Sacramento Kings

Wizards Sign Ryan Hollins

11:57am: The signing is official, the Wizards announced.

10:57am: It’ll be a minimum-salary contract, as J. Michael of hears (Twitter link), so the Wizards won’t have to use the disabled player exception they’d like to get in return for Webster’s injury.

10:40am: The deal for Hollins will be non-guaranteed, according to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post (on Twitter). The Wizards will release Webster to make room on the roster, as Charania also reported and as we covered in more detail here.

7:57am: The Wizards and nine-year veteran center Ryan Hollins have agreed to a deal, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. Washington already has 15 players, and while the team has planned to apply for a disabled player exception for Martell Webster, who’s out for the season, that doesn’t provide for an extra roster spot. Alan Anderson, who’s still recovering from left ankle surgery, is the only other injured Wizard who isn’t at least questionable for Tuesday’s game. That would mean Washington doesn’t have the four long-term injuries required for a hardship provision, which would allow the team a 16th man. Thus, it would appear that the Wizards must let go of one of their 15 fully guaranteed salaries to accommodate Hollins, unless some of their injuries are more serious than reports have thus far indicated.

Hollins, 31, was with the Grizzlies in preseason before Memphis cut him prior to opening night. The Wizards, Kings, Clippers, Mavericks and Pelicans all reportedly had interest in him over the summer, and the Kings, for whom he played last season, still had their eyes on him when the Wizards snapped him up, tweets Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports. Hollins was efficient with Memphis during the preseason, averaging 5.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 11.5 minutes per game across seven appearances.

The Wizards, expected to make a run in the Eastern Conference playoffs as they’ve done the past two seasons, are 6-8 and in 12th place in the East. Garrett Temple, who’s on an expiring contract worth slightly more than $1.1MM, would make for the least expensive cut if the Wizards let go of someone.

Do you think Hollins can help the Wizards? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.

Western Notes: Rondo, Lakers, Nuggets

The Mavs should have never acquired Rajon Rondo in a deal with the Celtics, according to Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, Tim MacMahon of reports. Rondo had a mostly tumultuous four months with the Mavs last season and he often clashed with Carlisle, MacMahon writes. Rondo, as MacMahon points out, averaged 9.3 points, 6.5 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game in 46 games with the Mavs, who were 26-20 when he played and 24-12 without him last season.

“Listen, we all did everything we could to make it work. It was challenging,” Carlisle told MacMahon. “Going back in time, it’s a deal we should have shied away from, for the sake of us and for the sake of him. It’s a deal we shouldn’t have made. I think we all realize that now, but when you do a deal like that, you’ve got to do everything possible to make it work. I learned a lot going through the year with him and trying to be creative and use some of his unique abilities. He’s a very talented player, and he’s having a great year this year, which is basically no surprise.”

Rondo, now with the Kings, is averaging 12.4 points and 11 assists per game.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • Kings coach George Karl is unsure if DeMarcus Cousins will return Monday, but believes it was best Cousins didn’t play over the weekend because the center has been injured, with a lower back strain, and frustrated, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee relays.
  • Despite the fact Kobe Bryant is experiencing his worst season, Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post opines that the superstar’s minutes should not be reduced. The topic has been debated by several scribes, especially with the Lakers struggling to win games.
  • Darrell Arthur, who re-signed with the Nuggets during the summer, has added an improved 3-point shot to his arsenal lately, Dempsey writes in a separate story.

Pacific Notes: Rondo, Stephenson, Barnes

The Kings seem to have finally settled on a rotation and Rajon Rondo, who agreed to a one-year deal worth $9.5MM with Sacramento this offseason, is a major part of it, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Rondo is averaging 40.6 minutes per game over his last 12, but the point guard isn’t concerned about his extended minutes. “The more you’re out there, the more of a rhythm you get in to. So I have no complaints,” Rondo said.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
  • Lance Stephenson has seen his minutes fluctuate since becoming a Clipper, but 25-year-old is winning over his new teammates on and off the court, Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link) passes along. “I love Lance,” Blake Griffin said. “He has a great spirit and I think he wants to be great, he wants to help and wants to be a great teammate.”
  • Harrison Barnes sprained his left ankle during Friday’s win over the Suns and there is no timetable for his return, the Bay Area News Group reports. Interim coach Luke Walton provided insight on how the team will approach the forward’s recovery. “It’s all speculation. It could be a few weeks. It could be a week,” Walton said. “We’re not going to rush him back because we want to be healthy for later in the season and we don’t want lingering injures, so we’ll have him take his time.” Barnes will be a restricted free agent after the season.

