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NBA Rumors for Thursday, Feb. 4
InsideHoops NBA rumors updated 1:00 p.m. ET. More stories and other news also appears on the InsideHoops basketball blog, including most of our live updates during the day. Note that NBA trade rumors pick up steam leading to the 2016 NBA trade deadline (February 18 at 3pm ET).
Other key NBA rumors-related dates are the 2016 Playoff Eligibility Waiver deadline (March 1) and playoff roster deadline (April 15 at 3pm ET).
Carmelo Anthony has a full no-trade clause, so he holds veto power over any trade, and has three years remaining on his five-year, $124 million contract. By NBA rules, if the Knicks move Anthony — and his $22.8 million annual salary — the contracts coming back have to be of equal value. NY Daily News
But with an injury to Joakim Noah, health issues with Nikola Mirotic and sudden growing pains for rookie Bobby Portis, Pau Gasol looks like he’s staying put. Still, he understands if the Bulls send him packing. “No, I’m not concerned about it,’’ Gasol said Thursday before a 107-102 victory over the Kings. Chicago Sun-Times,/a>
Coach Rick Carlisle took the blame for the Dallas Mavericks' loss Wednesday because of a poor decision he made in crunch time Carlisle regretted not calling a timeout on the Mavs' final possession in a 93-90 loss to the Miami Heat. The game ended with Raymond Felton jacking up a contested 3-pointer after he couldn't get the ball to Dirk Nowitzki on a couple of pick-and-pops. ESPN.com
Chandler Parsons, who can opt out of the final season of his three-year, $46 million deal this summer, sat out from the 6:05 mark of the fourth quarter until he checked in as a defensive substitution for Nowitzki with 17.9 seconds left. Carlisle's explanation for opting to play Felton over Parsons during crunch time was simple: Parsons struggled the rest of the game after a scorching start. Parsons hit his first three shots but missed nine of his last 10. He had all 12 of his points, five of his seven rebounds and two of his three assists in the first quarter. ESPN.com
"There's a lot more to the game than just putting the ball in the basket, obviously," Carlisle said that night. "If a guy scores 31 points and we're minus-30, I've got to coach him better in other areas. I think it's pretty clear, because if you're scoring that many points, there must be other holes that we've got to fill." Parsons didn't appreciate the comments, feeling that he was called out by his coach after playing well with other circumstances leading to the Mavs being outscored by so much with him on the floor. Carlisle and Parsons discussed the issue the next day and moved on. ESPN.com
The Blazers have won a season-high five consecutive games and nine of the last 10 and one constant throughout the midseason rise has been the surprising play of their defense. Suddenly, the Blazers' defense has become— gasp! — dependable, a resurgence that started roughly two weeks ago thanks to a little extra practice time, a painful film review session and a renewed focus to improve the team's biggest Achilles heel. "We had to get back to the basics," coach Terry Stotts said. "We needed to get back to the fundamentals of what we want to do." Oregonian
The luxury of the Blazers' January schedule was that it featured the longest home stand of the season, a 17-day, seven-game stretch that allowed up to 10 days of practice. Stotts and his staff spent the majority of that time working on recalibrating their defense. They started with 2-on-2 and 3-on-3 drills centered around defensive fundamentals, then built up to 5-on-5 scrimmaging. Part of the goal was to stimulate active hands and aggressive play, to have a "greater presence defensively," Stotts said. There wasn't an explicit design to create more physical play, but that ended up materializing organically. Oregonian
Former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers calls it "silly season," the time of year when trade rumors fly like 3-pointers at a Celtics game. Still two weeks out from this year's deadline, the "quietly aggressive" Celtics have already found themselves linked to some big names, including Houston center Dwight Howard. Current Celtics coach Brad Stevens admits that he occasionally checked with the team's front-office staff to substantiate rumors during his first year on the job. Now a grizzled veteran -- he's an "elderly" 39 when you consider that recent in-season hires Tyronn Lue (38), J.B. Bickerstaff (36), and Earl Watson (36) are all younger -- Stevens doesn't pay much mind to the chatter. ESPN Boston
The Celtics are armed with a war chest of draft picks (including what's likely to be three first-round picks and five second-round picks in this year's draft), some intriguing young talent, and a variety of tradeable contracts that could be used to build any sort of mega deal (looking at you, David Lee). ESPN Boston
"I tell my wife all the time, 'You don't see many 7-footers walking around at the age of 75,'" says Larry Bird, who's 6-foot-9. "She hates it when I say that. I know there are a few of us who live a long time, but most of us big guys don't seem to last too long. I'm not lying awake at night thinking about it. If it goes, it goes." It's a macabre outlook for Larry Legend -- but he's hardly alone in harboring it. Ask a bunch of NBA big men and the consensus is that their atypical size and the strains placed on their bodies during their careers cause them to deteriorate more quickly and die younger. The bigger they are, the younger they fall -- or so they think. Is it possible they're right? ESPN.com
The Philadelphia 76ers promoted executive Brandon Williams to the newly created position of chief of staff, reporting to general manager Sam Hinkie, league sources told The Vertical. In Williams' new role, he’ll have broader oversight on matters that include player development, agent relations and recruiting. Yahoo Sports
Chicago Bulls forward Mike Dunleavy Jr. is set to make his season debut against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, league sources told The Vertical.
The plan for Dunleavy to play on Saturday is dependent on him not suffering any physical setbacks between now and then. Dunleavy will travel with the Bulls to Denver for Friday's game against the Nuggets. Yahoo Sports
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