- The Denver Nuggets are taking calls for Carmelo Anthony, and contrary to many Rockets fans’ projections, Daryl Morey will be on the other end of the phone quite often. The New York Times reports that Morey has offered the Nuggets a package including leading scorer Kevin Martin and the first-round picks of the New York Knicks from 2011. No, this headline is not from three weeks ago; the Nuggets have officially put Anthony on the block, and the Rockets are as interested as it could reasonably be expected to be. After this offseason’s moves for Miller and Scola, I wouldn’t be surprised by a plethora of machinations on the part of Morey, as he seems as intent to “win now” as any GM in the league. This deal, regardless, will likely make the Rockets better in the immediate future; the questions continue to be, “How much better?” and “How long will we be signing Carmelo to make us just that much better?”. As it currently stands, the Rockets finds itself still trying to squeeze into the “serious” talks for Anthony; instead, New Jerseys lays claim to being the team in the deepest discussions with Nuggets brass, a fact that, unsurprisingly, some Nets fans are also not too happy about (any proposed Nets-Nuggets deal would likely include both Troy Murphy and Derrick Favors, which would decimate the Nets’ front line). So, Carmelo Anthony will be alternately adored and unwanted by the team he joins this upcoming season, invariably making it better but likely not doing enough to win a title. Christ. Bethlehem Shoals is right: it’s no fun being in the shadow of LeBron. Ask Cleveland.
- Courtney Lee sits down and gets his talk on with Jason Friedman in the latest Rockets.com Q & A. In it, Lee reveals something many Rockets fans would call shocking (or, more likely, a bald-faced lie):
“JCF: Has anyone surprised you?
CL: Ishmael (Smith) has surprised me. For being his size, I didn’t think he could jump that high, but he can get up there with the best of them.
JCF: He’s so quick it’s incredible. Who’s faster: Ish or AB?
CL: I’m going to put myself first, then AB, then Ish.
JCF: Really?!? You’re kidding me, right?
CL: That’s the truth right there.
JCF: Wow. You’re putting yourself above both of those guys? Are we talking in terms of quickness or just straight-line speed?
CL: Straight-line speed. Then quickness, in terms of just getting from A to B zigzagging, I’m going to put me and AB at the top, though Ishmael’s not too far behind us.”
- For the Houston Rockets, this summer has been rife with chasing down centers who were really good in 2004, and its dogged pursuit of Erick Dampier serves to continue that trend. According to the Houston Chronicle, Dampier met with Coach Rick Adelman yesterday and intends to workout for the team once again. The Rockets have already lost one premium big man to the Heat this year; I don’t know if Morey can handle the shame of losing two players of their caliber. I promise, I’ll stop snickering.
- Shane Battier, sage of all, takes some time out of his complicated, erudite life to bless some of his younger teammates with some defensive tidbits from his endless font of all world knowledge. Chase Budinger and Jermaine Taylor listen accordingly.
- Hey, wasn’t that Allen Iverson/Chauncey Billups trade the worst ever? PistonPowered‘s Dan Feldman breaks down the context of the deal that has shaped Detroit’s future into the amorphous blob it is today, and in retrospect, it’s easy to see why Dumars took a chance on dealing his best player for Iverson. Regardless, it questions the hindsight-inspired notions that teams and players paths would have played out exactly similarly had certain events not happened; Feldman knows that Billups likely wouldn’t have experienced this second resurgence (so has he surged three times?) had he stayed in Motown, and Iverson’s subsequent flameout in Detroit had little to nothing to do with that.
- Fran Blinebury says the Houston Rockets could be really good or not that good next year. Thanks for the specificity, Fran: “There isn’t another team in either conference that could see the pendulum swing as wildly either way as the Rockets. If their seven-time All-Star center Yao Ming can make a successful return after a missed season due to reconstructive foot surgery and be anywhere close to his 2008-09 form, they have the roster depth and the potential to challenge for home-court advantage and even one of the top seeds in the West. But Yao will be strictly limited to just 24 minutes per game all through the regular season, which will put pressure on his newly signed backup Brad Miller to produce. With Luis Scola coming off a splendid showing for Argentina at the World Championship and Aaron Brooks ready to follow up on winning the Most Improved Award last season, the Rockets have the ability to get out and score in the running game. But it is Yao’s health and production that can make the difference between making a real playoff run or just flirting with respectability again.”
- Kelly Dwyer, a great in his own right, pays his respects to my favorite player (I’m guessing he may be a few of yours as well). You have to love the fact that the Dream Shake must be capitalized, as Hakeem made it as proper of a noun as possible.