2:12pm: The Kings confirmed that they have waived the trio.
8:43am: The Kings intend to waive Sim Bhullar, Deonte Burton, and David Wear, Sean Cunningham of News 10 Sacramento reports (Twitter link). Burton and Wear were in camp on non-guaranteed minimum salary deals, but Bhullar had a partial guarantee of $35K on his pact which Sacramento is on the hook for unless another team submits a waiver claim. These moves will reduce the Kings’ preseason roster count to 15, with 13 of those agreements being fully guaranteed. No announcement from the team has been made yet.
When Bhullar was signed by the Kings it marked the first time a player of Indian descent joined the NBA. The 7’5″ big man had declared for the NBA draft in mid-April, shortly after he and New Mexico State were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Bhullar averaged 10.1 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.4 BPG in 24.4 MPG while shooting 62.1% from the field as a freshman and 10.4 PPG, 7.8 RPG, and 3.4 BPG, while shooting 64.8% as a sophomore.
The 23-year-old Burton spent summer league with the Wizards after going undrafted, averaging just 1.8 points in 17.3 minutes per contest, but he put up much better numbers as a senior with the Nevada Wolf Pack this past season, chipping in for 20.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 4.4 assists against 2.0 turnovers in 38.6 MPG.
Wear, a 6’9″ 23-year-old, spent time in the summer league with the Bulls, averaging 4.8 points and 2.0 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game across five appearances. He didn’t log impressive numbers at UCLA, going for 6.5 PPG and 3.8 RPG in 22.9 MPG. His playing time decreased each successive year after he saw 28.4 MPG as a sophomore. Wear transferred to UCLA after spending his freshman year at North Carolina.
The Kings announced that they have picked up the 2015/16 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract. The move was something of a formality as it was widely expected.
The guard averaged 8.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 26.7 minutes per contest as a rookie last season. On the surface, the two guard didn’t have a hard time adjusting to the pros as he saw time in all 82 games in 2013/14. McLemore’s name was brought up in trade rumors more than once last year, particularly in connection with Celtics star Rajon Rondo. Nothing came from those talks, however, and McLemore could prove to be an integral part of the Kings’ future.
The Rockets have not settled on their opening night roster yet, writes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. “That’s why we’re experimenting,” coach Kevin McHale said. “There are still a lot of unknowns. We have a lot of guys who haven’t just taken a spot where you say, ‘I’m really comfortable. This guy has really taken the backup spot.’ We have a lot of guys still fighting for spots.” Houston brought 20 players to camp and has not made any official cuts, although it would seem the team is down to 18 players for 15 roster spots with Robert Covington and Akil Mitchell not having been with the team for the last week.
Here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Jeremy Lin is humbled by the offseason trade that sent him to the Lakers, writes Mike Bresnahan of the The Los Angeles Times. Lin said, “When I first got there [Houston], I was supposed to be the guy and they were supposed to kind of hand the torch to me. And I ended up getting traded away basically for nothing. Actually, they had to give a draft pick to convince someone else to take me. Pretty much given away for nothing. Definitely not how I envisioned it.”
- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich loves the play of JaMychal Green, tweets Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News. The unfortunate thing for Green is that the Spurs don’t currently have an opening-night roster spot for him, Monroe adds.
- Wolves head coach Flip Saunders is praised by local high school and college coaches for his open-door policy, writes Andy Greder of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. “We are a very close fraternity as far as coaches, and what you want to do is make sure you’re open,” Saunders said.
- Jazz forward Enes Kanter has as much to gain this season as anyone on the team, opines Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune. Kanter will head into restricted free agency next summer if the Jazz do not reach a deal on an extension with him by the October 31st deadline.
- In a roundtable preview for the Kings, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller predicts that Sacramento will pull off a major trade this season, citing GM Pete D’Alessandro‘s aggressive track record and abundance of assets at his disposal.
Cray Allred contributed to this post.
The league had better enjoy the windfall of their TV deal while it lasts, because big money deals like this are likely to disappear in the future, Steve Ginsburg of Reuters writes. Smith College sports economist Andrew Zimbalist warns that the point of sports saturation on television in the United States is rapidly approaching. “At the end of the day, we have a lot more sports programming than we’ve ever had,” Zimbalist told Reuters. “And we’ve had pretty much the same number of household television sets. Ultimately what has to happen is that supply and demand have to meet at a lower price.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- David Arseneault Jr. was officially named head coach of the Reno Bighorns, the Kings‘ D-League franchise, the team announced.
- With the NBA’s new $24 billion TV deal set to take effect in 2016 player salaries are likely to reach new heights. For now, the league’s star players will have to continue to make ends meet with the current CBA salary structure, and the crew at FOX Sports Ohio runs down the top 25 player salaries for the 2014/15 season. Topping the list are Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, and Amar’e Stoudemire.
