Josh McRoberts

Report: Hornets forward Josh McRoberts opts out


Career high scoring average? Check. Josh McRoberts scored 8.5 points per game this season.

Reputation as a winner? Check. He helped Charlotte make the playoffs for just the second time since re-entering the NBA as the Bobcats.

A rapidly increasing salary cap? Check. The cap is projected to jump to $63.2 million.

All the ingredients exist for McRoberts to opt out of the final year of his contract with the Hornets, which would have have paid him $2,771,340 next season.

Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer:


McRoberts started all 78 of his games this season, and he proved an excellent fit next to Al Jefferson, Charlotte’s top player. With McRoberts’ passing and outside shooting, Charlotte’s starting lineup – which also included Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – outscored teams by 10.9 points per 100 possessions. For reference, the Spurs’ regular-season net rating was best in the NBA at +8.1.

This is definitely a system worth preserving.

But Charlotte also drafted Cody Zeller No. 4 last year, and they want to develop him into its power forward of the future. Plus, the Hornets have the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft and a quality power forward – Noah Vonleh, Julius Randle, Aaron Gordon, Dario Saric, Doug McDermott or Adreian Payne – could be available there if Charlotte increase its odds of producing a young replacement for McRoberts.

McRoberts is a stop-gap solution until a higher-upside player replaces him. I bet Charlotte tries to re-sign him for at least a couple more years, maybe even with the intention of transitioning the 27-year-old to the bench by the end of a deal. He and the Hornets have a good thing going, though he’s allowing the possibility of something to come between them:

A larger offer from another team.

DeMarcus Cousins out for Kings vs. Warriors Saturday

DeMarcus Cousins, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams
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As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.

Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.

Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.

Good news: Anthony Davis listed as probably vs. Utah Saturday

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Watching Anthony Davis fall to the court clutching his knee, not being able to put any pressure on his leg as he was helped to the locker room, it was frightening Friday night in Los Angeles.

It turns out it’s not that bad. After the game the injury was described as a “knee contusion” and not the serious damage that was feared. Saturday the Pelicans said Davis was good to go.

Whew. Nobody wants to see Davis miss time.

The Pelicans had won three in a row until they ran into the Clippers Friday night. Davis has played better of late — the New Orleans defense is 7.2 points per 100 better when he is on the court — and New Orleans has gotten better point guard play out of Ish Smith.

Stephen Curry abuses Sun’s Price with behind-the-back, pull-up three (VIDEO)

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That is just cruel.

An on-fire Warriors team dropped 44 on the Suns in the first quarter Saturday, and Curry had 19 of those points going 5-of-6 from three. The Suns’ had no defender who could begin to hang with him. Certainly not Ronnie Price, who came in off the bench and got abused for his efforts.

Curry finished with 41 points, never had to set foot on the court in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors improved to 17-0 on the season. Just another day at the office for them.

Philadelphia has dropped record 27 in a row dating back to last season

Brett Brown

We tend to think of record streaks having to be in one season, not broken up across two.

But if you can suspend that, the Philadelphia 76ers are now the owners of the longest losing streak in NBA — and major professional sports — history.

With their tough two-points loss to Houston Friday night, the Sixers have lost 27 in a row. The Sixers dropped their final 10 last season and with the loss to the Rockets are 0-17 to start this one.

That bests the 26-game losing streaks of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and these same Sixers from 2013-14. Looking across sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976-1977 also lost 26 in a row, which when you consider the length of the NFL season is pretty embarrassing.

The Sixers struggles are born from a plan by GM Sam Hinkie (and approved by ownership) to get better long-term by being bad now and hoarding draft picks. It’s a strategy that can work if Hinkie nails the draft picks (the book is out on how Hinkie is doing on that front). And they are committed to it through at least this draft.

But don’t think for a second the players and coach are trying to lose.

If you have watched the Sixers play their last few games you know the players are trying hard to get that victory (and almost have a couple of times). The effort is there, they are just outmatched and lack the kind of presence at the end of games to execute under pressure (something a couple of quality, regularly-playing veterans might help, but that’s another discussion). They have the point differential of a team that should have a couple wins; they just haven’t been fortunate. It happens. Go ahead and blame management if you think this plan is an abomination. Just don’t question the desire or effort of the players or coaches, that is not in doubt.

The Sixers play at the Grizzlies Sunday, then have maybe their best shot at a win for a while when they host the Lakers on Tuesday.