12:20pm: The Kings have confirmed in a press release that the team has cut Jones and Heath.
8:32am: We heard yesterday that the Kings’ first round of roster counts would arrive soon, and according to Jonathan Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom, that decision has already been made. While the team hasn’t confirmed the moves yet, Santiago reports (via Twitter) that Sacramento has released camp invitees DeQuan Jones and Brandon Heath.
Jones, 23, recorded averages of 3.7 PPG, 1.7 RPG, and an 8.4 PER as an undrafted rookie last season for the Magic. Heath, who went undrafted out of San Diego State in 2007, played for Lukoil Academic in Bulgaria in 2012/13, averaging 12.0 PPG and 4.7 APG in 39 contests. Both players appeared very briefly in a single preseason game for the Kings.
Once the Kings make the two cuts official, their roster count will be down to 16 players. 14 of those guys have guaranteed contracts, and Trent Lockett has a partial guarantee on his deal, making him the odds-on favorite to be the club’s 15th man. Hamady N’Diaye also remains under contract, on a non-guaranteed deal.
The Kings have added another player to their training camp roster, signing DeQuan Jones, according to Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com (via Twitter). Jones' contract will be fully non-guaranteed, Deeks adds in a second tweet.
Jones, 23, went undrafted in June 2012, but signed with the Magic as a free agent, and ended up earning a rotation spot with the team, starting 17 of his 63 contests in his rookie season. After the 6'8" forward recorded averages of 3.7 PPG, 1.7 RPG, and an 8.4 PER, Orlando decided against tendering him a qualifying offer that would have made him a restricted free agent.
Sacramento's roster count now stands at 16 players, including 14 guaranteed contracts. In addition to Jones' non-guaranteed deal, the team is carrying Trent Lockett on a partially guaranteed contract. That partial guarantee may give Lockett the upper hand on the team's final roster spot, but it's only worth $35K, so it shouldn't be a difference-maker if Jones or another invitee outperforms him in the preseason. C.J. Aiken is also expected to participate in Kings camp.
When the Magic declined to tender a qualifying offer to DeQuan Jones last month, that left open the possibility that the team could re-sign him as unrestricted free agent. However, Jones spoke with Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel, who says that the Magic told him that won't happen. In 12.7 minutes per contest last season, the University of Miami product averaged 3.7 PPG and 1.7 RPG. Here's more out of the Southeast Division..
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Dwight Howard's upcoming courtship with a host of teams, both longshots and more realistic destinations, is the talk of the league tonight and probably will be moving forward as we come up on the start of the NBA's free agency period, starting with the July moratorium from the 1st to the 9th.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports put a column up earlier tonight stipulating that Howard's first discussion will be with a large, and star-studded coterie of the Rockets' former Hall-of-Famers, current stars, coaches and executives, but next up will be with the Warriors and Hawks on Monday and Mavericks and Lakers on Tuesday.
ESPNLosAngeles.com's Arash Markazi believes it'll be former coach, Phil Jackson, and his fiancee Jeanie Buss, who could be the final piece as to whether or not Howard stays with the Lakers or leaves for one of the other teams with the cap room to absorb a max deal (Twitter). Phil recently met with Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, but both remained tight-lipped about what they discussed in that meeting (Twitter).
Let's look at more from Howard and others from around the league in yet another helter-skelter night in the NBA:
The Magic have decided against making a $988,872 qualifying offer to DeQuan Jones, meaning he'll become an unrestricted free agent Monday, tweets Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Jones will play for the Magic's summer league team, as Robbins notes via Twitter, so he may still wind up re-signing with Orlando.
The undrafted Jones made the Magic roster out of training camp, and surprisingly emerged as a starter early in the season. The small forward from the University of Miami averaged 3.7 points on 43.6% shooting in 12.7 minutes per game for the Magic this past season.
Jones made the minimum salary in 2012/13, and I'd be surprised if he signed for more than the minimum this summer. His QO would have been for slightly more than the minimum, and if the Magic had given it to him, he probably wouldn't have received better offers.
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Friday evening:
It's a 10-game night in the NBA, and the best game might be the last one to tip off, as the Warriors and Clippers square off for the second time in four days. The teams, who occupy the top two spots in the Pacific Division, will also meet January 21st, so it's a taste of playoff-level familiarity for untested Golden State. Here's more from around the Association.
- Mark Heisler, writing for The New York Times, reveals that part of the reason the Lakers hired Mike D'Antoni instead of Phil Jackson was because the front office was concerned the triangle offense would minimize Steve Nash's effect on the offense.
- People who've seen Derrick Rose work out believe he's almost ready to return, but the Bulls front office and coaching staff have different opinions on when the star point guard will be back on the court, as Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News writes.
- The Magic can place DeQuan Jones on waivers by Monday afternoon and avoid paying him his full rookie minimum salary this season, but as Josh Robbins affirms via Twitter, it's unlikely the team will do that with the 6'8" small forward who rejoined the team's starting lineup this week.
- With another bumper crop of prospects on the way, including point guard Andrew Harrison, No. 3 on the Draft Express 2014 mock, and twin brother Aaron Harrison, 13th on that list, next year's University of Kentucky team is already drawing plenty of interest from NBA scouts. Some teams will assign scouts to Lexington for the entire season, notes Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter links).
- Keith Schlosser of Ridiculous Upside engages Mike James in a Q&A after the 37-year-old guard signed this week with the Texas Legends of the D-League in hopes of getting a call-up from the Mavericks.
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel believes that although Magic coach Jacque Vaughn would preferably bring young players along slowly to gradually build their confidence, he may have to expand the roles of rookies Moe Harkless and DeQuan Jones much earlier than he would like now that Hedo Turkoglu is out with an injury. Here is the rest of tonight's edition of Eastern Notes:
Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has posted several position-by-position breakdowns of the Orlando Magic's roster as the team gears up to start the season. Here are the highlights, as well as some other updates on the Magic from Robbins:
- Robbins writes that Arron Afflalo, whom the Magic acquired in the Dwight Howard trade, has brought a strong work ethic to the Magic.
- Robbins expects to see improvement from second-year center Nikola Vucevic, who was acquired from Philadelphia as part of the Howard trade.
- The newly re-signed Jameer Nelson is expected to bring steady veteran leadership to a young and inexperienced Magic locker room, Robbins writes.
- Robbins writes that Hedo Turkoglu must prove this season that he's worth keeping for 2013/14, as the final year of his contract is only partially guaranteed.
- Going into his second year with the Magic, Glen Davis is expected to be another positive veteran presence in the locker room, Robbins writes.
- Robbins also has an article on DeQuan Jones, an undrafted rookie who made Orlando's final regular-season roster.
- Robbins looks at other teams expected to compete with the Magic for a top lottery pick, pointing out that landing a top player in the draft is not something fans should take for granted.
With the Miami Heat defending their title and the presence of two top-five lottery picks, Washington's Bradley Beal and Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the Southeast figures to be one of the most exciting divisions in the NBA in the 2012/13 season. Here are the latest updates from around the division on Saturday afternoon:
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel passes along word from various scouts on how to stop the Heat this season.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel looks at the geographical distance between the Magic and their D-League affiliate, the Sioux Falls SkyForce. Robbins writes that this may impact their decision to send rookies DeQuan Jones and Kyle O'Quinn down to develop.
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has a new column about the Bobcats' expectations going into this season, which include finding a point guard and maximizing the talent they acquired in the 2012 draft.
- Bonnell also wrote player capsules examining the strengths and weaknesses of every player on the Bobcats' roster.