Carmelo Anthony Traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder

Carmelo Anthony is getting his wish and leaving New York. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Knicks have come to terms on a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder that will send Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, and a 2018 second-round pick in exchange for Anthony. 

Wojnarowski reports that Anthony continued to pressure the Knicks front office into getting a deal done with training camp set to begin next week. However, the organization needed to jump through several hoops in order to turn his demand into a reality. First and foremost, the Knicks had to find a team that Melo would deem fit to waive his no-trade clause. 

With the help of Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook and the newly-acquired Paul George, Anthony waived his no-trade clause, as well as his trade kicker, in order to make the deal work. Did Westbrook and George ensure Anthony that they will be staying in Oklahoma City for the foreseeable future, even though their contracts are up at the end of this upcoming season? While George-to-L.A. next year seems like the league's worst-kept secret, maybe Russ has been able to get through to PG-13 on the idea of building something special in OKC. 

For Anthony, the move allows him to settle into a role more suited for his style of play. The Westbrook-to-Melo drive-and-kick it out potential is enough to give the rest of the league fits. Add George into that equation, and you have a serious contender at dethroning the Goliath of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors. 

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That Time Kobe Bryant Helped a Childhood Friend Record With Jay Z

Back in the late 1990s, Kobe Bryant tried hard—very hard—to get his rap career off the ground. Even though Kobe was still just a few years into his NBA career and even though he should have, in theory, been spending more time on the basketball court than in the studio, he spent a ridiculous amount of time, energy, and money recording his debut album, Visions. It was an album that went through many different iterations with Kobe creating an underground-sounding project first before his label Sony Entertainment made him switch things up and make something more commercial. And it was also an album that eventually got shelved, meaning Kobe essentially put forth a ton of effort for, well, nothing.

There was at least one good thing that came out of Kobe’s rap career, though (and no, it wasn’t this). Kobe’s childhood friend Russell “Russ” Howard, who served as one of the main producers on Kobe’s ill-fated project, spoke with Bleacher Report recently and talked about what it was like to work with Kobe. He documented how hard Kobe worked on the album, the serious approach he took to honing his craft, and the disappointment they all felt when Sony pulled the plug on the project. But he also pointed out that, on a personal level, Kobe played an instrumental role in helping him land the biggest beat placement of his entire career.

It seems Kobe loved what Russ came up with for his album and thought he should be working with other rappers, too. So one day, while Kobe was on the set of the music video for Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker,” he stepped to Jay Z and told him about the producer. And even though Kobe wasn’t exactly an established voice when it came to dishing out music recommendations, Hov listened to what he had to say and ended up working with Russ.

From the B/R piece:

Howard and Bryant were in constant communication about what direction they wanted to pursue. Bryant, so happy with his friend's work, approached Jay Z on the set of the “Heartbreaker” music video and recommended the legendary rapper to check out his friend. Not long after, Howard was working with Brooklyn's own on Vol. 3 Life and Times of S. Carter, producing the beats of “S. Carter” and “There's Been a Murder.”

And Russ wasn’t the only one of Kobe's producers who ended up on Jay Z’s Vol. 3. Back in 2013, Grantland ran a lengthy story about the “secret history” of Kobe’s rap career, and it included a small nugget buried deep in the footnotes about how another producer Kobe was working with at the time also ended up doing some work for Jay Z before working with other Roc-A-Fella artists. Sean “S-Dot” Francis, a producer from Philadelphia, worked alongside Russ on the same two Vol. 3 tracks after a chance meeting with Jay Z during a studio session with Kobe.

From the Grantland piece:

“Kobe is in the booth rapping,” Francis says. “All of a sudden, I look in the reflection of the booth and I see this diamond chain—all diamonds—with a Rocawear shirt. Then I heard someone say, 'It sounds like you know what you’re doing in there.' And it was Jay Z. [Sony A&R] Lenny Nicholson told Kobe to come out of the booth. Kobe was like, 'What’s up?' Jay said, 'I heard you’re doing big things.' He’s like, 'Yeah, I’m getting it together.' Jay’s like, 'Let me hear what you got.' So we played him some things and he asked us if we produced…Next thing you know, [Russell and I] did two beats [“S. Carter” and “There’s Been a Murder”] on Vol. 3…The Life and Times of S. Carter.”

