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Basketball Wiretap
Basketball news gathered from around the net.

Jackson: Carmelo Is Knicks' Only 'Certified All-Star', Bargnani Will Thrive In Triangle

Phil Jackson candidly spoke with Charley Rosen about the entire New York Knicks' roster.

"Carmelo Anthony is obviously the team's only certified All-Star," said Jackson. "It's also no secret that Melo has to keep the ball moving, but he's committed to doing this. Passing has never been a great strength of his, but in the triangle he'll be able to have check-off reads like a quarterback looking for his first-option receiver, then his second and then his third. There'll be plenty of iso opportunities for Melo, and in the triangle it'll be very difficult for defenses to double-team him. It won't be like last season where he had to take clutch shots with a gang of defenders in his face. Also look for Melo to get a bunch of post-up looks."

Jackson is optimisic that Andrea Bargnani can have a productive season.

"If Andrea Bargnani's initial season in New York was a disappointment, I believe he'll thrive in the triangle. The 3-point shot is a bit out of his range, but from 20 feet and in, Andrea is a deadly shooter. And those are the kinds of shots that the offense will generate for him. Still, there are two aspects of his offense that he has to work on. Because he only approaches the rim in straight lines, he needs to develop some kind of change-of-direction move with the ball -- perhaps a crossover dribble. Also, he's a finger-roller, not a dunker. Could he have small hands? Or does he just need to be more aggressive?

"Bargnani's defense likewise needs improvement. With his long arms, he can be an effective shot-blocker, but he's usually too reactive on defense. In the past, Andrea has been slow getting back in transition defense, and once there he's been unsure of what his rotation responsibilities have been. And like Amar'e, Andrea has to see which of the frontcourt positions suits him best."

Via Charley Rosen/ESPN

13 Teams Vote Against Lottery Reform, Current System Stays In Place

Thirteen teams voted against changes to the NBA draft lottery system, voting down the measure during Wednesday's Board of Governors meeting.

The Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City were the two teams that led the charge against the system.

The Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards were two of the bigger market teams that voted against the reform, while the Sacramento Kings voted for it.

The Phoenix Suns, New Orleans Pelicans, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, San Antonio Spurs, Utah Jazz, Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets also voted against it.

"Several teams started to wonder about unintended consequences and voted no to be able to do further study," said one owner.

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

GMs Predict Spurs' Title, LeBron For MVP, Jabari For ROY

The NBA has released its annual survery of general managers with the San Antonio Spurs receiving 46.2 percent of the votes for which team will win the 2015 Finals.

The Cleveland Cavaliers came in second with 15.4 percent, followed by the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City tied for third at 11.5 percent. The Golden State Warriors received 3.8 percent of the vote.

LeBron James is the expected winner of MVP with 67.9 percent, followed by Kevin Durant at 21.4 percent. 

James is also the player most GMs would choose to build a franchise around with 50 percent of the vote, though that is down from 89.7 percent last season. Anthony Davis and Kevin Durant each received 25 percent of the vote.

Jabari Parker is a heavy favorite to win Rookie of the Year with 75 percent of the vote, followed by Andrew Wiggins at 17.9 percent.

Gregg Popovich is considered the best head coach in the NBA with 92.9 percent of the vote.

Via John Schuhmann/NBA.com

Nuggets Releasing Quincy Miller

The Denver Nuggets have informed Quincy Miller of the organization’s plan to waive the forward, a source with knowledge told RealGM on Tuesday night.

Miller, once a promising young prospect in the Denver franchise, had a partially guaranteed contract for the upcoming season. Miller’s release signals another step toward the Nuggets keeping Alonzo Gee for the regular season roster.

Gee posted seven points on three-of-four shooting, four rebounds and four steals while defending Portland star Damian Lillard well in 27 total minutes in the Nuggets’ loss to the Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

In 52 games last season, Miller, 21, averaged 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds. He was the 38th overall pick by the Nuggets in the 2012 NBA Draft and has a skill set at 6-foot-10 that will warrant another opportunity.

Via Shams Charania/RealGM

Nikola Vucevic, Magic Agree Upon Four-Year, $54M Extension

The Orlando Magic and Nikola Vucevic have agreed upon a four-year, $54 million contract extension.

RealGM's Shams Charania reports that Vucevic's deal is fully guaranteed with no option seasons.

Vucevic was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers and came to the Orlando Magic in the Dwight Howard trade.

Via Marc J. Spears/Yahoo! Sports

Jimmy Butler Out With Sprained Ligaments In Thumb

Jimmy Butler sustained an injury to his left thumb against Charlotte on Monday night.

Subsequent examinations and an MRI on Tuesday confirmed a sprain of thumb ligaments.

Butler will not practice this week and will not play in the Bulls' final preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Butler will be re-evaluated after the preseason finale.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Thunder, Bucks Join 76ers In Opposing Lottery Reform

The Oklahoma City Thunder have joined the Philadelphia 76ers in opposing the NBA's proposed changes to the draft lottery system, according to a report from Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated reports that the Milwaukee Bucks will also oppose the proposal.

Sam Presti has attempted to warn other small-market executives that changing the system is a risky proposition for their franchises.

Uner the proposed new system, the worst four teams have a 12 percent chance at the first pick, No. 5 has an 11.5 percent chance, No. 6, 10 percent, and on down.

The changes have been triggered by a response to the 76ers' pursuit of high draft picks in successive seasons.

