DeMarcus Cousins Rumors

Kings Coaching Rumors: Mullin, Jent, Malone

December 15 at 5:28pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Kings’ head coaching job appears to be George Karl‘s if he wants it, and it seems like he does. Still, the job would be Chris Mullin‘s if he wanted to take it, an opposing GM tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link), and Mullin is indeed a possibility, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Tyrone Corbin is expected to take the job on an interim basis once the Kings make their decision to fire Michael Malone official. Here’s more on a time of uncertainty in California’s capital:

5:28pm update:

  • Ranadive finds the prospect of Mullin coaching the team “very intriguing,” sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

4:48pm update:

  • It was a mutual parting of ways for Jent and the Kings, D’Alessandro told reporters, including Jones (Twitter link).

4:06pm updates:

  • Jent won’t be on the staff going forward, Corbin confirmed to reporters, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee notes (on Twitter).
  • Cousins said the news of Malone’s departure, which he heard via Twitter, evoked an emotional reaction among the players and called the day’s rainy weather a fitting backdrop, as Amick and Jones relay (Twitter links).

4:00pm updates:

  • DeMarcus Cousins said the Kings didn’t consult him about the apparent coaching change, but he trusts the team to work it all out, as he told reporters today, including USA Today’s Sam Amick (Twitter link).
  • The Kings and assistant coach Chris Jent are expected to part ways, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com, who indicates that the team plans to make its decision to fire Malone official on Tuesday.
  • Sacramento’s front office didn’t believe Jent, who served last season as the team’s top assistant, was the right man for the job, so they interviewed Alvin Gentry and Kurt Rambis for the position, as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports writes in a full piece. Malone suspected at the time that the team was trying to hire his successor, and so he pursued Corbin, who landed the assistant coaching job and has been loyal to Malone. Gentry was uncomfortable with the notion that the Kings were setting him up as a head-coach-in-waiting, sources tell Grantland’s Zach Lowe, who says the Kings deny that they had that in mind.
  • There’s more than $4MM that Malone is still to receive under the terms of his contract with the Kings, Wojnarowski writes in the same piece.
  • The falling out between Malone and Kings management began late last season when Malone wanted the team to add a point guard and the front office instead signed Royce White to a pair of 10-day contracts and pushed Malone to play him, as Wojnarowski details.
  • GM Pete D’Alessandro was merely the messenger in many cases as he passed along orders from Ranadive that Malone didn’t like, though D’Alessandro and Malone never formed any mutual trust, according to Wojnarowski.
  • People around the team believe the Kings were waiting for an opportunity to fire Malone and used the team’s struggles of late as an excuse to do so, in spite of the absence of Cousins during the team’s 2-7 stretch over the last nine games, Wojnarowski hears.
  • The presence of Malone was a major reason why Rudy Gay signed his three-year extension with the team last month, Wojnarowski also writes.

Western Notes: Kings, Thomas, McGee, Grizzlies

December 15 at 11:30am CST By Chuck Myron

Improvements in the performance and temperament of DeMarcus Cousins and a flawed roster unfit for the style Kings management wants to play are among the reasons SB Nation’s Tom Ziller believes the Kings erred in their apparent decision to fire coach Michael Malone. Cousins was one of Malone’s most enthusiastic supporters, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). Carl Landry has had high praise for Malone, too, according to Jones, who adds that Malone’s players have almost universally held the coach in high esteem (Twitter links). While we wait to see what happens next in Sacramento, here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Isaiah Thomas has fired agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports for reasons both personal and professional, sources tell Darren Heitner of the Sports Agent Blog (Twitter link). The agency confirmed the move, as Heitner notes via Twitter. The Suns guard intends to pick a new agent before the holidays, Heitner adds. Miller negotiated a new four-year, $27MM deal this summer for Thomas, the last pick in the 2011 draft.
  • JaVale McGee will miss a “significant” amount of time after aggravating a muscle near the tibia in which he suffered a stress fracture that kept him out most of last season, Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said Sunday to reporters, including Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post“I heard six weeks at one point,” Shaw said. “I don’t know. I don’t think he’s anywhere close to coming back right now.”
  • Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger downplayed the notion that the team would make changes in spite of rumors indicating that the Cavs have their eyes on Tayshaun Prince and Kosta Koufos, as Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal writes. The Grizzlies are reportedly interested in Ray Allen, though there’s no indication that he would consider signing with Memphis, Tillery points out.

