The 4-7 Kings sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division and are in a tough position to move up in the standings. They face the Clippers in two of their next three contests and then square off against the Warriors and Thunder in their following two matchups. Let’s take a look at a couple of notes about the Kings, courtesy of Jason Jones from the Sacramento Bee:
- Jimmer Fredette has seen action in two consecutive contests since not playing in 10 days, but Jones tweets that his increase in minutes is not an attempt to display his skills to possible suitors. Last night, readers of Hoops Rumors voted that the struggling Kings should try to trade Fredette and Marcus Thornton in an attempt to put themselves in a better spot to build around the young talent of Ben McLemore and DeMarcus Cousins.
- Speaking of Thornton, Jones also tweets that the veteran guard looks to be staying in a Kings uniform for the time being.
- Jones has details on the earlier report of Ray McCallum’s assignment to the D-League. The rookie point guard from Detroit was taken by the Kings in the second round of last year’s draft but hasn’t seen any action this year. The Bighorns begin their season tomorrow in Sioux Falls.
Earlier today, we relayed a report that the Kings and Cavaliers have been actively involved in trade talks with each other, although Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio cites a league source who says that there’s “nothing of substance” to that report. In his latest piece, Amico touches upon possible interest Omer Asik around the league in addition to potential teams that could be involved in other trade talks. You can read more below:
- While the Rockets might not be looking to deal Asik at the moment, multiple sources have identified the Raptors as a team that is already highly interested.
- The Kings are considered to be league-wide front runners to make a deal, and Amico notes that the team’s new management explored moving several pieces during this past offseason – including guard Jimmer Fredette. He also adds that Sacramento is likely to field calls leading up to the trade deadline in February.
- There is league-wide speculation that the Pistons are looking to move the expiring contracts of Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva in exchange for more talent and could act soon.
Here are a few notes from around the league as the NBA’s first week comes to a close:
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro said the lack of extensions for Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson and the team’s decision to decline its fourth-year option on Jimmer Fredette aren’t necessarily a reflection of the way the club feels about those players.
“With Jimmer, we spoke to him and his representatives throughout the process,” D’Alessandro said, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee observes. “And they’re not easy decisions to make. We have these deadlines that are at an awkward time, Oct. 31, especially at a time when we just got our positions here.”
We heard earlier that the Kings are enamored with Vasquez and intend to match any offer he gets in restricted free agency this summer. Here’s more on free agents past and future, with a Western kick:
- There were times last season when Kevin Martin could tell his stay with the Thunder would be a short one, he tells reporters, including Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. Martin also reveals that free agency was much more stressful than he imagined, but he says he’s glad he wound up in “the perfect spot” with the Timberwolves.
- Eric Bledsoe isn’t saying whether he envisions staying with the Suns for the long haul after failing to strike a deal on an extension, notes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.
- The rift between Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant was real and profound on the Lakers last season, as former teammate Antawn Jamison explains to Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com. Meanwhile, Howard is relaxed, engaged, and confident that he made the right decision to sign with the Rockets, Marc Stein of ESPN.com writes.
- J.J. Hickson isn’t pleased about the way his Blazers tenure ended, as we noted last night, but after signing with the Nuggets in part because of an opportunity for playing time, he’s seeing plenty of minutes, as Hoopsworld’s Joel Brigham details.
After reporting yesterday that about six clubs had shown some level of interest in trade candidate Jimmer Fredette, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets that the number of teams with substantive interest is “closer to two.” The Kings elected to turn down their option on Jimmer for 2014/15, meaning he’s on an expiring contract now, which will make him more movable, according to Amick.
As the Kings mull what to do with their 2011 lottery pick, let’s check in on a few more items from around the Pacific Division….
- Eric Bledsoe will head to restricted free agency in 2014 after not reaching an extension agreement with the Suns prior to October 31st. One league source tells Sean Deveney of the Sporting News that Phoenix probably won’t get a discount next summer: “He is probably going to want a max deal. If he plays the way he thinks he is going to, he will get it, too.”
- Warriors camp invitees Seth Curry, Dewayne Dedmon, and Joe Alexander have joined Golden State’s D-League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The three players, whose D-League rights were retained by Golden State, were considered likely to head to Santa Cruz when they were cut by the NBA’s Warriors.
- The Kings‘ new management group didn’t just take over a mess when it came to business and fan relations, writes Tom Ziller of SBNation.com. In Ziller’s view, former GM Geoff Petrie‘s rebuild of Sacramento’s roster may require a rebuild itself.
It’s been an unusually busy day for news out west, so we’re following up this morning’s round of Pacific rumors with a few afternoon updates. Here’s the latest:
- There are “no indications” that the Suns and Eric Bledsoe will reach an agreement on a contract extension before tonight’s deadline, tweets Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. The two sides have until 11:00 pm CT to work something out.
- On the heels of reporting that the Kings won’t exercise Jimmer Fredette‘s 2014/15 option, Sam Amick of USA Today passes along a little more Jimmer news. According to Amick, about six teams have expressed some trade interest in Fredette. The Jazz aren’t one of those six, however.
- The highest-paid player in the NBA will receive most of his salary tomorrow, according to Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, who says Kobe Bryant will be paid more than $24MM by the Lakers on November 1st.
- Mark Deeks of ShamSports, writing for SBNation.com, suggests that extending Andrew Bogut for three years and $36MM+ represents an unnecessary risk for the Warriors. As Deeks notes, Golden State still could have extended Bogut in the spring, prior to free agency, which would have given the team another full season to evaluate the big man.
