Grizzlies GM still backs Randolph

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Zrandolph_smile.jpgWell, at least somebody still likes Zach Randolph. For now.

The day after word came out that Z-Bo has been implicated as a major marijuana supplier to the Indianapolis area, and just hours after word came out from Los Angeles that Z-Bo’s posse (at least) were involved in beating up a man at a strip club, the Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace said nice things about the man in an official statement.

“Since Zach Randolph became a member of this organization, he has been an active member of the Memphis community and embraced our core values of hard work and leadership. These qualities helped him develop into an NBA All-Star this season and guided one of the NBA’s youngest teams to a 16-game improvement.

“Zach’s continued commitment to the team has been evident the last couple of weeks as he’s been working out with members of our staff on the West Coast.

“Due to the ongoing police investigation, we do not feel it would be appropriate to comment further. Unless some other information surfaces, Zach remains a valued member of the Grizzlies family and Memphis community.”

Randolph’s attorney has told ESPN that Randolph’s long-time friend watches that home and car and Randolph himself had nothing to do with any drug activity.

It was what you’d expect the Grizzlies to say this early in both investigations, but notice the wiggle room of “unless some other information surfaces.”

If the news out of these investigations gets worse for Randolph, you can bet the tone of the next release will be different.

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.