Miami Heat's Spoelstra says he's not worried about Pat Riley the coach

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spoelstra.jpgHe’s done it before. Pat Riley may have a front office job but he would rather be sitting on the bench, winning titles. He threw aside a very good coach to do it before, when Dwyane Wade and Shaq looked like they could win a title.

If the Heat can land another big star — Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, maybe even LeBron — to go along side Wade again, then what is to stop Riley from kicking Erik Spoelstra to the curb and take over the team? Riley has said he would take over if a top free agent requested it.

Spoelstra told our own Ira Winderman, writing for the South Florida Sun Sentinel, that he is not worried about that.

“I didn’t really take it the way everybody else took it. And nothing’s really changed,” Spoelstra said of his status, having led the Heat to a No. 5 Eastern Conference playoff seed in each of his first two seasons as an NBA coach.

“We’ve talked every day. There wasn’t really a need to address that. And so I can see how it’s portrayed out there in the media. I didn’t really take it personally or how people think that it might be portrayed.”

“Really, there wasn’t a whole lot of discussion about it,” he said. “More of it has been about our plan and all the different scenarios and there are so many different ways that the draft and free agency can go.”

Spoelstra is a Riley clone in a lot of ways, the Heat run a lot of old Riley sets (although with some variances). Spoelstra also has gotten the most out of that roster anyone would have. He deserves the chance with what may well be a better roster next year.

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.

Paul George reiterates “I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot”

Paul George

In the Pacers first exhibition game of the season Saturday against the Pelicans, Paul George started at the power forward spot and looked healthy — that should be the big takeaway. He also showed off his offensive game in the first quarter, eventually finishing the night with 18 points on 7-of-15 shooting. He forced some shots in the second half and had some defensive challenges, but it was a solid outing for a first preseason game.

George did not see it that way, and that will end up being the big takeaway.

He complained about playing power forward during training camp and given the chance after this one game he did it again, as reported by Candace Buckner of the Indy Star.

“I don’t know if I’m cut out for a four spot,” George said after the Pacers’ 110-105 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans, a game in which he started matched up against 6-foot-11 All-Star Anthony Davis.

“I don’t know if this is my position. We’ll sit and watch tape and I’m sure I’ll talk with coach (Frank Vogel). I’ll talk with Larry (Bird) as well to get both their inputs on how the first game went but…I’m still not comfortable with it regardless of the situation. It’s still something I have to adjust to or maybe not. Or maybe it’s something we can go away from.”

George sees himself as a wing, where he has played his entire career. He doesn’t like defending traditional fours, as a scorer he doesn’t like expending all that energy defending pick-and-rolls and banging with bigger bodies. He’s been clear about that.

He still needs to be open to the idea. How much time George gets at the four on any given night should depend on the matchup — and Anthony Davis is about as rough a matchup as he is going to see. Davis scored 18 points in 15 minutes, and the Pelicans controlled the paint against the small-ball Pacers. George had a hard time defending Davis — welcome to a rather large club, PG. That said, George scored 12 points in the first quarter mostly with Davis on him, he pulled the big out in space and got what he wanted.

Back to the matchups point, George will struggle defensively against the best fours in the game (most of whom are in the West). But what about the nights in the East when George would be matched up on Thaddeus Young from Brooklyn, Jared Sullinger (or David Lee, or whoever) from Boston, or Aaron Gordon with the Magic, or Carmelo Anthony with the Knicks when they play small? There are a lot of lineups the Pacers will see where George at the four makes sense.

The Pacers are transitioning from a plodding and defensive-minded squad to a more up-tempo style, and that’s going to take time— a lot more than one preseason game. However, if George is throwing cold water on the plan after this one effort, it might take a lot longer and be a lot bumpier to make that transition than we pictured.