Most top teams paying luxury tax

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Tom Ziller of FanHouse has a breakdown of the 11 teams set to pay the NBA luxury tax this summer. The Lakers, Mavericks, Celtics, and Cavaliers are set to pay the highest penalties. The teams with the four best records in the Western Conference are all set to pay the luxury tax. In the East, Atlanta is the only top-four team that will not pay the tax. Of the 11 teams over the cap, only the Knicks would miss the playoffs if they started today. 

Looking at this list provides some insight into why the owners want a new CBA in 2011. The NBA has a salary cap that should ensure parity, but in reality the best teams are the ones spending the most money. 
The counter-argument to that would be that the top teams spend money because they are good, not that they are good because they spend money. The NBA’s best teams spend lavishly on players to fill out their roster, but almost all of them have a “franchise player” who couldn’t be acquired with money alone. 
The top seven spenders are the Lakers, Mavericks, Celtics, Cavaliers, Knicks, Magic, and Spurs. Kobe Bryant, Dirk Nowitzki, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, and Tim Duncan were all acquired on draft day by their current teams. Of that group of six, four have won MVP awards, and Pierce has a finals MVP to his name. The argument could be made that the superstars were bringing enough success, attention, and revenue to their teams to justify spending big to make the team around them as good as possible. As the Knicks show, spending like there’s no tomorrow doesn’t always ensure team success. 

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.