Anthony Bennett from UNLV reacts after being selected by the Clevland Cavaliers as the first overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft in Brooklyn

No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett officially signs with Cavaliers


Anthony Bennett is still recovering from shoulder surgery, but his arm is working well enough to sign his first NBA contract.

The Cavaliers have officially signed Bennett to his rookie deal, which is for four years and a little over $22 million, the team announced.

Bennett was the surprise No. 1 overall pick out of UNLV. He’s a 6’7” power forward who will come off the bench at first behind Anderson Varejao, but who the Cavs see as a starter soon.

The tools he has were never the question — Bennett is long, physically strong and in college was just a beast around the basket. He can get out and run the floor and he can finish with authority (he was one of college basketball’s better dunkers). He’s shown flashes of an outside shot and handles, but those areas need to improve. So will his defense. But all the tools are there.

We did not get to see those tools on display at Summer League or anywhere else since he’s been picked due to shoulder surgery that took place before the draft. Bennett is expected to be ready to go by training camp.

The Cavaliers are Kyrie Irving’s team, and they have the Andrew Bynum sideshow now. But clearly they see Bennett as a big part of their future, and now they have him formally signed.

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.