Sacramento Kings Rumors

Rondo Tells Celtics He Wants Out

September 1 at 2:58pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

2:58pm: An ESPN spokesperson released a statement to Hoops Rumors via email explaining why the video was removed.

“Around the Horn producers felt they had put Jackie in a difficult position since the discussion was being characterized externally as reporting rather than as an informed conversation among our panelists. For this reason, the decision was made to remove the video,” the statement read.

MONDAY, 9:42am: ESPN appears to have removed the video that featured MacMullan’s comments from the “Around the Horn” YouTube account, though it doesn’t look like the network has given a reason just yet.

SUNDAY, 10:51pm: A spokeswoman for Rondo’s agent, Bill Duffy, told Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald that both men deny that the guard has demanded a trade.

10:05am: Rajon Rondo has informed the Celtics that he wants out of Boston, as ESPNBoston.com writer Jackie MacMullan said in a recently published video featuring excerpts from the ESPN show “Around the Horn” (hat tip to Jay King of MassLive.com). In the video clip, MacMullan responded to a question about whether or not Boston should trade Rondo, to which she answered, “Oh, I hope so. Just get it done. And it will happen because he’s told them he wants out. And no one believes me, but that’s the truth.”

This conflicts with previous reports that Rondo was content in Boston. Rondo had been quoted as saying, “I don’t like change much” and “I wouldn’t mind staying here the rest of my career,” writes Jay King of MassLive.com. The Celtics organization has also maintained that they intend to keep Rondo, in part because they’re eager to see how he plays at the beginning of this season, when he’ll be more than a year and a half removed from tearing his right ACL. If Rondo shows he’s still capable of performing at his peak level, then the team could potentially garner a larger return for their star player.

If Rondo presses the issue and the Celtics are forced to trade him prior to the season, the Kings appear to be the number one suitors for Rondo’s services, MacMullan notes. The Kings have enough enticing pieces to catch Boston’s interest, but according to MacMullan, Rondo has already told the Kings that he would not re-sign with them. It remains to be seen if Sacramento would be willing to make the deal knowing that Rondo intends to leave as a free agent next summer. The Kings were willing to trade for Kevin Love without such assurances, so it’s possible they could take the same gamble with Rondo.

During the video, the potential scenario for Rondo to join the Clippers was broached, to which MacMullan responded, “He [Doc Rivers] doesn’t like Rondo, remember that. I mean, he’s done with Rondo. They went a good, long way together, but that guy — Rondo drives him nuts. And then (the Clippers have) Chris Paul anyway, they don’t need him.”

As for the rest of the potential trade market for Rondo, MacMullan speculated that teams like the Knicks, Rockets, and Mavericks would be interested, but wouldn’t be able to offer Celtics GM Danny Ainge enough to get a deal done. She also listed the Lakers as a possibility, though Rondo might not be willing to re-sign with them either. The other possibility she raised was a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns for Eric Bledsoe, but he’s also looking for a max contract, which the Celtics would most likely be hesitant to agree to.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Kings Waive Wayne Ellington

September 1 at 9:11am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Kings waived Wayne Ellington on Sunday, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The team has made no formal announcement of the move, though it had to have taken place Sunday for the Kings to use the stretch provision to clear most of Ellington’s guaranteed salary of more than $2.771MM for the upcoming season, as Stein points out. USA Today’s Sam Amick reported last month in the immediate wake of the trade that brought Ellington to the Kings that Sacramento was expected to waive him, though Amick cautioned shortly thereafter that the team had yet to make its final decision.

It’s been a whirlwind summer for Ellington, who was involved in two trades. The Mavs sent him to the Knicks in June’s Tyson Chandler deal before New York flipped him to the Kings. He didn’t see much playing time last season after agent Arn Tellem helped him secure a two-year deal with the Mavericks for more than $5.423MM. That contract came on the heels of the most productive of his five NBA seasons, as he averaged 10.4 points and shot 37.1% from three-point range in 25.9 minutes per game for the Cavs after arriving in Cleveland via trade from the Grizzlies in January 2013. He upped his three-point percentage to 42.4% in a meager 8.7 MPG this past season, but teams have still played hot potato with the 26-year-old this summer.

