New York Knicks v Boston Celtics - Game One

Amar’e Stoudemire says his back is healthy

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Amar’e Stoudemire spoke to a group of campers in New York on Wednesday, and he shared some very good news for Knicks fans of all ages. ESPN New York’s Jared Zwerling has the story:

After spending much of the summer at his rented house in Hollywood Hills, Calif., Amare Stoudemire returned to New York City on Wednesday to speak to a small group of 10- to 12-year-olds about the importance of education.

More importantly, for the Knicks community that is, Stoudemire shared two pieces of very promising news at Harlem’s Polo Grounds Community Center. He said he feels great and starting Monday he’ll be back to high-intensity workouts – the kind of “back” fans want to hear. The second key note is that he’s hearing the lockout may be resolved sooner than later. (Let’s not forget teammate Roger Mason Jr. is the vice president of the NBA players’ union.)

Back issues were a serious problem for Stoudemire when the Knicks were swept by the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs — after a 28-point, 12-18 shooting performance in Game 1, Stoudemire went just 9-37 in the last three games of the series. Stoudemire also said all the right things about a commitment to defense when asked about new assistant coach Mike Woodson, but the best news for Knicks fans has to be that Stoudemire, who has struggled with injuries throughout his career, is feeling 100% healthy and ready to go at this point in time.

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.