Michael Malone

Sacramento Kings were third team fined for tampering


We told you the other day the Hawks and Rockets had been fined by the NBA for tampering — teams cannot officially talk free agents they might have interest in until July 1 when those players are actually free agents. You may want to talk to Dwight Howard and Chris Paul, but you can’t officially say anything about them as they are still technically under contract.

There was an unknown at the time third team fined as well.

That turned out to be the Sacramento Kings, as reported by Sam Amick at the USA Today.

The Kings’ infraction is also related to Paul, as new coach Michael Malone said in his introductory press conference that the Clippers point guard would “look pretty good in a Sacramento Kings uniform.” Malone coached Paul while with the New Orleans Hornets (now the Pelicans).

The infractions may have been innocent — the Hawks sent a letter to season ticket holders about all the cap space they had and said “ Player interest is skyrocketing as the possibilities of landing Chris Paul & Dwight Howard become more and more of a reality” — but the league doesn’t play around with this stuff.

While there will be plenty of leaks and reports before then, team officials can’t actually say anything. Every year some teams have to be reminded of this the hard way.

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.