Sacramento will pay out Ellington’s remaining salary in equal amounts of nearly $924K through the 2016/17 season, presuming the team indeed made use of the stretch provision. Before they reached Sunday’s agreement to trade Jason Terry to the Rockets, the Kings had been poised to sit less than $100K shy of the luxury tax threshold in guaranteed salaries once they formalized their deal with Omri Casspi, so waiving Ellington provides additional flexibility. Amick’s report from last month also indicated the team is expected to waive Jeremy Tyler, though his salary is non-guaranteed.

Rockets To Acquire Jason Terry

August 31 at 5:01pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

5:01pm: The picks that the Rockets are receiving come with some unlikely protections, notes Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Houston would get the pick as long as it falls between the 31st and 50th selections. There is no protection for the Knicks’ 2016 pick, writes Feigen. The deal will take several weeks to complete, notes Feigen, and will include other non-guaranteed contracts, likely either Scotty Hopson, Josh Powell, or both.

4:25pm: The Kings will send Houston two second-round picks in deal, including the 2016 second-rounder that was acquired from the Knicks, Wojnarowski reports (Twitter link).

4:10pm: The Kings are finalizing a deal that would send Jason Terry and a future second-rounder to the Rockets for a package of non-guaranteed contracts, including Alonzo Gee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter links).

Terry had been acquired by the Kings at the trade deadline along with Reggie Evans, in exchange for shooting guard Marcus Thornton. Terry never played a game for the Kings, instead opting to rehab his surgically repaired knee in preparation for the 2014/15 season. Prior to the trade, Terry appeared in 35 games for the Nets, averaging 4.5 PPG and 1.6 APG.

Terry is on an expiring $5.85MM contract for next season, and he figures to see some minutes with the Rockets backing up both guard positions. Terry will likely be more motivated playing for a Houston squad that hopes to secure a high seed heading into next season’s playoffs, than a still-rebuilding team in Sacramento.

Poll: Where Does Rondo Start Season?

August 31 at 12:06pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

There was a report earlier from ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan, in which she noted that Rajon Rondo had informed the Celtics that he wanted out of Boston. This conflicted with previous reports that Rondo was content in Boston and that the Celtics were looking to hold onto their point guard at least up until next season’s trading deadline. But if the report from MacMullan is correct, then Celtics GM Danny Ainge may be forced to deal his still-recovering star player, or at the very least, much sooner than he would prefer to.

Rondo is set to make roughly $12.9MM next season, which will be difficult for teams to salary match and provide Boston with players they will agree to take on. Ainge will prioritize cap flexibility, draft picks, and younger players in any deal for Rondo. This means that any team pitching an offer will need to have expiring contracts, first-rounders, and younger players that fit in with the franchise’s new culture, in order to have a shot at nabbing Rondo.

If Rondo is traded, then where might he be headed? The Kings appeared to be the frontrunners to match up as a trade partner with Boston. Sacramento has previously expressed interest in acquiring the 28 year-old guard, who has career averages of 11.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.4 APG, and 1.9 SPG. The Kings have a number of intriguing pieces to offer in some combination of Ben McLemore, Jason Thompson, Nik Stauskas, and draft picks. But the main hold-up would be that Rondo has already said that he would not re-sign with Sacramento when he hits free agency. The Kings were willing to trade for Kevin Love after he made a similar decree, so it’s possible they would make the same concession in dealing for Rondo.

The Rockets would be another possibility, MacMullan noted, though after dealing Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik, and losing Chandler Parsons to the Mavs in free agency, Houston has less flexibility or pieces that could have brought in a third team to provide Ainge with the draft picks that he desires to stockpile. There aren’t many players that Houston would be willing to deal that Boston would want, so Houston seems like a long shot here.

