Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Clippers

Report: Celtics interested in Utah’s Gordon Hayward. So are a lot of teams. Doesn’t mean he’ll be moved.


Gordon Hayward has a lot of fans in NBA front offices. His ability to shoot it on a catch-and-shoot or off the bounce, his ability to create his own shot, the fact he’s a willing defender has a lot of teams seeing him as a good fit for what they do.

He’s also a restricted free agent this summer — one of his fans in one of those front offices is going to make an offer, the question is will the Jazz match?

Not shockingly, a team is trying to jump the line a little and trade for Hayward — the Boston Celtics, as reported by the A. Sherrod Blakley at CSNNE.com. Remember Hayward played for Boston coach Brad Stevens at Butler.

However, it’s not going to be easy to make a deal.

The Celtics have expressed some interest in acquiring Utah’s Gordon Hayward, a league source tells CSNNE.com….

Despite Utah’s desperate need for a point guard, there’s little interest in Rajon Rondo primarily because they don’t anticipate he’ll re-sign with the club beyond his current contract which is up in the summer of 2015. Jeff Green is another option, but the Jazz aren’t all that interested in him, either.

With Trey Burke in the fold, I’m not sure I’d call Utah desperate for a point guard, but Rondo would be a big upgrade. They also are right he’s not likely to re-sign there. And nobody really wants Green.

However, if the Celtics really want to loosen things up they can throw in one of first round picks they’ve been stockpiling.

But two league sources, both having had recent conversations with the Celtics, told CSNNE.com on Tuesday that Boston is “very reluctant” to part with any of their first-round picks in facilitating a deal.

Hayward is going to be interesting this summer, he’s the kind of player that can get overpaid and it would be interesting to see if the Jazz will match any offer. But don’t expect them to move him before the deadline.

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.