Dante Cunningham, Blake Griffin

Report: T-Wolves trade Ellington to Grizzlies for Cunningham


We told you last week that the Grizzlies had reached out to the Minnesota Timberwolves because Memphis wanted some depth at guard and they had a big man in Dante Cunningham to dangle out there.

Well, we have a deal according to 1500 ESPN Radio out of Minneapolis (via SLAM):

The Wolves and Memphis Grizzlies have a verbal agreement to swap guard Wayne Ellington for forward Dante Cunningham, a source with knowledge of the deal said on Monday. An official announcement should come in the near future after the paperwork is submitted to the NBA.

Ellington was coming off the bench in Minnesota for about 20 minutes a game last year but was not really blowing anybody’s doors off, shooting 40.4 percent overall and 32.4 percent from three. Not ideal. But the Grizzlies are looking for depth off the bench, not a guy to close out games.

Minnesota gets the better player in this deal, Cunningham shows promise. He can play and defend either forward position, and while he only scored 5.2 points and grabbed 3.8 rebounds a game in 17 minutes a contest for the Grizzlies, he was pretty efficient doing it. He shot 51 percent last year. He’s a nice pickup for Minnesota.

Somebody looks comfortable: Paul George drops 20 in first quarter

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Paul George‘s first experience starting as a power forward was going up against Anthony Davis — not just one of the best power forwards in the game, one of the handful of best players in the game period. That didn’t go well for George, and he wasn’t happy about it.

His second experience was in another preseason game Tuesday, going up against the Pistons and their four, Ersan İlyasova. He’s not quite as intimidating.

George scored 20 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 on threes — and that was just the first quarter (you can see it all in the video above).

As we have said before, George at the four is not a bad call by the Pacers, but some of that depends on the matchup. On the nights the Pacers face Davis or Blake Griffin or LaMarcus Aldridge or Zach Randolph (or a handful of others) the Pacers’ coaching staff is going to have to adjust. But there are a lot of nights where George at the four is going to force the other team to adjust, and that will play into the Pacers’ hands.

Is DeMarcus Cousins MVP worthy? “It’s mine to grab”

DeMarcus Cousins

Last season, DeMarcus Cousins received zero MVP votes (the same as every year of his career). Even though he averaged 24.1 points, and 12.7 rebounds a game, which was enough to get him his first All-Star berth, MVP is another thing entirely. Only players on winning teams tend to draw the attention of MVP voters.

This season, can Cousins — arguably the best center in the game — get in the conversation?

He thinks it’s more than just that, he told Kevin Ding at Bleacher Report.

The topic is the 2015-16 NBA MVP award and whether it could be reachable for DeMarcus Cousins.

“Reachable, man?” Cousins told Bleacher Report, his voice rising high. “It’s mine to grab.”

As noted above, the only way Cousins gets into the conversation — fair or not — is if the Kings are in the playoffs (at the very least). He understands that.

“It’s going to take a full team effort,” Cousins said. “I’ll try to play at a high level and bring my team along with me.”

Vlade Divac built a Kings’ team designed to start winning now — as you would expect from a team a year away from moving into a new arena they need to fill. Owner Vivek Ranadive is not about selling hope anymore, he wants to sell wins.

I think Cousins can help provide that.

I’m less sold on the cast around him being able to help.