Denver should be patient, not move Carmelo Anthony on August speculation

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Thumbnail image for canthony_arty.jpgYou want a good reason why the Denver Nuggets should be very deliberate in it’s dealings with Carmelo Anthony? Woody Paige of the Denver Post put it clearly:

In the seven years Anthony has been in Denver they averaged 48 wins a season and never missed the playoffs. The eight years before he came they averaged 25 wins per season and never made the playoffs.

Anthony helped transform that franchise, you just don’t move someone like that on an August speculation.

Denver may ultimately have no choice. If Anthony and his agent Leon Rose make it clear to the Nuggets they will opt out of the last year of his contract and move on at the end of this season, then Denver has to move him. It does not want to end up like Cleveland, getting nothing for its departed superstar.

But first, Denver needs to hire a general manager. Then that person needs to have a sit down with Anthony and Rose. Maybe Anthony has formally made up his mind and wants out. More likely, he is leaving his options open and trying to pressure Denver into improving the team.

We’ve said before, at some point Anthony needs to be fair to Denver — if he is going to leave, he has to tell them and give them a chance to trade him. Anthony wants an extend-and-trade anyway so he can get the money from the three-years, $65 million deal on the table. Whatever the max deal will be under the new CBA, it will be less.

Maybe it will come to that. Maybe not. But for Denver they need to take their time and do this right. Because this franchise has seen life without Anthony before and it’s not pretty, it’s not a place they want to return to.

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.