Bill Simmons argues that Carmelo should join the Clippers

Keep in mind that Simmons, a Clippers season ticket holder, made a similar case last year that LeBron should come to L.A. and look how that turned out.

Anyway, here’s his case:

Griffin is the most meaningful in-the-air player since Shawn Kemp. Throw in his competitive streak and he did the impossible — he made Baron Davis care about basketball again. As my friend Tollin said last week, “It’s amazing; it’s like Baron has a purpose again.” He’s Blake’s dunk muse. Now the Clips have the foundation of something special: Griffin, Davis, Eric Gordon (a future All-Star) and enough left to make a legitimate offer for Denver: lottery pick Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, expiring contracts and the rights to Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 pick (nearly as valuable a trade chip as Favors) for Carmelo and Al Harrington’s horrendous contract that’s the Carmelo Trade Tax. Mrs. Anthony could live in Hollywood and make her next unwatchable reality show. And her husband could play with Griffin, Gordon, Davis, Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan … a situation that’s between five and 20 times more appealing than New Jersey. Even when you include Donald Sterling.

From a basketball/quality of living standpoint, you couldn’t do much better than the situation with the Clippers. Anthony-Griffin-Gordon would make an excellent trio to build around and I’ll agree that the building blocks the Clippers could offer (Aminu, Kaman and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 pick) are almost as good as what the Nets can offer.

But there’s one thing that stands in the way: Donald Sterling. The Nets’ owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, a.k.a. the Russian Mark Cuban, is infinitely more impressive and Simmons notes that LeBron thought that the Nets meeting was right up there with the Heat’s last summer.

It will be nice for Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton land in New Jersey with Melo, but only for a year or two, as both players are past their respective primes. It’s really about Brook Lopez and Mikhail Prokhorov versus Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Donald Sterling.

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Nets appear to be closing in on Carmelo

Denver Nuggets forward Carmelo Anthony (L) moves against the New York Knicks guard/forward Landry Fields during the first quarter at the Pepsi Center in Denver on November 16, 2010. UPI/Gary C. Caskey


As of late Sunday night, sources said, New Jersey was poised to receive [Carmelo] Anthony, [Chauncey] Billups and [Rip] Hamilton, with Denver landing two future first-round picks and six players. The Nuggets’ haul would feature Nets rookie Derrick Favors, former All-Star guard Devin Harris and Nets sharpshooter Anthony Morrow. In addition, the Nuggets would bring in the New Jersey threesome of Quinton Ross, Ben Uzoh and Stephen Graham included for salary-cap purposes.

Detroit, meanwhile, was to receive Nets big man Johan Petro and the expiring contract of Nets forward Troy Murphy, with the Pistons motivated to join in by the $17-plus million in long-term savings they’d earn by shedding Hamilton’s contract.

Denver threw a wrench into the works by choosing to play Anthony and Billups in Sunday night’s game against New Orleans. Generally, if a player is about to be traded, the team sits him down until the deal is consummated to avoid a deal-killing injury. The Nuggets’ move indicates that the trade is not as close to the finish line as some would like to believe.

If this deal does go through, it looks fairly equitable from all sides. The Nets get their man, and they also upgrade (in the short term) at point guard. Billups is getting on in years so one wonders if the inclusion of Harris was at the Nuggets’ request. Denver would get a young prospect at power forward (Favors) and a proven guard (Harris) whom they can plug in at the point or move to another team for another piece to the rebuilding puzzle. I suspect that Ty Lawson is the future at point guard in Denver, and Harris could potentially bring in more talent later. After what happened to the Raptors and Cavs this summer, getting Favors and Harris for Anthony and Billups isn’t a bad haul. I’m sure there will be a first round draft pick or two included as well.

If anyone is wondering why Carmelo has apparently become agreeable to signing an extension with the Nets, it’s probably due to the Knicks’ inability to offer the Nuggets something equitable. If Melo finishes the season as a Nugget, the uncertainty of the next collective bargaining agreement could mean that Anthony would leave a lot of money on the table by passing on the Nuggets’ extension offer. In other words, he’d like to lock up his contract now, and since the Nets and Nuggets have worked out a deal in principle, Carmelo can start counting his money. Certainly the prospect of continuing his career with Billups in New Jersey/Brooklyn also has to help.

If this deal does go through as described, the Nets could have a starting lineup of Billups, Hamilton, Anthony, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez. That might be enough to turn the Nets into a playoff team despite the 10-27 start. After all, they’re only five games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the East.

Nets owner files for name change

May 19, 2010 - New York, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - epa02164770 Businessman Mikhail Prokhorov, of Russia, the new principal owner of the New Jersey Nets, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in New York, New York, USA, on 19 May 2010. Prokhorov, who is the principal owner of Onexim Sports and Entertainment Holding USA, Inc., recently completed the purchase of an 80% stake in the capital of the New Jersey Nets basketball club and a 45% share in the new Barclays Center arena in Brooklyn, New York.

