Morning Shootaround — Oct. 2

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Anthony open to playing SF | Nash ready to bounce back | LeBron brings back chalk toss | Bogut wants to stay with Warriors | Gortat expects to be dealt

No. 1: ‘Melo willing to move to small forward for BargnaniFormer No. 1 overall pick Andrea Bargnani fell out of favor in Toronto and was shipped to New York in a deal that was mostly a cost-cutting one for the Raptors. Injuries limited Bargs to just 66 games over the last two seasons, but he’s feeling better and has impressed teammate Carmelo Anthony early on in training camp. There’s talk, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post, of Anthony possibly moving back to small forward to free up a frontcourt starting spot for Bargnani:

During yesterday’s halfcourt sets, Bargnani wore the starting blue jersey with Anthony, Tyson Chandler up front, and Metta World Peace wore white.

Coach Mike Woodson said his starting lineup hasn’t been determined, but a frontcourt of Chandler-Bargnani-Anthony is a distinct possibility. The Knicks coach hinted at Bargnani’s familiarity with that role.

“We’ll use camp to evaluate to see where we are,’’ Woodson said. “He’s been a starter pretty much all his career, but time will tell. I’m going to have some options this year.’’

Starting Bargnani means Anthony would have to return to small forward. Having World Peace start would allow Anthony to stay at the 4. But it should be noted Toronto insiders say Bargnani always performed well against Indiana’s David West and Miami’s Chris Bosh — likely the East’s two most formidable teams.

Anthony said he is comfortable at either position.

“Playing the 3, 4, it’s all the same. I’m cool with it,” he said. “It’s up to Coach Woodson. It’s early right now to pick a starting lineup. By the end of the week, we’ll start figuring things out.

***

No. 2: Nash itching to rebound from down seasonLast season couldn’t have gone much worse for former two-time MVP Steve Nash. He played in a career-low 50 games, had his worst season since 1999-2000 in points and assists and watched as a solid-on-paper Lakers squad crumbled under various dramas. In a great story with Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears, Nash opens up about his and the Lakers’ lost season, L.A.’s attempts to re-sign and court Dwight Howard and more:

“I probably shouldn’t have played in the playoffs,” Nash said. “I was limping around. But we were so decimated [by injuries] and I was just trying to help. We had long breaks and I just wanted to give it a shot. But I couldn’t even sprint.”

Howard had said he built a solid friendship with Nash last season. Nash was among the Lakers contingent that tried to convince Howard to re-sign. Among the talking points, Nash tried to sell Howard that he should take into account the Lakers’ long list of injury problems last season – including an Achilles injury to Kobe Bryant.

Deep down, Nash thought the efforts would fall short.

“I never really felt like he was that happy here or wanted to be here,” Nash said.

Additionally, Spears provides the following quote from Nash in regards to how soon Bryant might return to the L.A. lineup:

***

No. 3: MVP bringing back his familiar pregame powder toss Hop on any form of social media and find you favorite NBA players and chances are you’ll see at least one of them reference NBA 2K14 somewhere in the timeline/feed/etc. The new basketball video game, which features reigning MVP LeBron James on the cover, has been garnering a lot of buzz. James used that game — plus his own Instagram account — to let fans know he’ll be bringing back his familiar pregame powder toss, writes Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel:

It was iconic. And then it was gone. Now, apparently, LeBron James is about to again take a powder.

Hidden as a hashtag on an Instagram post referencing his placement on the cover of the just released edition of the NBA 2K14 video game came this early Wednesday morning:

#PowderTossComingBackToAnArenaNearYou

Given up amid his turn for the serious as part of his successful bids for NBA championships the past two seasons, James can be seen on the 2K14 cover displaying the powder toss, as seen in the Instagram he sent out.

The caption accompanying that cover shot on the Instagram read in full:

“What y’all been on tonight!?! Cause this what I’m on. I remember playing Bulls vs Blazers and Double Dribble like these are the best(which they were at the time). Crazy to me that I’m on the cover of a video game man! #NBA2K14 #CoverBoy #RealestHoopGame #StriveForGreatness #PowderTossComingBackToAnArenaNearYou”

***

No. 4: Bogut wants to stick around in Golden State — Since being acquired by the Warriors in a March, 2012 deal, Andrew Bogut has played in 32 regular-season games and a dozen playoff games (all last season). He looked more like his old self during the team’s 2013 playoff run and, as a free agent next season, says he hopes to stay in Oakland with the up-and-coming Warriors, writes Tim Kawakami in a Q&A with Bogut in the San Jose Mercury News

Q: And you’ve got the little matter of pending free agency coming up after this season. Which makes this a contract year. Have there been any talks with the Warriors about an extension? They’ve said they want to sign you, pretty clearly.

BOGUT: I want to stay.

Q: So you’ve had talks?

