Kings fans received some great news yesterday, when the NBA's Board of Governors rejected a bid to relocate the franchise to Seattle. Even with the sale to Chris Hansen's Seattle group seemingly dead, the Kings aren't quite safe in Sacramento yet. The Maloofs still have the right to hang on to the team, though they're currently attempting to negotiate a sale to the Sacramento investment group led by Vivek Ranadive. Here's the latest on the Kings, on and off the court:
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski looks back to June 2011, when Warriors' GM Bob Myers had worries about not being able to select Klay Thompson knowing that either the Spurs could possibly trade up in the draft to get him or that the Bucks were planning to select him with the 10th overall pick. As it would turn out, San Antonio would wind up trading for the 15th pick (Kawhi Leonard) and the Kings landed the 10th pick to select Jimmer Fredette, leaving the sharpshooting Washington State forward right into the hands of Golden State. Here are a few more miscellaneous notes to share along this evening:
According to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, the Bucks have been prioritizing "strong-willed" candidates as they search for a head coach to replace ousted interim coach Jim Boylan. In his latest piece, Berger sheds some light on one reason for that requirement and touches on a couple other Bucks notes. Let's check out the highlights....
Brandon Jennings has gone back and forth about whether he wants to continue playing for the Bucks, and now he says he doesn't know whether he'd like to return, as Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel observes. Getting at the root of the point guard's true intentions appears challenging, but according to the Bucks' Twitter feed, GM John Hammond thinks that Jennings, deep down, wants to be back. We'll find out this summer if Hammond's hunch is right, and in the meantime, here's the latest on the Bucks just hours after their head coaching position came open:
Brandon Jennings predicted that the Bucks would topple the Heat in six games but things didn't go that way exactly. Miami completed their sweep of Milwaukee tonight, winning 88-77 behind a 30 point performance from LeBron James. This figures to be an interesting offseason for the Bucks, and here's the latest as they look ahead to the summer..
Monta Ellis appears likely to exercise his early-termination option and get out of his $11MM contract with the Bucks for next season, and the GMs who spoke to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times agree he's in line for a paycut. Ellis is the NBA's 11th leading scorer this year at 19.2 points per game and is headed for his third straight finish among the top five in steals per game, but those figures belie his inefficiency and inattentiveness in defense.
The former second-round pick of the Warriors has seen his field goal, three-point and free throw shooting percentages decline in each of the past two seasons. This year, his shooting line is .413/.279/.772, and part of the reason his scoring output is so high is because he's taken the fifth most field goal attempts in the league. He's jacking up 3.9 three-pointers a game this season, far too many for someone who makes less than 30% of them. Observers, including Rob Mahoney of SI.com, have pegged him as a defensive liability during his career in part for his habit of watching the ball when he should be looking at his man. Ellis' defensive win shares leaped to 3.3 this season, a drastic improvement on his previous career high of 1.9, though it's hard to accurately convey defense through statistics.
Woelfel hears Ellis would be "quite receptive" to joining the Grizzlies, though he points to their likely shortage of cap space as reason to doubt that Ellis winds up in Memphis. The Journal Times scribe mentions the Hawks, Suns, Mavs and Timberwolves as teams that figure to be in the market for two-guards in the offseason, noting the connection between Atlanta and Ellis at the trade deadline this year. The Hawks made Ellis their primary target in a proposed Josh Smith trade with the Bucks. I don't think Ellis will be that high on Atlanta GM Danny Ferry's list come the summer, since the Hawks will no doubt go after Dwight Howard and other maximum-salary level talents first.
Ferry and company may view him as a complementary piece and pursue Ellis after they sign another player for the max, a stance that other teams with cap room, like the Suns and Mavs, could take as well. The Mavs and Ellis' teammate Brandon Jennings reportedly have mutual interest, so if Jennings signs in Dallas and the Bucks fail to match, that would probably take the Mavs off the table for Ellis, unless the team is eager to duplicate a backcourt that's proven only mediocre in Milwaukee.