Mikhail Prokhorov has made clear his intention to change the name of the New Jersey Nets, the New York Daily News reports:

Prokhorov’s camp confirmed this morning that they’ve sent a request to the league to change the team’s name.

What does this mean? Maybe nothing.

Changing a team’s nickname, uniform or city name is a long process requiring that the owner gives the NBA notice 25 months in advance. This is to allow time for the creative process and the time it requires to make and market new uniforms. There doesn’t have to be a plan with the proposal, just a desire. It’s basically like putting the NBA on notice for a potential identity change.

So if Prokhorov wanted to change the team’s name for the 2012-13 season (even the city name to Brooklyn), he would have had to submit his notice by Oct. 1. If he submits a proposal, it would have to be approved by the Board of Governors.

There’s no news on what he’s going to change it to, and it could be a simple change to the ‘Brooklyn Nets,’ but the outspoken owner has joked about the ‘Nets’ moniker in the past, so a new nickname is likely.

On “Pardon the Interruption,” Tony Riali suggested the ‘Brooklyn Deckers‘ which didn’t make any sense to me until I did a Google search.

I kind of like ‘Brooklyn Nets.’ The Nets nickname has a lot of history to it and it sounds cool. I’ve also seen the ‘Brooklyn Bears’ and the ‘Brooklyn Dodgers’ mentioned. Or he could go with the New York Nets.

What do you think would be the best new nickname for the team?

Melo headed to the Big Apple?

Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony reacts on the bench in the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City on March 23, 2010. The Knicks defeated the Nuggets 109-104. UPI/John Angelillo Photo via Newscom

Ken Berger of CBS Sports writes that the main reason Carmelo Anthony hasn’t signed a three-year extension with the Nuggets is because he has a burning desire to play in New York.

Anthony, an ideal fit for the Knicks, already has told confidants this summer that he’s eager to explore playing in New York. His dilemma is whether to turn down a three-year, $65 million extension offer from the Nuggets with only 10 months left in the current collective bargaining agreement. The new deal is expected to be much less lucrative for players. Sources say owners who were rattled by this summer’s free-agent frenzy — orchestrated by CAA, which represented James, Wade and Chris Bosh — are determined to clamp down not only on player salaries in the new agreement, but also player movement.

Anthony’s desire to play in New York is so strong, sources say, that those close to the three-time All-Star have scoffed at the efforts of executives touting themselves as being able to deliver him.

“Carmelo already wants to play in New York,” one person with knowledge of his plans told “He doesn’t need anybody to bring him there. He’s a gunslinger. That situation is perfect for him.”

The new CBA is the wild card. Anthony may be leaving a lot of money on the table by turning down that extension, but playing in one of the world’s biggest markets would no doubt enhance his Q Rating and his ability to make money via sponsorships.

Fit-wise, the Knicks need a player like Anthony to build around. He and Amare Stoudemire would make a formidable 1-2 punch, and his ability to make jumpshots would be ideal for Mike D’Antoni’s offensive attack.

As it stands, the Knicks have plenty of cap space to sign Anthony outright if does indeed become a free agent next summer. The other team to watch in the race for his services is the New Jersey Nets, who project to have comparable cap space and a good young nucleus in Brook Lopez, Devin Harris and Derrick Favors. Next summer, the Nets might only be one year away from a move to Brooklyn, so if Favors shows star potential, Anthony could view the franchise as the best fit for his game.

As for the Nuggets — well, it looks like their run might be over. Chauncey Billups is 33, and other than Ty Lawson, there aren’t enough promising young players to convince Melo to stay put.

Who will LeBron play for next season?

Over the past couple of weeks, our poll has asked this very question and 1,094 of our readers have responded. Here are the results:

(Click on the chart for a bigger version.)

It seems our readers believe that the Bulls are the odds on favorites to sign LeBron, with the Cavs close behind. The Knicks finished third by a pretty wide margin, with the Heat, “other” and the Nets getting a decent amount of the vote. The Clippers appear to be the biggest longshot of this group.

World Sports Exchange has set up a long-term market so that gamblers can buy and sell shares in certain teams. Here is a snapshot of the market as of 5/31/10:

A share in the team that signs LeBron is worth $100, while all other shares aren’t worth anything. So someone can buy a share of the Cavs for $33 and if Cleveland signs LeBron, the buyer would make $67 on the transaction. This market essentially says that the Cavs are a 2:1 favorite to sign LeBron, the Bulls are 7:3, the Knicks are 3:1 and the Heat are 8:1.

What’s not clear is what happens if Cleveland executes a sign-and-trade with LeBron. In that scenario, the Cavs would technically “sign” him, but his rights would be traded to his new team. The site should make the market more clear by saying “Who will LeBron play for next season?” instead of “Who will sign LeBron?”

Regardless, this market is something to keep your eye on because it quantifies the pulse of the public’s opinion of the LeBron courtship. Also, be sure to check out my attempt to handicap the major players in the LeBron sweepstakes.

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