MELO HERE TO STAY: The talk surrounding Carmelo Anthony’s deal with Portland a few weeks ago was mostly centered around the fact that his contract was non-guaranteed until January, meaning there was little risk on the Blazers’ end. Well, with weeks to go until that deadline, Portland took the drama out of the matter by fully guaranteeing it for the rest of the year now, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The decision by Portland was an obvious one, as Anthony is playing surprisingly great basketball for his new team, averaging 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 three-pointers over eight games. Most impressively, the 35-year-old forward is shooting 38.7 percent from three for the Blazers, his best mark from the outside since 2013-14. Additionally, with Melo on the floor, Portland has been 12 points per 100 possessions better than they are when he’s on the bench, displaying what a major impact the veteran is making in the Pacific northwest.
The Blazers, winners in four out of their last five games, have overall looked refreshed with Anthony in the starting lineup after a painfully slow start to the year where Mario Hezonja, Anthony Tolliver and Nassir Little were all splitting time at power forward for them. That Melo guy is proving to be a bit of an upgrade there.
PROTEST FILED: The Rockets are officially filing a protest over James Harden’s missed dunk. Houston’s goal, apparently, is to replay the final 7:50 of the game against San Antonio with the adjusted score, which would have the Rockets up 15.
SURPRISE SOPH: Charlotte’s Devonte Graham is currently one of NBA’s best shot creators. You can also easily make the argument he’s outplaying teammate Terry Rozier.
FRESH POD: HoopsHype’s Alex Kennedy is joined by former Magic point guard Jameer Nelson to discuss his NBA career, adjusting to life post-NBA and whether he wants to get into coaching. The one-time All-Star gave some juicy information about what playing with Dwight Howard was like, particularly following the very public trade request.
LAST NIGHT IN THE ASSOCIATION: A young star exploded while a respected veteran had a hilarious flub.
☀️ Devin Booker came into last night’s game against New Orleans in a bit of a slump, shooting under 44 percent and averaging fewer than 20 points over his last five games. You wouldn’t know it by how he played against the Pelicans, though, as the young star went off for 44 points on 13-of-24 shooting while chipping in eight boards and nine dimes. Phoenix needed that version of Booker considering they had lost four of their last five games.
🦖 Kyle Lowry had the flop of the year, convulsing over minimal contact from PJ Tucker’s elbow. Lowry’s moment of hilarity was representative of Toronto’s night, as the Raptors dropped their second home game in a row, this time falling to the Rockets 119-109.
FIZDALE OUT? The Knicks, now 4-18, fell to the Nuggets at home last night by 37 points. Knicks’ brass wasn’t at their seats near end of the game, leading to speculation that head coach David Fizdale’s seat is getting extremely hot.
😬 For what it’s worth, Knicks players, who were previously so quick to defend their head coach, are now replying to questions about Fizdale with “no comment”. Probably not the best sign.
GOOD GUY JIMMY: Heat forward Jimmy Butler came into this season with a damaged reputation with regards to his grating locker-room presence. Well, so far this campaign, Butler has been on his best behavior in Miami, and his teammates have nothing but glowing things to say about him. He might still be difficult at times, but his personality fits much better within the Heat culture than it did in any of his previous stops.
RISING STAR’S FOCUS: After a brutal sophomore season, Jaylen Brown began training for his third year two days after the end of 2018-19, says Celtics assistant coach Tony Dobbins. All that working out has paid off, as Brown is currently enjoying his best year as a pro, averaging 19.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.
ZION UPDATE: After a report came out on Wednesday regarding Zion Williamson’s injury insinuating there may have been some sort of setback towards his return, Pelicans general manager David Griffin talked to the media yesterday and hinted the 2019 No. 1 overall pick might not be back before the eight-week mark that was originally forecast.
🏥 That means, in all likelihood, we won’t see Zion until 2020, which is obviously a major bummer.
AND ONE FOR BAGLEY: After seeing action in just the season opener so far, 2018 No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley has been out for roughly six weeks due to a right thumb fracture. Yesterday, the Kings announced that their elite prospect has been cleared to resume full-contact basketball activities. Bagley averaged 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds as a rookie.
AGENT CHANGE: Andrew Wiggins is signing with CAA Sports for his representation, reports Woj.
👀 CAA is the biggest agency in basketball, repping the likes of Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Paul and, most interestingly, D’Angelo Russell, who was once interested in joining Wiggins and Towns with the Wolves. We’ll see if that leads anywhere.
UPDATE ON WALTON CASE: Kings head coach Luke Walton, who was sued for sexual assault by a former sports reporter over an incident that occurred during his time as an assistant with Golden State, saw the lawsuit get dropped yesterday, according to TMZ.