New York Knicks v Denver Nuggets

Report: Nets try to draw Pistons into three-way deal for ‘Melo


Ever since the collapse of a four-team deal before the season, the New Jersey Nets and Denver Nuggets have been trying to lure teams into a three- or four-way-trade that would end with Carmelo Anthony in New Jersey and a lot of picks and young players headed to Denver.

The latest — the Detroit Pistons, according to the Bergen Record.

In the complicated scenario that’s being discussed, the Nets would send Derrick Favors, Devin Harris and at least two first-round picks to Denver and Troy Murphy’s expiring contract to the Pistons. In return, the Nets would get Anthony and Chauncey Billups from the Nuggets and likely Richard Hamilton from the Pistons, who are looking to shed salary. Hamilton has two years and $25 million remaining on his contract.

There are a number of picks and other players involved in a variety of scenarios being discussed here, but that is the core of it.

Detroit joins the list of teams such as Cleveland, Portland and others that have been approached as being a third team in a deal, but so far nothing has come to fruition.

Not that Denver is in any rush. They are happy to drag this out right up until the Feb. 24 trading deadline, figuring that better offers will emerge as teams panic or they will go with the fallback Nets offer of Favors, Murphy and several first round picks.

But that assumes — as both Denver and New Jersey do — that Anthony will blink and sign an extension with the Nets (three years at $65 million, which the Nuggets have had on the table since this summer). Anthony’s people keep saying the Knicks are the only team where he would sign an extension. Denver does not like what the Knicks can send back to them.

Meanwhile Dallas, and maybe Houston, are out there as teams that would make a trade for Anthony and not care about the extension. But those offers are for far less than the Nets are offering.

Sam Amick at FanHouse described it well — Anthony and the Nuggets are playing a game of chicken. With the deadline so far away, there is no real pressure for someone to blink yet. So the game continues with other teams like the Pistons being drawn in.

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.