Who really is on Chris Paul's trade demand list?


nba_paul_250.jpgChris Paul wants to get traded, we get it. What we don’t get is where, exactly.

The first report from Ken Berger of CBSSports.com said the Knicks, Magic and Lakers were on the list. But that’s not what ESPN’s Chris Broussard heard, and he is probably as well connected with LeBron’s people and the marketing firm LRMR as anyone (and Paul signed with LRMR recently).

Sources told Broussard on Thursday that the Knicks and Magic are on Paul’s list of preferred destinations, but the Lakers are not. Sources told Broussard that the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks are also in the running if Paul were to be traded.

All four of those teams make some sense (although could Paul and Brandon Roy, two guys who like the ball in their hands, really co-exist well?). More sense than the Lakers, anyway. New York and Orlando make a ton of sense, great pick-and-roll partners in those cities.

Personally, I’ve said the Hornets should not trade Paul. But if they do, they are not going to just want to move their biggest star — the price is going to be taking on Emeka Okafor or one of the other bad contracts weighing down the Hornets roster. If they are going to rebuild, they will want to clear the decks.

That is going to mean a lot of moving parts in any deal. Expect it to take time, a long time. Or the Hornets could just go through the motions of a deal they never will make.

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.