Offseason In Review: Sacramento Kings

Hoops Rumors is in the process of looking back at each team’s offseason, from the end of the playoffs in June right up until opening night. Trades, free agent signings, draft picks, contract extensions, option decisions, camp invitees, and more will be covered, as we examine the moves each franchise made over the last several months.



  • None


Waiver Claims

  • None

Draft Picks

Departing Players

Rookie Contract Option Decisions

Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports Images

Steve Mitchell/USA Today Sports Images

The Kings are rapidly becoming known more for their behind-the-scenes drama than for what the team accomplishes on the court. Head coach George Karl has seemingly been on the hot seat since being hired late last season, and this front office soap opera has made it difficult for the franchise to make any forward progress whatsoever. The team’s power structure has been in a perpetual state of flux, and the bulk of Sacramento’s offseason moves have raised more questions about the team’s future than providing much-needed answers.

Nine of the 15 players that began this season with the Kings were not on the roster when the 2014/15 campaign came to a close, which is a level of turnover only matched by the Trail Blazers in the Western Conference and is unmatched in the East. New vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac used the trade market, the draft and free agency to reconstitute 60% of his roster this summer, firmly placing his own stamp on the team, for better or for worse. It remains to be seen just how long Divac will be in power, with team owner Vivek Ranadive reportedly continuing to flirt with the idea of making a run at Kentucky head coach John Calipari. The Kings denied a report over the summer indicating that they reached out to Calipari, and Calipari has continually maintained that he isn’t interested in returning to the NBA, despite persistent rumors to the contrary.

Sacramento began reshaping its roster with a pair of trades that cleared salary cap room, but the team also raised some questions about its direction. Shipping young point guard Ray McCallum to the Spurs for a 2016 second-round pick isn’t a team-changing event, though it was a bit puzzling that the Kings would give up on such a young player who had little impact on their cap figure given that he makes the league minimum. McCallum can hit restricted free agency next summer, but he’s not likely to spark a bidding war, and in the event that he did, the team could have simply chosen not to match the offer and just let him walk.

The other trade that Divac engineered over the summer was even more troubling for me. The Kings dumped Jason Thompson, Carl Landry, and Nik Stauskas on the Sixers to clear the decks for a pursuit of point guard Rajon Rondo, swingman Wesley Matthews, and possibly Monta Ellis, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The team whiffed on both Matthews and Ellis, and while the players shipped to Philly are far from irreplaceable, the draft assets Sacramento gave up may very well become an issue. I also question the team moving on from Stauskas after just one season. While I don’t believe that “Sauce Castillo” will amount to much more than a reserve in the league, if that, it’s troubling to see a franchise giving up on a former lottery pick so quickly.

Sacramento may have missed out on Ellis and Matthews, and I do think that’s a good thing for the long term considering the size of Matthews’ deal with Dallas, and Ellis’ penchant for being a stat sheet player and little more. The team did manage to land Rondo, who has been a triple-double machine thus far in 2015/16. While Rondo has always shown the ability to contribute in multiple ways, it’s his history of being a difficult player to coach that is the major concern. Karl’s situation is already volatile, and the addition of Rondo could be akin to pouring gasoline on a blazing fire if things between him and the embattled coach were to turn sour. The Kings signed Rondo to a one-year pact, which mitigates much of the risk, but it also could serve to throw out any continuity developed if the playmaker departs as an unrestricted free agent next summer.

The Kings made a number of interesting additions over the summer via the free agent market, including signing center Kosta Koufos, veteran swingman Caron Butler, combo forward Quincy Acy, and shooting guard Marco Belinelli. The additions of Belinelli and Koufos were solid moves, and both players bring talent and experience in much-needed areas for the team.

