Morning shootaround — June 28




VIDEO: GameTime examines the 76ers’ selection of Joel Embiid

NEWS OF THE MORNING
Embiid could miss year | Knicks want Pau | No rush on Rondo | Suns keep rising | McDermott first step
No. 1: Sixers will take the cautious route with Embiid — Remember all those photos of last year’s No. 1 pick Nerlens Noel in street clothes in Philly. Remember how Nerlens Noel never got onto the court while recovering from his knee surgery. Sixers G.M. Sam Hinkie loudly hinted that this year’s top pick Joel Embiid might be nothing more than a spectator as well, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

General manager Sam Hinkie hinted Friday that Joel Embiid, who was drafted third overall, probably won’t play in the 2014-15 season. That’s because the 7-foot center out of Kansas will miss more time than reported while recovering from a stress fracture in his right foot.
“I’ve seen reported some four to six months,” Hinkie said. “That’s not the number I heard. The number I heard from the surgeon himself was five to eight months.
“Guess what our approach will be? We will focus on the long-term health of the player. We had that discussion before. I don’t want that to sound glib, because it’s not. It is all that matters, honestly.”

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No. 2: Knicks want to team up Gasol with ‘Melo — While new team president Phil Jackson has been delivering some tough love to free agent Carmelo Anthony lately with talk of taking a pay cut, it seems he’s looking to add some sugar with the addition of Pau Gasol. ESPN’s Mark Stein and Ramona Shelburne say that Jackson plans to reach out to his former Lakers center when the free agency period opens at midnight ET on Tuesday:

Furthermore, one source close to the process told ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne that Jackson is planning to make a determined attempt to try to recruit his former Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol to replace the freshly traded Tyson Chandler alongside Anthony on the Knicks’ front line, despite the fact New York is limited to offering Gasol less than $4 million for next season.
Time will tell if the Knicks’ internal confidence in retaining Anthony proves justified, given that he opted out of the final year of his contract at $23.3 million — with Jackson urging him to opt in — and will soon be courted face-to-face by a handful of top teams in big cities.
The 30-year-old officially becomes an unrestricted free agent on Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. and, as ESPN.com reported earlier this week, is planning to go on visits or hold meetings with the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks and Lakers all before the Fourth of July. It also must be noted as July 1 draws near that the Bulls and Rockets have likewise been radiating no shortage of positivity about their chances of stealing Anthony away from the Knicks.

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No. 3: Celtics are in no hurry to ship out Rondo — The name of Marcus Smart had barely crossed the lips of NBA commissioner Adam Silver on draft night when the speculation began about the end of Rajon Rondo’s time in Boston. But Steve Bulpett of the the Boston Herald believes there is no reason to start packing the veteran point guard’s bags. First the Celtics will see if they can make a big name addition — i.e. Kevin Love – over the summer to pair with Rondo before entertaining offers:

The Celtics’ first choice in all this is to keep Rondo and find better players to put around him, but if they are unable to do that, they will have to confront the issue of his impending free agency. The club went into its rebuild with last summer’s trade of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett knowing it had to show a clear path to again being a contender before Rondo could depart on his own in 2015.
What we know for sure is that Ainge will be entertaining some offers for Rondo this summer, but, according to sources, that may still not assure a trade. The opinion here is that the Celts will have a difficult time getting a return for Rondo commensurate with what he means to this team. But they aren’t afraid to wait it out.
Assuming again they are unable to bring in a major player to pair with Rondo, one source confirmed the Celtics would sooner let him walk away than accept a deal that bogs down their salary sheet just to “get something for him.” If they decide trading Rondo is the best course of action, they will dig in and either get what they need to enhance their rebuilding, or they will let him go and take the cap space benefit.

