Milwaukee Bucks v New Orleans Hornets

Governor says state will help keep Hornets in New Orleans, so long as nobody asks for cash

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The state of Louisiana is right in the middle of the now official league purchase of the New Orleans Hornets — the team plays in the state-owned New Orleans Arena. David Stern said in his conference call on the league taking control of the team that he hoped to see more financial assistance from the state, closer to what the Saints receive.

So WWL radio asked Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal what the state might be able to do to help keep the Hornets in New Orleans. He sounded like a politician, but he made his point.

“We’ve been working not only with the current management but now the league on creative ways for the state to support keeping the Hornets here,” said Jindal. But Jindal said those efforts have to have limits.

“We’ve made it clear that they understand the state is facing significant financial pressures,” the governor said. “We’re not going to do anything that jeopardizes funding for higher education or health care.”

Read that as, “you’re not getting give backs from us.”

There may be some way to move numbers around on paper and give some help to the league or new owership, but Louisiana — like every state right now — is not exactly in a place to give away money to billionaires. And you can be sure that’s how any significant deal by the state to provide a cushion for the new owners (whoever they are) would be portrayed.

But if the Hornets are going to stay in Louisiana, Jindal is going to play a role and maybe find some cash. Somehow.

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.