The only issues that I have with the Kings inking Koufos is that he may end up being a redundant piece if 2015 first-rounder Willie Cauley-Stein develops as expected, and I also think handing him a four-year pact is a bit of a risk based on his mediocre track record in the league thus far. But big men always seem to end up getting paid on the open market, and with the expected jump in the salary cap next season, giving Koufos approximately $8MM per season isn’t exorbitant, and that contract likely wouldn’t be a difficult one to move if the need arose. Speaking of Cauley-Stein, I love the selection of the former Kentucky big man, and his versatility and athleticism coupled with his defensive prowess make him an ideal running mate for DeMarcus Cousins.

But it still remains to be seen if Cousins will be with the organization for the long term. Cousins reportedly doesn’t trust Karl, and their relationship has been rumored to be beyond repair. The Kings haven’t admitted that they shopped the center, but Wojnarowski reported that they asked the Lakers for Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, the No. 2 pick that became D’Angelo Russell and other draft assets. Plus, Wojnarowski added that the Kings also wanted any team that would receive Cousins to also take on Landry, since traded to the Sixers. Such a high cost kept the Celtics from even asking about Cousins, as Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported.

The Kings’ offseason was one of mixed direction as they sacrificed a number of assets that could have helped them in the future for a shot at relevance this season. The problem is that the now doesn’t appear to be especially grand, and until the team’s power structure and coaching situation are solidified in some way, Sacramento will continue to flounder and fill up back page headlines with dysfunction. Turmoil seems to repeatedly stalk the Kings, and the moves they made this summer don’t bode well for the long-term future of the organization.

The Basketball Insiders salary pages were used in the creation of this post.

David Stockton Joins Kings D-League

Former Kings point guard David Stockton, son of Hall-of-Famer John Stockton, has rejoined Sacramento’s D-League affiliate, as the team announced and Chris Reichert of Upside & Motor reports (Twitter link). The team released Kings camp cut Marshall Henderson to make room, Reichert also reports (Twitter link). Stockton was originally with the Kings D-League team, the Reno Bighorns, in between his release from the Wizards and his time with the big club in Sacramento last season. The Kings inked Stockton to a 10-day contract and later a multiyear pact, but that deal didn’t include any guaranteed salary for this season, and they cut him at the end of the preseason.

Stockton, 24, impressed while in the D-League the first time around, notching 20.1 points, 9.9 assists and 3.4 turnovers in 30.5 minutes per game. He was unable to duplicate that success at the NBA level, appearing in only three regular season games last season and three preseason games this fall, with limited minutes.

The 25-year-old Henderson was a surprise preseason signing for the Kings and appeared in only one exhibition contest. The shooting guard averaged 6.8 points in only 11.1 minutes per game with 9 for 22 3-point shooting across four appearances for the Bighorns after the Kings allocated him to Reno as an affiliate player.

Pacific Notes: Bryant, Leuer, Johnson

Despite shooting guard Kobe Bryant‘s early season struggles, Lakers coach Byron Scott said that he doesn’t intend to cut down on the veteran’s minutes, Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times relays. “I have not considered that yet. It’s too early in the season,” said Scott, who also noted that he doesn’t believe Bryant is suffering from fatigue. “I think he’s averaging about 30 minutes a game. He’s still getting plenty of rest.  I don’t think so — maybe [he] is, but in my opinion watching it, I don’t think so. Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot. In the last few days, he said he feels great.  I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired, or his legs behind tired, I think it’s just a matter of his timing being a little off.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jon Leuer, whom Phoenix acquired in a draft day trade this year from Memphis, has been a hidden gem off the Suns‘ bench this season, writes Ben York of Over his last three appearances, Leuer is averaging 10 points per game while shooting 63% from the floor and an amazing 60% from beyond the 3-point line.
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers continues to experiment with his rotation in an effort to find the right mix, and swingman Wesley Johnson may be utilized as a starter more often going forward thanks to the energy he brings to the court, notes Ben Bolch of The Los Angeles Times. “I like Wes the most because of his size and his ability to shoot, but there’s nights where you play a great offensive player at that spot and we may go with a defensive guy. We’re going to just keep moving it around,” Rivers said. If Johnson is moved into a more prominent role with the team it may affect his decision regarding exercising his $1,227,286 player option for 2016/17, especially with the salary cap set to increase markedly, though that is merely my speculation.
  • Kings coach George Karl is still acclimating himself to the team’s new players, but Karl does believe that Sacramento’s current roster is far superior to last season’s squad as far as talent goes, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes.

