File photo of Washington Wizards coach Saunders during an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in Boston

Could Flip Saunders replace David Kahn as Minnesota GM next year?


We told you earlier today that former Minnesota coach (and current ESPN analyst) Flip Saunders is working with a group of investors looking to buy the Timberwolves. In this scenario and Saunders would take over basketball operations (owner Glenn Taylor has had the team on the market for a while looking for an owner who would gradually take over and would keep the team in Minnesota).

But Saunders moving into a position of power could happen sooner rather than later.

Columnist Sid Hartman at the Star Tribune suggests Saunders could be in and current GM David Kahn could be out by the start of next season.

There are several indications pointing to the likelihood of former Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders replacing David Kahn as president of basketball operations for the team before the 2013-14 season.
Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor wasn’t available for comment on the subject Saturday, but he hasn’t kept it a secret that Saunders has served as a consultant for him on the basketball team during this season.

Unless Saunders is offered a coaching job that would pay him a lot more money than he would get being the Wolves’ president of basketball operations, I think it’s a strong possibility that Saunders will replace Kahn before next season.

There are a whole lot of “ifs” coming, but…

If Taylor is interested in selling to this group of investors, and if Saunders really is going to step in to run the basketball side of the operation, and if Taylor knows Kevin Love isn’t Kahn’s biggest fan and would like a change, and if Taylor really is good with all of it than it’s possible Saunders could take over sooner rather than later.

A lot of ifs, but there is a logical flow to this. On the court the Timberwolves need to keep Kevin Love in house to try and build a contender with him and Ricky Rubio at the core, and sliding Kahn out for Saunders could help with that. As for what steps the Wolves need to take, we actually need to see this team play for a stretch with everyone healthy then evaluate. Saunders could do that.

Taylor isn’t racing to sell the team, but it’s not hard to see this come together faster than the sale itself.

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.