Another team that has previously expressed their desire to acquire Rondo is the Knicks. They had attempted to trade for him last season, but had the same issues then that they do today–no tradeable first-rounders in the immediate future, and a lack of younger talent to deal. The Knicks could potentially offer up some combination of Amar’e Stoudemire‘s expiring contract, Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jose Calderon, and Shane Larkin, and try to involve another team to get Boston a first round pick. This package isn’t as enticing for Boston as some others they could receive, though if the Knicks could somehow acquire a 2015 first rounder from another team, that, Hardaway Jr, and another player or two isn’t too bad a fallback haul for Ainge.

In the video, MacMullan also mentioned the Lakers as a possibility for Rondo. Los Angeles could offer some combination of draft picks, Julius Randle, and one or both of Jeremy Lin‘s and Steve Nash‘s expiring deals, plus the Lakers probably could be talked into taking on Gerald Wallace‘s $20MM+ that he’s owed over the next two seasons as well. This wouldn’t be a bad return for Boston, especially if they could rid their books of Wallace’s deal in the process. One major hitch would be convincing Rondo to re-sign with the Lakers, which MacMullan said he wouldn’t be willing to do.

One team that I’ll throw into the mix here is the Pistons. They already have Josh Smith on board, who is close friends with Rondo and there was talk in the past that they would be interested in being teammates one day. This might give Detroit an edge in re-signing Rondo, plus it could also keep Smith happy in the short-term. For Detroit, it would give them a star presence at the point, and if Rondo was healthy it would probably guarantee the Pistons a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference.

Detroit also has a very intriguing piece that might get the deal done in Greg Monroe. Monroe hasn’t signed his qualifying offer yet, which would severely limit his trade possibilities, and this means that a sign-and-trade deal is still very much on the table. Monroe has demonstrated that he has no intention of re-signing with the Pistons after next season, which means Detroit risks letting him leave for nothing in return. Monroe is exactly the type of high-ceiling younger player that Ainge would be interested in, plus the Pistons have a few other pieces they could mix-and-match along with draft picks to get this deal done. As for whether or not Ainge sees Monroe worthy of a long-term, big money commitment, that is uncertain.

There’s no guarantee that Rondo gets dealt prior to the season beginning. The trade market would have been more robust prior to the NBA Draft, when more teams could have gotten involved. But if Rondo has issued an ultimatum to the Celtics, then they may have no other alternative but to find the best offer they can. Vote below for where you think Rondo will begin the season, and then feel free to expand on your choice in the comments section.

Poll: Which 2013/14 Trade Will Have Greatest Impact?

August 30 at 8:51pm CDT By Cray Allred

When you look through last season’s trades, you’ll quickly notice that many of the deals revolved around players on the last years of their contracts, second-round draft picks, and other low-impact assets. A good amount of the players traded last year have already moved on from the team that acquired them, and many of the moving pieces failed to significantly help or hinder the fate of the teams involved for 2013/14.

Still, any given trade’s legacy can drag on for many years and in unexpected ways, as Eddie Scarito’s Hoops Rumors Trade Retrospective series has shown. I’ve gathered some of last year’s trades with loose ends and/or ramifications that have already stretched beyond last season.

  1. Kings and Raptors swap Rudy Gay, Greivis Vasquez, Patrick Patterson, and other pieces. While Quincy Acy, Aaron Gray, and John Salmons are no longer a part of either franchise, Gay, Vasquez, and Patterson are all on the same rosters through at least 2014/15. Toronto became a playoff team after this trade, and Gay played some of the best basketball of his career as a King. Each franchise hopes to have cemented part of its future core with this deal.
  2. Cavaliers and Bulls swap Luol Deng, Andrew Bynum, and picks. Deng is now a member of the Heat, and Bynum is an unsigned free agent. The Bulls are still owed Sacramento’s first-round pick, which is top-10 protected through 2017, along with a handful of others from this deal. Chicago also avoided the tax by waiving Bynum’s partially guaranteed contract, and this deal marked the beginning of a strategy to chisel out enough cap flexibility acquire a marquee talent this summer. The team aimed for Carmelo Anthony, but ultimately signed Pau Gasol.
  3. Sixers and Pacers swap Danny Granger, Evan Turner, and more. The Sixers still own the Warriors second-round pick for 2015, and Indiana re-signed Lavoy Allen after receiving him in this trade. The bigger names in Granger and Turner have both landed in Miami and Boston, respectively. The Sixers bought out Granger after the deal, and the remaining hole at shooting guard plays into Philadelphia’s plans to remain less than competitive for the coming season. Granger was no longer a high-impact player for the Pacers at the time of the deal, although the team struggled mightily after his departure and is now without Paul George and Lance Stephenson for 2014/15, offensive talents that made Granger expendable at the time.

