Path to 2012 London Olympics goes through Turkey

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LeBron James is too busy. Dwyane Wade has a lot of personal stuff going on. A number of other top NBA players are questioning if they want to play in the FIBA World Championships this summer in Turkey.

Jerry Colangelo, president of USA Basketball, has stepped in to play stern parent. You want the pudding of the 2012 London Olympics, you’ve got to eat your meat at the FIBA event, he told FanHouse.

How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat?

“There are no free tickets to London,” said Colangelo, who announced a working 27-man roster in February with the thinking those players would commit to this year’s World Championships and the 2012 Olympics, with the additional possibility players might be needed for a 2011 Olympic qualifying tournament if Team USA doesn’t mine gold in Turkey. “That doesn’t mean nobody could (return to the team) if they didn’t participate (in Turkey). It all depends on the reason. We’ve taken into account players have personal lives.”

To recap: Recovering from injury, good excuse not to play. Serious personal issues like a nasty divorce, maybe. Making a movie… not so much.

James can play in London if he wants because he has put in a lot of past time with Team USA, he has sweat equity. That and he’s the best player on the planet.

But there are just a couple players who get to call their own shots on this (Kobe Bryant being the other). Everybody else has to eat their meat.

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.