Sacramento Kings Rumors

Sacramento Kings trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

Southeast Notes: Gortat, Sessions, Wittman

May 3 at 10:53am CDT By Arthur Hill

After an up-and-down regular season, Marcin Gortat is justifying the Wizards‘ faith in him in the playoffs, writes Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post. Last summer, Gortat received a five-year, $60MM contract that made him one of the team’s cornerstones. But the relationship began to sour around midseason when Gortat’s playing time and touches both declined. However, the team started using more small-ball lineups — a philosophy that Gortat thrived under in Phoenix — and his numbers improved, especially in the first-round sweep of the Raptors. “I mean, he is 7 feet, so we got to get him the ball whenever he’s open,” teammate Bradley Beal said of Gortat. “You got to throw it to him because he can score.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division on a playoff Sunday:

  • A midseason trade to the Wizards has reinvigorated Ramon Sessions, Castillo writes in a separate story. Washington sent Andre Miller to Sacramento at the deadline in exchange for Sessions in hopes of bringing a faster pace to its second unit. The Wizards have been pleasantly surprised by his shooting since the deal — 41.4% from the field and 43.9% from three-point range. Sessions admits he was playing the worst basketball of his career with the Kings, which he attributes to a back injury and a changing role on a team that had three coaches before the deal.
  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis says coach Randy Wittman makes “proper use of analytics,” despite his old-school approach, Castillo writes in another story. One way that Wittman has adapted to the new thinking around the NBA is by using Paul Pierce and Drew Gooden as stretch fours in the series against the Raptors. “I didn’t really understand it, and I mean that sincerely,” Leonsis said of an ESPN report that listed the Wizards as “skeptics” when it comes to analytics. “I read it and I just said, ‘I think that’s because our coach is not driven by PR.’ ”
  • Jeff Teague‘s emergence as an elite defender helped the Hawks become the top seed in the East, according to KL Chouinard of nba.com. Teague limited opposing guards to just 38.4% from the field this season and 42.8% from two-point range. He is in the middle of a four-year, $32MM contract and will become an unrestricted free agent in 2017.

And-Ones: Huertas, NBA Draft, Towns

May 1 at 10:32pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Brazilian point guard Marcelo Huertas, also known as Marcelinho Huertas, was reportedly eyeing a move to the NBA next season. But it would now appear that the 31-year-old has changed his mind about leaving Barcelona, Ernest Macià of Catalunya Ràdio tweets (hat tip to HoopsHype). Huertas was expected to be in demand this offseason as a potential backup point guard if he chose to head stateside. In 29 games for FC Barcelona this past season, the 6’3″ Huertas averaged 7.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in 21.7 minutes per contest.

Here’s more from around the league:

  •  Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com released his updated 2015 NBA draft rankings. The scribe’s top three players consist of Karl-Anthony Towns of Kentucky in the No. 1 slot, followed by Duke’s Jahlil Okafor and Emmanuel Mudiay, who played in the Chinese League last season.
  • While many draftees require at least a season before they are productive at the NBA level, ESPN.com’s Fran Fraschilla (Insider subscription required) believes there are a number of players in the 2015 class who can buck that trend and contribute immediately. In addition to Towns, the ESPN scribe also predicts that point guards D’Angelo Russell and Jerian Grant will have the opportunity to put up solid numbers early in their NBA careers.
  • Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) examined the draft needs of the Magic, Kings, Pistons and Hornets. The duo peg outside shooting and rim protection as the primary needs for Orlando, a wing who can stretch the floor for Charlotte, a solid defender for Sacramento, and both forward positions for Detroit.

Celtics Likely To Seek DeMarcus Cousins

May 1 at 2:21pm CDT By Chuck Myron

2:21pm: The Celtics have been enamored with Cousins for years, but Ranadive almost certainly wouldn’t approve a trade that sends him out, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee.

8:23am: The “early word” indicates that the Celtics will try to trade for DeMarcus Cousins this summer, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. Indeed, the Celtics will likely be in the hunt for just about every marquee player who might become available in the months ahead, Stein writes, echoing comments that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made Thursday. LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, Paul Millsap and Omer Asik are among the many free agents whom Boston is expected to make a run at, as A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com details. Reports conflicted about whether Boston made a run at trading for Cousins before the deadline.

A person familiar with Kings coach George Karl‘s thinking told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck in February that the Kings didn’t rule out trading their All-Star center at the deadline, and Karl said last month that there were no untouchables on the roster. However, Vlade Divac, whom the Kings installed in March as the head of their basketball operations, is enamored with Cousins and wants the 24-year-old’s time in Sacramento to continue, and owner Vivek Ranadive has bristled at the assertion that Cousins is a trade candidate.

