Or maybe, rather than trade him, the Bulls are trying to lock up Joakim Noah

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Noah_no1.jpgThis makes a lot more sense.

The Chicago Bulls are not looking to trade Joakim Noah but are close to reaching an extension with him on his rookie deal, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The two sides have been talking for weeks and are closing in on a deal that would keep Noah a Bull.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets are still telling anyone who asks that they are not moving Carmelo Anthony right now, the report adds. New GM Masai Ujiri and Anthony have yet to talk face-to-face.

That is in contrast to the report we passed along yesterday from ESPNChicago that the Bulls were talking about including Noah in a deal to bring in Carmelo Anthony. The new report says the Bulls are doing no such thing.

We said yesterday that it made no sense for Chicago to leak a rumor about including Noah, that it made little sense for them to really make that trade period because Noah is a better fit with Boozer and Rose than Melo.

It made sense for Noah’s people to leek it as negotiating leverage. It made sense for Denver to leak it as a way of letting Chicago (and others) know what the price tag would be for such a trade. It made sense for Melo’s people to say the Bulls were talking about it to see if they could generate momentum to get their man out of Denver. It made no sense for Chicago.

Did the Bulls discuss including Noah in any packages for Anthony? Well, define discuss. Because things that are fleetingly discussed by NBA front offices and even felt out a little through back channels would put the wild trade discussions in your fantasy league to shame. A lot of ideas are floated out there. But that is very different than seriously discussed, and few of those rumors ever rise to that level. This was likely one of them that never really got serious consideration.

The Bulls have a very good core in Derrick Rose, Carlos Boozer, Luol Deng and Noah. This is a roster that is going to win a lot of games. The Bulls are not going to be messing with that core before it even plays one game.

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.