Keith Smart Rumors
May 31 at 7:18pm CST By Ryan Raroque
FRIDAY, 7:18pm: The Kings have officially announced that Smart won't be back, via press release. The team has reportedly already reached an agreement with Malone to succeed Smart as coach, and the official word on his hiring is expected to take place on Monday, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link).
THURSDAY, 7:49pm: According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Keith Smart will not be retained as the head coach of the Kings. It isn't much of a surprise considering that team ownership has apparently had their sights set on Warriors assistant Michael Malone, and Amick writes that Malone could be officially hired as early as this Monday. While there hasn't been an official press release yet, Amick clarifies that majority owner Vivek Ranadive had notified Smart of the franchise's plans to part ways with him shortly after the NBA Board of Governors approved the Sacramento-based investment group's purchase of the Kings just a few days ago (Twitter link).
Ironically, this is the second time that Smart has been relieved of his head coaching duties after a change in team ownership, as Amick looked back at the time when the 48-year-old coach was let go in Golden State shortly after Joe Lacob, Peter Gruber, and Ranadive had purchased the Warriors. Smart is confident that he'll find another opportunity in the NBA next season.
May 17 at 1:10pm CST By Luke Adams
A little more than 12 hours after we heard that Vivek Ranadive's Sacramento investment group and the Maloof family had struck an agreement to transfer ownership of the Kings, the city of Sacramento held a press conference today to formally announce the good news. Mayor Kevin Johnson praised the city for never giving up on the Kings, and also confirmed that Chris Hansen isn't involved in the deal, so he won't be a minority owner of the team (Twitter link via Chris Daniels of KING5). As the new ownership group prepares to officially take over the Kings, here's a number of other items related to the sale and to the team:
- Assuming Keith Smart is not retained as the Kings' head coach by the new ownership group, Warriors assistant Michael Malone is expected to be a top candidate, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Amick also points to Chris Mullin as a potential front office candidate, with Geoff Petrie likely on the way out.
- The Sacramento Bee's initial story on the agreement between the new ownership group and the Maloofs has been updated with plenty of additional details, identifying a number of the investors in Ranadive's group.
- Chris Mannix of SI.com reports (via Twitter) that the NBA's 30 owners offered to repay the $30MM non-refundable deposit Hansen's Seattle group made to the Maloofs, but Hansen declined. Mannix adds (via Twitter) that Hansen and Co. don't intend to file any lawsuits related to the Kings situation.
- The 7% share of the Kings that Hansen bought in bankruptcy, pending NBA approval, will likely be auctioned off again, tweets Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee.
- In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Kevin Pelton examines the next steps for the Kings.
April 6 at 4:40pm CST By Chuck Myron
The Lakers held on to their half-game lead for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference with a two-point win against the Grizzlies last night, and if L.A. makes the postseason, they could get some reinforcements. Coach Mike D'Antoni revealed that Metta World Peace could be back by the end of the month, knocking two weeks off the original six-week timetable for his recovery from a left knee injury, tweets Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. Jordan Hill tells Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News he's seeking medical clearance to return at about the same time, though D'Antoni is skeptical about that. Either way, there's reason for optimism in a season that's left Lakers fans with little of it. Here's more on the purple and gold and other news from the Pacific:
- Most signs, including the three years left on D'Antoni's contract, point to him returning to coach the Lakers next season in spite of the team's disappointing play, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Stein also suggests that while Dwight Howard may have sway over D'Antoni's future if the big man threatens to sign elsewhere, Howard won't have nearly the clout that fellow soon-to-be free agent Chris Paul will wield on the Clippers' coaching situation.
- Regardless of who's in charge of the Kings next season, the "leaguewide presumption" is that neither GM Geoff Petrie nor coach Keith Smart will return, Stein adds in the same piece.
- Kendall Marshall wasn't among the 10 players I mentioned yesterday when I examined 2012 first-round picks who've seen limited action this season, but his 568 total minutes would make him the 11th player on the list. He's been seeing more action of late with the Suns, and Marshall tells Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic that he's finally starting to feel comfortable.
December 25 at 12:17pm CST By Luke Adams
A holiday for most of us, December 25th is one of the most eventful days of the year on the NBA calendar, with five marquee matchups lined up for Christmas Day. Two scuffling Atlantic Division contenders, the Celtics and Nets, are in action in Brooklyn, while the Lakers look to extend their winning streak to five games later this afternoon against the Knicks. A Finals rematch (Heat/Thunder), an inter-conference battle (Rockets/Bulls), and a Western Conference showdown (Clippers/Nuggets) are also on tap later in the day.
