Philadelphia 76ers v Washington Wizards

Wizards open contract negotiations with John Wall


The Wizards want to extend John Wall — he’s the guy they want to build around, the face of the franchise, he’s good in the locker room and good on the court (when he’s healthy and on the court). In his last 20 games last season he averaged averaged 23.9 points per game on 48.3 percent shooting and 41.7 percent from three (his jump shot was working), plus he has 7.8 assists per game.

The question is the price.

The two sides have opened negotiations to figure that out, reports J. Michael at

The Wizards have begun talking with John Wall’s agent, Dan Fegan, regarding an extension before the regular season, CSN Washington has learned.

Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld wouldn’t comment on whether or not he expected an agreement to be consummated quickly, but if how quickly he moved in free agency is any indication he’d like to get it done sooner rather than later. Grunfeld locked up Eric Maynor, Martell Webster and Garrett Temple in the first three days of the free agency.

In an ideal world they would get Wall on a Stephen Curry-like deal, which was four years, $44 million. The Wizards could give Wall the fifth year and throw in a player option after three or four years.

But they may go higher than that. Michael says the Wizards are all in for Wall and may be willing to overpay to keep the guy they want to be their star happy. A max deal under the new CBA would start at $13.7 million this season, we don’t know the number for next year yet but it likely will be higher so we’re talking a deal starting at $14 million a year or more.

Is Wall worth that?

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.