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Monday, July 23, 2018

Basketball

Carmelo Anthony reportedly intends to sign with Rockets

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony is set to become a free agent in the coming days once the trade that sent him from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Atlanta Hawks is finalized, and he has apparently already made up his mind about where he will sign.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that Anthony, who will be waived by the Hawks, intends to sign with the Houston Rockets. He’ll need to first clear waivers, but that is merely a technicality at this point.

Anthony will still earn his scheduled $27.9 million salary for next season after he picked up his player option, so Stein reports that he will sign a one-year deal with Houston for the veteran’s minimum of $2.4 million.

The Rockets have seemed like the most likely destination for Anthony all along, and their star players have made it clear that they want him on board.

Dwyane Wade might not sign until the season?

Dwyane Wade Heat

A definitive answer on Dwyane Wade’s future may not be coming any time soon.

In a Twitter Q&A session Sunday, RealGM’s Keith Smith received a question about Wade’s status with the Miami Heat and reported that the 36-year-old guard was still weighing all of his options. Smith added that could mean that Wade might not sign until the new season starts in October but did say that the last word was he wanted to be back in Miami.

The three-time champion Wade has already said that he would only return to play for the Heat. However, he is also weighing the possibility of retiring after 15 seasons in the league and has now gone over three weeks into free agency without making a decision.

It’s understandable if Wade does not want to go through the grind of training camp and the preseason again. But players who skip those months with an eye on returning once the season is underway often wind up never actually coming back (such as Wade’s former Heat teammate Ray Allen).

In any case, we know that one person who has major pull on the 12-time All-Star wants to see him return, so it may just be a question of when for Wade.

Jeanie Buss has theory on LeBron mural vandalizations

Jeanie Buss

Jeanie Buss is reacting to the defacing of multiple LeBron James murals in the Los Angeles area.

On Sunday, the Lakers president issued a sharp rebuke after a second mural of James was vandalized earlier this week. She said that those committing the acts were not Laker fans and hinted that they were fans of the archrival Boston Celtics instead, per Mark Willard of FOX Sports.

This weekend’s incident saw a mural of James (this one featuring him looking up at some of the greatest Lakers ever) defaced with a streak of white paint.

To their credit though, a number of Laker fans showed up to personally aid the artist in restoring the mural following its vandalization.

Regardless however, this comes after a previous mural of James in Venice was defaced twice in the span of a few days earlier this month, leading to it being painted over for good. The artist of that mural had his own theory as to who might have done it, but Buss’ Celtics fan proposition sounds pretty solid too.

Former teammate defends DeMarcus Cousins’ decision to sign with Warriors

DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins’ decision to sign with the Golden State Warriors was one of the most unpopular free agent moves in recent memory, but Memphis Grizzlies swingman Garrett Temple can understand where he is coming from.

Temple, who was teammates with Cousins on the Sacramento Kings during the 2016-17 season, spoke about the four-time All-Star in an appearance this week on “The HoopsHype Podcast” with host Alex Kennedy. While Temple admitted to being “really surprised” by the news, he defended Cousins’ choice.

“As someone who’s friends with Cous’, I was a little scared that he may not get a big deal because of the Achilles injury,” said Temple. “I thought that people may be frightened off because of that. But I talked to him, I hit him up, after the deal and he told me the reasons why. He told me he wanted to go to a team that’s winning, that has a winning culture, and he wants to show that he’s healthy and can still play and then get back out on the market next year.

“Honestly, I thought that was a very mature decision by him, [especially] for a guy who has been pegged as ‘immature.’” Temple continued. “By going to the Warriors, he’s showing people that he’s all about winning. That passion that he displays, some people don’t understand that it’s all about wanting to win. For people who don’t know him, he’s a team guy.”

The 32-year-old Temple, who also serves as a vice president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), signed with Sacramento in 2016 and remained there after Cousins was dealt to the New Orleans Pelicans last year. Temple was then traded to the Grizzlies this summer.