A team’s track record of draft success and player development, combined with the deal’s timeliness, all factor into our expectations. Which trade do you expect to look back on as more than a wrinkle in the NBA landscape?

Western Notes: Walker, Brown, Trade Demands

August 29 at 10:32pm CDT By Cray Allred

The West will surely be ultra-competitive again next year, and there could be some shuffling in the top tier. The Rockets have had an underwhelming offseason, while the Thunder and Spurs have had relatively uneventful summers. Meanwhile the Mavericks and Clippers have retooled in the hopes of forming championship contenders. Here’s a look around the conference:

  • Henry Walker, formerly known as Bill Walker, is considering a camp offer from the Grizzlies, reports David Pick of Eurobasket.com (all Twitter links). Walker, who has played internationally since spending the 2011/12 season with the Knicks, is also receiving interest from the Kings, Pacers, and Heat.
  • Bobby Brown‘s contract with his Chinese team is valued at over $1MM, tweets Pick. There is still no report on how much the NBA buyout clause is for Brown, who most recently worked out for the Lakers, but one at or below the $600K teams can pay outside of the cap would fall in line with that salary.
  • In a subscriber-only piece, Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel wonders which star player could be next to force a trade from their current team, now that Kevin Love‘s situation has been resolved. He pegs Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins as some of the more notable hypothetical candidates.

And-Ones: Thomas, Wiggins, Drew

August 26 at 10:25pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The NBA is creating more room around the basket stanchions and reducing the number of photographers along the baseline, as Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press reports. The league planned the changes before Paul George was hurt, league president of basketball operations Rod Thorn tells Mahoney, and that’ll prevent another injury of the sort that befell George, but that’s of little comfort to the Pacers at this point.

Here’s the latest from around the league:

  • Isaiah Thomas tells Jeff Caplan of NBA.com that he never requested trade from the Kings, who wound up participating in the sign-and-trade that sent him to the Suns. I was always professional about every situation,” Thomas said. “I always came in with my hard hat on willing to do whatever is best for the team. When they signed Darren Collison, I knew I was going in a different direction.”
  • Larry Drew said that he was blindsided by the events which led to him being fired and replaced by Jason Kidd as coach of the Bucks, writes Howie Kussoy of The New York Post. Drew also said, “From their [the owners'] standpoint, there’s no set time for these type of things. It caught me in a position when I least expected it. But I know how these things work. I don’t have any hard feelings, any grudges against anybody. [Owner] Marc [Lasry] called me and I just wished him luck. I’ve got to keep moving forward.”
  • Andrew Wiggins just wanted to play for a team that wanted him, and called the completion of the deal that sent him to the Wolves a big relief, writes Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press.
  • Former NBA player Dominic McGuire has signed with Hapoel Eilat of the Israeli League, reports David Pick of Eurobasket (Twitter link). McGuire’s last NBA action came during the 2012/13 season with the Pacers, Pelicans, and Jazz. In six NBA seasons, he has averaged 2.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Contract Details: Clarkson, Young, Powell

August 26 at 9:32pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Eric Pincus has once more updated his Basketball Insiders salary pages, and included in his changes are a few tidbits of previously unreported news on players who’ve signed this summer. We’ll pass along those items here:

  • The two-year deal that Jerrelle Benimon signed with the Nuggets is for the minimum salary and is partially guaranteed for $35K this season, while his 2015/16 salary is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).
  • The Blazers gave Diante Garrett a $30K guarantee in the first year of his two-year minimum salary deal, but the second year is non-guaranteed, Pincus notes on Twitter.
  • Patric Young‘s two-year deal with the Pelicans is a minimum-salary arrangement that’s partially guaranteed for $55K this season, but it’s otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Darius Miller‘s deal with the team is partially guaranteed for $400K this year but otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Both Will Cherry‘s and Jordan Hamilton‘s salaries are guaranteed for $25K for the 2014/15 season, Pincus tweets, adding that Hamilton’s pact is for the minimum. The Raptors signed Cherry to a two-year minimum salary deal, and Hamilton to a one-year arrangement. Cherry’s salary for 2015/16 is non-guaranteed, Pincus adds.
  • Dwight Powell‘s deal with the Cavaliers is fully guaranteed for the first season, with the second year non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link). The contract covers just those two seasons, as Pincus notes.
  • The Spurs‘ two-year deal with JaMychal Green is for the minimum salary and has a $60K guarantee for this coming season, Pincus reports (Twitter link). It’s non-guaranteed for 2015/16, according to Pincus.
  • Sim Bhullar‘s deal is for one year and comes with a guarantee of $35K, while Eric Moreland‘s three-year contract is guaranteed for $200K this coming season and is otherwise non-guaranteed, Pincus notes (Twitter link). Both players are with the Kings, and, according to Pincus, make the minimum.
  • The two-year, minimum-salary deal that Jordan Clarkson signed with the Lakers is fully guaranteed for this coming season, but the 2015/16 season is non-guaranteed, Pincus reports (Twitter link).

Kings Interested In Dmitry Kulagin

August 26 at 5:51pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The Kings are eyeing Russian shooting guard Dmitry Kulagin, and the 22-year-old is seriously considering joining the NBA for this season, reports Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. Still, any team that would sign him would have to buy him out of his contract with Zenit St. Petersburg, according to Spears.

Kulagin was eligible for the draft this year but went unselected, so any NBA team is free to sign him as long as Zenit St. Petersburg gives the OK. The 6’6″ Moscow native averaged 7.3 points in 22.3 minutes per game last season for his Russian team, but as with many European prospects, upside is the key, rather than prior production.

The guaranteed salary the Kings are carrying puts them less than $1MM beneath the tax line, so while the team still has its biannual exception available, any deal for too much more than the rookie minimum salary would be tough for Sacramento to manage. A buyout of more than the Excluded International Player Payment amount of $600K would also complicate a deal.

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Beasley, Ballmer

August 25 at 5:57pm CDT By Cray Allred

Jonathan Tjarks of RealGM expects plenty of suitors to pursue Eric Bledsoe next summer if he accepts the Suns one-year qualifying offer and aims for a max deal as a free agent. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Isaiah Thomas tells Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that while many found it puzzling he would join a loaded backcourt in Phoenix, the Suns‘ belief in his talent made it an easy decision to leave the Kings as a free agent. “I went on one visit, with the Phoenix Suns, and they just pulled out the red carpet for me and in the end I just felt wanted,” said Thomas. “I always felt like [Sacramento] didn’t appreciate me as much as they should. I’m not saying the fans [didn't]–the fans loved me and the city of Sacramento loved me. But it’s a business. They felt like they could get somebody better and I don’t blame them; that’s on them, and it’s their loss.”
  • The Lakers like what they saw from Michael Beasley‘s workout with the team, tweets Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, but their abundance of forwards could motivate him to prioritize other options.
  • We learned earlier that the Lakers have signed their second-round pick Jordan Clarkson.
  • Mark Cuban said he thinks new Clippers owner Steve Ballmer will bring positive energy to the league, telling ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “The Afternoon Show with Cowlishaw and Mosley” that Ballmer will be good for the NBA (transcription via Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com). “I’ve known Steve for a long time, going back into my twenties, and he’s always been this way,” Cuban said. “So this isn’t Steve Ballmer getting hyped just for the Clippers. This is just the way he is. He’s going to be great for the league.