Pacific Notes: Kobe, Lieberman, Walton, Green

The Warriors keep on rolling, but the same can’t be said for Kobe Bryant, whose game has fallen off sharply in what figures to be his final season. Bryant matched the worst shooting performance of his career, going 1 for 14 Tuesday as the Lakers fell to the Warriors, 111-77, sending Golden State to the first 16-0 mark in NBA history. Bryant is shooting just 31.1% this season, a career low, but he leads the Lakers in field goal attempts per game.

“I’m not really worried about it, honestly,” Bryant said, according to Baxter Holmes of (Twitter link). “My shooting will be better. I could’ve scored 80 tonight. It wouldn’t have made a [expletive] difference. We just have bigger problems. I could be out there averaging 35 points a game. We’d be what, 3-11? We’ve got to figure out how to play systematically in a position that’s going to keep us in ballgames.”

The Lakers are 2-12, but coach Byron Scott said he still has “so much confidence” in Bryant, his former teammate, who remains the NBA’s highest-paid player at $25MM this season, as Bill Oram of the Orange County Register relays. See more from the Pacific Division:

  • An agent with ties to the Kings predicts chaos if the team were to make Nancy Lieberman the interim coach in the event of a George Karl firing, reports Chris Mannix of, who writes in his Open Floor column. Mannix finds it difficult to envision Lieberman getting the nod, despite a report that owner Vivek Ranadive would favor such a move if he dismisses Karl.
  • Warriors interim coach Luke Walton reached out to Phil Jackson before the 2014/15 season to ask whether he should reach out to Steve Kerr, and Jackson, who’d wanted to hire Kerr for the Knicks, told Walton to do so, notes Marcia C. Smith of the Orange County Register. Kerr wound up hiring Walton as an assistant coach, setting in motion the events that would put Walton in charge of the team’s historic run.
  • Draymond Green is one of the six or seven most valuable players in the NBA, as Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group observed Tuesday before Golden State’s game. Green re-signed with the Warriors for $82MM over five years this summer, more than $14MM less than his five-year max.

And-Ones: Simmons, Warriors, Pacers, Kings

LSU combo forward Ben Simmons made a “major statement” Monday, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress said to Josh Newman of after Simmons had 21 points, 20 rebounds and seven assists in LSU’s loss to Marquette. Simmons is reminiscent of Lamar Odom, as Odom’s name came up in Newman’s story as well as the ones that Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post and Frank Isola of the New York Daily News wrote after the game.
“I think he showed a lot of the same things that we know,” Givony said to Newman. “He’s an elite passer, he’s a tremendous ball-handler, he’s phenomenal in transition, he’s incredibly versatile for his size. He’s a great rebounder.”
Givony has Simmons ranked No. 2 behind Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere, pointing to Simmons’ defense and his failure to attempt a single 3-pointer yet this season, as Newman relays. While we wait to see how Simmons develops over the season, here’s news from around the NBA:
  • The Warriors are leading the small-ball revolution these days, thanks in large measure to the unique capabilities of $82MM signee Draymond Green, who has the skills of a perimeter player and the wingspan of a center, as Zach Lowe of examines. The team’s brass admits it didn’t know what it had in Green until Steve Kerr put him in the starting lineup last season in David Lee‘s stead, Lowe notes. GM Bob Myers admits trepidation as late as Game 4 of the NBA Finals last season when Kerr replaced Andrew Bogut with Andre Iguodala and the Cavs sprinted to an early lead before the Warriors caught up and Iguodala won the Finals MVP award.
  • Golden State is prompting front offices to re-evaluate the relative value of big men and wing players, but while Pacers coach Frank Vogel told Lowe he isn’t about to line up Paul George at center, he said the change in philosophy that’s prompted him to give George time at the four predates Golden State’s rise. “It wasn’t even about the Warriors,” Vogel said to Lowe. “It was about not being able to overcome LeBron [James] and Miami three straight years. We couldn’t even throw the ball inside. We had a lot of turnovers just trying to do that.”
  • The Kings recalled Duje Dukan from the D-League on Monday, according to the RealGM transactions log, though neither Sacramento nor its affiliate made a public announcement. The undrafted combo forward from Wisconsin scored 14 points in 34 minutes in his one appearance with the Reno Bighorns.

