After an exhilarating opening round of the NBA playoffs, the second round is set to hopefully live up to the hype.
But for teams out of the postseason—including those that narrowly missed out on the second round—the offseason rumors have already started.
Franchises like the New York Knicks are in search of a new coach, but could they also be looking for another superstar to lead the team? With buzz around the league that Carmelo Anthony might be open to leaving the team, the Knicks have a lot of offseason decisions to ponder.
What about the Golden State Warriors, who were ousted as the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference by a championship contender in the Los Angeles Clippers? After Mark Jackson failed to make a run in the playoffs, it looks like the seat is once again blazing for the Warriors coach.
As the playoffs continue, here's a look at the latest buzz around the league about both of these rumors and more.
Joakim Noah Still Recruiting Carmelo Anthony to Join Bulls
Months ago, Joakim Noah reportedly started recruiting Anthony to join the Chicago Bulls over the All-Star break. Apparently he hasn't slowed down those efforts with both the Knicks and Bulls out of the postseason.
Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times has the most recent report about the two players discussing the potential free-agent move for Anthony to the Windy City:
According to several sources, including a teammate, Noah’s All-Star Weekend “conversation’’ with New York Knicks standout Carmelo Anthony didn’t end in New Orleans. They had discussions via text the rest of the season, including the day after the Bulls were eliminated in the playoffs by the Washington Wizards.
... Sources said Noah has been in Anthony’s ear as often as possible, and he has told other Bulls to push hard for Anthony this summer. But there is one condition: Backup big man Taj Gibson can’t be sacrificed.
Not all sources are reliable, but Cowley's appear to have a pretty clear idea of how much the two sides are talking with one another.
Anthony was on a Knicks team this season that struggled to find any sort of consistency and missed out on the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Bulls surged into the postseason after losing star point guard Derrick Rose for much of the season.
Needless to say, Chicago would be a better situation for Melo, who simply wants to compete for a championship this late in his career. If Rose can return to full health and play next season, the Bulls might have a loaded roster that can stand up to the Miami Heat for the Eastern Conference.
Mark Jackson's Future Uncertain in Golden State
What does a man have to do to get a contract around the NBA?
Mark Jackson has been successful during his time with the Warriors, helping the team find resurgence behind players like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. But apparently that might not be enough for the former player-turned-coach, per Marc Stein of ESPN:
It's Mark Jackson himself -- with so many in coaching circles convinced that he needed to at least reach the second round again to make it as difficult as possible for the Warriors not to bring him back -- who has been saying since he got to the Bay Area that the Warriors are a "no excuse" team.
That's one of Jackson's go-to coaching mantras. So disappointment with a Round 1 exit is an unavoidable issue for the embattled coach, despite the fact that the excuses sit well below the rim if Golden State wants to grab them.
Here are the facts: During his time in Golden State, Jackson has turned the team completely around to the tune of 96 wins in two years during the regular season, two straight playoff appearances and nine wins during the postseason. This all for a franchise that, as Stein points out, hasn't reached the playoffs in consecutive years since the early 1990s.
Curry shared his thoughts on the situation, saying that he believes Jackson should be around next season, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo:
Stephen Curry: "I love coach more than anybody. For his job us under scrutiny and question is unfair. It would certainly be a shock to me...— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 4, 2014
Stephen Curry on Mark Jackson: "He deserves to be our coach next year."— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 4, 2014
As crazy as it sounds for the Warriors to potentially cut ties with Jackson, being ousted in Round 1 might have punched his ticket for the next train out of Oakland.
Despite the fact that the team played a Clippers team that might very well contend for a title this season, Jackson and the coaching staff won't make any excuses for why they lost. In the meantime, the Warriors might not take any excuses either, letting the coach go during the offseason.
Vince Carter Returning 'Home' with Toronto Raptors?
It's been a long road for Vince Carter, but it might just end where it all began for the eight-time All-Star.
Stein is once again the man stirring the pot, with the latest rumor about Carter returning to the Toronto Raptors:
Word is that the Raptors have been kicking around the idea of making a free-agent play this summer to try to bring Vince Carter ”home” by trying to sign the former face of the franchise away from the Mavericks.
Be advised that Carter has been very happy in Dallas these past three seasons. Very happy. He's emerged as the emotional leader of Dirk Nowitzki's team at this late stage of his career and, by all accounts, wants to re-sign with Dallas.
Way to bring the hopes up, then quickly dash them.
Which rumor is more likely to happen?
The Raptors and Dallas Mavericks are both teams that were just eliminated from the postseason, and both have long offseasons ahead of them. And despite the fact that Carter is clearly no longer in the prime of his career, the 37-year-old will attract attention from both sides as a veteran leader.
For example, just look at what the Brooklyn Nets were able to do late in the series against the Raptors. Despite the fact that they were long in the tooth at several positions, the veteran core of the team found a way to rise above Toronto to send Brooklyn into the next round.
While the Raptors clearly have a plethora of talented players like Kyle Lowry—another player they need to re-sign this offseason—and DeMar DeRozan, bringing Carter back to Toronto could help the team round into contenders in the East.
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