NBA Notes - September 10

The Bad News: So far, as of 11:20am, there's no Celtics-related news to report today. Shocking, I know. All in all, this summer hasn't been too bad, news-wise. Much more has happened than I think some of us anticipated. 

The Good News: We can still expand the news spectrum to the level of the entire NBA. And there are some league notes worth...noting. 

Carmelo Anthony Heading East?

LeBron James stole the early summer headlines, but his buddy Carmelo has garnered some pretty hefty attention of his own in recent weeks. Reports surfaced indicating Anthony is not interested in signing a three-year, $65 million extension with the Denver Nuggets, and instead is hoping to be traded. 

The New York Knicks are among teams interested in Anthony, but they might have a more realistic chance of landing him after next season (if he decides to play out his current contract) through free agency, once Eddy Curry's contract comes off the books. 

The Chicago Bulls are supposedly the new player in the Anthony game, and it was initially reported that the Bulls were internally discussing the possibility of including center Joakim Noah in a deal for Anthony. However, Marc Stein of ESPN is now reporting that the Bulls are discussing something else that pertains to Noah's future: A contract extension. While Chicago has some other quality pieces, the Nuggets are apparently turned off by Luol Deng who's entering the third year of a six-year, $71 million contract. That'd be a lot of payroll to tack on with the current CBA set to expire at the end of next June. 

Nets Expected to Sign Joe Smith

I've been strangely interested in the New Jersey Nets this offseason, mainly because they were so awful last year. They were a complete non-factor in the early free agent bonanza, missing out on the likes of LeBron and Chris Bosh, but they have added some quality pieces in Troy Murphy, Jordan Farmar, Anthony Murrow, and Travis Outlaw. They also drafted Derrick Favors out of Georgia Tech, who's gushing with potential. 

Now, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, veteran forward Joe Smith is expected to sign with the team:

Vet free agent big man Joe Smith is expected to take a physical with New Jersey Nets on Friday & sign a contract, a source tells Y! Sports.

Did the Nets improve? Yes, definitely. It's hard not to improve after a 12-win season, though. Are they a playoff team? If they can come together under new head coach Avery Johnson, maybe they can scrape in with the eighth seed. Can they challenge the Celtics in the Atlantic Division? No way. 

USA Closing in on World Championship Title

Team USA's still going strong, even without Rajon Rondo in the mix. The club knocked off Russia yesterday, 89-79, which probably fired up head coach Mike Krzyzewski, even if he kept his composure for appearances sake. Kevin Durant is still Team USA's guy, as he poured in 33 points yesterday. Is anyone else secretly excited to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder this coming season? We're talking serious guilty pleasure stuff here. 

Team USA will square off in the semi-finals this Saturday against Lithuania, and here's a quiet development for Celtics fans: Turkey's also made it to the semi-finals, and if it can make it past Serbia, and the U.S. can knock off Lithuania, we could see Semih Erden play against legitimate NBA players in a USA-Turkey finale. 

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