And-Ones: Cousins, Clifford, Knicks, Covington

December 8 at 9:56pm CST By Alex Lee

We heard yesterday that DeMarcus Cousins has been out for the past two weeks with a case of viral meningitis and could miss another week or two as he recovers. Kings head coach Michael Malone said today that Cousins is out “indefinitely,” reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (via Twitter). After a 9-5 start, Sacramento has lost four of five without its emerging superstar. Let’s take a look at what else is going around the Association:

  • The Hornets‘ playoff appearance last season automatically triggered a team option for the third year of head coach Steve Clifford‘s contract, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Clifford, hired in May 2013, signed a three-year, $6MM deal with Charlotte that is now officially fully guaranteed through next season.
  • While the disappointing Knicks might not be ready to turn their focus toward the draft, team president Phil Jackson also said that he doesn’t plan to make any in-season moves that might jeopardize the team’s long-term flexibility, writes Ian Begley of ESPN.com. “I’m not going to make movement for movement’s sake,” Jackson said. “There is sometimes addition by subtraction but I don’t see anybody that doesn’t want to be part of this organization, doesn’t want to play with his teammates, doesn’t want to learn… What we have to do is protect our future… If we evaluate a player and see he’s going to be a long-term player who is going to fit in our organization, we’ll do that.”
  • Duke center Jahlil Okafor remains the top prospect in the latest update to Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings, while high school senior Jaylen Brown, a small forward, is No. 1 on Givony’s 2016 mock draft.
  • Robert Covington has quickly worked his way into Brett Brown‘s rotation in Philadelphia, writes Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers added Covington in mid-November and he has averaged 9.5 points in 11 games since arriving in Philly. However, the Tennessee State product has scored 63 points and played significant minutes in Philadelphia’s last three contests, two of which the success-starved Sixers have won.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Clarkson, Thompson, Warriors

December 7 at 4:51pm CST By Zach Links

Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports learned that Kings star DeMarcus Cousins has been out for the last five games with a case of viral meningitis.  Cousins continues to recover but he’ll be out for at least another seven to 10 days.  More from the Pacific Division..

  • The L.A. D-Fenders announced (via Twitter) that Jordan Clarkson has been recalled by the Lakers in time for tonight’s tilt against the Pelicans.  Clarkson’s weekend stint with the D-Fenders was his third of the season.
  • Over the summer, Mychal Thompson said he’d have to talk his son Klay Thompson “down off the ledge” if a rumored deal sending him to the Timberwolves came to fruition. Earlier today, the younger Thompson said that his dad was kind of overstating things. “He exaggerates things. I’m sure you guys know that,” the Warriors star said, according to Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group (via Twitter).
  • Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob made some interesting comments about ex-coach Mark Jackson last week but he took the time to publicly apologize for them today, as Leung writes.  Lacob believes that Jackson will “succeed again in this business.”

Western Notes: Bryant, Cousins, Cuban

November 22 at 12:43pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Kobe Bryant has been criticized for the Lakers‘ current woes because of his two-year, $48.5MM contract extension, which, despite Bryant granting the team a small discount, is looked at as a huge reason that Los Angeles is likely headed for the draft lottery for a second straight year, Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. Speaking about his contract, Bryant said, “Did I take a discount? Yeah. Did I take as big a discount as some of you fans would want me to? No. Is it a big enough discount to help us be a contender? Yeah.”

Here’s more from out west:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the discount his star Dirk Nowitzki accepted when re-signing with the team made a huge impact in helping shape their roster, and Cuban took a not so subtle poke at Bryant, Holmes adds. “To me, it’s not about money, it’s about winning,” Cuban said. “Different players have different attitudes. Could a player make $24 million in the NBA’s current punitive financial climate [as Bryant does this season] and legitimately say they’re interested in winning? Yeah, of course, as long as you can convince everybody else that you need to come play for the minimum.”
  • Bryant also weighed in on the fans who think players should take less so franchises can build winning teams, Dwain Price of The Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes. “It’s the popular thing to do — the player takes less, blah blah, blah, blah,” Bryant said. “I think it’s a big coup for the owners to put players in situations where public perception puts pressure on them to take less money, because if you don’t, then you get criticized for it. It’s absolutely brilliant. But I’m not going for it. I know that the new head of the players association [Michele Roberts] ain’t going for it either.
  • DeMarcus Cousins credits his increased maturity this season to his time spent with Team USA this past summer, Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders writes. The Kings‘ center said, “It [playing in the FIBA tournament] helped out a lot. I’d say the biggest thing is learning how to sacrifice for your team.  Doing the small things to help the team.  That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve taken away.  I mean, I played with an incredible group of guys, a very talented group of guys.  So, me playing the way I usually play, it wasn’t really needed for the team.”

Western Notes: Rivers, Cousins, Ayon

September 6 at 12:45pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Austin Rivers believes this coming season will be his breakout year, John Reid of the Times Picayune writes. The Pelicans guard said, “I was constantly working the entire summer. I gained 10 pounds and I’ve got stronger in my upper body. This is my year. But I think at the end of the day, I think we all now understand we can only control what we can control. At the end of the day, we let all of the guys in the front office do their jobs. We just stick to what we do. We play.” Rivers has career averages of 7.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG. His career slash line is .390/.346/.601.