The Celtics have about $40MM in guaranteed salary for next season against a projected $67.1MM cap, but opening cap space would force the team to renounce its unmatched reserve of trade exceptions. None of them, even the one worth nearly $13MM left over from the Rajon Rondo trade, would be large enough to acquire Cousins and his max deal, though the exceptions could help the Celtics structure a larger-scale multiplayer deal involving Cousins or another star. Boston’s store of draft picks loom as significant trade assets, too, as Stein points out, and those won’t disappear if the Celtics decide to use cap space in July, unlike the trade exceptions.

The Celtics don’t have any player who’s truly off-limits for a trade either, according to Stein, though among the C’s under contract, Ainge has a particular soft spot for Marcus Smart and Avery Bradley, the ESPN scribe points out. Sources told Blakely that Smart and Tyler Zeller are the least likely players to leave Boston via trade, as we noted earlier. Ainge is also high on soon-to-be free agents Jae Crowder and Jonas Jerebko, Stein writes, as previous reports have indicated.

Western Notes: Williams, Iske, Lawson

April 29 at 6:55pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Monty Williams largely avoided talk about his future as Pelicans coach in his end-of-season press conference Tuesday, saying that his job status is not something he thinks too much about, as Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune relays (on Twitter). GM Dell Demps recently refuted a report that indicated the Pelicans made a playoffs-or-else mandate to Williams and Demps before the season. Owner Tom Benson sent a letter of congratulations Tuesday to Williams, Demps and their staffs for their work toward the team’s postseason berth this season, Smith observes in a full piece.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Kings are finalizing an agreement with Sixers assistant Chad Iske for him to become associate head coach under George Karl, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports. Iske had spent five years on Karl’s staff when Karl was coach of the Nuggets.
  • In a back-and-forth with fans on his Twitter account, Nuggets guard Ty Lawson said he was a superior player to Rajon Rondo, and indicated that he wished he played in coach Rick Carlisle‘s system with the Mavs, Marcel Mutoni of SlamOnline.com relays. Though Dallas will likely be in the market for a starting point guard this offseason, Lawson still has two seasons remaining on his deal with Denver.
  • Unrestricted free agent Charlie Villanueva says he wants to return to the Mavs next season, Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com tweets. In 64 appearances with Dallas this season the 30-year-old averaged 6.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game.
  • Chandler Parsons says that he will act as a free agent recruiter for the Mavs this offseason, Michael Florek of the Dallas Morning News writes. “I’m officially shifting into GM mode,” Parsons said. “I have great relationships with a lot of guys that are out there. I have a great relationship with a lot of guys that are currently on our team, so as a guy that will be here for a while and as one of the key guys going forward I will definitely be talking to management. Anything I can do to help I’ll obviously do.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Johnson, Green

April 21 at 1:50pm CDT By Chuck Myron

DeAndre Jordan changed the first game of the Spurs series in a positive way for the Clippers, as Dan Woike of the Orange County Register chronicles, and his continued presence will be key in Game 2. Of course, whether Jordan is a presence for the Clips beyond this season isn’t known, since he’ll be a free agent, but it’d be tough for L.A. to let him go, since the team already has some $58MM on the books for next season and is without much cap flexibility to replace him. Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Vivek Ranadive foresees an active offseason for the Kings but can’t envision a DeMarcus Cousins trade, and the Kings owner seemed annoyed Monday that Cousins’ name has been in trade rumors of late, as Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee relays (Twitter links). “I don’t know why that stuff is out there,” Ranadive said.
  • Wesley Johnson suggests the constantly changing roles throughout his NBA career have led to his inconsistency, while coach Byron Scott believes part of the problem is “between the ears,” observes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. In any case, the Lakers are on the fence about re-signing Johnson, who’s started 121 games for them the last two seasons, even though he’d like to come back, as Medina details.
  • Draymond Green is proving his value once more for the Warriors in their first-round series against the Pelicans, as SB Nation’s Tom Ziller examines. The Warriors have indicated they plan to match any offer for the soon-to-be restricted free agent.

