carmelo Antnony

You knew this was coming: Carmelo Anthony denies report he has decided to leave Knicks


Anybody who tells you they know what Carmelo Anthony is going to do this summer is selling you something. And it’s something that doesn’t smell good.

But we are going to be inundated with this stuff between now and July 1, when Anthony likely will become a free agent.

The latest was ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith, who on his New York radio show Thursday said he heard from sources ‘Melo is definitely leaving the Knicks and then went on to once again hype the ‘Melo to the Lakers this summer idea.

Anthony shot down that idea at shootaround before the Knicks play the Nets Thursday, as reported by Rod Boone of Newsday:

With so many variables in play, Anthony himself could not have made a definitive decision on what he will do more than six months from now. Remember the Knicks can offer one more guaranteed year in this contract, plus larger raises, so that’s nearly $30 million guaranteed Anthony has to leave on the table to bolt New York. That would be the New York Knicks team he fought so very hard to get to, the city where he loves to play.

Another consideration: Just how strong is the market for ‘Melo at max dollars. Going to the Lakers means likely reuniting with Mike D’Antoni, plus it means a Lakers offense based around the isolation-heavy preferences of ‘Melo and Kobe Bryant. In a West with the Spurs, Thunder, Clippers, Trail Blazers and Warriors does Kobe/’Melo strike you as a title contender? Me neither. And the Lakers can’t even offer Anthony a full max after Kobe’s new contract, ‘Melo would have to take a little discount and after that there is no money to bring in good role players around him. The Lakers are rumored to really want to go after Kevin Love in 2015 (LaMarcus Aldridge and others could be available then as well).

Who else will offer ‘Melo a max? Dallas? A rebuilding team like Philadelphia or Orlando? Hard to see those teams stepping up with big offers. Maybe there can be a sign-and-trade with another team, but then the Knicks and James Dolan have to go along with it.

As noted above, there are a lot of variables in play and the most likely outcome is he stays put in New York. But nobody knows what will happen this summer. Don’t buy anyone telling you they know how this plays out.

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.