- One prospect who NBA franchises will be keeping an eye on this season is Emmanuel Mudiay, who chose to play over in China rather than attend college this season. Mudiay played his first game yesterday and notched 20 points and five assists in 27 minutes. One of his opponents was former NBA player Pooh Jeter, who relayed his impressions of the 18-year-old phenom to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. Mudiay is currently slotted second in Givony’s prospect rankings.
With Kevin Durant expected to miss a minimum of six to eight weeks with a fractured foot, the Thunder will have to look for help from within the organization, Nick Gallo of NBA.com writes. “The process is ongoing and it will continue to be ongoing,” coach Scott Brooks said. “The first part of that process is not making an excuse. If you can all come to grips with that, then you have a better chance to have success. We’ve always done that as an organization. Whatever is thrown at us, we’re going to control what we can and not worry about the things that we can’t.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- One of the players in the running to be the first overall draft choice next June is Duke’s Jahlil Okafor. Mike Schmitz of DraftExpress (video link) profiles the top ranked player in the ACC.
- Newcomer Ryan Hollins‘ biggest value to the Kings may be taking the defensive weight off of DeMarcus Cousins, Nick Avila of SI.com opines. Hollins is part of a crowded frontcourt mix in Sacramento that includes Jason Thompson, Reggie Evans, Carl Landry, and Sim Bhullar.
- Jamelle McMillan, son of former NBA player and head coach Nate McMillan, was named the player development coach for the Pelicans, the team announced in a press release. McMillan was on New Orleans’ staff as an intern the last two seasons.
- A few head coaches enter the season already on the hot seat, while others’ perches will heat up as the season progresses. Sam Amick of USA Today looks at each coach’s job status entering the new campaign.
- Chris Webber is part of a potential ownership group that has registered interest with the NBA league office about buying the Hawks, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link).
Lance Stephenson entered free agency anticipating the NBA signing a new TV deal, Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report writes. Stephenson was looking for a shorter deal that would allow him to have a shot at an even bigger payday down the line. The Pacers weren’t willing to agree to those terms, but the Mavericks were, notes Zwerling. Alberto Ebanks, Stephenson’s agent, confirmed reports that both sides had verbally committed to a two-year contract worth $20MM, but it was Dallas’ negotiations with Chandler Parsons that prevented the deal from being completed, Zwerling writes. “It was a domino effect,” Ebanks said. “Dallas did not think that Houston was going to let Parsons walk. Lance was very close to being a member of the Mavericks. When you’re a little further along into free agency, people are more in the position to pull the trigger when they see what they’re looking for.” It wound up being Charlotte that pulled the trigger on a deal.
Here’s more from out west:
- Jason Kapono is performing well in training camp and is in the running for the Warriors‘ final regular season roster spot, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group reports. “He’s in great shape,” head coach Steve Kerr said of Kapono. “I’m convinced he has a place in this league. Whether it’s with us or not, we’ll see.”
- During a media day interview posted on NBA.com, David Lee was asked about the Warriors slow offseason that saw the team’s only notable additions be Shaun Livingston and Brandon Rush. Lee believes the roster continuity is good, adding, “I think it’s huge, yeah. I think first of all it’s a sign of things getting better. If you’re winning 25-30 games there’s going to be constant change. We’ve finally been very consistent these last couple years in winning games and I think that’s how players stick around and how teams stick around. I think using San Antonio as a model, when you have those core guys together year in and year out, I think the familiarity can really help, especially in pressure situations and close games.”
- Jamel McLean scored the game winning basket in Alba Berlin’s 94-93 victory over the Spurs Wednesday. This might not be the last the NBA hears from McLean, Yannis Koutroupis of Basketball Insiders opines. McLean worked out for the Kings last summer, and should warrant more attention from the league next offseason, Koutroupis notes.
Nemanja Nedovic said that the Warriors haven’t given him any indication on whether or not the team’s third-year option on his contract will be picked up, Diamond Leung of The Bay Area News Group writes. Golden State has until October 31st to decide on Nedovic’s option.
Here’s more from out west:
- Pau Gasol doesn’t have fond memories of being a free agent this past summer, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Talking about the process that led him to sign with the Bulls, Gasol said, “It was a difficult decision; it was a difficult process to go through and I don’t wish to go through it again because it was just very stressful. My phone was blowing up. It got to points in the day where I just didn’t want to be by my phone so I just put it away. I don’t know who called at those times. I tried to return the calls and the messages as much as I could, because I was trying to be respectful and appreciative of the people that had interest in me. I did not expect nor anticipate that it was going to be that hectic and that stressful. So first it was hard for me to make the decision to move on from the team that I’ve been a part of and been through so much with – the Lakers. Then, after that, it was, ‘Okay, where do I want to play?’”
- The Kings have hired David Arseneault Jr. as head coach of the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate, the team announced via a press release. Arseneault was previously working as an assistant at Grinnell College, a Division III program. The Kings presumably hired him to implement and teach Grinnell’s high-scoring offensive system, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports notes.