As we enjoy an action-packed slate of games and wish you happy holidays, let's round up a few odds and ends from around the NBA:
- Despite Keith Smart's recent issues with DeMarcus Cousins, the Maloofs have "given every indication" that the Kings expect to keep Smart around for the duration of his contract, which runs through the 2013/14 season, according to Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee.
- The Mavericks don't have any immediate plans to recall first-round pick Jared Cunningham from the D-League, tweets Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Cunningham was assigned to the Texas Legends two weeks ago.
- After losing Derek Fisher, the Mavericks figure to explore their options at point guard, but for now coach Rick Carlisle tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that Darren Collison, Dominique Jones, and Rodrigue Beaubois "are our guys."
- Rookie Alexey Shved has emerged as an important piece on a Timberwolves roster that has been hit hard by injuries, writes Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.
- Shelden Williams, who signed with French club Elan Chalon this offseason, has been bought out by Fenerbahce Ulker and will join the Turkish team, according to a TrendBasket.net report.
- Jarvis Varnado, signed by the Celtics this week, tells A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com that he feels "blessed" by the opportunity.
- Nick Gibson of Ridiculous Upside examines the unique contract Gustavo Ayon had signed in Spain before he was bought out by the Hornets and eventually flipped in a sign-and-trade for Ryan Anderson.
December 22 at 10:37pm CST By Ryan Raroque
Here are some quick notes out of the Western Conference tonight:
- Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee tweets that DeMarcus Cousins has decided to hire Dan Fegan as his new agent, replacing John Grieg. Two of Fegan's most notable clients include Kevin Martin of the Thunder and Lakers center Dwight Howard (All Twitter links).
- In what should be encouraging news for the Timberwolves and their fans, Brandon Roy returned to practice today and reported that he felt no pain in his knee (Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune reports). The veteran two-guard had been inactive since undergoing surgery on his right knee last month and hadn't played since November 9.
- Will Conroy was at Minnesota's practice today, but attended as a special assistant to David Kahn and not as a candidate to re-join the team as a player, says Ray Richardson of the Pioneer Press. The 6'2 guard and close friend of Brandon Roy had been released earlier in the season in order to make room for recently-waived Josh Howard. According to Kahn, Conroy will serve as the team's D-League scout before returning to Seattle to finish his school degree.
- When asked about Derek Fisher being waived, coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters to ask GM Mitch Kupchak if the team had any interest in the former Lakers guard (according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles via Twitter). Although we heard an earlier report that Fisher was contemplating retirement, Ramona Shelburne (also of ESPN LA) tweeted that in the event that he would still continue playing, any team who signs him would have to inherit the non-guaranteed deal he signed with the Mavericks.
- Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas provides the current rundown of Rick Carlisle's point guard situation following Fisher's abrupt departure.
- Alex Kramers of TheKingsBlog.com elicited the reaction from the Kings locker room as they prepare to compete without DeMarcus Cousins. Coach Keith Smart told the media that the situation will be reassessed within the next few days. On a different and much lighter note, Kramers delves a bit into the minor ties between Jimmer Fredette and the Warriors' Stephen Curry.
December 11 at 9:13am CST By Luke Adams
We're about a quarter of the way through the NBA regular season, which is enough of a sample size that we can say certain teams have underperformed so far. Sam Amick and Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today take a look at the coaching situations for a few of those teams in their latest piece, examining whether any head coaches are in danger of being let go. We touched on Dwane Casey's situation with the Raptors in a post this morning, but here are the rest of Amick's and Zillgitt's updates:
- After Suns owner Robert Sarver told ESPN.com's Chris Broussard yesterday that Alvin Gentry wasn't on the hot seat, Amick and Zillgitt spoke to Sarver as well. Sarver's vote of confidence in this case was even stronger, as he told USA Today that Gentry's job is safe for the rest of the season.
- Like the Raptors, the Suns may explore an on-court change rather than a coaching move, with Michael Beasley a candidate to be involved -- according to USA Today, there's some disagreement between the team and player about what his role should be. However, Sarver still hopes Beasley will work things out in Phoenix: "We're working with him. He's working hard, and we still expect to be able to (salvage the situation)."
- The Wizards are still paying their last head coach, Flip Saunders, so they're unlikely to replace Randy Wittman this year, since it would mean paying three different coaches.
- Pistons owner Tom Gores has high expectations for his club, and wants to see some progress toward the playoffs this year in Detroit, making it a potential make-or-break season for Lawrence Frank.
- Keith Smart's job with the Kings appears safe, though team president Geoff Petrie's future isn't quite so clear.
- The Nets still have faith in Avery Johnson and expect some peaks and valleys with the team's overhauled roster. However, there's an expectation that the team will not only qualify for the postseason but be in position to "make an impact once they get there."