- In a separate piece for The Score, Deeks discusses the Suns/Wizards trade, writing that it’s the sort of deal that doesn’t necessarily have a winner or loser, since both teams got what they wanted. Deeks also points out that the Suns will have an “extremely logical” trade candidate in Channing Frye if he starts the season healthy and productive.
- The Kings won’t sign Greivis Vasquez or Patrick Patterson to a contract extension today.
The Kings have informed Jimmer Fredette of their decision to turn down his option for 2014/15, reports Sam Amick of USA Today (via Twitter). The move ensures that Fredette will become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
Two years into his NBA career, Fredette, 24, hasn’t lived up to the lofty expectations placed on him when he was drafted 10th overall in 2011. Although the BYU product recorded a respectable 14.6 PER last season, his minutes per game were reduced from 18.6 in his rookie year to just 14.0 in 2012/13. In a Kings backcourt that features Greivis Vasquez, Isaiah Thomas, Ben McLemore, and Marcus Thornton, it doesn’t look like there’s a meaningful role for Fredette, who would have been in line for a $3.11MM salary in 2014/15.
As our rookie contract option tracker shows, it’s rare for teams to turn down options on rookie contracts. So the Kings’ decision still comes as a slight surprise, even though our Chuck Myron wrote last month that Fredette was in danger due in part to his defensive limitations and the new regime in Sacramento. The decision likely ensures that Fredette’s name will pop up in trade rumors frequently between now and February’s deadline.
NBA teams have until Thursday evening to exercise or decline rookie contract options for 2014/15, and the Kings‘ decision on Jimmer Fredette isn’t a no-brainer. Since being drafted 10th overall in 2011, Fredette hasn’t made the impact at the NBA level that many were anticipating. I still expect Sacramento to pick up the relatively cheap option (about $3.11MM), but it sounds like the decision will go down to the wire.
“We have until Thursday, so we’ll have an internal process and conversation and come to a decision,” Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro told Jonathan Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom. “Obviously, we’ll have to do it by then. So I would think probably we’ll take our time up until the deadline.”
Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:
- Chris Kaman believes the Clippers will never truly surpass prestige of the Lakers, but says Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been “turning over a new leaf” with his newfound willingness to spend money on his team, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Of course, based on what we heard last night about Sterling nearly spiking the J.J. Redick deal, Sterling still appears to have a long way to go.
- A contract extension for Eric Bledsoe is atop the Suns‘ to-do list, but his recent arrival in Phoenix and his lack of significant minutes make his value difficult to pinpoint, writes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. Coro also wonders how much interest Bledsoe has in an extension, since he hasn’t talked about wanting Phoenix to be his long-term home when given the opportunity.
- The costs of the Warriors‘ San Francisco arena project are starting to pile up, says John Coté of the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee profiles new Kings head coach Michael Malone, who inherits the Sacramento job under new ownership and a new front office.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Many around the NBA believe Goran Dragic will be the next player the Suns trade away after Friday’s Marcin Gortat deal, but Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough insists that won’t be the case, as Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic notes. “He’s a good player on a good contract and a great guy,” McDonough said. “So, no, we’re not looking to move Goran Dragic.” Andrew Bogut is another player who probably won’t be traded this year now that he’s signed his extension, and he’s glad to stick around the Warriors, as we explain amid our look around the Pacific:
- Andrew Bogut understands he could have snagged a better payday if he had held off on an extension and performed well this season, but he tells Sam Amick of USA Today that he didn’t want to play the season as a trade candidate on an expiring contract. Bogut says he’s put his anger about the Warriors‘ pursuit of Dwight Howard behind him and encourages his teammates to take discounts on their next deals so the team can stay together.
- The Kings face a Thursday deadline for decisions on Jimmer Fredette‘s fourth-year option and extensions for Greivis Vasquez and Patrick Patterson, and GM Pete D’Alessandro remains circumspect, observes Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. ”We’re still looking at things and evaluating before making a decision. … I think there’s some spirited conversations going on about all the guys near the deadline,” D’Alessandro said.
- The moves that D’Alessandro and company have made so far during their brief tenure aren’t above reproach, but the key is whether their long-term investment in DeMarcus Cousins works out, The Bee’s Ailene Voisin opines.
- Carl Landry should be out a few more months with his hip injury, so camp invitee Hamady N’Diaye could remain with the Kings for a while, tweets Shams Charania of RealGM.com.
- Andre Iguodala‘s arrival to Golden State raises the expectations for the Warriors, as Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle examines.
As we inch closer to the start of the regular season, here are some miscellaneous news and notes to pass along tonight:
- Gordon Hayward would love to remain on the Jazz for the rest of his career, reports Yannis Koutroupis of Hoopsworld.
- Kobe Bryant says that he’s scaled back on his activities in order to allow his injured left achilles tendon to heal from the added pressure he felt last week. The Lakers’ superstar had been doing some light jogging and shooting drills last week while the team was in China for exhibition games (Mark Medina of InsideSoCal.com)
- While discussing how much he enjoys his leadership role on the Magic as the team’s most seasoned veteran, Jameer Nelson knows that with a major rebuilding process underway, he’s still a prime candidate to be traded (Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel).
- Gordon Monson of the Salt Lake Tribune makes a strong case for why the Jazz should trade for Kings guard Jimmer Fredette, who he believes would not only contribute with his shooting ability, but also help tickets sales by drawing the innumerable ‘Jimmermania’ fanatics that followed him at BYU.
- Mike D’Antoni admitted that last year’s Lakers roster made it difficult to define roles, especially when “everybody thinks they’re the 1 or 2 guy” (Bill Oram of the OC Register via Twitter).
- Pelicans coach Monty Williams admittedly didn’t find the type of production he was looking for from the center position during the pre-season, writes John Reid of NOLA.com.