Report: Knicks, Raptors talking Kyle Lowry trade

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The Knicks need help on offense — a shot creator besides Carmelo Anthony — and they are looking at another point guard to get it.

Multiple reports say the Knicks are now talking with the Toronto Raptors about getting Kyle Lowry, who became available when the Raptors picked up Greivis Vasquez in the Rudy Gay trade (Lowry was available before then, too, but this stepped up the pace). Marc Stein of ESPN was on top of the rumors.

Lowry certainly has been the better point guard — he’s not considered as good a shooter but he’s smart about the shots he takes and therefore has a higher shooting percentage. He’s more efficient on offense and a better, more tenacious defender. He’s an upgrade for New York.

Stein gets to the heart of it — Lowry for Raymond Felton isn’t going to do it for Toronto so the Knicks have to throw in something else the rebuilding Raptors want. Tim Hardaway Jr. would fit that mold (more than Iman Shumpert would, Beck says the Raptors don’t want him but that is the guy the Knicks are likely trying to push). That would be a hit to the Knicks, who are trying to get younger (but have gotten worse in the process). Throwing in Metta World Peace could help balance the salaries.

What Toronto really wants is a first round pick, reports Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. Problem is the Knicks have already traded so many away they don’t have a first rounder they can move until 2018. They could try to get another team involved with a pick in the next couple years, but now the Knicks have to send out another asset to get that pick to get Lowry — would that really be worth it?

If this happens it likely happens before Dec. 19 — any players moved before then can be moved again at the trade deadline. After Dec. 19 and you’re stuck with them the rest of the year, and the Raptors aren’t looking to keep Felton around if they get him.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.

Pacers president Kevin Pritchard likes tweets critical of Paul George trade

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Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

Oops.

Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.

Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):

This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.

Report: Rival executives still expect Paul George to leave Thunder for Lakers

AP Photo/David Zalubowski
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Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.

He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.

Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.

So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.

Sam Amick of USA Today:

Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency

Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.

There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.

Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.