Paul George, LeBron James

Larry Bird on Paul George’s potential offers: ‘We’re going to match’


Paul George will be a free agent, but a restricted free agent, next summer. So, even if he wanted to leave Indiana for, I dunno, maybe the Lakers, the Pacers would have the right to match any offer.

George is well on his way to becoming a max-contract player, and if the Pacers believe he’s worth that much money, they won’t lose him.

“We’re trying to sign Paul,” Larry Bird told 1070 The Fan, Indianapolis. “It’s not as easy as it looks. We’re going to make a major offer to him. It’s going to be up to him whether he accept or not or goes out into the free-agency market. If he does, we’re going to match. But we’d like to get something done. We know he wants to be here. He’s a great kid. He’s one of the nicest young men you’ll ever meet, and he’s a good player. And we think we should take care of him.”

The Pacers could extend George’s contract before Oct. 31, and that would allow them to sign him for five additional years. If George makes an All-NBA first, second or third team this season, he’d even be eligible for a larger extension. Because Indiana and George won’t know whether that will happen before Oct. 31, they can negotiate contingencies in the event it does.

In short, if the Pacers are serious about paying George, they could offer him more guaranteed money before the season begins than any other team could offer next summer. If George becomes a free agent in 2014, the Pacers can match any offer he’ll receive.

Either way, it’s an extreme longshot George finds his way out of Indiana anytime soon.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

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.