Pacific Rumors: Kings, Granger, Thomas

April 19 at 4:46pm CDT By Dana Gauruder

The Kings have several decisions to make regarding their backcourt, Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press reports. Starting shooting guard Ben McLemore only showed slight improvement in his second season while backup Nik Stauskas struggled during his rookie campaign, in part because the team had two coaching changes during the season, Gonzalez continues. The club also has to decide whether to retain backup point guards Ray McCallum and David Stockton. McCallum’s approximate $947,000 contract for next season is not guaranteed, while Stockton has a non-guaranteed salary of $845,059 for next season.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • Danny Granger has not decided whether to exercise the approximate $2.17MM player option on his contract for next season, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Granger, who was acquired by the Suns from the Heat during the trade deadline, has been working with the team’s athletic training staff to overcome health issues associated with his twice-surgically repaired left knee, Coro continues. Granger is building a house in the area, Coro adds, a potential sign that he’s planning to return to the team next season.
  • Isaiah Thomas learned quickly that he made a mistake when he signed with the Suns as a free agent last summer, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe writes. Thomas, who was dealt to the Celtics at the trade deadline, was sold on the idea of joining Phoenix after getting advice from Jason Terry, Himmelsbach reports. Thomas realized once the season started that sharing playing time and the ball with fellow point guards Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe was not going to work out, Himmelsbach continues. “I was taking a step back,” Thomas said to Himmelsbach. “We all wanted the ball and are all talented, but somebody ended up upset every night. It’s something that everyone thought would work, but it just didn’t.”
  • Jeremy Lin views a return to the Lakers as a possibility despite a tumultuous season, Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times reports. Lin, who becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, believes the prospects of remaining with the club improved after a productive exit meeting with coach Byron Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak, Pincus adds. “That would be great,” Lin said to Pincus about re-signing with the Lakers. “There’s so much that needs to happen, but that’s definitely an option for me.” Lin averaged 11.2 points on 42.4% shooting this season, his lowest output in both categories since his rookie season in 2010/11.

Voisin On Cousins, Ranadive, D’Alessandro

April 17 at 8:39am CDT By Chuck Myron

A few trade rumors have surrounded DeMarcus Cousins of late, and while the noise surrounding the All-Star isn’t at a high level, he’d be the league’s most prominent trade candidate, if he could indeed be considered a trade candidate. Cousins has complained publicly and privately about Sacramento’s fast-paced system, but the Kings have no plans to move him, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacrameno Bee. Vlade Divac, the Kings front office chief who’s apparently enchanted with the talent of the former fifth overall pick, wants Cousins’ tenure in Sacramento to endure, as Voisin details.

“DeMarcus is here,” Divac said forcefully, according to Voisin. “It’s a process of growing up. And I really believe that, behind that shield of his, he is a really good guy. I want to create a healthy environment where we trust each other, and I want to see him in a situation when he’s winning games. What, five losing seasons? Winning changes everything. Like I told DeMarcus, he played so great for coach George [Karl]. It will only get better when we get him more help.”

Voisin’s latest column has more insight on the seemingly ever-changing dynamics of the Kings front office and roster, and we’ll hit the highlights here:

  • Owner Vivek Ranadive has been less of a hands-on presence in recent weeks, allowing Divac and coach George Karl to perform their respective duties without undue influence, Voisin writes.
  • Divac replaced GM Pete D’Alessandro as head of the basketball operations, but the subsequent departure of former adviser Chris Mullin for the head coaching job at St. John’s has helped restore some power to D’Alessandro, according to Voisin. Some perceived Mullin, who was eminently powerful within the organization, as the team’s de facto GM, Voisin explains.
  • It’s uncertain whether D’Alessandro will remain with the Kings now that he reports to Divac, but Divac, in his comments to Voisin, seemed to make an appeal of sorts to the GM. “When I first came here,” Divac said of joining the front office in February, “I just observed everything and listened. I wasn’t sure [the front office] was going to work. But Vivek trusted me, trusted coach. I called everyone into a meeting and said, ‘If you want to be here, forget the past. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. We need everyone’s help.’ Pete can be a big part of this. And these last two weeks, I see tremendous progress. We are getting along, functioning. Slowly we are fitting in together.”
  • Divac will prioritize the acquisition of a “lanky frontcourt defender” this summer, followed by shooting, playmakers and depth, Voisin writes.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Ellington, Lin, Cousins

April 15 at 11:04am CDT By Chuck Myron

Suns GM Ryan McDonough admits the team had no intention of reshaping its roster as much as it did this season, but while he’s disappointed with the way this year has gone, he feels the Suns are still better off than they were two years ago, when he took over, as he tells Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic.

