NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: ‘Melo took small pay cut to stay with Knicks — When Carmelo Anthony announced he was re-signing with the New York Knicks on his website, he said he is a Knick at heart. That may be truer than you think as Anthony took a $6 million paycut on the overall value of his deal to free up future cash for New York. Team president Phil Jackson confirmed that fact to reporters during his chat with them at Summer League in Las Vegas, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post:
Phil Jackson said Carmelo Anthony took less than the maximum $129 million contract, and the Zen Master declared he needs his star player to maximize his teammates to win a championship.
Anthony took less to stay with the Knicks — estimated at $122 million to $123 million over five years. But it was still a lot more than what the cap space-challenged runner-up Bulls could offer — four years, $73 million.
Jackson confirmed The Post’s reports Anthony structured the deal to give the Knicks more cap space in 2015. It is believed he didn’t take his annual 7.5 percent raise in Year 2 and may have taken a tiny pay decrease. Under collective bargaining agreement rules, a player can receive as high as a 7.5 percent pay raise annually.
“He did exactly what we kind of asked him to do,’’ Jackson said. “Give us a break in the early part of the contract when we have some wiggle room — hopefully big enough wiggle room — next year when we can exploit it.’’
Anthony’s sacrifice in Year 2 likely opens up about $2 million more in cap space for 2015, but the rest of his annual wages suffer by not taking the raise.
Meanwhile, Jackson emphatically said Anthony has to buy into this triangle-like new system that will promote sharing the ball and taking the load off him offensively. Otherwise, Jackson feels the Knicks won’t compete for a title anytime soon.
“It depends how quickly our team evolves,’’ Jackson said of how soon the club will be in title contention. “If we evolve as a team, we can do it rather quickly. If we’re still going to sit and rely on Carmelo to do everything, it’s not going to happen.
“We put that load on him, it’s not going to happen. That’s what we’ve wanted to assure him. We want to evolve as a team and that sometimes means the old buying into the system and giving in to the process. And the process can take time. Hopefully shorter time than longer.’’
No. 2: Parsons ‘offended’ by how Rockets treated him — The Houston Rockets’ plan in free agency all along, it seemed, was to make a hard push for free-agent forward Chris Bosh and re-sign their own free-agent forward, Chandler Parsons, after that. But once Parsons got an offer sheet from the Dallas Mavericks, things changed for Houston … and changed again once Bosh passed on joining Houston in favor of re-signing with the Miami Heat. Parsons is now a Mav and told Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears he wasn’t happy with how the Rockets treated him:
Chandler Parsons was “offended” when the Houston Rockets went searching in free agency for a third star in LeBron James, Chris Bosh or Carmelo Anthony instead of sticking with him. Now the former Rockets forward is ecstatic to be a third star with the Dallas Mavericks, and a lot richer, too.
“Honestly, I was offended by the whole process,” Parsons told Yahoo Sports on Monday in a phone interview. “They publicly said that they were going out looking for a third star when I thought they had one right in front of them. I guess that’s just how they viewed me as a player. I don’t think I’ve scratched the surface of where I can be as a player and I think I’m ready for that role.
“You can’t knock them for always trying to get better. [Houston general manager] Daryl Morey is very aggressive, is a genius, a great GM and I have nothing but respect for those guys. And they are looking to make their team better. That’s what they were doing. I just thought I could be that guy that could do that.”
The Rockets went after marquee players like James, Anthony, and Bosh when free agency began. While the Mavericks were interested in Anthony, too, they quickly convinced Parsons to agree to a three-year, $46 million offer sheet with a third-year player option and a 15 percent trade kicker, a source said. Parsons signed the offer sheet on the first day free agents were able to on July 10 in his hometown of Orlando with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban by his side.
“They really showed how much they cared for me,” Parsons said. “They didn’t want me to wait for Bosh. They didn’t want me to wait for ‘Melo. They came forward first.”
James left the Miami Heat to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Anthony and Bosh stayed with the Knicks and Heat respectively. The Rockets, through a sign-and-trade deal, agreed to terms with free-agent small forward Trevor Ariza for three years and $32 million. And on Sunday, the Rockets decided that Parsons’ contract was too expensive and didn’t match.
“Throughout the whole process they pretty much told me they were going to match everything,” Parsons said. “I understand it’s a business. I understand they had to do what they thought was best for their organization. It definitely caught me off-guard a little bit.”
Parsons said he is close with Cuban, loves Dallas and added that he believes he can compete with a championship in Dallas with Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis.
In an interview with Houston radio station SportsRadio 610, Morey explained some of his thinking behind the Rockets not matching Parsons’ offer sheet:
“It takes three, at least, three elite players with very little exception, throughout history, it takes three elite players and a good set of players that fit around them,” Morey said on the roster make up of a championship team. “Once Bosh said ‘no’ it put us into another very difficult decision of, is matching Chandler Parsons, do we have a better chance of winning a title by matching it or not matching it. That comes down to a very simple question, is Harden, Howard, Parsons a three that can be a championship three? I actually think it can be. I think Chandler is a great player, getting better. Really really good player, no doubt. But the question is actually: is Harden Howard Parson, is that three a better championship odds than Harden, Howard and the team we can put together with a guaranteed lottery pick trade exceptions mid-level young team improving and continuing to be flexible? That was the very tough decision before us. But I can tell you this, in our opinion it was not close.”
