Billy Hunter

More details of labor deal NBA players are voting on

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For the players, the polls have opened. NBA owners will vote on the new NBA Collective Bargaining Ageement on Thursday. Both sides are expected to pass this — not unanimously but clearly — and by Friday we can talk trades and training camp.

But first, one last look at what the two sides are voting on.

We remember the major deal points — essentially a 50/50 split of league revenues (basketball related income, or BRI, officially), plus a modified soft-cap salary system.

But there were some minor deal points as well still to be hammered out. For example, a discussion of the draft age limit. That will remain at age 19 for now and the two sides will form a committee to study the issue and possibly recommend changes, but later when there is time to do so.

Chris Sheridan has a good rundown of other changes over at

One change is D-League assigments. Now, players can be sent down during their first three years in the league (it had been two) and they still get their full NBA salary. Older players also now can be sent down if there is mutual agreement (picture a one-game rehab stint for injured players).

Here are other things Sheridan lists from union director Billy Hunter’s memo to the players.

• An expected increase in annual collective salaries and benefits from the current $2.17 billion to more than $3 billion by the end of the 10-year agreement.
• Neutral review of commissioner David Stern’s financial discipline for players’ on-court conduct.
• A new benefits pool funded by BRI that permits players to receive post-career health and welfare benefits.
• A new optional annuity under which players, beginning in 2012-13, will have the option to directly defer portions of their salary to an annuity plan with favorable interest rates to be paid to the player upon retirement.
• Players can agree to wear a microphone for one nationally televised game per month, one locally televised game per month, and up to two playoff games per round, and no player can be subject to discipline for content captured as a result of wearing a microphone.

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.