After working with Jay Z, Howard went on to work with DMX, Lupe Fiasco, Paul Wall, and more. Francis, meanwhile, landed beats on projects from Beanie Sigel, State Property, and others. So hey, at least Kobe’s debut album wasn’t a total waste, right?

Oh, and if you’re wondering where the songs from that album ended up after it got shelved, Howard provided B/R with the answer. “They’re out there,” he said. “Ray Donovan has them.”

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Damian Lillard Talks New Album and Kyrie Irving Trade on ‘Everyday Struggle’

On today's Everyday Struggle, NBA superstar Damian Lillard joins Joe Budden, DJ Akademiks, and Nadeska to talk about a variety of hot topics including the Migos flow, Drake's tattoos, and his album (under the rap alias Dame D.O.L.L.A.). Mixed in with the news is Dame's thoughts on everything happening in the NBA, from Kevin Durant's secret Twitter to Kyrie Irving's trade from the Cavs

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#LifeAtComplex: An Inside Look at the Nike x NBA Jersey Launch Event

#LifeAtComplex is a daily vlog that offers an inside look at Complex. Watch as Tony Mui takes viewers behind-the-scenes in the office—you never know who or what will pop up.

On today’s episode, Tony heads out to Los Angeles to attend the Nike x NBA jersey unveiling and catches up with De'Aaron Fox, Tobias Harris, and Karl-Anthony Towns. He also comes up on a pair of Kith x Nike Air Pippen 1s

Subscribe to Complex on YouTube to check out more episodes of #LifeAtComplex, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

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Iman Shumpert Thinks It’ll Be Hard for Cavaliers to Make NBA Finals Without Kyrie Irving

Are the Cavaliers going to be able to make it back to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight time next season now that the team has traded Kyrie Irving to their conference rival, the Celtics? Most NBA fans think that having LeBron James on their roster will give Cleveland more than enough to get back to the Finals. But during his appearance on Everyday Struggle on Friday, Iman Shumpert said he’s not so sure that’s going to be the case.

DJ Akademiks asked Shumpert whether or not he thinks the Kyrie-less Cavaliers will be a good enough team to return to the Finals, and the Cavaliers star was quick to point out how important Irving was to the team during recent playoff runs. From picking up the slack when LeBron was having an off game to giving the Cavs a boost when LeBron needed a break, Irving did a little bit of everything for Cleveland when they needed it most. And Shumpert said it’s going to be hard to replace that once the postseason comes back around.

“It’s going to be harder,” Shumpert said. “You got to think: We leaned on Kyrie for a lot of things. There’s a lot of times where our play calls, the other coaching staff has put together a game plan that is really dismissing our play calls. Like, we can’t get nothing done because their defensive scheme is really good. And maybe we’ve used LeBron and ran him into the ground the first three quarters and maybe he’s just dog-tired right now and… maybe he can’t pull a 12-0 run out his ass on his own because he been rebounding, dribbling out, guarding 4s and 5s even though he should be guarding a 3—he’s doing a lot and he don’t have the energy right now. And Kyrie got energy and he don’t need a play. He don’t need a ball screen. You can send two people at him, that don’t matter. He can really do that. That’s his gift. So we leaned on that. Plenty of games, we should lose the game. We gave that man the ball and everybody went to the left side of the court and we watched Kyrie win the game.”

Shumpert also said that he feels as though NBA fans sometimes forget just how good Irving really is, which he believes may have factored into Kyrie's decision to ask the Cavaliers to trade him.

