Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Aug. 4) -- Carmelo Anthony says he, New York Knicks have had 'great conversations'

This morning’s headlines:

* * *

Anthony: Knicks know ‘what I’m looking for’ — The Carmelo Anthony trade saga continues on, but for now he’s still a member of the New York Knicks. In an interview with Scott Van Pelt on ESPN’s SportsCenter last night, Anthony opened up a little bit more about the discussions he’s had with the team’s front office about his future and desires therein:

On Wednesday, at an event in which he received a medal of honor from Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, Anthony said he had “talked’’ and “communicated’’ with new general manager Scott Perry, but was vague to what extent.

The Knicks would like to trade Anthony and start rebuilding, but they believe a trade to Anthony’s preferred team, the Rockets, is not there. Anthony has a no-trade clause.

“Conversations have been had,’’ Anthony told Van Pelt. “There’ve been plenty of conversations that have been had on both sides. I think we both know where we stand as far as myself, as far as the Knicks organization. They know how I feel. I know how they feel. We have been in communication. At this point, I want to see what happens. I just want to enjoy my offseason despite everything that’s surrounding me.’’

Asked if he’s optimistic things will work out, Anthony said: “I’m always optimistic. I’m very optimistic. I’ve had great conversations with new GM Scott Perry. He understands my mindset, where I’m at. My career right now, what I’m looking for. Things were put on the table. It was great dialogue, great conversations from both sides. Respectful from both sides.’’

Anthony is hopeful of joining the Rockets, who are on the cusp of contending for a title after uniting Chris Paul with James Harden.

The Knicks want Anthony to expand his wish list. Portland and Oklahoma City also are interested in him.

“For me, it’s all about at this point winning a championship and having fun playing the game of basketball again and keeping that motivation and passion,’’ Anthony said. “Having fun and enjoying the game. At the end of the day, if you’re not enjoying the game, everything else is 10 times worse. I’ve never lost my passion or motivation for it. I’ve lost my joy for it a little bit because of everything that’s surrounded me but I’m starting to find my happiness now and joy for the game.’’

* * *

Drummond looking to bounce back this season — The Pistons ended a six-year playoff drought in 2015-16 thanks to solid play from point guard Reggie Jackson and All-Star center Andre Drummond. Last season, it was a different story in Detroit as the Pistons finished 37-45 and missed the playoffs. Drummond, who is in Africa as part of the NBA Africa Game, talked with reporters about he and the team returning to form in 2017-18, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News:

Much of the Pistons’ inconsistency — finishing 37-45 and missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight seasons — can be traced to Reggie Jackson’s knee tendinitis, which caused him to miss the first 21 games and the final nine, and pushed Ish Smith into a bigger role.

“It was a roller-coaster ride for me and an inconsistent year for us as an organization. We were really hot and cold, and dealing with Reggie being injured was tough to get adjusted to Ish right away,” Drummond said Thursday on a conference call.

“My play wasn’t where it was supposed to be and I take responsibility for that as well; I wasn’t playing up to my potential — and I can’t allow that to happen again.”

Jackson is back near 100 percent with a reduced summer workout schedule and Drummond says he’s breathing better since having the surgery. He said he’s been medically cleared for about a month and showcased some of his game at the Drew League pro-am tournament in California, with a flurry of mid-range shots, dunks and drives to the basket.

Drummond vowed to continue that style of play and to be more versatile on the court.

“I’m not going to play with a filter anymore; I’m going to play the game I need to play to be a great player for my team,” Drummond said. “I feel like I’m in great shape and I can actually breathe. I don’t get tired as easily and I’m sleeping better. Everything has been a plus since I got that surgery.”

He admitted that some of the trade rumors midway through the season affected him — and the trade talk persisted through the summer, but he’s looking to push forward and help the Pistons get back to the playoffs.

“I never had to deal with that before; it was tough for my family and me to hear those rumors. Guys who make that much money and not having the year they’re supposed to have, those talks are going to happen. I’ve accepted that,” Drummond said. “They were looking for a better option. They still have faith in me and believe that I can still carry this team to where we need to get, so I have to get that done.”

