The Trail Blazers signed Carmelo Anthony.
Why didn’t the Lakers?
Many thought the Lakers would be the team to sign Anthony in the offseason because of their need for depth and floor spacing. That speculation also arose because of Anthony’s close friendship with superstar LeBron James.
Anthony had the blessing of James, league sources told Yahoo Sports, but the front office chose to go in a different direction.
Anthony, via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
“As far as friendships, I would never put business along with friendships,” Anthony said. “I would never do that. I would never reach out to a friend and say, ‘I need this. Can you do this for me?’ when it pertains to a situation that may not be in their control. It was frustrating being in my position, but I just decided: control what you can control.
“I got close friends on a lot of teams that I would never reach out to for a favor. It’s just not who I am.”
I respect Anthony not wanting to put that pressure on LeBron. That shows how much he valued their friendship. Because Anthony cared deeply about returning.
But even without Anthony saying anything, everyone knew the situation. Anthony wanted a job. LeBron was involved in the Lakers’ decision-making. There was an unspoken expectation LeBron would make it happen.
The incentives for LeBron’s camp to leak that information to Haynes are clear: It shows LeBron’s loyalty to his friend. It shows LeBron doesn’t run the front office – a reputation he has always disliked. LeBron wants some say in management. He doesn’t want to be held responsible for those decisions.
That all applies, even if LeBron didn’t want to use a roster spot on someone who looked washed up. Handling the employability of an under-qualified friend can be awkward.
At least everything worked out. The Lakers have a deep roster of role players, and Anthony is playing surprisingly well so far in Portland.
Coming off their best season in the better part of a decade, the Magic committed to major long-term spending this summer.
The result? An uninspiring 7-10 start.
But at least Orlando will get salary-cap/luxury-tax relief with Timofey Mozgov’s stretched cap hit – $5,573,334 this season and each of the next two.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The NBA has removed center Timofey Mozgov’s $16.7M salary from Orlando’s salary books via career-ending injury/illness application, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. The Magic stretched-and-waived Mozgov in July.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 27, 2019
The Magic will still pay Mozgov his $16.72 million. The money will just no longer count toward the salary cap and luxury tax.
This season, Orlando gains a little more breathing room beneath the luxury tax. Next summer, the Magic will have greater flexibility to use the mid-level exception without going into the tax. If Evan Fournier declines his $17.15 million player option, they could even open cap space. Orlando will also get a break in 2021-22, when Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, Terrence Ross and Al-Farouq Aminu are guaranteed eight-digit salaries and Jonathan Isaac will begin his next deal.
He also scored 41 points.
After the Lakers won in New Orleans last night, Kyle Kuzma twisted the knife.
Bill Oram of The Athletic:
Kyle Kuzma: “New Orleans fans should probably boo their own team for letting him get 40.”
— Bill Oram (@billoram) November 28, 2019
Sure, this is illogical. Pelicans fans resent Davis leaving because he’s capable of scoring 41 in a highly charged game. If he weren’t this good, his departure would barely bother them.
But Kuzma is just trying to rub in the loss. Mission accomplished.
On the latest “Off The Dribble,” Jacque Slade gets in the holiday spirit by ranking the shoes he’s most thankful for and explaining which Thanksgiving food matches which Lakers player.
A source with one NBA team told me his team intentionally tries not to use the coach’s challenge on any personal foul calls. The reason: It’s the crew chief in the building who watches the review and makes the determination — not the replay center in New Jersey — and those referees are going to back their crew right or wrong. We’ve already seen a couple of instances this season where clearly wrong calls were left to stand by a crew chief.
The play in question came with 1:22 left in the fourth quarter of a one-point game: The Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was called for hitting New Orleans forward Brandon Ingram on the elbow as Ingram went up to shoot. KCP and the Lakers complained, so coach Frank Vogel challenged it.
Coach’s Challenge (LAL): foul assessed to Caldwell-Pope in Q4 of #LALatNOP. Ruling: Unsuccessful challenge, foul stands (officials called foul for contact with Ingram’s elbow as he began upward shooting motion, no clear + conclusive visual evidence to overturn call on the floor). pic.twitter.com/TMIn6ZG0X6
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) November 28, 2019
During the break, LeBron James went and spoke to ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy and that conversation was picked up by the mics, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN reports:
“That’s a bad call,” James said, which was picked up on the game broadcast. “When the ref makes that call, he don’t never want to be wrong. They’re never going to overturn it. Ever. Ever.”
LeBron was right, crew chief Zach Zarba let the call stand (officially the ruling is there was not enough clear evidence to overturn).
This is not just a LeBron thing, it’s a league-wide thing. Players and teams are not convinced this is a fair and balanced review.
There are serious doubts about whether the coach’s challenge will return next season — coaches to a man hate it — but if it does, the rule needs to be tweaked so that the guys in the official Replay Center in Secaucus make the call, not the crew chief on the floor. That would, at least, provide some perception of a chance at a fair call.