“Y’all forgetting that Kyrie did that before he met LeBron,” he said. “I’m not saying he was winning, but as far as getting a bucket? He’s really good at it now. You gotta realize: He learned how to share it. He played them games where LeBron didn’t have a good game and Kyrie took the attention off Bron and then Bron had a good game at the end. He’s grown. It’s like, he’s not taking [being traded] as 'Eff LeBron! I don’t fuck with that nigga!' I think it’s more of 'I learned. We won together. I want something different.'”

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Elsewhere in the interview, Shumpert addressed Irving’s recent trade to the Celtics and said that he “didn’t expect it to happen how it happened.” But he also downplayed all of the media reports surrounding Irving’s supposedly fractured relationship with LeBron and said that Irving asking for a trade was more of a basketball decision than a personal one.

“This isn’t just a Kyrie/LeBron thing,” Shumpert said. “The media will turn it into that for y’all, and that’s what I mean about the internet. It’s the story. That’s the clicks. 'LeBron and Kyrie hate each other!' No. It’s two dudes that need the ball. LeBron needs the ball. Kyrie needs the ball. Kevin [Love] needs the ball. [J.R. Smith] can’t shoot unless he has the ball. Kyle Korver can’t shoot unless he has the ball. I love getting to the basket and dunking, but if I get the ball so that I can make sure I get my 20 a game, that takes away from LeBron’s 40 that you want LeBron to score. It takes away from Kyrie’s 40. It takes away from Kevin’s 40. Somebody got to get the short end. And it’s like, a lot of times, fans can’t all the way understand that. They think it’s 2K. 'Bron can score 40. Kyrie can score 40. Iman should have 20. J.R. should have 30.' It’s like, dog, it don’t work like that.”

You can watch Shumpert talk about the Irving trade, the Cavaliers’ chance of making another run to the Finals, and more starting at around the 54:45 mark of the clip above.

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It Sounds Like Lonzo Ball Is Taking This Rap Thing Pretty Seriously

Los Angeles Lakers' Lonzo Ball is set to drop new music soon. Ball, who's made headlines recently with his 21 Savage and Jay Z comparisons, opened up about his musical ambitions in a new interview with XXL. Ball discussed his early musical influences, the importance of Lil Wayne, and his future plans.

As a kid, Ball revealed, he listened to “a lot” of 50 Cent and DMX. “Those were probably the two main rappers I was listening to when I was young, but my favorite rapper has always been Lil Wayne,” Ball said. As for why Weezy stands tallest among his influences, Ball said he feels the Young Money boss has remained consistent with his output. “Lyrically, he's definitely one of my favorites to do it,” he said. “I need him to be free so he could put that other album out for me, but he's already put a lot towards the game.” Ball credits his father, a devoted 2Pac fan, for introducing him to music.

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As for his plans to follow his debut single “Melo Ball 1,” Ball revealed he's currently working on new music. In fact, the next Lonzo Ball release will be backed by the family-owned Big Baller Music Group. “I won't be able to to do so since I'm focused on the NBA season ahead, but definitely one of my dad's close people that he works with will handle the record label,” Ball said. So far, Ball hasn't enlisted any guests for the mystery project.

Ball also noted what he's been listening to the most recently, including 21 Savage's Issa Album and Lil Uzi Vert's Luv Is Rage 2. Check out the full interview here.

Ball turned a few purists' heads earlier this month with his Nas comments. Nas, however, apparently has no idea who Lonzo Ball even is.

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Nick Young Discusses Fashion and Basketball at His Most Hated Pop-Up in Los Angeles

The worlds of style and basketball have always been intertwined. While some players like Russell Westbrook have become known for their outrageous pregame outfits, others have gone as far as to create their own brands. One of the players who has done this is Golden State Warriors guard Nick Young. This past weekend, he hosted a pop-up shop for his brand Most Hated at American Rag in L.A., and Complex News was in attendance to chop it up with him.

