Luke Ridnour nears four-year deal with Timberwolves to add to team's point guard collection


lridnour.jpgThe Minnesota Timberwolves brought in Kurt Rambis to run the triangle, but he had to partially abandon or alter many of those sets last year because he didn’t have the right personnel to do it. It was a team where the offense had to start with a slashing point guard, but the triangle is not an offense that wants a ball-dominating point guard (see Derek Fisher, John Paxson, Steve Kerr).

So, the Timberwolves have gone out and gotten another strong point guard. To go with the two they have and the best one of all still stashed over in Europe.

The Timberwolves are very close to a four-year, $16 million deal with Luke Ridnour, according to Gery Woelfel of the Journal-Times.

Ridnour is a good point guard — better than the two on the roster now, Jonny Flynn and Ramon Sessions. Ridnour shoots at a higher percentage both inside and beyond the arc than those two and his PER is considerably higher. In that sense, the T-Wolves are getting a better player. The only caution is that Ridnour just had a season far better than any of his previous ones — he could return to earth this season. Even if he does, he’s still the point on the roster, and he runs the pick-and-roll well.

The best teams work because the GM and coach are on the same page, and frankly it’s a little tough to figure out what David Kahn is thinking. Okay, more than a little tough.

They have an offense that does not require a traditional point guard but they are about to have Ridnour, Flynn and Sessions in house (although they are trying to trade Sessions) plus there is Ricky Rubio stashed overseas and he could come out in 2011 (lockout depending, most likely).

Then there are the frontcourt moves, like trying to trade Al Jefferson for next to nothing but signing Darko Milicic to a $20 million, multi-year deal.

I give up trying to figure it out.

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.