Hornets camp will open in New Orleans

Published September 7, 2006

NEW ORLEANS - The Hornets, homeless since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the city, will begin training camp at New Orleans Arena on Oct. 3.

"I'm thrilled to be able to officially begin the 2006-07 season by holding the first week of training camp in New Orleans," owner George Shinn said.

The Hornets are scheduled to practice through Oct. 6 before moving to Tulane for a weekend practice. The team plans to return to Oklahoma City for two home preseason games.

"Players can use the trip as a way to become familiar with the surroundings of the Arena and the city as well as come together as a team and build chemistry," general manager Jeff Bower said.

The Hornets open their regular-season home schedule in New Orleans against the Houston Rockets on Nov. 5. Six games will be played in New Orleans this season.

WOMEN'S WORLD TEAM: Forward Candace Parker, center Michelle Snow of the Houston Comets and center Cheryl Ford of the Detroit Shock were added to the U.S. roster to reinforce the frontcourt after forward Lisa Leslie withdrew because of family reasons. The championships are Tuesday through Sept. 23 in Brazil.

SAMPSON PLEA: Former NBA star Ralph Sampson agreed to plead guilty to mail fraud and serve two months in jail, his attorney said Wednesday. Sampson, 46, is to enter the plea in U.S. District Court in Richmond today. Attorney James C. Roberts said Sampson will serve the jail term in Atlanta, where he lives. Roberts said prosecutors will drop charges of perjury, making a false claim and making a false statement about his finances in a child support case. Sampson faced a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 on each count if convicted.

HEAT: Guard Gary Payton signed a one-year deal to return, meaning the defending NBA champion has every player from last season's regular postseason rotation under contract. Payton, 38, was expected to get about $1.2-million. He averaged 7.7 points in the regular season, then 5.8 in the playoff run. He made 25 regular- season starts, plus often was the point guard of choice in the fourth quarter - and could be valuable early this season, with Jason Williams recovering from offseason knee surgery.

GRIZZLIES: Forward Pau Gasol is scheduled to have surgery Friday to repair a broken bone in his left foot, sustained last week while playing for Spain during the World Championship. He is expected to be sidelined up to three months. The regular- season opener is Nov. 1.

LAKERS: Guard Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock, who was traded to Los Angeles after the Mavericks made him the 58th pick in the draft, signed. Terms were not announced. Pinnock, out of George Washington, played for the Lakers in the Summer Pro League and averaged 10.6 points and 2.3 assists in 24.5 minutes.