Here’s more from the west:

  • DeMarcus Cousins tells Chris Kudialis of The Sacramento Bee that he hopes Team USA experience for him and Rudy Gay will pay dividends for the Kings this coming season. “My thing is just taking in as much as I can from this experience and taking it back home,” Cousins said. “I’m being led by some of the best players in the league here, and I want to use everything I learn to make myself better.”
  • With the Warriors signing GM Bob Myers to an extension recently, Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders looks back at Myers’ biggest moves since arriving in Golden State.
  • Gustavo Ayon prefers to play in the NBA next season, but the offers he has received from European teams have been more lucrative to this point, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter links). Stein believes that Ayon, whom the Spurs recently expressed interest in, will head overseas unless the offers improve. Ayon played in 26 games for the Hawks last season, averaging 4.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 1.1 APG.

Cray Allred contributed to this post.

And-Ones: Cousins, Durant, Blair

August 14 at 8:55pm CST By Ryan Raroque

Here are some miscellaneous news and notes to pass along this evening:

  • Earlier today, ESPN reported that Kings center DeMarcus Cousins injured his right knee during Team USA practice today. Fortunately, an MRI reveled no structural damage, and Cousins is now listed as day-to-day, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports.
  • USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo described Kevin Durant‘s decision to drop out of Team USA as a “contractual situation” in which “he had no choice,” notes Erik Horne of NewsOK, who doesn’t think that those comments are consistent with Durant’s official statement for withdrawing. Last week, the Thunder star mentioned an inability to fulfill his responsibilities from a “time and energy standpoint” as a reason for his departure.
  • Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski was among many who were caught off-guard by Durant’s decision to leave the national team, notes Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.com.
  • DeJuan Blair is eager to build on a productive playoff series against the Spurs this past May as he suits up for the Wizards in 2014/15, writes Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. “I was very excited when I (learned I was traded from Dallas to Washington). It was like a dream come true…Last year, I saw what type of team they had. The youth, the big men coming up, the ingredients around the team. And I think I’ll be a great addition.”
  • Based on what he’s seen from Andre Drummond so far, Team USA assistant Tom Thibodeau spoke glowingly about how Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy will be an ideal coach to help the 21-year-old big man reach his potential (piece from Keith Langlois of Pistons.com).

Western Notes: Terry, Love, Williams

July 15 at 7:55pm CST By Ryan Raroque

Jason Terry may still be under contract with the Kings for one more season, but he isn’t ruling out an eventual return to the Mavericks, as both Tim MacMahon (via Twitter) and Bryan Gutierrez of ESPN Dallas note. The former Dallas guard was a guest on 103.3 FM’s Fitzimmons and Friedo Show and expressed his desire for a reunion.

“I won’t rule out returning back to Dallas. It’s my home and my heart…I bleed blue. I’m a Maverick.”  Terry added that championships are his driving force as he finishes out his career. “I want to get back on a team that has a realistic shot to win a championship, and I think Dallas is doing those types of things. 

Here’s more out of out of the Western Conference this evening:

  • Terry also commented on the current state of the Kings and his plans for the near future. (They’re) in transition right now. For me, at this point in my career, I want championships…I wouldn’t say it’s rebuilding, but a building process…DeMarcus Cousins (is) a huge talent. (His attitude is) a little shaky. Rudy Gay (is) not a proven winner in this league but a tremendous talent and a guy you can build around…I think there will be some more conversations with my agent and the Sacramento Kings to get a better picture of where they are headed and what they’re trying to accomplish.”
  • An increasing number of executives around the league expect the Timberwolves will trade Kevin Love before the start of the season, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The Warriors and Wolves have resumed their trade talks involving Love after having hit a stalemate earlier, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. Minnesota believes Golden State will eventually relent and be willing to trade Klay Thompson in a deal for Love, and that the Cavaliers will come around to including Andrew Wiggins in their offers, sources tell Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.
  • The Mavericks are still looking for another point guard and have spoken with free agent Mo Williams, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports; team president Donnie Nelson doesn’t seem too optimistic about their chances of landing him, notes Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star Telegram (Twitter link).
  • Nelson later acknowledged that the team won’t have any money to make a play for Carlos Boozer (Twitter link).

Chuck Myron contributed to this post. 

Western Notes: Thompson, Sterling, Gay

June 19 at 9:21pm CST By Ryan Raroque

With Andrew Bogut, Stephen Curry, and Andre Iguodala slated to make $10.6MM or more each next season and through 2016/17, a lucrative contract could be hard to come by for Klay Thompson in Golden State, writes Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski. Keeping that in mind, one source tells Wojnarowski that Thompson would be open to being traded to the Timberwolves because it would increase his chances of receiving a max contract.