“Now, by going to the Warriors, maybe people can understand, ‘Okay, maybe he is all about winning,'” Temple concluded about Cousins. “Because he could’ve went to a bad team and gotten paid [more money], but that wouldn’t have done anything for him and his value. For him to go to Golden State [impressed me]. And now, I saw today that he said ‘If I have to come off of the bench, I’m cool with it.’ That just shows the maturity level he’s at right now. Now, I really hope he can get healthy enough to really do some good things… against every other team except the Grizzlies (laughs).”

Temple raises several good points about his old teammate, especially since he generated little interest on the open market due to his injury. But that won’t stop others (fans and fellow players alike) from criticizing Cousins’ move to the back-to-back defending champion Warriors, as many indeed did.

Report: Tobias Harris turns down $80 million extension from Clippers

Tobias Harris has reportedly turned down a contract extension from the Los Angeles Clippers so he can be a free agent next summer.

Earlier this year, Harris was sent to the Clippers from the Detroit Pistons in the trade that saw Blake Griffin go to Detroit. In 32 games for the Clippers, Harris averaged 19.3 points, 6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game while connecting on 41 percent of his three-pointers.

That was apparently good enough for Los Angeles to offer Harris a contract extension. Harris turned it down with his sights set on next summer.

Harris will be betting on himself to be able to duplicate (or better) the numbers he posted after being traded to the Clippers. If he is successful, as Aldridge points out, Harris could be in for a very large payday.

Person close to Kawhi Leonard predicts he won’t leave Toronto

Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard is said to be intent on signing with the Lakers when he becomes a free agent next summer, but that didn’t stop the Raptors from giving up their best player to acquire him via trade. One person close to the star forward thinks Toronto’s risk will pay off in a big way.

A person close to Leonard told Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he believes Kawhi will fall in love with Toronto and end up re-signing next summer. Zeigler described the source as “someone who knows Leonard as well as anybody.”

“He’s going to fall in love with Toronto – it’s going to happen,” the source reportedly said. “He’s not going to leave, I’m telling you.”

Zeigler lists a number of reasons why Leonard might actually enjoy his time with the Raptors, despite the early reports that he has “no desire” to play for them. Danny Green was one of Leonard’s closest friends from the Spurs, and he was part of the trade that sent Leonard to Toronto. Raptors fans are passionate and their front office is one of the few that works to help players secure endorsement opportunities.

There are other factors that seem unlikely to influence Leonard’s decision, such as the fact that he is a fan of rapper Drake, who is the most well-known Raptors fan. That probably won’t hurt, but the Lakers are the best team for Leonard if he puts weight into stuff like that.

For what it’s worth, a recent report indicated the Lakers are not the only team Leonard is considering signing with next summer. As we saw with Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder, a lot can change over the course of a season. Still, the two situations are a lot different. As of now, it seems like it would take a miracle for the Raptors to sign Leonard long-term.

Markelle Fultz expected to be Philadelphia’s sixth man next season

Markelle Fultz is ready to put the “6” in Philadelphia 76ers.

In an appearance this week on 97.3 ESPN’s “The Sports Bash,” Keith Smith of Real GM spoke on Fultz and his expected role for the Sixers in 2018-19.

“He’s probably likely to be the sixth man coming off the bench,” Smith said of the 20-year-old. “And in a lot of ways that’s a great role for him because on the days that he’s got it going, you ride him. On the days where he doesn’t, he’s a sixth man, that’s OK, sit down, we’ve got other guys who can handle the load.”

Fultz, who went to Philly with the No. 1 overall pick last year, was hindered by some well-documented health and mechanical issues in his rookie season. The net result was 14 total apperarances with 7.1 points and 3.8 assists per game.

After bringing back JJ Redick this summer, the Sixers can run back what they had last season with Redick and Ben Simmons as their starting backcourt plus TJ McConnell also available for matchups that require a more traditional point guard to start. That would allow Fultz to work his way back in lower-leverage situations off the bench.

Smith also says that the Sixers seem to be “really happy” with the work that Fultz has done with his new trainer, so it sounds like everything is trending in the right direction for the former Washington star.

H/T NBA Reddit

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