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Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony downplays reports of rift on Knicks 12.11.14 at 8:11 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: Blackhawks at Bruins, 7 p.m. (NESN)
NBA: Cavalier at Thunder, 8 p.m. (TNT)
NBA: Rockets at Kings, 10:30 p.m. (TNT)
College basketball: Maine at Boston College, 7 p.m. (WEEI-AM)
NFL: Cardinals at Rams, 8:25 p.m. (NFL Network)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Tottenham at Besiktas, 1 p.m. (FS1)
Soccer: UEFA Europa, Krasnodar at Everton, 3 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony

— The Knicks’ losing ways continued Wednesday night, but much of the talk was about a report that star forward Carmelo Anthony and guard Tim Hardaway Jr. nearly came to blows following last Tuesday’s loss to the Nets after an on-court argument.

ESPN also reported that multiple players confronted Anthony about his shot selection, “telling him he shoots too much, doesn’t move or pass the ball and only plays defense when he feels like it.”

Anthony, who sat out Wednesday’s loss to the Spurs to rest his sore knee, acknowledged having a players-only meeting Saturday, but he insisted it was “very positive.”

“We felt like guys were holding things back they needed to say or get out and we had that meeting. Everybody had a platform to say how they felt about what was going on,” Anthony said (via the New York Daily News). “At this point, man, I try to just stay positive. I’€™m not a guy who, when darts are being thrown at me from anonymous sources, I will not allow myself to throw those darts back at my teammates. The best thing I can do is to be there for them, even when and if they’€™re feeling any kind of way about me personally, I have to be there. And I do that.”

Hardaway confirmed that he and Anthony argued during last Tuesday’s game, but he told reporters it was a “heat in the moment type of deal.”

“Everybody in this locker room is treated as brothers,” Hardaway said. “We’re a family and we’ve moved on.”

— It’s clear that Jets owner Woody Johnson will make some changes after a miserable season. The question is how many changes will he make?

“It’€™s safe to say you’ve got to do things differently that you did to get you to this point,” Johnson told the New York Daily News. “The thing about football is that after every season, everybody is up for grabs. You take a look at everything. You’€™re trying to get to the Super Bowl. It doesn’€™t sound like I should even be saying that at this point. But that’€™s what my goal is. That’€™s what the fans want. They want to have a clear direction in terms of how they get to where they want to go. I have to give them confidence they are going to have a chance to get where they want to go.”

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Read More: Andrew Heaney, Carmelo Anthony, John Idzik, Rex Ryan
Wednesday’s Morning Mashup: Magic Johnson endorses tanking, ‘I hope the Lakers lose every game’ 12.10.14 at 7:43 am ET
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Welcome to Wednesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

WEDNESDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
NBA: Celtics at Hornets, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
NBA: Pelicans at Mavericks, 8 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA: Heat at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Columbia at Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: High Point at Ohio State, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Kansas at Georgetown, 7 p.m. (FS1)
College basketball: Wisconsin at Milwaukee, 9 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Utah at BYU 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Washington State at Gonzaga, 11 p.m. (ESPNU)
NHL: Maple Leafs at Red Wings, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
Soccer: UEFA Champions, Manchester City at Roma, 2:30 p.m. (FS1)

AROUND THE WEB:

Magic Johnson, who helped build the Lakers into a dynasty, threw his support behind his old team to tank the season.

The Hall of Famer, speaking at an event in New York City, encouraged his club to lose for the sake of getting a high draft pick.

“I hope the Lakers lose every game,” he said. “Because if you’re going to lose, lose. I’m serious.”

The Lakers, who improved to 6-16 with Tuesday night’s win over the Kings, are coming off the worst season in modern franchise history in 2013-14 when they went 27-55. That netted them the seventh overall draft pick, which they used on Julius Randle.

“If you’re going to lose, you have to lose because you can’t be in the middle of the pack,” Johnson said. “You either have to be great or you have to be bad to get a good pick. … I’d rather be all the way bad than be in the middle.”

Lakers coach Byron Scott, who played alongside Johnson in the 1980s, dismissed the comment.

