Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Hoop & The Harm: Notes from the Hardcourt

Melo Out?

Another week has come and gone and, wouldn’t you know it, Carmelo Anthony is still a member of the Denver Nuggets.

For weeks the rumors have persisted that Melo was on his way out of the Mile High City, with the NJ Nets listed as the most likely destination. He has stated that his preferred destination would be the NY Knicks, but at the same time I think he only really said that because he was asked the question.

Carmelo Anthony holds all the power in this situation and I’m quite sure that he knows it, too.

If the Nuggets don’t trade him, Melo will likely leave at the end of the season for nothing. If they try to trade him somewhere he doesn’t want to go, a refusal to sign a contract extension with that team will make the deal go sour. For the person trying really hard to hate Anthony in this situation, put yourself in his shoes: By accepting a trade, you’re helping out the team that brought you into the league – but why go somewhere you don’t want to go when you can just wait for free agency at the end of the season?

There are rumors that the Nuggets have given the NJ Nets permission to speak with Anthony in an attempt to convince him that the Nets (who are supposedly moving to his home borough of Brooklyn soon) would be a good fit. Once again, the success of the massive three-team deal between the Nuggets, Nets and Pistons all relies on Anthony signing an extension in Jersey.

The meeting hasn’t even been scheduled and it’s already not looking good for Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov – here’s what Anthony told reporters this week (via ESPN):

“I don’t want to talk to nobody. I let the front office handle that type of stuff. It ain’t my job to be talking to New Jersey, New York, the Lakers, Dallas, no one. That’s not my job to do…I can’t talk to them people. The Denver Nuggets still pay me.”

Meanwhile, the NY Knicks appear to be getting ready to jump into the mix if the New Jersey bid fails.

A lot of analysts have said that the Knicks don’t have enough to offer, or at least as much as the Nets do, to make a solid run at Anthony. Team president Donnie Walsh says he’s confident that the Knicks could secure “more than one” first-round pick, thought he wouldn’t say how many.

If the Nets don’t land Anthony before the trade deadline, the real story here won’t be who ended up with the superstar – it’ll be that Nets part owner Jay-Z drops to 0-2 in the hunt for star players!

Griffin in 3D

It turns out LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin can do more than just dunk...

To those people who think that Griffin is a one-dimensional player, check out these numbers: In a 114-107 win over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, the rookie had 47 points, shooting 19-of-24 from the field with 14 rebounds for his 27th straight double-double and 33rd of the season!

Here’s a look at Griffin doing his thing (my favorite highlight comes at the 50-second mark):

I can’t wait to see what this guy has in store for the Dunk Contest!

Hurtin’ Heat

When the NBA’s newest superpower was formed in Miami, there was one thing that most people figured out right away: if the Big Three get hurt, the Heat are hooped.

Obviously injuries are tough on any team, but when you’ve got so much invested in three players the situation is magnified a bit. Right now, Heat fans are living a mini-nightmare – mired in a three-game losing skid, LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are all nursing injuries.

ESPN reports that James and Bosh both sat out practice on Monday with sprained left ankles, while Wade hurt his knee in a collision with another player in a loss to Chicago on the weekend. James was hurt in a loss to the Clippers, before watching his team get thumped by Denver and drop a close one against the Bulls.

The Heat host the Atlanta Hawks tonight and the team says Wade is probable, James is a game-time decision and Bosh is doubtful to play.

Imagine being a Miami season ticket holder and hearing that James, Bosh and Wade might not play in that night’s game. Dibbs out!

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