Southwest Notes: Morey, Williams, McGee, Gentry

It’s up to the players to pull the Rockets out of the malaise that cost former coach Kevin McHale his job, according to GM Daryl Morey, but Morey acknowledges to TNT’s David Aldridge that some of the fault lies at his own desk, as Aldridge relays in his Morning Tip column for

“Except for Dwight Howard, there really isn’t anybody on the roster playing well, and those are all my decisions,” Morey said. “I can’t hide from that.”

The Rockets won their first game after switching from McHale to interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff but lost both of their games since, and they’re tied with the Kings at 5-9 for 12th place in the Western Conference. See more from the Southwest Division:

  • Chandler Parsons doesn’t understand why Deron Williams has a reputation as a negative locker room force, citing evidence of the opposite to Jake Fischer of Wesley Matthews observes a positive attitude from Williams in the face of challenges, like the erosion of his game, a change Williams acknowledges, as Fischer adds. “My days of scoring 20 and 10 are over. I know that,” said Williams, who gave up nearly $16MM to buy his way off the Nets before signing with the Mavericks for $11MM over two years.
  • The return of JaVale McGee puts the squeeze on the minutes of early-season revelation Dwight Powell, notes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. The Mavs have until January 7th to decide whether to pay McGee his full salary of $1.27MM or waive him and pay only his $750K partial guarantee.
  • Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was satisfied as the lead assistant for the Warriors last season and didn’t think he’d end up with another head coaching job until New Orleans came calling, observes Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic“I was not going to take a job just to have a job as a head coach unless it was a situation that I thought was going to give you an opportunity to win and win big and compete for a championship,” Gentry said. “I really didn’t have any desire just to take another NBA job.”

Pacific Notes: Rivers, Butler, Russell, Randle

Doc Rivers said the slow start for the Clippers is “on me” and insisted that the team doesn’t have chemistry problems in spite of heated conversation in the locker room after Sunday’s loss, which dropped the team to 6-7, notes Jovan Buha of Fox Sports (All Twitter links). Rivers’ coaching took some criticism from Hoops Rumors readers in Sunday’s Community Shootaround, as did the roster he assembled as the team’s president of basketball operations. Still, it’s early, and the Clippers have had the poor luck of running into the still-unbeaten Warriors twice so far this season. See more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Caron Butler credits the team meeting the Kings had amid the tumult and rumors after they started 1-7 for sparking the club to a 4-2 record since, reports Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times“Behind closed doors we addressed some things and we came together. Because of that, we’re playing great basketball right now,” Butler said. “It’s about camaraderie; when things go bad, you figure it out. Whatever it is, you figure it out and you move forward, and that’s what we did.”
  • Butler has been a free agent four times, but he hasn’t returned to the Lakers since the team traded him away in 2005. Still, he considers Kobe Bryant a “brother for life” and remains in contact with his long-ago Lakers teammate, as he details to Pincus for the same piece. “Being up under the wing of Kobe Bryant and the relationship that we built over that time, I learned a lot about the game of basketball,” Butler said. “I took the things that I learned from him, and that’s why I had the success that I had in my career.”
  • Lakers coach Byron Scott is urging patience with top-10 picks D’Angelo Russell and Julius Randle, pointing to the end of next season, notes Janis Carr of the Orange County Register. The Lakers are under pressure to win in the near future, as Jeanie Buss is holding brother Jim Buss to three-year timeline for a return to contention. With D’Angelo, it might be sometime toward the end of next season where he says, ‘Man, I’m starting to get it.’ Same thing with Julius. We’re going to just be patient and keep working them the way we’ve been working them and try to bring them along,” Scott said.

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