BOGUT: There haven’t been. But I want to stay here, if I can. I like the organization, I like the direction, I like the owners, I love the coaches, I love the players.

I honestly want to stay here. But I’m not (overlooking) that I’ve been hurt, so my value has been diminished a little bit. And obviously I want to have a good year.

But I’m not one of those guys who wants to have a good year, get my deal and then shut it down. I wouldn’t do that. People might think that because of last year and the injury, but it’s a unique circumstance.

I just want to keep playing. I want to get to the playoffs and make a run at that and then let the chips fall where they may.

If I get an extension, I get it. If I don’t, I don’t. But we’re not really talking about it right now. The focus is training camp.

And I think a big fellah on the open market isn’t all so bad, either, judging by the last (off-season).

***

No. 5: Suns’ Gortat bracing himself for a tradeMost pundits aren’t picking the Suns to do much of anything special this year. Case in point? Grantland.com, in the midst of its best-to-worst previews of every team, has Phoenix as the second-worst team in the NBA. The goal for new coach Jeff Hornacek and the rest of the Suns’ bunch is to improve on last season’s 25 wins, which were the West’s fewest. Part of doing so may involve making mid-season deals. Veteran center Marcin Gortat is already readying himself to be one name that could be bandied about in trade talks, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:

There were three centers added behind Gortat, who took notice that the team drafted Alex Len with the No. 5 pick and then traded for Miles Plumlee and Slava Kravtsov during the summer. Gortat already fears the in-season trade rumors in the last year of his contract, even though McDonough mentioned that he hoped that Gortat, Dragic and Channing Frye are young enough veterans to be part of the next great Suns team.

Gortat endorsed the summer makeover, swore to not relinquish his job and predicted that the Suns would be “a good running team.” But without prompting, the Suns’ highest-paid player at $7.7million made a thinly veiled reference to his contract status and a scenario that likely will linger until the February trade deadline.

“This is a business,” Gortat said. “We all know where I am right now, and we all know what’s going to happen probably. It’s business. I totally understand that. I totally understand the situation. I totally understand the management and front-office people. There are no hard feelings. At the end of the day, I’m a pro. I’m going to try to do everything that’s necessary to win the basketball game.

“Whatever is going to happen is going to happen. I’m grateful for everything I had with this team. This team took my game to another level. Quite honestly, it was Steve (Nash).”

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Tyreke Evans is likely to come off the bench in New OrleansBismack Biyombo still knows his place among Charlotte’s big menSamuel Dalembert is ready to be the new-look Tyson Chandler for the MavsRudy Gay is hoping offseason eye surgery helps his game

ICYMI of the night: Tough-luck news out of OKC, where star point guard Russell Westbrook will miss at least the first 4-6 weeks of the season after having another surgery on his injured right knee:

31 Comments

  1. LBJ_Bob_Squarepants says:

    It goes:
    Eminem
    Jadakiss
    Redman
    Nas
    2Pac
    Kurupt
    Biggie
    Jay-Z

  2. Kobe-Nash-Pau-Carmelo-Lebron@Manila says:

    Yeah I agree with you “Don’t ever”.. He can play SF at LA.. So many LA-Haters are so nervous about Carmelo and Lebron coming to LA.. Why???? Because they know that LA will be at the top again.. GO LA!! Go Carmelo!!

  3. Emmanuel says:

    Did I miss something here? Isn’t Melo’ a natural SF who was playing out of position all last season? Whatever. He will never lead a team to a ring. You have to actually play defense to win it big, Melo. And you have to work in the offseason.

  4. Josh says:

    A story about a natural SF, being open to playing that very same position. LMAO. What a worthless article.

  5. YoYo says:

    DEFENSE WINS CHAMPIONSHIP!!!! Casual fans…Sigh…

  6. dd def says:

    knicks will def. be better than last season. but i don’t think they’re quite strong enough all-around to compete in a best of 7 with pacers or heat. plus, with a healthy rose, the bulls are a threat with solid defense, and the nets made some compelling moves themselves. the east is getting interesting again.

  7. B Radd says:

    Now now sister calm down. The Celtics are looking to rebuild and to do that you need a YOUNG star and with Rondo, he would just be a waste of talentthat would most likely miss every playoff birth for the next 5 years or so. The NBA’s brightest stars shold be on a competitive team. There is nothing in Boston right now and a move would be best for the NBA. …and I clearly stated upon trading for Amar’e trade him yet again for Donatas Motiejunas. game on please read before you react, sometime you just gotta keep your stir ups in an uproar.

  8. gamfen says:

    Whats up with Stoudemire, nobody talks about him…Shouldnt he be a starter?

  9. Carlos says:

    I think they just really need a better point guard, but getting Bargs and MWP was a great move,

  10. mike says:

    who do you guys think gortat will be traded for?

  11. Yakimo says:

    I thought that SF meant San Francisco, meaning Golden State…but, wait, that is in Oakland.

  12. BREIGVWJGERG says:

    I never realized that Melo wasn’t playing SF anymore.. I mean he was wasn’t he? The Pacer series it was different so they could match up “better” but I thought Melo was still playing Small Forward. It doesn’t really matter what position he was playing. He always plays the exact same way.

  13. Flaimeee says:

    To be honest the Knicks won’t go far in the playoffs because of the lack of defensive stoppers (Melo won’t win a championship without being able to stop LeBron and KD). Another issue for them is who scores the basketball and isn’t named Melo and JR? The other important issue is their rebounding, because last year they were stretching the floor and weren’t able to get offensive boards (except Tyson Chandler). This year I can see them doing pretty much the same with the additon of Barg who is atrocious rebounder and subpar defender. Although they made a good decision bringing in MWP for the added defensive pressure. I can see them playing good on defense with the lineup of Tyson, Melo, MWP, Shumpert and Felton, they won’t have much power offensively with that lineup though. Then comes the problem of crowding the paint when Amare and Tyson are on the floor together. I can go on and on but I can’t be arsed to do so and noone wants to reed a wall of text anyway.
    TL;DR: The Knicks will be gone in the first or second round of the playoffs

  14. B Radd says:

    With Melo, Bargnani and Chandler in the frontcourt, they’re definitely going to need an All-Star Pointguard. I’m thinking Shumpert and Amar’e for Rajon Rondo and then sending Amar’e to Houston for young center Donatas Motiejunas.

    • game on says:

      why would the celtics take Amare who is never healthy and a bench pg to give up Rondo an all star point guard? That would be stupid

      • Kome the Black dumba says:

        As ridiculous as it sounds you have to know Cs are going to rebuild mode and Rondo might not stick around. Still a bad trade I agreed.

  15. Krash says:

    Carmelo was a small forward for the start of his career, news he moves back to SF shouldn’t actually be surprising to anyone

  16. Rob says:

    Actually Melo had the best season of his career with a team, leading the Denver Nuggets as a Small Forward to the Western Conference Finals. He went that far as a SF, as a PF he scores too, but I think he’s more useful as SF. Just watch that Nuggets team and this current Knicks roster. Both teams have 2 good inside players (Nene-Martin) and (Chandler-Bargnani) so the defensive part is easier for Carmelo to play, so he focus more on the offensive and he has better performances. It’s my opinion of course. I think the move for Bargnani was a smart one. The Knicks needed to add a PF available, and Andrea was the best choice for the Knicks. He can score too, he’s tall and he can rebound. So he’ll be important this season. If they stay healthy they can make a better season than last one. Ron Artest can bring some toughtness too. So, I’m anxious for watching this Knicks. #KnicksNation

  17. Frans says:

    Thanks to the positive attitude of Melo the Knicks manouvered themselves in a championship position. Strong at every position and a solid bench. I think NY wil meet Indiana in the conference finals.

    • jc says:

      They’re bench isn’t good enough to make it past the second round.

    • YoYo says:

      LMAO Last 2 team that Met MIAMI in the conference finals have the best defense in the league or one of the best…Knicks cant play defense if it save them…Miami is one of the best defensive team in the league years after years that why they win in the playoffs…Tell Melo to be first team all defense then they might have a chance…Til then it’s jsut wishful thinking by a casual fan…

    • hope piend says:

      just so you know, Bargnani is not strong in any position.

  18. carmelo should…he could be playing SF for the lakers pretty soon ;)

    • SLIM THUG says:

      You laker fans are so delusional…. Aint no one coming to LA… What do yall have but a roster full of injured and injury prone players.. not to mention the clash melo and kobe would have fighting for the ball every possession. it would be a Dwightmare all over again. no other superstar can play with kobe.. That’s been made clear 4 times already. Pau Gasol, SHAQ, Dwight, and Andrew Bynum. 3 of the best centers of my generation. If you let the 3 best of the 4, go your just a fool… Kobe even had out spurts with one of the greatest coaches of all time Phil Jackson. Kobe demands the to much from not only the players but the coaching staff. He is the kid no one wants to play with on the black top because they know they will only get the ball 3 time yet if they lose all the blame would be on someone else.

    • herpaderp says:

      Melo grew up in NY, growing up his favorite team was the knicks, he went to Syracuse in NY, he’s wanted to play for the Knicks his whole life, he wedged himself out of denver to plat for the knicks, he loves the Knicks and living in NY. so yeah it makes perfect sense that he will bolt for an low quality old team with a whiny ballhog diva who is rapidly approaching the all AARP team

      • LALfan says:

        Kobe has more championships than the Knicks, that should be enough to change teams. And saying that the Lakers are old when last season the Knick were the oldest team in the league.