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No. 4: Suns’ future continues to shine with draft moves — Every team with air in its basketballs come away claiming draft night was a success. However, our own Sekou Smith says that second-year Phoenix general manager Ryan McDonough is just selling more sand in the desert after his addition of young talent. After extending qualifying offers on Friday to free agents Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker, the Suns and are in a position to improve on last season’s surprising 48 wins and make more noise in the Western Conference:

With no glaring holes on a roster that didn’t include a superstar anchor, they entered Thursday night without the pressure of filling any significant gaps or the need to wheel and deal to fix their team.
That allowed McDonough and his staff to zero in on talents that fit the Suns’ system and style to perfection. They snagged prolific-scoring ACC Player of the Year T.J. Warren of N.C. State with the 14th pick, Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis with the 18th pick, Serbian shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic with the 27th pick and topped it off in the second round with 7-footer Alec Brown of Wisconsin Green Bay with the 50th pick overall.
“We think it was a great night for us,” McDonough told Suns.com after the Draft. “I feel like in the draft, with our four picks, we got a blend of a little bit of everything.”
“Sometimes you have to move or give up a lot, give up future picks, give up players to get exactly what you want. We didn’t have to do any of that. We just kind of stayed where we were and the guys fell to us.”
The Suns are in the rare position after a lottery season of controlling their own destiny moving forward. They extended qualifying offers Friday to both point guard Eric Bledsoe and small forward P.J. Tucker, giving them the right to match any offers to two players that played key roles in their resurgent season.
Sometimes teams have to reach and stretch to find security at certain positions, to add the needed depth and to fortify the roster. The Suns didn’t have to reach or stretch for anything. They played the board perfectly, riding the wave of the Draft with the bigger picture in mind and the security of knowing they could compete during an injury-filled season without resorting to any desperate moves.

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No. 5: McDermott tasty, but Bulls hungry for more — The Bulls did some wheeling and dealing, and actually increased their payroll on draft night, to get a player they believe will be a perfect fit in Doug McDermott. But according to our Steve Aschburner, this is still a summer they will only be deemed a rousing success if Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James or Kevin Love winds up in Chicago:

McDermott’s strengths overlap enough with Mike Dunleavy that, now, the 12-year veteran and his $3.3 million salary are in play. Possibly in a sign-and-trade for Anthony, the scorer many Bulls fans believe will complement Rose, solve the team’s biggest problem and propel them back to the Eastern Conference finals.
It’s not just Dunleavy’s salary. It’s the money Chicago saved by turning two guaranteed first-round contracts into one. It’s the cap space it will free up once the Bulls invoke their long-anticipated amnesty cleanse of forward Carlos Boozer’s $16.8 million.
Rolled together, those and a few minor tweaks could give Chicago about $12 million to $13 million to offer Anthony — or theoretically James, a real long shot — as the starting salary of a four-year contract. Without going backward — shedding key players such as Taj Gibson or Jimmy Butler – in a stab at going forward.
Might it happen? Might Anthony choose to kiss buh-bye a far more lucrative offer from his most recent team, the Knicks (who can pay him $129 million over five seasons)? Might he bank $30 million or $40 million on Rose’s prognosis and, let’s face it, luck, choosing that over new N.Y. boss Phil Jackson’s proven jewelry box?
Sure. He might. James might go back to Cleveland, too. Love might run off and join his uncle’s band.
But without a big play in free agency, what the Bulls did on draft night won’t rise beyond a modest play for shooting and spacing. Nothing wrong with that, just as there was nothing really wrong four years ago in landing Boozer and a more experienced sharpshooter from Creighton. If McDermott can learn to defend and pass at the NBA level like Kyle Korver, while shooting as well or better, it’s a solid move.
It just won’t induce any state of calm and well-being around United Center, not without pharmaceuticals.tory here as you normally would do …

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Paul George clears the air on Lance StephensonJose Calderon believes he could really help Carmelo Anthony…Rockets rookie Capela doesn’t want to wait.
ICYMI(s) of The Night: A sequence like this illustrates why Paul George is among the best two-way players in the game today …:

VIDEO: Paul George gets the steal and then caps the break with a fancy jam

10 Comments

  1. DavidD says:

    I will never understand the dynamics Phila’s staff is adopting: taking an out for the season player like Noel, destroying a team for tanking with unlucky results. Now they take another out for the season player, with a serious injury.
    They risk to have a new Greg Oden and a new Yao Ming (after the injuries that plagued his last years). Two seasons pushing up daisies.

  2. imissthethunder says:

    Yeah, I agree, Melo isn’t staying with the Knicks, no matter what the Zen Master does. And unlike King Lebron and Company, he has to seek the team that will be a championship contender. I do agree, however, that getting Gasol will help the Knicks, even without Carmello Anthony. Doesn’t he know the “triangle offense” that Phil Jackson is trying to implement? The Knicks team is a bunch of clowns, ranging from Lamar Odom, Stoudamire and ending with JR Smith. Carmello deserves better. He will land with Chicago most likely but I think he has a better chance of winning a future title with the Rockets. Derrick Rose is iffy!

  3. randomguy says:

    Knicks frontline of Melo, Stoudamire, Barganni and Gasol. Imagine all the gaping defensive holes, all the terrible rotations, the lack of rim protection or rebounding. When Melo is your frontcourt’s best rebounder and defender, you will have issues (maybe Gasol is a better rebounder than Melo, but the last two years he has really declined)

  4. Lakers-Warriors-Suns says:

    Melo to Phoenix!! No but the Knicks could be a contender if Amare returns healthy…

  5. T Casey says:

    Picking up Pau would look better if they still had Tyson in the middle. But Amare and Pau could be a good combo if Knicks’ coaching staff handles them properly.

  6. SAVAGE22 says:

    Jackson is already making moves to build a better team in NY but coming from a long time Knick fan, they are not going to be contending for a championship for the next 4-5 years. Melo wants to win now and although he may believe in Jackson and his plan, Carmelo is literally mid-prime and honestly just doesnt have the time to wait. I say he is off to Chicago..

  7. mark says:

    Phil Jackson as coach is one of the best hands down Phil Jackson as a front office manager well we will see about that one this summer what he does exactly. But as for mello he is doing what is best for him by opting out yes he is leaving a rather large sum.of cash on the table but maybe it is to better his legacy in the nba. There are a lot of different scenarios that I can put out there who’s what’s and whys but let’s cut to the chase and not talking about who can build a team around mello or if he should give nyc a chance to bring in quality players where can he can right now and WIN. Let’s be honest about mello and where he can go and win now 1st option Chicago why ? Here’s why they have a lack of scoring he can come in and fill that void. He (mello)does not play really good defense on a team.like the bulls they way they play they more then make for his lack of defense. Coaching mello has not has not had a solid coach that we could sit here and say we’ll he is going to get his team to belive in what he is doing and trying to do overall teammates mello has had help but only scoring help and in the nba you need to play defense and have a team the plays together as a team he has not had a team.like that since denver or since billups played for the knicks. last but not least if he plays for the bulls IF < he will have a solid coaching staff behind him a solid defensive minded team with players who fit in the mold of a team not just players put together to learn a system and recovering former mvp in d.rose and together if d.rose can stay healthy and can live with being the #2 option on a team where he the offense then he and mello can Co exist and they can make a run for the eastern conference every year they play together in good health that is so there you have cut and dry will it happen not sure but if mello wants to step in and just start scoring and winning that's where he should go because the bulls win on defense hart and soul and playing old fashioned team basketball

    • phonzo says:

      Melo in all tryna win I say his best shot to go 4 multi rings is the wizards with they team now nd Beal and wall r young nd gifted if theyhad Menlo shut the door

  8. Nick says:

    If anyone can build a championship team, it’s the Zen Master. Melo has the chance to play under one of the greatest leaders in basketball. I think he’s either afraid or despite what he says about winning a championship he’s all about the money. If I were Melo I would have taken Phil’s advice and not opted out. I would have stuck with him and let him work his plan. I think it says a lot about you if Jackson wants you on his team! But then again, if I were 7′ tall I would learn the Sky Hook from Kareem – one of the most unstoppable shots in the history of basketball – and no one has yet done that either! These kids today think they’re so smart! (As my mother used to say!)

    • randomguy says:

      It’s not a problem of playing under Jackson. It’s the problem that the Knicks have some TERRIBLE contracts in Barganni and Stoudamire that mean they aren’t major free agent players for at least two years. Those two are being paid like super stars, but definitely are not. If Stoudamire suddenly gets healthy, he is still being overpaid. Barganni was never worth the money and never will be. Jackson can’t change those facts. Jackson really can’t do anything this year, so Melo staying is Melo saying he wants to waste a year of his career, maybe two.