Author: Kurt Helin

Paul George

Paul George drops 33 points, 360 dunk at Drew League


Paul George doesn’t have to sit around and watch the free agent circus in the NBA — his team can’t really do much anyway (save shop Roy Hibbert around), so he decided to play some ball.

So he showed up at the top-flight Los Angeles pro-am Drew League on Sunday and dropped 33. Because he can. And he threw in the 360 dunk above for free.

Best part is, who was George’s Drew League teammate? Nick Young. Don’t believe me?

Report: Channing Frye reaches four-year, $32 million deal with Orlando

channing frye suns

Channing Frye decided not to wait around and see if better offers would come after Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James make their decisions — he is taking the money and heading to Disney World.

Or, close to it in Orlando.

The two sides have reached a deal, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Joshua Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has more details.

(Out of town meaning not at the Orlando Summer League games.)

To me that price, more than the mid-level exception, is steep for Frye. The Magic have just drafted Aaron Gordon and Andrew Nicholson at the four, both young talents who now will split up minutes with Frye.

Frye missed all of the 2012-13 season with an enlarged heart but bounced back with good numbers last season, including 11.1 points per game.

Frye is a classic stretch four — more than half of his shots last season were three pointers and he knocked down 37 percent of them (which is actually below his career average). Teams do better when he is on the court.

There are things to like — starting with the fact the Magic needed three point shooting (20th in league in percentage last year). Now when Elfrid Payton or Victor Oladipo drives there will be someone to kick out to who can knock it down. Combine that with Nikola Vucevic up front and that’s an interesting starting five in Orlando. Not sure they make the playoffs (even in the East) but it’s interesting.

Report: Mavericks, Lakers, Cavaliers, Heat and Wizards pursuing Trevor Ariza

Trevor Ariza

Contract year Trevor Ariza always does well for himself.

Ariza had a career best year last season with the Wizards — a big jump to 14.4 points a game and it came with a jump in an efficiency — just as his contract came up with the Wizards. Teams get to decide whether that was Ariza maturing at age 28 or if (like his good season with the Lakers five years ago) that was focus brought on by financial considerations.

Either way, he’s about to get paid and according to Ken Berger at a few teams lined up for him.

Two things to note here that Berger talked about in later tweets. First, the Wizards are hard after Ariza too, trying to keep their group back from last season and they are in the mix with a healthy contract. Second, the Heat can only make that kind of financial offer through a sign-and-trade (not likely) or because one of the big three left and there was financial room. Which is to say, the Heat are basically out of the mix.

The Mavericks, Cavaliers and Lakers are all also in a holding pattern waiting for the LeBron James/Carmelo Anthony free agency bottleneck to shake loose. What they can or will offer depends on what decisions those two make.

That said, a 28-year-old wing who can both shoot the three and defend, you can bet Ariza is about to get paid.

Report: Heat, Danny Granger agree to two-year deal

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Two

The Heat are not getting vintage 2009, All-Star Danny Granger. Rather, the model they have has been through a few knee operations and is not the same guy. Watch him in person and you see the explosiveness is gone. He was uninspiring with the Pacers last season, looked better but not great with the Clippers, but in the playoffs he shot 27.5 percent overall and 22.7 percent from three. His minutes got slashed.

At best is a decent rotation player off the bench.

But the Heat have landed him. A two-year deal for the bi-annual exception has been agreed to, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Pat Riley has been working to upgrade the Heat roster and he now has added Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger. Those are two players the Heat could have used last season, they are improvements (McRoberts in particular) and with Pat Riley not sure what he can really spend and having to act like his team is capped out. Which means exception pieces only, and in that situation Riley did pretty well (although Anthony Morrow for the bi-annual would be much better).

But is that really enough to keep LeBron James in house? Does it show him the team is committed to spend and to improve the roster enough to win?

Those are the only questions that matter.

And the only guy who can answer them has yet to speak to Pat Riley or anyone else.

Report: No decision yet as Carmelo Anthony torn between Knicks, Lakers, Bulls. Yes, Bulls.

Utah Jazz v New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony’s decision has always been framed as winning vs. money — if he really wanted to win he’d join Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago, if he wants the money New York has the most of it. But that is simplistic. Money matters, so does the team and if they can win, but so does lifestyle, what makes your family happy, weather and more. Think about your big life decisions, it’s a balancing act between all those things and where you place the priorities.

Carmelo Anthony is torn on this. That’s clear from the fact that after thinking about it for a weekend we don’t have a decision.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News spoke to someone reportedly close to Anthony who said the star is really torn between the offers from the Knicks, Lakers and Bulls.

Anthony, 30, is still debating his next move with the Knicks, Lakers and the Bulls as his top three choices, the source claims. Chicago is still in the running despite the fact that the Bulls, barring a sign-and-trade, cannot come close to matching the max deals the Knicks and Lakers offered Anthony last week. However, the Bulls do allow Anthony to stay in the Eastern Conference, play in the large market and join a contending team.

Knicks president Phil Jackson, despite hints to the contrary, offered Anthony a max deal of five years, $129 million. The best the Bulls can do is $75 million over four years. If it was just about taking the most money, Anthony already would have announced his intentions to rejoin the Knicks. But Anthony is intrigued by the Bulls as well as the Lakers, who have the ability to give Anthony a max deal ($96 million) over four years. Anthony also lives in Los Angeles during the off-season and is friends with Kobe Bryant.

Winning matters, but would you leave nearly $55 million on the table for a shot at a ring? That is a lot of scratch, no matter how much you have already made.

The Lakers and Knicks offer variations on the rebuilding team idea — Anthony gets paid big money and is a superstar in a major market (with all the off-the-court advantages that come with it). He already has homes in both cities. Both those teams are a few steps from contention, however. The Lakers have Kobe Bryant and could bring back Pau Gasol, although in the West those three plus other pieces really worth more than the five seed? The Knicks are in the East but it will take a couple years to fix their cap issues.

Still, expectations are an Anthony decision will come sooner rather than later.

As it has always been for Anthony, it comes down to what really matters most to him. Where he will feel the most comfortable, where his family will feel the most comfortable. And that’s not always an easy, clear-cut decision.