* * *

Jordan: Leonard best ‘two-way’ player in NBA — Michael Jordan made some news at his Flight Camp the other day by declaring that he’d still take Kobe Bryant over LeBron James. He had more to say at his camp as well, in particular when asked his thoughts about San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard.’s Kurt Helin has more:

Often “two-way” is used as a phrase to subtly (or not so subtly) deride a more offensive player. To me, you’re either a valuable player or you’re not — Stephen Curry is a valuable player, James Harden is a valuable player, Russell Westbrook is a valuable player, irrespective of their level of defense.

But I know what you think “two-way player” means, sonny. And on that scale, Michael Jordan said during a Q&A at his Flight Camp that he thinks Kawhi Leonard is the best two-way player in the game.

EVEN THE 🐐 KNOWS KAWHI IS A BEAST!!! Michael Jordan is asked if "Kawhi can score on Kawhi" during a Q&A with the kids at his camp. Great question. Here's his response………..#KawhiLeonard #MichaelJordan #GoSpursGo #SanAntonioSpurs

Posted by SPURS Uncensored on Tuesday, August 1, 2017

* * *

Cousins played recruiter for Pelicans — The New Orleans Pelicans are built around All-Star big men DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis. But those two alone can’t carry every burden for the team. Cousins, in particular, has played a key role in New Orleans adding some pieces this summer as he’s served as a recruiter of sorts, writes William Guillory of The Times-Picayune:

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry — who is joining Cousins on a trip to Johannesburg, South Africa for this week’s NBA Africa Game 2017 — said the Pelicans center has been courting players around the league to come to New Orleans. Gentry and Cousins talked to the media on a conference call while in South Africa on Thursday.

The Pelicans agreed to one-year deals with veteran guards Rajon Rondo and Ian Clark in July, and Gentry said Cousins played a big part in both of them joining the team.

“He’s done a phenomenal job this year of helping recruit free agents,” Gentry said. “He’s talked to Rondo, he’s talked to Ian Clark, he’s talked to all of those guys that we’ve been trying to sign and he’s been very active in that.”

Cousins, who came to the Pelicans in a blockbuster trade on the night of the 2017 All-Star Game, said he’s worked tirelessly to help the front office bring more talent to the roster.

“We want to win. We need as much talent and as many pieces as we can get,” Cousins said. “I’ve reached out to everybody. I mean, I don’t want to throw names out there, but some of the biggest names that are on the block right now I’ve reached out to. It’s just about getting better.

“We see where the NBA is going, we need as much help and as much talent as we can get just to match up with the (reigning champion Golden State Warriors)…We’re fully invested in this and we want to win.”

Gentry said that having players with championship experience like Clark and Rondo can be invaluable for a relatively young Pelicans roster.

“I think it’s very understated and very underrated,” Gentry said. “You have guys that know exactly what it takes to get there and know exactly what it takes to get over the hump when you get there. I think it’s very important that when you get in those situations that they can talk to those other players. I don’t think there’s anything like hearing it from a peer rather than hearing it from a coach.”

* * *

Beverley says he requested trade from Rockets — Chris Paul’s sign-and-trade move from the LA Clippers to the Houston Rockets required a lot of players to change hands. One such player who moved from Houston to LA was point guard Patrick Beverley, who recently told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he requested a trade from Houston:

I asked for it. I asked for a bigger opportunity, a bigger chance to display my skills on a high level. And I was fortunate that the Rockets did really good with me and put me in a situation where I can thrive and be successful. They could have really dumped me anywhere, but they did right, and I respect them a lot for it.

It came a time in James’ career, when he went from sixth man to eventually being MVP, that he wanted more. I’m not going to compare that to this. But it comes to a point in time, where I don’t want to live and regret saying what I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve done if I had the opportunity to at this age.

* * *

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: After a slow start to his pro golfing debut, Stephen Curry got into a rhythm … Breaking down Kyrie Irving’s preferred list of teams he’d like to be traded to … DeMarcus Cousins is slimmed down and ready for the season (and a return to Sacramento) … The NBA’s Board of Governors approved the Pistons’ move to a new downtown stadium … ICYMI, the Bucks opened their dazzling new practice facility yesterday … Bismack Biyombo likes the makeup of the Magic’s roster and their offseason moves