Presti's belief is that the changes would give big market teams another advantage.

"Everyone is too focused on Philly, on one team in one situation," said one sympathetic GM. "The only chance for a lot of teams to ever get a transformational player is through the draft, and eventually we are all going to be in the lottery, in that spot. The teams that'll drop from two to eight, or three to nine – that's just going to take the air out of those fan bases and franchises. They'll get little, if any chance, to improve.

"We are going to see more big-market teams who just missed the playoffs jump up and get a great young player at the top of the draft. And people are going to go "What the [expletive] just happened?"

The 76ers and Thunder need six more teams to join them in opposing the rule change before Wednesday's vote.

As one Western Conference GM said, "Then there will be no going back. I hope we know what we're doing with this one."

Via Adrian Wojnarowski/Yahoo! Sports

Mavs Release Eric Griffin, Yuki Togashi

The Dallas Mavericks have requested waivers on forward Eric Griffin and guard Yuki Togashi.

Griffin (6-8, 194) was originally signed on July 18 after representing the Mavericks at the Las Vegas Summer League where he averaged 9.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, 1.3 steals and 19.3 minutes. He saw action in two preseason games for Dallas.

Togashi (5-7, 143) was signed by the Mavericks on Oct. 15 and did not play in a game for Dallas.

The Mavericks roster now stands at 18 players.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Kevin Durant Hopes For December Return, Won't Rush Recovery

Kevin Durant discussed the Jones fracture in his left foot, which required surgery, for the first time Tuesday.

Durant is expected to miss up to eight weeks and said he will not speed up his recovery timetable.

"Nah, I’m not going to rush it at all," Durant said. "That’s one thing I’m not going to do. I’m sure I’ll feeI better in two or three weeks, but I definitely don’t want to rush it. So I’m taking my time with it. Blessed that it happened early in the season so I can get passed it and hopefully by December I’ll be ready to play."

Durant added his body has normally bounced back quickly from previous injuries.

"Pretty quick. I’ve never had surgery before, first thing. I don’t really know what to expect, but I know I’ll make a full recovery."

Via Anthony Slater/The Oklahoman

Dexter Pittman, Jarell Eddie Waived By Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks waived Dexter Pittman and Jarell Eddie on Tuesday.

Both Pittman and Eddie were training camp invitations.

Via RealGM Staff Report

76ers, Knicks, Lakers, Celtics Each Have Only One Player In ESPN's Top-100

Michael Carter-Williams, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Rajon Rondo represent their respective teams in the top-100.

LeBron: We're Not A Big Three, We're A Big Fifteen

The Cavaliers will need significant contributions this season from the likes of Anderson Varejao, Shawn Marion, Dion Waiters, Mike Miller and Tristan Thompson.

Wizards May Sign John Lucas III

John Lucas III would give the Wizards veteran depth in the backcourt.

Paul George Shoots Jumpers At Pacers' Practice

Paul George said recently that he plans to play at some point during this NBA season.

Sean Kilpatrick Signs With Warriors

Sean Kilpatrick earned First Team All-America honors as a senior at the University of Cincinnati in 2013-14.

Pistons Waive Hasheem Thabeet, Brian Cook, Lorenzo Brown, Josh Bostic

All four players were on non-guaranteed deals for training camp.

Wolves Waive Kyrylo Fesenko

Kyrylo Fesenko played in just one preseason game for the Wolves.

Lakers' Annual Income From Local TV Deal Hinges On Ratings

It is believed that the Lakers continue to remain competitive and not rebuild entirely due to their local television deal.

Chris Bosh Admits Money Was Factor In Choosing Heat Over Rockets

Chris Bosh was close to signing a four-year, $88 million deal with Rockets, but decided to remain with the Heat.

Heat Sign Larry Drew II

Larry Drew II averaged 11.4 points, 7.0 assists, 3.4 rebounds, 1.66 steals and 35.5 minutes while shooting 47.4 percent from the field last seaso nin the D-League.

Bo McCalebb Close To Deal With European Team

Bo McCalebb is nearing agreement on a contract with a team in Europe, meaning no move to the NBA for now, sources told RealGM.

LeBron's Major Rise In Leadership Evident To Teammates

Before the Cavaliers' first practice of the preseason, LeBron James held a players only meeting for 30 minutes.

Kidd Denies Seeking More Power From Nets

Jason Kidd returns to New York to face the Knicks on Monday.

Jeremy Tyler To Sign In China After Being Waived By Lakers

The Lakers will waive Jeremy Tyler to allow him to sign a deal in China.

Knicks Evaluating Other Options At PF In Bargnani's Continued Absence

Andrea Bargnani continues to deal with a hamstring injury.

Thunder Seeing Improved Offense In Steven Adams

Steven Adams' production on offense was inconsistent and limited last season.

Carmelo Doesn't Envision Another Scoring Title In New Triange Offense

Carmelo Anthony has averaged 25.3 points over his career.

Timberwolves Exercise Third-Year Options On Bennett, Dieng, Muhammad

Anthony Bennett was obtained by the Timberwolves in a trade from Cleveland on Aug. 23.

Ben McLemore's 15-16 Option Exercised By Kings

Ben McLemore averaged 8.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 26.7 minutes per contest as a rookie last season

Kings Release Sim Bhullar, Deonte Burton, David Wear

The Kings preseason roster now stands at 15.
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