Morning shootaround — Aug. 14


VIDEO: GameTime’s crew breaks down the games during the 2014-15 season’s opening week

NEWS OF THE MORNING
Anthony slims down for Knicks’ offense | Team USA faces key questions | Sacramento starts preparing future arena site

No. 1: Anthony slims down to better mesh with Knicks’ offense — Via his Instagram account, Knicks star Carmelo Anthony revealed a photo of himself after a workout and it was quite noticeable that the All-Star forward had slimmed down quite a bit. Aside from just getting in shape for a new season, though, Anthony dropped the pounds to better fit into the Knicks’ expected plans of running the triangle offense. Marc Berman of the New York Post has more:

Carmelo Anthony took a $5 million pay cut on his new contract, but it appears he took a bigger cut in weight. According to an Anthony confidant, Anthony has done so in order to resemble his physique as a rookie with the Nuggets and to be more viable in Phil Jackson’s triangle offense.

A photo of Anthony this week on his Instagram showed what appeared to be a dramatic weight loss since the season ended. Anthony, who turned 30 on May 29, looks younger with the weight loss.

“He wants to be as athletic as he was when he was a rookie,’’ the confidant told The Post. “Plus he wants to be a facilitator in the triangle and speed will help that.’’

Anthony was listed at 230 pounds as a Denver rookie in 2003 and appears to be close to that goal. Last season, the 6-foot-8 Anthony was listed in the Knicks preseason media guide at 240, but likely played at least 5-to-10 pounds heavier as the season wore on.

Orlando Magic forward Tobias Harris, a Long Island product, worked out three times with Anthony in June at the Terminal 23 gym Anthony owns in midtown. Harris noticed a major difference in his appearance. “He looked real good,’’ Harris told The Post recently.

According to a source, the Harris camp was told Anthony was working out three times a day, doing basketball drills, agility drills, weights and yoga.

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No. 2: Questions abound as Team USA heads to Chicago — Team USA exited its training camp in Las Vegas knowing it wouldn’t have Paul George for the rest of its FIBA World Cup run and shortly thereafter, found out Kevin Durant was out of the mix too. Those departures, plus some other roster issues, make the squad’s next round of practices and tune-ups in the Windy City all the more important, writes our own Steve Aschburner:

Instead, uncertainty and nail-biting already abound as the U.S. men’s team resumes its workout and tune-up schedule this week. The roster, the risks, the style of play and the eventual matchups that Team USA will pose – and face – going forward in the tournament all hang heavy as questions still in search of answers.

Among them:

No George, no Durant – When last we left the assemblage of basketball talent, coach Mike Krzyzewski and poobah Jerry Colangelo at the USA Basketball Showcase in Las Vegas, most everyone’s eyes were glazed over and their minds were elsewhere after the gruesome right-leg fractures suffered by Paul George, the Indiana Pacers’ star wing player, deep into the public intra-squad scrimmage. Six days later, Kevin Durant – the NBA’s 2014 Most Valuable Player and Team USA’s most potent scorer – withdrew from participation, citing extreme physical and mental fatigue. …

Risk debate rekindled – Derrick Rose‘s strong showing in Las Vegas two weeks ago has whet appetites of Chicago Bulls fans, who are eager to see or at least hear about his continuing progress at practice Thursday and Friday and in the exhibition game against Brazil Saturday night at United Center. But seeing George wheeled off on a stretcher to face surgery and a year of rehab, with Rose on the scene, hit close to home for many of them. …

Going small – It’s not only Durant’s scoring prowess that might be missed. His length will be absent, too, just like Kevin Love, Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. That could be an issue if Team USA winds up facing Spain and the Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc, with the championship at stake. Heck, it could be a problem Saturday against Brazil – that squad’s big men all are proven NBA hard cases: Tiago Splitter, Nene and Anderson Varejao. …

Unkind cuts elsewhere – There are four point guards among the current 16 – Rose, Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard – but it’s no lock that any of them gets cut because Curry, Lillard and even Rose could slot over to for minutes at shooting guard. …

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No. 3: Sacramento begins preparing site for new arena — What Kings fans have been waiting for is slowly but surely becoming a reality. In mid-January, the Kings bought the mall where its future, new state-of-the art arena will be built and yesterday, according to Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee, work began on tearing down the mall to prepare the construction site for Sacramento’s new arena:

There’s probably no turning back now.

Downtown Plaza started coming down in chunks early Wednesday, the first visible sign of demolition as much of the moribund shopping mall is transformed into a new arena for the Sacramento Kings.

After nearly two weeks of prep work, demolition started a little after 7:30 a.m. A giant excavating machine started knocking down the exterior walls of Downtown Plaza’s southernmost building, at Fifth and L streets. Among its former tenants were Grebitus & Sons jewelers, a Morton’s steakhouse, LensCrafters and the Pre-Flite Lounge.

In contrast to the ceremonial kickoff Aug. 1, attended by Mayor Kevin Johnson and other dignitaries, only a small crowd witnessed the destruction of the building at Fifth and L. Reporters outnumbered regular spectators. Commuter traffic passed by on L Street, with some motorists barely pausing to watch the spectacle.

A few Kings employees were present. Kings President Chris Granger stopped by briefly, pronounced the start of demolition “exciting,” and moved on to a meeting.

Kings officials say the new arena will start rising from the ground sometime this fall. The building is supposed to open in October 2016.

The $477 million project still faces a handful of legal obstacles, including a pair of lawsuits challenging the project under the California Environmental Quality Act. But officials with the team and the city have said they believe the project will continue without interruption.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Ten or so games you should put on your calendar for next season Omri Casspi has already reached a milestone while playing overseas in Israel … A closer look at who may replace Dan Reed as the new president of the NBA Developmental League … Check out some of these screenshots for NBA 2K15 … A writer gets a chance to shoot 3-pointers against Steph Curry

3 Comments

  1. fghdfh says:

    so Melo will start at shooting guard to take the Jordan / Kobe role then… so that:

    C – Stoudemire
    PF – Cleanthony
    SF – JR Smith
    SG – Melo
    PG – Calderon

    off the bench:

    c – Dalembert
    pf – Bargnani
    sf – Antetokounmpo
    sg – Hardaway JR
    pg – Prigioni

  2. harriethehawk says:

    How many more days until Opening Night????

  3. bballjunkie1 says:

    What a treat 4 New York if Melo can go back to the facilitating days incorporated with the great shooter he has become in their version of some triangle. Gonna be fun to watch.