- Despite a slow start for the Pacers, there's still hope in Indiana that Frank Vogel is around to coach the team for years to come.
November 15 at 1:46pm CST By Luke Adams
You'd be hard-pressed to argue that the undefeated Knicks and the defending champion Heat aren't currently the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. Both clubs head west tonight to take on a pair of Western Conference contenders, with the Knicks in San Antonio to face the Spurs, and the Heat playing the Nuggets in Denver. As we await what should be a great night of NBA action, let's round up the latest updates out of the West....
- In a pair of columns for the Houston Chronicle, Jerome Solomon argues that the Rockets are handing the Royce White situation poorly, and that patience, not fines, should be central to the team's approach.
- Discussing his ankle injury on KNBR in San Francisco, Andrew Bogut said the Warriors have been supportive and haven't pressured him since he arrived in Golden State, but that he still feels as if he's let people down. Brad Gagnon of Sports Radio Interviews has the quotes.
- Timberwolves president David Kahn is expecting great things from his club when everyone starts getting healthy, as he tells Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
- It was Jerry Buss who had the final say on the Lakers hiring Mike D'Antoni over Phil Jackson, a source tells Joe McDonnell of FOX Sports West.
- ESPN.com's five-man panel weighs in on how D'Antoni's arrival will affect the performances of the Lakers' stars, supporting cast, and defense.
- The list of head coaches that Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld believes could be on the hot seat are mostly from Eastern Conference clubs, but Kyler identifies Keith Smart of the Kings as one coach who might be in trouble if his team continues to struggle.
- In a piece for the New York Times, Beckley Mason asks whether Rudy Gay, the Grizzlies' highest-paid player, is the team's centerpiece or an expensive accessory.
August 6 at 9:52pm CST By Chuck Myron
Knicks assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will be leaving New York and taking the same position with the Hawks, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley. Atkinson was a crucial cog in the development of Jeremy Lin. Here's more of what we're hearing from around the Association:
- With a report being released tonight that Spurs assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey might be heading to the Jazz to become their new general manager, Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News writes that other teams are gutting San Antonio's front office.
- Vernon Macklin's agent has informed Hoopshype.com that his client is currently drawing interest from the Nets, Suns, Bucks, Wizards, and Lakers. Macklin spent last season in Detroit, and is also drawing interest overseas, in Turkey and Greece.
- Free agent power forward Louis Amundson is in discussions with a number of teams, but has yet to make up his mind, Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com reports, adding that he's likely to sign for a team's mini mid-level exception (Twitter link). It's not clear whether Zwerling means the taxpayer's mini mid-level of $3.09MM or the room exception, a mini-midlevel of $2.575MM available to teams under the cap. However, the list of remaining mid-level exceptions that Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors put together Friday provides a hint. Only the Lakers have all of the taxpayer's mini mid-level available, and they're looking for backcourt help, meaning that if Amundson goes for a mini mid-level, it's likely to be the room exception currently held in full by nine teams.
- Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel ponders the merits of Dexter Pittman, 45th overall pick Justin Hamilton and free agent Mickell Gladness as reserve center options for the Heat. As Winderman points out, Pittman will almost assuredly be on the team, since his minimum-salary contract is guaranteed.
- The Jazz starting lineup isn't set in stone, and Jody Genessy of the Deseret News handicaps the team's positional battles.
- Sam Smith of Bulls.com catches up with recent Bulls signee Nazr Mohammed, a Chicago native who says he always dreamed for playing for his hometown team.
August 6 at 5:31pm CST By Michael Pina
The Kings have extended Keith Smart's contract through the 2013/14 season, according to an announcement by the team. After replacing a fired Paul Westphal early in the 2011/12 season, Smart coached Sacramento to a 20-39 record the rest of the year.
Smart's contract was scheduled to expire after the 2012/13 season. After previously experiencing head coaching stints with the Warriors and Cavaliers, the Kings are the third organization where Smart has spent time as a head coach.
April 25 at 3:21pm CST By Luke Adams
When the NBA announced yesterday that it had suspended Metta World Peace seven games for his elbow on James Harden, it was a lesser punishment than many expected. Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote last night that the Association missed its chance to send a strong message by hitting the Lakers veteran with a more significant penalty, perhaps banning him from the postseason.
NBA commissioner David Stern defended the league's decision today, saying that a number of factors were considered and that seven games were "larger than some people might have thought from just an elbow" (Twitter links). Stern also hinted that the suspension may have been longer during the regular season, since seven games at this time of year is more significant than it would be earlier in the season (Twitter link).
As we debate whether the punishment for the forward formerly known as Ron Artest was too lenient, too strict, or just right, here are the rest of today's notes out of the Pacific: