Kings, Ty Lawson Agree To Deal

The Kings have reached an agreement with free agent point guard Ty Lawson, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Sacramento is signing Lawson to a one-year contract for the coming season.Ty Lawson vertical

Lawson visited the Kings on Saturday and ultimately decided to sign with the team despite having also received “serious interest” from the Pelicans, tweets Wojnarowski. The 28-year-old has seen his career trajectory change significantly within the last couple years, after he was arrested multiple times on DUI charges and spent time in rehab.

A 2009 first-round pick, Lawson became the Nuggets’ full-time starting point guard during the 2011/12 season, and averaged 16.4 PPG to go along with 8.0 APG over the next four years. However, Denver sent him to the Rockets last July, and Houston subsequently waived him. Over the course of the 2015/16 season, Lawson appeared in 66 total regular-season games, averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.6 APG in part-time roles for the Rockets and the Pacers, who signed him late in the season.

[RELATED: Sacramento Kings’ depth chart at RosterResource.com]

The Kings had been on the lookout for point guard help this offseason, having lost Rajon Rondo in free agency. Rondo’s departure left Darren Collison as the team’s de facto starter at the point, but Collison is facing domestic violence charges, which could eventually lead to a suspension depending on how the case plays out.

While Sacramento added Garrett Temple in free agency and Isaiah Cousins in the draft, Temple is more of a combo guard than a pure point guard, and Cousins was a late second-rounder who has yet to sign a contract.

The terms of Lawson’s contract aren’t yet known. Sacramento doesn’t have any cap room left, but the team has yet to use its $2.898MM room exception. So the veteran point guard could either get a minimum-salary deal or something slightly larger, if the Kings dip into that room exception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Eastern Notes: Terry, Sanders, Wall, Forbes

A shot at playing time may have been what most attracted Jason Terry to the Bucks, according to Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times. Terry appeared in 72 games and averaged 17.5 minutes per night for the Rockets last season, and apparently he’s not ready for a reduced role, even with his 39th birthday looming next month. After missing out on free agent guards Kent Bazemore and Dwyane Wade, the Bucks turned to Terry, who ranks third on the list of most 3-pointers made in a career. “Whether he gets 40 minutes, four minutes or no minutes, he’ll accept it and be professional about it,’’ said Terry’s agent, Ryan N. Davis. “He’s excited to be with Milwaukee and help them.’’

There’s more news tonight from the Eastern Conference:

  • Former Bucks center Larry Sanders has no interest in signing a deal that is only guaranteed for training camp, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Sanders, who hasn’t played since leaving the NBA in December of 2014 because of anxiety and depression, is looking for a situation that offers a real opportunity to make a 15-man roster.
  • Wizards point guard John Wall is going through intense rehab as he tries to bounce back from two knee surgeries in May, writes Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic. Wall, who is expected to be ready for the start of next season, promises “the beginning of the new John Wall era” and says he’s trying to get in the best shape of his career.
  • Former Nuggets and Raptors wing Gary Forbes is among the most likely players taken by the Long Island Nets in this week’s expansion draft to actually play for the D-League team, according to NetsDaily.com. Most of the draftees have overseas contracts for next season, but the 31-year-old Forbes doesn’t. Other possibilities are swingmen Carrick Felix and Akil Mitchell.

Weekly Mailbag: 8/22/16-8/28/16

We have an opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap or the NBA draft? Drop us a line at [email protected] Here are this week’s inquiries:

What exactly is going on with the Magic? Do they have a plan? — Yancy Yeater

Orlando’s plan for the summer seemed to involve acquiring as much talent as possible, then worrying later about how it all fits together. They got two of the best shot blockers in the league by signing Bismack Biyombo and trading for Serge Ibaka. How they’ll mesh with holdover center Nikola Vucevic remains to be seen, and Vucevic may not be easy to move with three seasons and $36.75MM left on his contract. New coach Frank Vogel faces a big challenge in putting all the pieces together, but Orlando probably raised its talent level enough to challenge for a playoff spot.

Why didn’t the Knicks pursue Lance Stephenson? He’s only 25 and  brings a strong resume playing in playoff competition. He’s a big guard, can defend well, rebounds great, passes well, shoots 48% from field and 39% from 3. He’s a New York City product and has the state high school all-time scoring record. Why no interest? — Harvey Ludwin

It’s not just the Knicks. A lot of teams that could have used Stephenson’s talent decided to pass on his personality. A series of incidents both large and small have resulted in him playing on three teams in the last two seasons. A rumor that the Nets might have a spot for Stephenson was seemingly debunked today, and Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe recently reported that the sixth-year swingman might have to play overseas for a while and work his way back to the NBA.

What do you think will become of Greg Monroe? It was only a year ago he was one of the hottest UFAs on the market, with no less than three active suitors. He’s coming off another efficient, productive season, yet I get the sense the Bucks are struggling to find value in the trade market. What’s the story here? Are seven-footers with his offensive skills suddenly obsolete? — Daren Hill
Monroe put up decent numbers last season, averaging 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 79 games, but he wasn’t the rim protector or overall defender that the Bucks needed. There have been reports that Milwaukee has been trying to find a taker for him, but his contract doesn’t make him easy to deal. Monroe will make $17.1MM next season and has a player option for 2017/18, which means any team trading for him may get his services for just one year. Milwaukee may have to decide whether it’s worth taking a discounted offer just to move on from Monroe.

Community Shootaround: Wall vs. Beal

Stories of bickering in Washington, D.C., are commonplace, but when it happens in the Wizards’ backcourt, that’s a cause for concern.

Point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal have started airing their disagreements in public, with Wall saying they have “a tendency to dislike each other on the court” and Beal responding that he and Wall “lose sight of the fact that we need each other.”

That’s not how you want your starting backcourt to talk about each other, especially when they are the cornerstones of your rebuilding effort after a disappointing 41-41 season that left you out of the playoffs and prompted a coaching change. Scott Brooks had to be hoping that his time on the Wizards’ bench would start with more team unity.

Star players failing to get along is nothing new in the NBA, but the situation frequently leads to a breakup. The most recent case was in Chicago, where rumors kept floating last season of unhappiness between Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. That was resolved in June when Rose was traded to the Knicks.

Wall, who turns 26 next month, has been an All-Star the past three years. He is coming off career-high averages of 19.9 points and 10.2 assists last season. He has three seasons and more than $54MM left on a maximum extension he agreed to in 2013. Beal averaged a career-high 17.4 points per game last season and shot a career-best 45% from the field. However, he played in a career-low 55 games and was placed on a minutes restriction in December after doctors discovered “the beginnings of a stress reaction in his lower right fibula.” Beal re-signed with the Wizards last month for $127MM over the next five seasons.

That brings us to tonight’s question: If the Wizards decide to break up their backcourt, should they trade Wall or Beal? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the topic. We look forward to what you have to say.

Southwest Notes: Barnes, Benson, Jones

Harrison Barnes has a new $94MM contract, but he tells Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News that he considers the Mavericks to still be Dirk Nowitzki‘s team. Barnes inked a four-year deal with Dallas in July after the Warriors signed Kevin Durant. Owner Mark Cuban has indicated that the Mavericks want Barnes to expand his game and claim a larger role of the offense than he did in Golden State. However, the 24-year-old small forward recognizes the special place that Nowitzki has earned during his 18 seasons in Dallas. “He’s put in the years and won a championship,” Barnes said. “But I have to go out and earn that. People assume that just because you get paid a lot of money and have a lot of attention that all of the sudden you’re guaranteed this many shots. I have to prove that every day in practice. I have to prove that to the coaching staff, and ultimately, if I’m going to be the guy taking shots, I’ve got to prove it to Dirk.”

There’s more news out of the Southwest Division:

  • December 8th has been set as the trial date for a suit filed by Tom Benson involving ownership of the Pelicans and Saints, according to Katherine Sayre of the Times-Picayune. The 89-year-old Benson sued last year to take ownership of the teams out of trust funds for his daughter and two grandchildren. In January of 2015, after a falling out with his heirs, Benson said he wanted to grant full ownership of the Pelicans and Saints to his wife, Gayle Benson. The move was blocked by attorneys who served as trustees for the trust funds. The trusts include 95% ownership of the Pelicans and 60% ownership of the Saints. The judge in the case has urged both sides to try to reach a settlement before the trial date.
  • New Pelicans power forward Terrence Jones can’t wait to reunite with former Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis, tweets Brett Dawson of The New Orleans Advocate. “It’s amazing. The chemistry is just a winning vibe, and I’m very excited,” said the former Rocket, who signed with the Pelicans last month. “We’ve worked out this summer together and really are focused on setting goals and completing them. We really want to make it to the playoffs, and whatever we do in there, we think, is destiny. It’s going to be a great experience.” (Twitter link.)

Eastern Notes: Stephenson, Pistons, Knicks

The Nets and unrestricted free agent Lance Stephenson have nothing going on, Mike Mazzeo of ESPN.com reports (on Twitter). Mazzeo’s report squashes the rumors that suggested Stephenson was joining Brooklyn. Stephenson, a New York native, had made a post on Instagram with the caption, “Dreams come true,” which ignited the  rumors.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

Hoops Links: Magic, Wall, Grizzlies

Every Sunday, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Then you should send it to us at [email protected]. Here’s this week’s rundown …

Please send submissions for Hoops Links to Zach at [email protected].

Heat Notes: Dragic, Spoelstra, Ellington, Winslow

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra is visiting point guard Goran Dragic in Slovenia this weekend to talk about changes in the wake of the loss of Dwyane Wade, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Dragic is expected to become more of a focus in Miami’s offense with Wade leaving for Chicago in free agency. Jackson notes that in the games Dragic has played without Wade during his time with the Heat, his scoring average rose from 14.8 points per game to 17.6 and his assist average increased from 5.7 to 6.6, but his shooting dropped from 48.3 percent to 43.2 percent. In a video released by the team Friday, Spoelstra said he wants to adjust the offense to maximize Dragic’s abilities. “Goran is one of the best fast-break, transition point guards in this game,” the coach said. “He will force tempo regardless of how you want to play or how you want to defend. Goran is going to run. … You don’t find many players that can attack, that can play fast, that can make other players better in that type of game. And he’s relentless in getting to the rim. And Goran is that kind of player. And I think young players gravitate to Goran. They want to play that style.”

There’s more out of Miami:

  • Free agent addition Wayne Ellington hopes to make Hassan Whiteside a better passer next season, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. The 28-year-old shooting guard, who got more than $12MM over two seasons to leave Brooklyn for Miami, thinks his 3-point range will provide an opportunity for Whiteside to increase his assist total. The newly re-signed center has handed out just 35 assists over the past two seasons and ranked 80th among centers in 2015/16 in points created off assists.
  • The departure of Luol Deng and lingering concerns about the health of Chris Bosh have seemingly opened a starting spot for Justise Winslow, Winderman notes in the same piece. Winslow averaged 6.4 points and 5.2 rebounds as a rookie last season in 78 games, mostly as a reserve. But Deng signed with the Lakers in free agency and questions remain about the availability of Bosh, whose last two seasons were cut short by blood clots. That creates an opportunity for Winslow, who is among the few holdovers after an offseason of change in Miami. “He’s going to find a way to make an impact on the game,” Spoelstra said. “And he’s going to do it in winning fashion. It might be defensively; it might be offensively. It might be leadership. All of that is far ahead of his age.”

Sir’Dominic Pointer Will Play In Israel

Sir’Dominic Pointer, a second-round draft choice by the Cavaliers in 2015, will play in Israel next season, tweets Chris Reichert of Upside and Motor. Pointer has agreed to a reported two-year contract with Hapoel Eilat, but the deal has an escape clause for the NBA (Twitter link).

Cleveland still holds the draft rights to Pointer after making him the 53rd overall selection a year ago. He played for the Cavaliers’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League the past two seasons.

Pointer, a 6’6″ swingman, spent last season with Cleveland’s D-League affiliate in Canton, averaging 6.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in 50 games. Pointer, 24, played four years at St. John’s before joining the NBA.

Sixers Notes: Henderson, Bayless, Rodriguez, Pleiss

The Sixers solidified their backcourt and added a veteran presence in their locker room with three offseason signings, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Entering free agency with $54MM in cap space, the team spent most of it on shooting guard Gerald Henderson and point guards Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez. Philadelphia will pay Bayless more than $9.4MM for the upcoming season, along with $9MM for Henderson and $8MM for Rodriguez, giving them the three highest salaries on the roster. Marks adds that the Sixers learned the importance of having a serviceable point guard last season when they started 1-30 before trading for Ish Smith on Christmas Eve.

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers are the only team with 20 players currently under contract, Marks notes in the same story. That’s the league maximum heading into training camp, and it means the team will face some tough decisions in cutting down its roster. Friday’s trade for Tibor Pleiss gives the Sixers 14 players with fully guaranteed contracts, although Pleiss’ deal is only for $3MM, so there has been speculation that Philadelphia may not hold onto him. Pleiss played just 82 minutes in Utah last season, so the Sixers may want to evaluate him in camp before making a decision. Philadelphia has six players with partial or non-guaranteed deals.
  • In his rookie season, Jahlil Okafor never found a way to use his one-on-one offensive skills to help his teammates, writes Derek Bodner of PhillyMag.com. In comparing the contributions of Okafor and Nerlens Noel, Bodner also contends that Okafor doesn’t do much on offense when he doesn’t have the ball and that the defensive concerns that haunted him coming into the league were well founded. Bodner believes the Sixers will eventually have to deal either Okafor or Noel, and the drafting of Ben Simmons and the apparent health of Joel Embiid will probably make the decision happen sooner.
  • Former Sixers power forward Drew Gordon is close to signing with Rytas Vilnius in Lithuania, tweets international basketball writer David Pick. Gordon, the younger brother of Orlando’s Aaron Gordon, played nine games with Philadelphia in 2014/15.

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