Ray Allen

Heat win getting Allen, but Celtics will be just fine


This is what scares 29 other teams — the Miami Heat just got better.

Ray Allen has agreed to terms with the world champion Heat, bringing arguably the best 3-point shooter the game has ever seen to a team that has desperately looked for a way to the stretch the floor.

Miami won a title this past season with Dwyane Wade dragging one leg around that needed surgery and Chris Bosh playing through an abdominal injury that is keeping him out of the Olympics. LeBron James now doesn’t have to deal with the weight of needing his first ring. And now they just added Ray Allen?

Miami got a big win by getting Allen.

It feels like a loss in Boston. Like a betrayal. Allen was one of the “Big Three” and they were getting the gang back together for one more run, and Allen was supposed to be a part of it.

But Allen didn’t owe Boston anything. And besides, the Celtics will be better next season, even without Allen.

While Boston fans are frustrated, Allen leaving should not be a surprise. Pretty much everyone around the team, every Celtics beat reporter said this was coming. First, the Celtics have tried to trade him three times in the last year — you want him to be loyal to you after you were willing to ship him out for the hot new thing without blinking?

Then there’s the long-reported rift between Allen and Rajon Rondo, one that Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo says played a big role in Allen’s decision to leave.

And ultimately, it was his decision to make. He came to Boston via trade from Seattle, then two years ago took a below-market contract to stay a couple more years. He was loyal. Then was re-paid with trade rumors.

In the end, Boston will be fine. Really, the Celtics should be better next year. They bring back their core players. They add Jeff Green (probably; the four-year, $40 million deal is yet to be finalized). Jason Terry comes in as the new sixth man, who at this point in his career is flat out better than Allen. And Jared Sullinger can give them some solid minutes even as a rookie.

And Boston could be healthier.

Boston should be a better team next season than they were this season.

The problem is, so should Miami. And the Heat were already a couple steps ahead.

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.