockets had nearly making the playoffs without him, he has to feel good about making another run with them. Morey is finally getting out from under the yoke of Tracy McGrady's contract and will be able to continue wheeling and dealing.

The Rockets lineup next year, provided they re-sign Luis Scola, is pretty impressive. Aaron Brooks, Kevin Martin, Trevor Ariza, Luis Scola, Yao Ming, with Shane Battier, Chase Budinger, Jordan Hill, and Patrick Patterson off the bench. Those stretch fours are going to benefit the most from Ming, who will cause doubles and enable them to create space for open mid-range shots, which most can hit.

The Rockets will also still have assets they can move in a trade, and Morey has shown he's never willing to be content. The Rockets have been near the top of the league during his reign and have really only faltered on account of injury. If Ming comes back healthy (as unreliable a prospect as that is), Houston could be right back in the mix of contenders in 2010-2011.

Funny what a seven foot tall Chinese dude with incrdible touch and length can do for you, huh?

-Matt Moore


Posted on: June 29, 2010 12:16 pm
Edited on: June 29, 2010 9:18 pm
 

Report: Shaw hired as Cavs head coach

UPDATE 2: A person involved in the process told CBSSports.com's Ken Berger that Shaw and the Cavs have entered the negotiation phase, but that no deal has been reached.

UPDATE: Byron Scott's agent has issued a congratulatory email to Shaw and written to FanHouse concerning Scott's role in the search. This one appears to be a done deal, but has not been formally announced.

Sam Amick of NBA FanHouse is reporting that Lakers assistant Brian Shaw is finalizing a deal to become the new head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The report states that while a deal isn't finalized, talks have not advanced with the Cavs' other lead candidate, Byron Scott, who will now start sending Phil Jackson books on the perks of retirement. If the report is indeed true, it means a considerable shift in the Cavaliers' philosophy. Shaw has no head coaching experience and is more offensively minded. It's likely that if he were to take the position that the triangle offense may be installed, an offense which has not succeeded without Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant spearheading it, nor without Phil Jackson himself coaching it, in the last twenty years.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson is off in Montana recuperating from the season and deciding whether or not to return to pursue a 14th championship ring (his 12th as a head coach). There's no way to predict how this development could impact Jackson. On the one hand, he's losing his other key advisor after Kurt Rambis headed to Minnesota last year, and with Jackson refusing to travel were he to return, this would mean turning the keys of a championship team over to someone he may not trust as much. On the other, he may see this as his team needing another year with a steady hand at the wheel.

Either way, you know the question everyone's going to ask. What's LeBron think?

We'll keep you posted on this story throughout the day.

-Matt Moore








Posted on: June 29, 2010 9:22 am
Edited on: June 29, 2010 12:38 pm
 

Wade-LeBron-Bosh rumors are the new malaria

Oh, how we once laughed. We giggled. We guffawed. The idea of it! The sheer madness of the concept! Oh, what rich comedy, to think that it could be true.

Except, well, now no one's laughing.

In Monday's Free Agent Buzzer, our own Ken Berger lays out why the rumored Chris-Bosh-Dwyane-Wade-LeBron-James
trio
possibility in South Beach would both be bad for business, and is extremely unlikely. But the fact that Berger elected to comment on it speaks to how high this only 12-hour old rumor has swept through sports media.

Bear in mind that it's not just Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel dropping that bomb . Stephen A. Smith, who, like it or not, has a ton of access to NBA circles, was out ahead of the pack with the same rumor .

So now we have two significant sources reporting the same concept. Of course, this is nothing new. In the past 48 hours, we've heard Joe Johnson was going to New York, Joe Johnson will be traded to the Mavs, and LeBron to Chicago is a "done deal." If you guys hang on for another 12 hours, we'll be bringing you news that Carlos Boozer has sprouted wings and returned to his home planet in a galaxy far far away for a max contract.

This rumor's got a tremendous amount of steam behind it, and you have to wonder if it is just a rumor, who exactly is pitching that concept around? Someone with something to gain is tossing out the idea that the biggest superstar team-up since "Space Jam " is going down and whoever it is is likely from Wade's camp in Miami.

We'll have more on "THE SUMMIT " later, but if this thing does have legs, it probably started there. All of these reports have one consistent theme, though. Well, besides being pretty much lazed with abject panic from the rest of the league. All of them state that each agent is committed to exploring his options fully. Which means we could be in for an arms race, in reverse, in order to get all three of these players.

The Chicago Bulls pulled off their trade of Kirk Hinrich last week, opening the door to sign two max free agents. But if they can find a way to dish off Luol Deng, or lock in the terms of a sign-and-trade with one of the superstars' respective clubs, they could pull off a similar feat in Chicago. Likewise, I'd bet that Donnie Walsh is probably putting garland on Eddy Curry's head right now to try and pull in any offer he can to dump the center's salary. We started with "two max free agents" and now we're on to three.

We'll get you filled in on the possible ramifications of a team up of these three later (here's the short version: GAME OVER), but these reports indicate two things. One, this is already an abjectly insane point in the league's history from both a level of impact and media coverage perspective. And two, things are only going to get more nuts.

You realize we haven't even started free agency, right?

-Matt Moore

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com