Start the Commotion: Sixers Possible Landing Spot for Melo?

Start the Commotion: Sixers Possible Landing Spot for Melo?

The summer of mega free-agent signings has come and gone without the Sixers drawing so much as a second glance from any of the big names on the move, much to the surprise of no one. But now, with just a couple of weeks before the start of the pre-season, a huge name previously not even on the board is being discussed as a trade possibility for the 76ers: Carmelo Anthony.

The Nuggets forward, who has made quite a splash the last month and a half with his public-not-public demands for a trade out of Denver, was previously thought to be most likely going to a team like the Nets, Knicks or Rockets, if anywhere at all. However, Ken Berger of CBS Sports reports that members of the Nuggets staff would be interested in discussing a deal for Melo centered around the Sixers' Andre Iguodala, and likely including a young player like Thaddeus Young and some expiring contracts as well.

Does the deal make sense from either or both sides? Well, it might be a lot to give up for Anthony if he doesn't sign an extension first--as mentioned in the article, Melo has more or less OK'd a trade to the Nets or Knicks, but might have reservations about going to a likely non-contending team in a smaller media market. Then again, the Sixers have been looking to dump Iguodala's contract for a while now, and might welcome the opportunity to get some legitimate return (and at last, a superstar to market) with it, even if it is for just a year, and then to have the cap space to work with when the season ends.

I see it as less likely from the Nugs' perspective. With Melo gone they're going to need young, potential-laden talent to sell to their fanbase as a legitimate rebuilding effort, but just about everyone knows who Iguodala is by now--an extremely talented complementary player, and a mostly poor excuse for a first option. It's hard to imagine Denver fans welcoming 'Dre with open arms as the primary replacement for the franchise's best player since the 80s, and it's doubtful that Thad or Marreese Speights or whoever else would go with him would do all too much to sweeten the pot.

The CBS Sports article also mentions the Sixers as a possible partner in a three-way deal to get Carmelo to the Nets, which could end up netting the Sixers Derrick Favors, NJ's #3 pick (taken by then-GM Rod Thorn, now with the Sixers) in the '10 draft. If Philly is truly trying to rebuild around youth, a Dre-for-Favors swap would certainly be an efficient way to do that, as the team could then potentially trot out a Holiday-Turner-Young-Favors-Hawes starting lineup--all former top-20 picks, and none over the age of 22. Hard to imagine this not resulting in a 20-25-win season next year, but another trip or two to the lottery and we could be Oklahoma City East soon enough (well, minus the whole Durant thing anyway). Intriguing, certainly.

Ultimately, I think this is all just end-of-summer boredom speculation, and Berger himself admits that the teams have not actually even discussed either such deal just yet. Still, it's fun to dream, and it's nice to at least be mentioned as a potential player in one of the off-season's biggest deals--good to know that the other 29 teams know that we're still alive out there somewhere.

What do you guys think? How'd Melo look as a Liberty Baller?

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Howie Kendrick (oblique) finally ready to begin rehab assignment tonight

Phillies corner outfielder/infielder Howie Kendrick is finally nearing a return. He'll begin a rehab assignment tonight with Triple A Lehigh Valley.

Kendrick has been out since April 15 with an oblique strain. He did defensive work during the Phillies' road trip and has been taking outdoor batting practice at home this week.

Kendrick was off to a hot start when the oblique injury sent him to the DL. In 10 games, he went 13 for 39 (.333) with four doubles, a triple and five RBIs. He batted second all 10 games.

The Phillies are in a bad offensive funk and could use Kendrick's bat over Michael Saunders' right now. The Phils' 1-2 hitters were among the most productive in the majors in April, hitting close to .350 for the month. They're down to .282 on the season as Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera have slumped in May.

With Clay Buchholz likely out for the season and Saunders providing little offense so far, the Phillies' trio of offseason veteran additions has not panned out through two months.

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

Supplement-free Lane Johnson heaviest he's ever been, feels he has much to prove

It's only natural to have some reservations about Lane Johnson after he was suspended for 10 games last season for his second violation of the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. One more positive test and the Eagles will lose their starting right tackle for two full years.

Fortunately, Johnson seems determined to avoid any future run-ins with the league. The 27-year-old changed his entire approach this offseason, cutting out negative influences or any other voices at all while preparing for the 2017 season.

"I just trained by myself back in Oklahoma," Johnson said after the Eagles' first full-team practice of OTAs on Tuesday. "Trained by myself and everything went good. I came back, my body weight is about 325, so I'm heavier than I've ever been. I feel in good shape, and I have a lot to prove, so it's a big year for me.

"I did everything by myself. There wasn't going to be any mishaps."

Two suspensions totaling 14 games later, Johnson has gained a healthy fear of being unknowingly steered toward an illegal supplement.

Johnson tested positive for PEDs before the season last year after taking a banned substance known as peptides and was eventually slapped with the full 10-game penalty after a lengthy appeal process. The fifth-year veteran always maintained peptides were not listed on the label of the offending supplement.

Johnson filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the players' association in November after the suspension was upheld. Its status is ongoing.

Johnson also served a four-game suspension in 2014.

When he's not in trouble with the league office, Johnson is a vital cog in the Eagles' offense. They went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season.

"I feel like whenever I'm playing, I try to be the best right tackle in the NFL," Johnson said. "My deal is to just stay on the field, play a complete season, and I think it will be a big year for me."

Johnson isn't concerned about losing a competitive edge, physically or mentally, after dropping supplements altogether.

"I've always been the athlete that I am," Johnson said. "That's what I'll continue to prove. I'm gonna go play and show people what I can do."

Signed in January 2016 to a five-year contract extension worth $56 million, Johnson has plenty to prove. He was working out in place of 35-year-old left tackle Jason Peters, who wasn't at the start of OTAs, on Tuesday and is expected to one day replace the nine-time Pro Bowl selection permanently.

Despite his checkered past, it sounds like Johnson knows exactly what's on the line, which is why he chose to go it alone this offseason. The only person you can trust is yourself.

Then again, Johnson still has his vices, which might raise some eyebrows with the news he's up to 325 pounds — eight more than his listed weight.

"My big deal is cutting out the ice cream, the Ben & Jerry's late at night — the stuff you want to indulge in," Johnson said. "If you get me on an ice cream binge, it's not good."

The Eagles can probably deal with a little extra ice cream, just as long as Johnson remains committed to keeping dodgy supplements out of his body.