“We’ve tried to do something that’s not easy to do,” McDonough said. “We tried to turn over the roster with talented, young players who have some potential but probably aren’t ready to win yet at the highest levels. But we also tried to stay competitive in a brutal Western Conference. Usually, teams try to do one or the other. They load up on veteran guys and trade draft picks and go all in or they completely blow up and gut the team and try to acquire and play a bunch of young guys.”

Phoenix will look to achieve more roster balance, among other goals, this summer, McDonough added. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The sense is that Wayne Ellington will largely favor the Lakers in free agency this year, but he’s mindful that the market is uncertain for both himself and the team, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Twitter links), who’s identified mutual interest between the sides. Ellington backed up his end of that, referencing coach Byron Scott and GM Mitch Kupchak during his exit interview with the media Tuesday when he said, “I flat out told coach and Mitch I want to be back,” Medina notes.
  • Jeremy Lin seemed lukewarm to the idea of returning to the Lakers during his exit interview, saying that he has “definitely not ruled out” the possibility and that the Lakers wouldn’t be a “last resort.” He said that losing his starting job in December “hurt,” but that his respect for Scott has grown throughout the season. Medina (separate piece), Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles (Twitter link), Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding (Twitter link) and Bill Oram of the Orange County Register (Twitter link) have the details.
  • Trade rumors are partly to blame for the sour mood DeMarcus Cousins has been in of late, but Kings executive Vlade Divac, who’s in charge of the front office, is in awe of Cousins’ talent, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Voisin advises Cousins to get away from the noise now that the season is ending.

Pacific Notes: Cousins, Boozer, Hawes

April 14 at 10:59am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Kings have a budding superstar in DeMarcus Cousins, but coach George Karl admits that no one on Sacramento’s roster would be off-limits for the right trade, as Bill Herenda of CSNBayArea.com relays. Obviously, the Kings aren’t looking to trade their best player, but Karl’s comments jibe with what a person familiar with the coach’s thinking told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck in February about Sacramento’s willingness to make deals.

“I’ve had some great players and I’ve never had one player that I have said is untradeable,” Karl said, as Herenda notes. “You always got to be ready for the possibility of a great trade that could come your way. I know I respect him [Cousins] a tremendous amount … I think our give and take and our communication has been almost on a daily basis … until we can really get to a special place together, I think we’ve got to continue to communicate, what he wants and what I want.”

With the offseason beginning in two days for Sacramento, there’s more on the Kings amid the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Aaron Bruski of NBCSports.com has begun hearing more speculation about Cousins trades among sources, but Bruski cautions that there’s nothing concrete or in the works (Twitter links).
  • Carlos Boozer moved to the bench about a month into the regular season and he hasn’t been the sort of contributor the Lakers imagined when they claimed him off amnesty waivers this summer, writes Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. Coach Byron Scott is nonetheless pleased with the way he “hasn’t rocked the boat” since his benching, Medina notes, adding that it nonetheless seems unlikely that the power forward, a free agent this summer, will return.
  • Spencer Hawes admits he isn’t having the sort of season he envisioned when he joined the Clippers on a four-year deal for the full value of the mid-level exception this past summer, observes Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times“It’s been bad,” he said of his performance. “There’s no other way to put it. You just can’t let it defeat you when you go through the low stretches.”

Pacific Notes: Karl, Barnes, Lakers

April 13 at 2:58pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Magic Johnson casts a shadow over the Lakers organization even though he’s no longer a part of it in any way, having sold his minority ownership share, as Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding examines. Johnson doesn’t have a relationship with any of the members of the Buss family who control the franchise aside from Jeanie, the team’s Board of Governors representative, with whom he remains close, according to Ding. The Busses have always insisted that the team isn’t for sale, but Johnson would be a prime candidate to front a bid for the Lakers if they ever became available, Ding writes. There’s more on the Lakers amid our look around the Pacific Division:

  • George Karl admits he has a great degree of fondness for his former players on the Nuggets, observes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck heard in February that Karl would love for the Kings to acquire Ty Lawson or any of the players he coached on the 2012/13 Nuggets, his last NBA team, but it’s uncertain how much influence, if any, Karl has under new basketball operations chief Vlade Divac.
  • Defense, leadership and career-best 36.7% three-point shooting this year are the hallmarks of what’s been perhaps Matt Barnes‘ best NBA season, as Ben Bolch of the Los Angeles Times details. The timing is fortuitous for the Clippers small forward, whose salary of almost $3.543MM for next season is only guaranteed for $1MM.
  • Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com examines the conundrum the Lakers face as Rajon Rondo looms as a likely free agent target while incumbent point guard Jordan Clarkson exceeds expectations.