Marc J. Spears: The Celtics are getting a lot of interest in guard Marcus Thornton, but teams are concerned about his $8.6 million salary, a source said.
December 1, 2015 | 10:03 am EST Update
The team has never really thought about trading Anthony, Mills says. “Never,” Mills says. “Period.” (Let’s just say some around the league are skeptical the topic has never come up in the MSG boardrooms). Even as Greg Monroe, LaMarcus Aldridge, and other stars rejected them last summer, the Knicks never lost faith in New York’s gravitational pull, provided free agents can see at least some viable path to 50-plus wins.
Boston Celtics: A popular nominee among rival executives, since the Celtics could acquire Anthony, their alleged missing go-to guy, without hurting their current team. Even James Dolan would have to think about a package of David Lee, Brooklyn’s unprotected 2016 first-round pick, and salary filler.
There is no evidence these teams have ever discussed a Melo deal, per league sources. Boston likely wants a better gauge on where Brooklyn’s pick might end up, and Melo doesn’t fit their developmental timeline — or Brad Stevens’ pass-happy style of play.
Porzingis was there, though not without some drama. The Celtics were hell-bent on moving up to draft Justise Winslow, and offered the Hornets four first-round picks — including one of Brooklyn’s unprotected picks — for Charlotte’s No. 9 pick. But that was Boston’s fall-back plan, sources say. Boston initially chased Charlotte’s pick with the idea of sending it to the Knicks, along with Boston’s No. 15 pick, to vault all the way into New York’s draft slot — where they would take Winslow. Charlotte refused Boston’s pitches, and the scenario died. The Knicks downplay their interest in Boston’s offer, though it’s fascinating to consider how the draft might have played out — and which fan base would be chanting “POR-ZIN-GIS!” today — had the Celtics swooped in for Winslow at No. 4 “We listened,” Mills says. “But we were never close.”
It wasn’t lost on Downer that Bryant decided to call it quits right before playing his last NBA game in a hometown with which he has had a complex relationship. Downer’s allegiances as a diehard Philadelphia 76ers fan changed the moment Bryant joined the Lakers, but he understands how the rest of the city could never toss their support toward the purple and gold. He just wants fans to give Bryant an appropriate sendoff for a career that yielded five NBA championships, one Most Valuable Player award, two NBA Finals MVPs, 17 All-Star appearances and, of course, 81 points. “My hope would be Philadelphia takes the high road and does the right thing,” said Downer, who will be in attendance Tuesday night. “But you never know with this town. I’m hoping that there’s good energy. A lot of eyes will be on Philly, and I think they’ll come through and give the man what he deserves.”