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The Hype/Concern Index: Gordon Hayward Is Bootless, and Melo Is Going Back to New York

All the good, bad, and neon ‘Tron’-themed from around the NBA

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Welcome to The Hype/Concern Index, a semiregular post capturing the NBA news and events to get hyped on or concerned about.

Hype: Gordo Is Out of the Boot

Less than two months after he was carried off the court five minutes into Boston’s opening-night game after suffering a horrific ankle injury, Gordon Hayward has ditched his walking boot.

On Wednesday, Hayward was seen wearing only a small brace and using no crutches during his visit to the Boston Boys & Girls Club. He has also recently started standing up to get shots off, instead of doing so seated.

The boot can’t be thrown away just yet — Hayward told ESPN that the way his foot reacts without it will determine whether he can leave it off for good. And even if Hayward is on schedule, like the team says, he is still a ways away from even traveling with the team. (Still. Small victories.)

Hype Meter: 5/10

Concern: Melo Is Returning to the Big Apple

Paul George was booed Wednesday in Indianapolis’s Bankers Life Fieldhouse. On Saturday, Carmelo is coming home.

The last time Anthony was in New York (for basketball, anyway), he was waiting to leave. The chance to compete had dwindled after seven seasons, but his abilities had not (or so Anthony believed).

After a few games of “still learning how to work together,” his first season in Oklahoma City has soured into “a complete lack of cohesion.” Melo did not expect public failure to be his narrative in the run-up to his return to New York. The Knicks have a better record (15–13) than the Thunder (13–14), and a star worth rallying around in Kristaps Porzingis (who, for now, is “questionable” to play in Saturday’s game because of a sore left knee).

Anthony, despite evidence to the contrary, still plays like that guy. The 33-year-old has shot 23.8 percent from deep and 31.8 percent overall in the Thunder’s past five games, and OKC, despite winning five of its past seven, is struggling to hide the cracks forming on its roster.

But Knicks fans will always remember Melo’s exit less as a spurning of New York and more as a mutual breakup. Phil Jackson made sure that he himself would be the bad guy in this situation. Anthony might not get the win over the Knicks, but he will get cheers and a fancy tribute video.

Concern Meter: 2/10

Concern: New Alternate “City Edition” Jerseys

NBA 2K18 may have accidentally leaked the entire league’s new Nike “City Edition” jerseys. The newest alternates were quickly made unavailable on the game, but captured 28 of the jerseys before they were taken down.

Just some quick thoughts:

• The “Los Suns” thing is so cool. But when you make it all caps and leave so much space that it looks like someone forgot a letter and had to squeeze it in afterward, the first word will always look like “LOSS.” You guys are 9–21. Help yourselves out.

• New York, New Orleans, and Golden State: Bravo.

• Here’s an idea: Always “leak” these jerseys in advance and then tweak according to Twitter feedback. Not only will you sell a million jerseys, but your new team mascot will be the Girl Mad At Guy Looking At A Girl meme!

(The jerseys are fine.)

Concern Meter: 0/10