“That’s easy to say, but when you’re behind the scenes and you’re in the trenches and you’re coaching, that’s not something that you want to do,” Scott said. “We’ve got to go out here and win every game possible. I mean, if you lose games, that’s one thing. But to go out and try to lose, that’s a different story. I think that sends a message to those guys in there that it’s going back to that losing mentality. We don’t we want to create that here.”

Dennis Rodman can’t understand the Knicks’ struggles learning the triangle offense that Phil Jackson brought to New York.

Rodman, who played for Jackson with the Bulls and Lakers, explained at an event in New York City: “I learned that in probably 15 minutes when I was in Chicago. It’s not that difficult. It’s a triangle.

“Everybody has an opportunity to touch the ball and shoot it. It seems like it goes back to Carmelo Anthony and then everything stops. What are you going to do?”

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Read More: byron scott, Carmelo Anthony, Dennis Rodman, Magic Johnson
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Carmelo Anthony ‘a New York Knick at heart,’ puts faith in Phil Jackson 07.14.14 at 7:51 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Home Run Derby, 8 p.m. (ESPN; WEEI-AM)
Cycling: Tour de France, 7 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Carmelo Anthony made his return to the Knicks official Sunday, signing a five-year deal reportedly worth more than $120 million.

Anthony, a nine-time All-Star who averaged 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game last season — his third full season with the Knicks after being traded from the Nuggets — announced his decision on his website Sunday morning.

Wrote Anthony: A few years ago I dreamed of coming back to New York City, the place of my birth, and on February 23, 2011 that became a reality. This organization has supported me and in return, I want to stay and build here with this city and my team. At this pivotal juncture in my career, I owed it to myself and my family to explore all of the options available to me. Through it all, my heart never wavered.

In the end, I am a New York Knick at heart. I am looking forward to continue my career in Orange & Blue and to work with Phil Jackson, a champion who builds championship teams. Madison Square Garden is the mecca of basketball and I am surrounded by the greatest fans in the world.

The 30-year-old passed on the Bulls, Rockets, Lakers and Mavericks for an attempt to build a winner with new Knicks president Phil Jackson.

MASHUP POLL: Now that the major free agents have signed, who will win the Eastern Conference next season?

  • Cavaliers (32%, 31 Votes)
  • Bulls (29%, 28 Votes)
  • Pacers (21%, 20 Votes)
  • None of the above (11%, 11 Votes)
  • Wizards (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Raptors (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Nets (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Knicks (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Heat (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

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“We’€™re glad that Carmelo has seen that we have the vision, trusted us with what we anticipate,” Jackson said. “He plied and impressed upon us his desire to win, to be on a competitive team.

“Our message to him was we are going to be a competitive team. It may not be instantaneous. He may not just be able to drop in and win a championship. It’€™s going to be something that we’€™re goal-oriented, and that’€™s the direction we’€™re going. We’€™re really happy he came through and agreed to ply his talents with us.”

Anthony agreed to structure his deal in a way that gives the team more financial flexibility in one year, when the contracts of Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani expire and the team will be able to make a splash in free agency.

“Carmelo did exactly what we kind of asked him to do, give us a break in the early part of his contract,” Jackson said. “So when we have some wiggle room, which will be hopefully big enough wiggle room, we can exploit it and provide a more competitive team for our group.”

— When Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith had a run-in with police late Saturday night at a bar in Towson, Md., he became the fifth player on his team to be arrested this offseason.

According to Baltimore County police, Smith was helping an intoxicated woman in the bathroom of the bar when medics arrived to help. Smith repeatedly refused an officer’s order to leave the bathroom. He was arrested and given a criminal citation.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Ian Thorpe, Jimmy Smith, Phil Jackson
Undecided LeBron James reportedly still takes issue with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s letter 07.11.14 at 9:26 am ET
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LeBron James still is contemplating whether to return to Miami or Cleveland. And there appears to be a longstanding reason why.

According to ESPN.com, one of the biggest reasons James has taken so long to decide where he’ll play next season is the infamous letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote about James after he left town in 2010.

The letter, which called James a “coward” and mocked him in various ways, remained on the Cavs’ website for four years before being removed earlier this week.