- One of the big worries with signing players to big dollar contracts is if the pressure to live up to the numbers will hamper the player. Kenneth Faried isn’t letting his new windfall from the Nuggets affect him, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes. When asked if he was feeling added weight because of the contract extension, Faried said, “No, I really don’t care. There’s no pressure, it’s just money. It’s not a big deal. I love the game so I’m going to continue to play the game like I’ve been playing. My mind has been at ease and I’ve been grinding.”
Charlie Villanueva has impressed Mavs coach Rick Carlisle, who insists Villanueva’s lack of guaranteed money won’t prevent the team from keeping him for opening night, as Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com chronicles.
“It’s going to come down to who plays the best, who fills needs,” Carlisle said. “And we’ll go from there. Mark [Cuban]’s the kind of owner, he’s not going to let a few dollars get in the way of keeping the right team together.”
Still, it’d cost the Mavs, who have 15 guaranteed contracts plus partial guarantees with Eric Griffin and Ivan Johnson, at least $991,482 in dead money to waive the players necessary for them to keep Villanueva, unless they can work out some sort of trade. While we wait to see just how much Cuban is willing to sacrifice, here’s more from the Western Conference:
- Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace told Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal that he wasn’t explicitly told not to perform his duties while former CEO Jason Levien was in charge of the team, as Tillery writes in a subscription-only piece. Wallace clarified that he made his own choice to remove himself from player personnel, Tillery notes. Wallace also made a run at openings with the Kings last year and Cavs earlier this year, according to Tillery.
- The new TV deal won’t affect LaMarcus Aldridge‘s plan to sign a long-term deal with the Blazers this summer, a source tells The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, pointing out that the maximum salary goes up as the salary cap does. Still, it’s worth noting that cap figures only affect the amount of a max contract for the first season of the deal, and since it appears unlikely the cap will rise dramatically until the summer of 2016, there’s still plenty of incentive for Aldridge to sign a short-term deal instead.
- Wolves coach/executive Flip Saunders didn’t seem merely to be trying to up J.J. Barea‘s trade value when he said the guard was one of the team’s best performers in camp again this year, writes Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
- The NBA’s national TV deal isn’t the only one due for a sharp increase, as some predictions have the Clippers local TV rights fees increasing to $80MM annually from the $20MM the team receives each year under the current arrangement, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. The existing deal is up after the 2015/16 season, Kennedy notes (on Twitter).
J.J. Barea has been the odd man out in Minnesota, especially after the Wolves signed Mo Williams back in July. But the veteran guard believes there is a roster spot for him on the team, Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press writes. “I see the players and know this team could use me,” Barea said. “I could help them a lot.” Barea is in the final year of his contract and there has been speculation that Minnesota would attempt to deal or reach a buyout arrangement with him.
Here’s what else is happening around the league:
- Also from Greder’s article, Williams said that he would like to try his hand at coaching once his career is over, though he did say that he still has a few more years left in him as a player.
- Former NBA player DJ White has inked a one-month deal with Baskonia of the ACB, the team announced via their website (translation by Emiliano Carchia of Sportando). The 6’9″ power forward spent the last two seasons playing in China, but did appear in two games for the Hornets in 2013/14 after signing a 10-day contract. In six NBA seasons White’s numbers are 5.9 PPG and 3.2 RPG.
- The Reno Bighorns, the D-League affiliate of the Kings, are hiring former NBA player Darrell Walker as head coach, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link).
- Raptors GM Masai Ujiri has prioritized continuity on his roster, but the team’s plans for Amir Johnson aren’t clear, Eric Koreen of The National Post writes. With Patrick Patterson under contract for three more years, Ujiri might decide against giving long-term contracts to both players since their games are so similar, opines Koreen.
Sixers managing owner Josh Harris believes the franchise has made remarkable strides in the 17 months since Sam Hinkie was hired as GM, Max Rappaport of NBA.com reports. “I think people see the early returns,” said Harris. “Certainly, we have a lot of cap room, we have two first-round picks next year, we have a slew of seconds, we have a number of players that we have the rights to in Europe, we have possibly two big men between Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel that will be franchise players for us over a long, long time, and we have the Rookie of the Year.”
Here’s more from around the league:
- 16-year-old Croatian forward Dragan Bender is turning heads over in the Israeli league, writes David Pick of Eurobasket. Pro scouts watching Bender play say his best-case NBA scenario would be to equal Andrei Kirilenko‘s numbers, while the worst-case would place him in Jan Vesely territory. Bender is currently projected by DraftExpress to be selected thirteenth in the 2016 NBA draft.
- Steve Ballmer acknowledged a passing interest in buying the Bucks earlier this year and wonders if the NBA would have allowed him and Chris Hansen to purchase the Kings and move them to Seattle if they had put up more money in a one-on-one with USA Today’s Sam Amick. The new Clippers owner also said that a long-term extension for Doc Rivers “seemed absolutely right to me” based on Rivers’ track record and recommendations from others. Ballmer had more to say to Amick for another piece that we passed along earlier.
- Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders shares his predictions on which players will have breakout seasons during the 2014/15 campaign. Topping the list are Jonas Valanciunas, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Steven Adams.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.