The Timberwolves could have plenty of cap space, too, if Andrei Kirilenko declines his $10.219MM player option and the team allows restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic to depart. If Kirilenko opts in and the team is confident Nikola Pekovic won't see an offer close to the max, the team would have room sign Ellis to fill its longstanding hole at shooting guard with a starting salary in the neighborhood of $10MM. That would be less than Ellis would make next year on his option, but a contract for three or four years could give the 27-year-old much more guaranteed cash in the long run.
Players are often attracted to the offer with the most guaranteed money, with plenty of reason given the fragility of an NBA career. Still, there's no indication that Ellis' value will significantly decline in the next 12 months, so he could probably collect his $11MM option, hit the market in 2014, and see the same offers he'd get this summer. The news that he's likely to turn down the option would seem to indicate Ellis and agent Jeffrey Fried think he can get more than $11MM for next season, though that's just my speculation. If any team makes that kind of offer, it would probably be a club with trouble attracting marquee talent but intent on making a splash with its cap space — perhaps the Suns, Bobcats or Pistons.
Ellis could improve his stock with a few memorable moments against the Heat in the first round of the playoffs. No one expects the Bucks to win, but if his contributions help the Bucks steal a game or two, it could increase his chances of a raise. Either way, I still think a long-term deal with a starting salary of around $10MM is his best bet, especially if he aspires to play for a contending team anytime soon.
Bucks guard Monta Ellis holds a lucrative player option on his deal for 2013/14, but the prevailing sentiment amongst his acquaintances is that he'll turn it down and hit the open market instead, writes Gery Woelfel of the Journal Times. Ellis' option is worth $11MM, but friends say that he has indicated that he wants to go elsewhere.
For his part, Ellis has publicly declined to discuss his future plans. While the guard may feel that he has better offers waiting for him this summer, several GMs told Woelfel that they wouldn't pay him more than he is already receiving ($11MM). However, as one GM noted, it only takes one club enamored with the guard's speed to give him a deal in excess of $11MM.
It also helps Ellis' case that there are many teams with cap space to burn this offseason. Seven teams in the Western Conference and six teams in the Eastern Conference figure to have deep pockets, which should amp up the bidding for Ellis. The guard could also improve his stock with a strong first-round performance against Dwyane Wade and the Heat, even if the Bucks are defeated in a short series.
Steve Kyler of HoopsWorld took to Twitter tonight to offer thoughts on various questions about the NBA. Here are some of the highlights:
As rumors fly long past the NBA's trade deadline, Marc Stein of ESPN.com checks in with a Weekend Dime that's heavy on items about Josh Smith, as well as plenty of news about the Rockets. There's even a link between Smith and Houston, so let's dig in.
While J.J. Redick was the biggest name moved at last month's trade deadline, he doesn't figure to be among the top tier of free agents available this summer. Still, Redick should attract plenty of interest on the open market. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Bucks are expected to make a strong bid for Redick in free agency, with the team prepared to pay him like a starting shooting guard.
Redick, Monta Ellis, and Brandon Jennings will all become free agents this summer, assuming Ellis turns down his 2013/14 player option. In that case, the Bucks figure to re-sign either Jennings or Ellis, along with Redick, according to Wojnarowski, who says that if the former Blue Devil leaves the Bucks, "he'll have to take less money -- probably a lot."
With Redick's Bird Rights in hand, the Bucks are in good position to outbid rival suitors. The 28-year-old will attract offers larger than the mid-level exception, so only teams with cap space figure to be contenders for his services, unless Milwaukee is willing to work out a sign-and-trade.
For his part, Redick tells Wojnarowski he's had "a lot of fun" with the Bucks so far, and the fact that Milwaukee was so active in pursuing him last month is something he'll definitely consider when he weighs his options this summer.
"To be wanted here - to be wanted anywhere in the league - is something I'll never take for granted," Redick said.