“If it wasn’t for that letter, this would’ve been done a while ago,” a source told ESPN.

James flew back from Las Vegas to Miami with Dwyane Wade Thursday night. James is said to be planning to fly from Miami to Brazil for Sunday’s World Cup final. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Heat and Cavs expect his decision before he leaves the country.

The Knicks and President Phil Jackson are in a similar wait-and-see mode on Carmelo Anthony‘s decision.

“But I expected one yesterday and the day before yesterday,” Jackson told reporters at the Knicks’ summer league practice Thursday. “But no, we’re waiting.”

Jackson said he’s still hopeful the star free agent will be back next season, but hasn’t spoken to Anthony since their meeting last week.

“I felt really good about my conversation with Carmelo. We really struck a chord,” Jackson said. “The two of us, I think feel really passionately about what we’re trying to get accomplished. It’s his ability to stay, be patient, lead and watch us develop a winner.”

The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum level contract worth nearly $130 million over five years. Jackson said he has made about five contract proposals to Anthony.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James,
NBA free agency roundup: Cavs reportedly meet with LeBron James’ agent; Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki reach agreement 07.04.14 at 9:46 am ET
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LeBron James may be missing Cleveland after all.

According to The Associated Press, James’ agent, Rich Paul, met with Cavaliers officials this week to discuss the free agent’s possible return to the team that drafted him in 2003.

James reportedly was not at the meeting as he continued his family vacation. It is unknown whether or not Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was present.

James recently opted out of the final two years of his contract with Miami after leading the Heat to four straight NBA Finals. James spent seven seasons in Cleveland before leaving for Miami in 2010.

— The Mavericks, on the other hand, likely will have their franchise player locked up for at least three more seasons.

Dallas reportedly agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with Dirk Nowitzki that can’t be made official until the signing period begins next Thursday.

Nowitzki’s new contract is a significant pay cut compared to the four-year, $80 million deal he just completed, which likely was done in hopes of getting more pieces around the German forward.

Nowitzki put off finalizing the deal until after the Mavericks met with Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday.

— The Knicks apparently haven’t given up on retaining Carmelo Anthony.

The team reportedly traveled to Los Angeles on Thursday night to meet with the free agent and offered him the maximum contract allowable. The meeting included team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills.

Anthony was in Los Angeles Thursday to meet with the Lakers, and has already met with Chicago, Houston and Dallas. The Knicks, however, can offer him the largest contract at nearly $130 million over five years.

— The Kings have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $16 million contract with point guard Darren Collison.

Collison opted out of the final year of his contract with the Clippers that would have paid him $1.9 million next season. He may start for Sacramento next season if the Kings lose Isaiah Thomas to free agency.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James,
NBA free agency roundup: Kyle Lowry agrees to return to Raptors; Carmelo Anthony visits Rockets, Mavericks 07.03.14 at 1:02 pm ET
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– The Raptors were one of the NBA’€™s biggest surprises last season, finishing first in the Atlantic Division with a 48-34 record. One of the main reasons for Toronto’€™s success was point guard Kyle Lowry, who set career highs in both points (17.9) and assists (7.4) last season.

Lowry won’€™t be leaving the Great White North anytime soon, as Yahoo! Sports reported that the point guard agreed to a four-year, $48 million contract with the Raptors Wednesday. Lowry took to Instagram to announce the news:

Considered to be the top free agent point guard out on the market, Lowry was coveted by many teams, including the Heat, before returning back to Toronto. Lowry is slated to officially sign with Toronto on July 10.

— The Carmelo Anthony free agency tour headed to the Lone Star State Wednesday, as the star forward visited with both the Rockets and Mavericks.

Anthony arrived at Houston’€™s Toyota Center on Wednesday morning and stayed in the city for around six hours before heading down to Dallas.

A billboard outside of Houston’€™s arena flashed a picture of Anthony in two Rockets uniforms, both of which featured Anthony wearing his No. 7  jersey, which is currently being used by Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin.

Lin admitted on Twitter that he took offense to the team using his number in an effort to reel in the seven-time All-Star.

Anthony’€™s meeting with the Mavericks was much more subdued, as he met with owner Mark Cuban at the entrepreneur’€™s mansion for about two hours.

Anthony will meet with the Lakers Thursday before sitting down with the Knicks, who are trying to keep the Brooklyn native in the Big Apple.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Gordon Heyward, Kyle Lowry, Marcin Gortat
Thursday’s Morning Mashup: Clippers reportedly pursue Paul Pierce at 7:50 am ET
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Welcome to Thursday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

THURSDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: Cardinals at Giants, 3:30 p.m. (MLB Network)
MLB: Yankees at Twins, 8 p.m. (MLB Network)
College baseball: Home run derby, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Tennis: Wimbledon, 8 a.m. (ESPN)

AROUND THE WEB:

Paul Pierce might be on the move again. The former Celtics star, who was traded to the Nets last offseason, reportedly has been talking to Clippers coach Doc Rivers about a reunion in Los Angeles.

According to ESPN.com, Pierce, a free agent, likely would move via a sign-and-trade, even though Los Angeles has available its midlevel exception of $5.3 million.

It’s speculated that a trade could involve the Clippers parting with Jared Dudley, Matt Barnes and 2013 first-round pick Reggie Bullock.

MASHUP POLL: Should the Celtics attempt to sign Paul Pierce?

  • No, not worth the investment and/or not a good fit with this young team (55%, 227 Votes)
  • Yes, bring him back and let him finish his career as a Celtic (45%, 188 Votes)

Total Voters: 411

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However, the Clippers are one of the teams courting premier free agents LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, so they’re hesitant to make any major moves until they know their status regarding those two stars.

The Nets this week parted ways with coach Jason Kidd, who helped convince Pierce and Kevin Garnett to accept the trade to Brooklyn last year. Lionel Hollins was hired as his replacement Wednesday. Garnett has not yet announced if he will return for the final year of his deal (worth $12 million).

The Celtics reportedly had interest in sending Pierce and/or Garnett to the Clippers last year, but the NBA prohibited any such move because of Rivers’ involvement.

There also have been rumors that Pierce would consider a return to the Celtics.

— The Rockets made their push for Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday, including putting up billboards in and around Toyota Center with Anthony pictured in a Rockets No. 7 uniform.

However, the team already has a No. 7: Jeremy Lin, who stole the spotlight from Anthony when he became a phenom with the Knicks midway through the 2011-12 season. It’s been speculated that Houston would have to trade Lin — who has a nearly $8 million cap hit — in order to fit Anthony’s contract.

In typical Lin fashion, the former Harvard star relied on his faith to pull him through this latest controversy, tweeting: Luke 6:29 – If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.

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Read More: Carmelo Anthony, doc rivers, Jeremy Lin, Jimmy Graham
NBA free agency roundup: Derrick Rose, Bulls, make strong pitch to Carmelo Anthony; Lance Stephenson reportedly turns down Pacers offer 07.02.14 at 10:22 am ET
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The Bulls hosted Carmelo Anthony Tuesday in Chicago, and brought stars Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson along to make a hard sell on the free agent.

Anthony arrived at United Center on Tuesday afternoon with agent Leon Rose and Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau in a large limousine, and were welcomed by the Michael Jordan statue and a group of cheering fans. On a screen above the building entrance, a digital image of Anthony in a No. 7 Bulls jersey next to a championship trophy was shown.

It was a simple message that the Bulls are convinced Anthony can make them a title contender.

But the Bulls aren’t the only team courting Anthony. The Mavericks and Lakers reportedly are revolving their future plans around whether or not they can lure the Knicks free agent.

According to ESPN, the Mavericks are in discussions with Dirk Nowitzki on a new contract but are likely to hold off on finalizing the terms of the deal until after the team’s meeting with Anthony this week. The Lakers were among the first teams to reach out to Pau Gasol and have shown interest in retaining the forward, according to ESPN. But the team also has a meeting with Anthony on Thursday, which could determine whether or not Gasol returns to Los Angeles.

Lance Stephenson rejected the Pacers’ initial contract offer of five years, $44 million, according to ESPN. The guard, known for his controversial antics during the Eastern Conference finals, is said to believe he is worth more money.