“We are in a better [place] to win a championship by not matching it, once Bosh goes away than by not matching it.”
No. 3: Marion, Williams no longer in Mavs’ mix? — The Dallas Mavericks pulled off a bit of a surprise in free agency in signing small forward Chandler Parsons to an offer sheet that wasn’t matched by his first NBA team, the Houston Rockets. But what about the Mavs’ small forward of the last few seasons, Shawn Marion? Will he be back with the Mavs next season? Team president Donnie Nelson shed some light on that possibility, plus the chances of Dallas adding free-agent guard Mo Williams, in a chat transcribed by The Dallas Morning News:
Dallas Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson recently joined KESN-FM 103.3 to talk about the Mavs’ busy off-season, including what’s left to fill out the roster. Here are some of the highlights:
On if there is still chance Shawn Marion could re-sign with Dallas:
Nelson: “Well ‘Trix is just like we’ve talked about with JET and Dirk — we don’t sip from the cup without Shawn Marion so absolutely you never close the door. Now, his value in the marketplace is much higher than what we have right now, and so I would categorize that as a long long long long long shot. But kind of like Vince, there’s opportunities and the really good agents are going to get their guy their values. And Shawn Marion’s got one of the best in the business, if not thee best, so I expect he’s going to get a lot more money out there than the Mavericks can afford to offer right now.”
On Mo Williams potentially coming to the Mavericks:
Nelson: “Yeah we’ve been trying to figure out a way to get Mo in a Maverick uniform for years now. He’s a Dallas guy, from Memphis but live in Dallas with his family, so we’re hopeful that we can work something out but again our hands are tied right now because of the Parsons thing of what we can do financially. All these guys, whether it’s Mo, whether it’s ‘Trix, in all reality they’re going to have to take a payout to come here. It’s just how much of a pay cut are guys willing to look at and we’re understanding and respectful of the market place and there’s other places that may have more playing time and more financial flexibility that we do, but we would love for both of those guys to continue to consider us.”
No. 4: Report: Lakers to make coaching hire soon — A glance over at the list of NBA teams and their coaches to date reveals that only the Los Angeles Lakers are missing someone at that position. While the Jazz, Nets, Bucks and various other teams made offseason coaching changes or hirings, the Lakers continue to wait it out. But according to Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com, the team could make a decision on its next leader in the next week or two:
The Los Angeles Lakers expect to hire a coach in the next week or two, but they do not consider the interview process to be finished, according to a league source.
While former Lakers great Byron Scott has been considered the leading candidate for the position for weeks, having gone through multiple interviews with management and having received an endorsement from none other than Kobe Bryant last week, even he likely would need another interview before being named coach, according to the source.
The Lakers have contacted five coaches besides Scott about the position — Mike Dunleavy, Kurt Rambis, Alvin Gentry, Lionel Hollins and George Karl (although the phone call between Karl and Kupchak was characterized as more of a casual conversation than an interview).
Three of those candidates have accepted new jobs in the time that has passed since talking to the Lakers. Hollins was hired as coach of the Brooklyn Nets after Jason Kidd bolted for the Milwaukee Bucks, while Gentry (Warriors) and Rambis (New York Knicks) accepted associate head-coaching positions.
“We may continue to interview, but we have a pretty good feel of what’s available and we’re comfortable that we can get a good coach, probably in the beginning of July,” Kupchak told reporters on draft night.
Scott is remaining patient with the process.
“It’s still open,” Scott said when asked about the coaching position during a call-in segment with the Lakers’ television partner, Time Warner Cable SportsNet, on Friday. “I know, in my dealings in talking with Mitch and Jim [Buss, vice president of player personnel], they want to get the roster together and then focus on the coaching. So, myself, or whoever else are the other candidates, that’s what we’re all waiting for and we’re kind of looking at what’s going on [in free agency] to see if that’s all done and then see next week what they’re going to do with the coaching vacancy.
“So, it’s just one of those things that’s a wait-and-see game right now, but like I said, I like the moves that they made today. I think it’s going to help the team and strengthen the team, and obviously it still puts them in a good, flexible position for next year.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: LeBron James‘ move back to Cleveland could be worth $500 million to the local economy … Nets forward Alan Anderson will be back with the team on a new, two-year deal … The Bucks are reportedly shopping forward Ersan Ilyasova “hard” … The Pistons waived Peyton Siva and Josh Harrelson to make salary-cap room for Caron Butler and D.J. Augustin … Thunder forward Perry Jones III had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee yesterday … Journeyman forward Anthony Tolliver is expected to reveal his free-agency choice soon … Could the next TV deal for the NBA see The Finals split between ESPN and Turner? …
ICYMI of The Night: The Horry Scale is on hiatus during the offseason, but Jordan Clarkson has a ‘Horry’ moment out in Las Vegas