Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six

Knicks making effort to acquire Jamal Crawford in sign-and-trade


Donnie Walsh said in the press conference announcing his departure from the Knicks’ president job that the team’s objective was to build supporting players around Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. He acknowledged the difficulty of that given the salary constraints of having two stars, but also made it clear that it wasn’t about a third star, but about support for those two. And yet, talks continued regarding the possible acquisition of Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. But when the Knicks landed Tyson Chandler in a sign-and-trade, it became apparent that they have a commitment to actually building an entire team.

That approach is continuing on Sunday, as the Knicks are pursuing a three-team sign-and-trade to acquire Jamal Crawford from the Hawks, according to the New York Post.  Toney Douglas is one piece leaving for New York in the talks.

So is Crawford a seamless fit? Absolutely not. The Knicks need a pure-point creator, a low-usage guy who can run the offense, not turn it over, and create shots for other players. Crawford is very much none of those things. He’s a high-usage scorer who does not have terrific playmaking abilities. He’s 31-years-old and his defense has never been excellent.

But he played decent enough defense in Atlanta, and he makes a high-octane offense that much better. The sign-and-trade will get Crawford the kind of money he wants, or at least more than he would have made getting the MLE from New York. He can handle the ball and he’s going to be killer on kickout when a double comes versus Melo or STAT.

There’s a lot to question about this move, but New York’s limited in its options, it’s a weak year for point guards, and Crawford’s one of the best left on the market. New York doesn’t have a solid all-around team (their bench will be an absolute nightmare), but they’ve done what they said. They’re building around the two stars.


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.