The Lakers, Bulls and Hornets reportedly are interested in signing Stephenson.

— The Wizards reportedly agreed to a five-year, $60 million contract to retain center Marcin Gortat on Tuesday. The deal can’t be signed until July 10 under NBA free agency rules, but Gortat made it clear a deal was imminent on Twitter Tuesday night.

— The Associated Press reported that the Warriors have agreed to a three-year contract with Shaun Livingston worth about $16 million, while Jodie Meeks will sign a three-year, $19.5 million deal with the Pistons.

— Australian media outlet Fairfax Media reported Wednesday that Spurs free agent point guard Patty Mills will miss up to seven months with a right shoulder injury.

The report said Mills, who will undergo surgery in the next few days to repair the rotator cuff in his shoulder, played through pain during the season and scans revealed wear and tear after the NBA Finals.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Lance Stephenson,
NBA free agency roundup: Cavs give Kyrie Irving new deal; LeBron James reportedly seeking max salary 07.01.14 at 9:35 am ET
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The Cavaliers were the first team to make a splash at the start of free agency, but they did so by securing one of their own.

Cleveland agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension with Kyrie Irving just a couple of hours after the free agent market opened. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert announced the agreement via Twitter early Tuesday morning. Gilbert didn’t provide the terms of the deal, but multiple outlets have reported that Irving was given a maximum deal worth $90 million.

— Another player seeking max money is also the most prominent name on the market ‘€” LeBron James.

According to an ESPN.com report, James wants no less than the maximum salary number for next season, which is projected to be about $20.7 million.

James took a pay cut to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010, but now that burden may fall on his teammates to keep the band together.

— The Bulls are expected to make a pitch to Carmelo Anthony. The selling point: the talented roster that is expected to have Derrick Rose back next season.

“What we’re selling is our team,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday. “I’m sure free agents are aware of our team, the guys that we do have and our players will be available to talk. We think we have a lot to offer. We have great depth. We have great tradition. And we’re positioned well to go forward. So we think we do have a lot to sell.”

— Two mainstays who won’t be returning to their longtime teams are Jameer Nelson and Chauncey Billups.

The Magic waived Nelson on Monday, sparing them the $8 million they would’ve owed the point guard next season.

“I appreciate the opportunity the Orlando Magic has afforded me and my family over the past 10 years,” Nelson, Orlando’s longest-tenured player, said in a statement. “All good things must come to an end, however, and it’s time to move on. I look forward to continuing my career as an NBA player and will never take for granted my time in Orlando.”

The Pistons announced Monday that they won’t pick up the team option on Billups. Coach Stan Van Gundy said the decision was a hard one and noted Billups “will always be a valued member of the Detroit Pistons family.”

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Jameer Nelson, Kyrie Irving
Report: Carmelo Anthony opts out of Knicks contract to test free agency 06.23.14 at 10:06 am ET
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Knicks forward and Brooklyn native Carmelo Anthony has been the epicenter of New York basketball for 3 1/2 years, but that may not last for much longer.

Two sources told The Associated Press Sunday that the seven-time All-Star filed the paperwork Friday to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Knicks so that he can test free agency.

While Knicks president Phil Jackson told Anthony after the season that it likely would be in his best interest to play out his final year in New York, earning him $23.3 million, Anthony reportedly told Jackson, Knicks general manager Steve Mills and new coach Derek Fisher during a recent meeting in Los Angeles that he was indeed going forward with his plans to opt out.

The Bulls, Rockets and Heat are expected to be major players for Anthony, who is eligible to negotiate with teams on July 1.

While the Knicks can offer $20 million more than any other team, Anthony said that he would be willing to take less money if it means that he can play with a championship contender.

Anthony missed the playoffs for the first time in his 11-year NBA career this past season, as the Knicks went 37-45 — good for third place in the Atlantic Division. While New York has talented players in Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith and Tim Hardaway, Jr., the team does not have much wiggle room to improve the team, as the Knicks are already facing salary cap issues due to the albatross contracts of Amar’€™e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Derek Fisher, Knicks, Phil Jackson