Klay’s father – former NBA champion Mychal Thompson – offered his thoughts on ESPN 710 radio today, suggesting that Klay would actually be unhappy in Minnesota. “If this (Kevin Love trade) happens, I will have to talk (Klay) down from the ledge” (Twitter link via Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press). 

As Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune further transcribes from Mychal’s radio appearance, Klay’s disappointment would stem from missing out on the opportunity to play alongside Love on the Warriors.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference tonight:

  • Later in his piece, Zgoda says that Bill Duffy – Klay’s Thompson’s agent – will surely push for a max deal on his client’s next contract.
  • According to Donald Sterling’s lawyer, Donald’s mental competency has now been examined by other doctors and “the results are different,” tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
  • DeMarcus Cousins told Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee that he reached out to Rudy Gay about staying on board with the Kings (Twitter link). Gay has a player option for 2014/15 worth just above $19.3MM.
  • Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger said that Nick Calathes will be back with the team next season, according to a tweet from Rob Fischer of FOX Sports  (hat tip to Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal). Calathes’ contract is non-guaranteed for the 2014/15 season.
  • Knicks director of player personnel Mark Warkentien and Pacers vice president of basketball operations Peter Dinwiddie are drawing interest from Memphis as potential add-ons to the Grizzlies front office, hears Chris Vernon of 92.9 ESPN (Twitter link).

Ranadive On Gay, Malone, D’Alessandro, Cousins

March 28 at 4:20pm CST By Chuck Myron

Jared Dubin of ESPN.com’s TrueHoop Network scored a one-on-one interview with Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, who shared a broad range of insight on the team he bought nearly a year ago. The technology magnate makes no bones about his enthusiasm for analytics, and told Dubin about the way extra layers of data convinced the team to trade for Rudy Gay, upon whom advanced metrics have often shed an unflattering light.

“What we did is, we looked at all six years of data, we looked at spatial data, we looked at what happened with a big guy, and what would happen if he was the second or the third option,” Ranadive said. “We concluded that his efficiency would go up dramatically, and sure enough, it’s gone up 20 percentage points.”

It’s not quite clear how Ranadive is measuring efficiency in this context, but most measures demonstrate that Gay has indeed performed better in Sacramento than he had with the Raptors. Dubin’s entire piece is worth your attention, particularly if you’re a Kings fan, but we’ll share some of the highlights here:

On hiring coach Michael Malone:

“He was the 21st century kind of coach that I wanted. The style of play — we want to be like the Spurs, but exciting. We want to create a winning franchise that is a perennial contender, and we also want a strong defense, combined with up-tempo play. Malone is a coach’s son, and there was high demand for him. I knew that I wanted him, so I made a deal with him that once I bought a team, he would be my coach.” 

On hiring GM Pete D’Alessandro:

“When I spoke to Pete, I told him, ‘I’ve got three other candidates that are finalists for this job, and it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get job. I will interview you, and most likely it will be for an assistant GM [position]. If you want to come out, come out, but the chances of you getting it are 1%.’ He came out, and the night before I gave him a call and said, ‘There are just five questions I have for you,’ and then he just absolutely blew me away. Blew me away. He was the kind of 21st century GM that I was looking for. Looking at that, we don’t hold the fact that you haven’t done something against you. Mark Zuckerberg was 21 when he invented Facebook. That’s just how we think.” 

On signing DeMarcus Cousins to a maximum-salary extension:

“He plays really hard. I know that he’s had issues with his temper and so on, but when I took over the franchise, the first thing I did was I texted him and I said, ‘Hey, my friend Steve Jobs likes to say ‘Let’s go to the end of the universe.’ So let’s do that in the NBA.’ And just like one of my kids, he sent me a three-word text back just saying, ‘Sounds good, boss.’ That was the start of my relationship with him and his mom. Before we gave him the contract, it was over the summertime, and I said, ‘Look, I just want one thing from you. I want you to be the first guy in and the last guy out. As long as you do that, we’re good.’ And he did. He lost a bunch of weight; he was the hardest-working guy in practice. The coaches have done a great job with him, and his numbers reflect it. He’s had amazing numbers. There’s still more work to be done, but I am very pleased with where he is.”

On his plan for changing the draft lottery, which he dubs the “V Plan.”

“There’s two parts to it. Part one is that you freeze the draft order at the time of the All-Star break. Then, everything [pertaining to the current lottery system] remains the same, but it’s frozen based on the standings at the All-Star break. Then there’s no gain in not playing at the highest level for the remainder of the season. That’s part one. Part two is that at the end of the season, the top seven teams from the Eastern Conference and the top seven teams from the Western Conference make the playoffs. Then for the eighth playoff spot, the remaining eight teams have a sudden-death, college-style playoff in a neutral venue, like Vegas in the West and Kansas or Louisville in the East.”