Can Newark steal a team?

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Oklahoma City did it.

They got to host the Hornets for nearly two seasons after the disaster of Katrina, and they rallied around the team and made them feel at home. Games sold out and there was a passion in the marketplace. OKC showed they could be home to an NBA team. That way, when one of their own went out and bought a team with the intention of moving it there (don’t even try to say that wasn’t the plan, own it) the league did not get in the way. Oklahoma City had shown they could handle it.

Over at Fanhouse, Tom Ziller asked the question if Newark could do the same — they have the Nets for the next two seasons. (Maybe more if there are construction delays, but what are the odds of construction delays in New York?) Can Newark prove it is NBA ready?

Talking about that strategy and executing it are, of course, two different things. And the Nets have never been mistaken for a big box office draw, even when Jason Kidd took the team to the NBA Finals twice. But things are off to a good start, with the team offering some 2010-11 season tickets for $300. If the team can somehow land a marquee free agent, that’s incredible value at a sparkling new venue.

Newark has advantages — in terms of mass transportation to the venue, people from NYC more willing to commute there than the Meadowlands. It is no easy task, but something to watch.

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.