What started with Young making a few shirts with the phrase “Most Hated” written on them last year has turned itself into full fledged brand for the young NBA player that now includes a line hoodies, hats, track pants. It has since gotten co-signed by everyone from fellow players like LeBron James to one of the league's “most hated” players Kevin Durant, and players have even asked him to send them some gear in the middle of games. He also mentioned how he would love to see Most Hated makes its way onto some style icons like Kanye West and Rihanna. “I'd hand deliver it to [Rihanna] personally,” says Young.

Aside from his brand, Swaggy P touched on how he was recruited to the reigning NBA Champions, as well as the personal style of some of his new teammates like Draymond Green and Steph Curry. Check out the full interview in the video above, and shop the Most Hated collection via the brand's online store here.

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XXXTentacion Mocks Abuse Allegations in Disturbing Instagram Videos

Disturbing new details emerged last week regarding the abuse allegations against XXXTentacion. X, who's been charged with aggravated battery of a pregnant woman and is set to stand trial in October, has now responded to those reports in a series of Instagram Story clips. Among other things, X's response includes threats to anyone who called him a “domestic abuser.”

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Image via Instagram/Spin

X also mocked feminists, told publications not to cover him, and—in a clip captioned “I only beat the pussy”—said, “If you want your pussy domestically abused, hit my line.” In other clips, X claimed people were just mad at him for being successful and repeatedly screamed “suck my dick!” at the camera. At the time of this article's publication, most of the clips were still available on Instagram. 

Last week, Pitchfork published an extensive report on the case including excerpts from X's alleged victim's 142-page testimony. At one point, the victim alleges, X—whose real name is Jahseh Onfroy—”wanted to cut out [her] tongue” for singing along to another artist's guest verse. X allegedly head-butted, punched, stomped, and strangled the woman. He is also accused of threatening to kill the woman and the unborn child.

Asked during her two-and-a-half hour session at a Miami public defender’s office back in January to name exactly when X threatened to kill her, she said the threats were particularly frequent when they lived together in Orlando. “Well, when we lived in Orlando, it was literally like every day,” she said.

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In addition to the aggravated battery of a pregnant woman charge, X has also been charged with false imprisonment, domestic battery by strangulation, and witness-tampering.

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Teyana Taylor Killed the Runway at New York Fashion Week to Future’s “Mask Off”

When Teyana Taylor isn't fighting to get extra credit from Iman Shumpert—this isn't a euphemism, they are really about that role-playing life—she is killing it on just about every runway and stage she finds herself on. If her performance in Kanye West's “Fade” video wasn't enough proof, Taylor hit New York Fashion Week 2017 with even more energy.

She first made waves over the weekend, appearing at Italian brand GCDS' runway show on Friday. Taylor came down the runway and had a dramatic moment when she ripped off a pair of shades, looking pretty fierce in her all-white outfit.

The look was so fierce, in fact, that Taylor focused another cut of the video on her Instagram account, in an attempt to turn the walk down the runway into a commentary on her excitement for the return of McDonald's Chicken Select strips. This was a pretty severe right turn for someone who has access to food way higher on the restaurant scale than McDonald's, but I can't front, McDonald's definitely hits the spot when the mood strikes.

The caption may have also been an allusion to the “spicy” nature of her walk, which she elaborated on further in an interview with USA Today.

“When I watched the video I was like, 'Damn, I'm so extra,” said Taylor. “But then I realized I'm not extra, I'm spicy, that's all. I'm just spicy, I put a little spice in everybody's life.”

That's one way of putting it, and if that's the case, she took the spice to habanero levels during the close of Phillip Plein's show over the weekend. With Future performing “Mask Off” in the background, Taylor want berserk on the catwalk, dancing better in high heels than you or I probably could in our best pair of dancing shoes.

Say this for Taylor: she does not let her presence fly under the radar. You have to respect the willingness to shake up the stuffy space that is a catwalk, and if Future wants to show up and perform at other fashion shows, I imagine the audience for these events will get a hell of a lot more diverse.

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