The Kings appear set to keep Royce White on the team with a second 10-day contract, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes within his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Aldridge suggests it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Kings sign the former first-round pick for the rest of the season after the second 10-day deal runs out.
White has played a pair of home games with the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate, and will appear in two more before his initial 10-day contract expires at the end of Saturday. The Kings assigned the forward to the D-League at the same time they signed him Thursday.
White and the team haven’t had in-depth conversations about how to accommodate his mental health difficulties, and both sides are taking their partnership slowly, a source tells Aldridge. The Kings are interested in seeing if White still has the desire necessary to play at a high level and, if so, evaluating how he responds with the Bighorns, Aldridge hears. White is averaging 5.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 26.9 minutes over his two games with the Bighorns so far.
The plan is for White to join the big club on his second 10-day deal, which would set him up to make his official NBA debut. The Kings have a four-game homestand scheduled for shortly after White’s first 10-day contract expires, so that would allow him to play in games without having to travel and test his long-held fear of flying.
Greivis Vasquez, traded to the Raptors in December, is finally feeling more like himself after undergoing ankle surgery in the offseason and experiencing a dip in production while playing for the Kings early this season, he tells Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. “I’m a little upset because I couldn’t really show the fans what I could really do. Last year, I led the league in total assists and was playing at a high level, and I wanted to do that in Sacramento,” Vasquez said. “I’ve been showing what I can do and getting better. The playoffs are going to buy me more time to show what I can do.” Here’s more from around the NBA:
- Vasquez will become a restricted free agent this offseason if the Raptors extend a $3.2MM qualifying offer. In Jones’ piece, Vasquez says a return to the Kings isn’t out of the question.
- Tom Moore of Calkins Media wonders if the Sixers will struggle badly next season, even if they manage to upgrade their talent level through the draft and free agency. Moore is skeptical that massive roster turnover won’t create new challenges, and sees evidence of bad habits taking hold in Philadelphia, including in standout rookie Michael Carter-Williams.
- A former GM tells Al Iannazzone of Newsday that Carmelo Anthony would help the Knicks more by leaving this summer than re-signing with them. The former GM says losing Anthony and enduring one more season at the bottom of the standings is worth it to maintain New York’s cap space for the summer of 2015, when they could take swings at a number of star free agents. “Guys want to go to play in New York. It’s going to hurt for a little bit,” he said. “But if you have cap space, it’s not going to be that hard to get a good player to come to New York.”
- Aquille Carr discussed his hopes for the upcoming draft with Matthew Hochberg of Ridiculous Upside. The 5’5″ point guard chose to forgo college basketball, spending time in China and the D-League in preparation for this year’s draft.
- Two NBA scouts are high on Kentucky’s James Young, telling Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that Young will land in the first round (Twitter links). One of the scouts thinks he’s a lottery talent, while the other thinks Jones would be better served to stay in college another year despite his upside.
Tim Kawakami of The Bay Area News Group provides an update on the Oakland stadium project that could affect the future of the Warriors. The stadium plans could link Golden State’s fate to that of the NFL’s Raiders and MLB’s Athletics, and Raiders owner Mark Davis is growing frustrated with the city’s slowness in moving them along. Here’s more from around the Western Conference:
- Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin is planning on opening up playing time for some rarely-used youngsters to see where they are developmentally, per Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. This is good news for Malcolm Thomas and Ian Clark. Both have rarely been used, and are working on multi-year contracts that aren’t guaranteed beyond this season.
- Thomas, who has only played in four games with Utah this season, tells Falk that he’s more than ready for the opportunity. “Very anxious,” the power forward said of awaiting his time on the court. “I’ve been working hard on just staying positive and waiting for my turn. It seems like it’s coming now. I just have to be ready when my name is called.”
- Clark hasn’t seen much more burn than Thomas, averaging 7.9 MPG in 12 appearances. “It’s difficult,” the shooting guard said. “Anybody who’s been in my position would say the same thing. You just find ways to deal with it. My way is to not worry about it and just keep working.”
- Falk later tweeted that he envisions the two players alternating active spots in the lineup from here on out. Tonight, Thomas was inactive while Clark received a DNP-Coach’s Decision.
- Former Nets forward Reggie Evans isn’t upset about getting traded away from a playoff contender to the 22-40 Kings, he tells Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Instead, he’s embracing his role as a veteran mentor for a young team. “At the end of the day, I’m still living out my dream,” Evans said. “We’ve got a good coaching staff that allows me to do my best to bring some leadership in here. I was in that position when I first got in the league where Rashard (Lewis), Gary Payton and Elden Campbell had to be that leader for me. Now it’s like they’ve passed that torch, and now I can be a leader on a young team. I’m the oldest by age and the oldest by years, and they kind of look for that leadership.”
As expected, Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe tells Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic that he will likely return to the court this Wednesday (Twitter link). How well Bledsoe plays following a two month absence will impact both the Suns hopes for the playoffs as well as what kind of offers he will field during restricted free agency this summer. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:
- Rudy Gay has been having the best stretch of his career with the Kings, but it’s a bittersweet accomplishment considering he’s doing it for a losing team in Sacramento. For the second season in a row, Gay has been traded from a playoff team to a non-contender, and he spoke with reporters including James Herbert of SB Nation about being moved from the Raptors, only to see them turn around and contend for the Eastern Conference’s third seed. “They’re a playoff team,” Gay said. “Of course I’d like to be a part of that. I’m in Sacramento now and I have to build this team. We don’t know if that would have happened if I were there, too. It happened early in the season. Nobody knows.”
- Prior to Thursday night’s games against the Clippers game on TNT, Kobe Bryant told Ric Bucher he believes there’s an 80% chance Pau Gasol will return to the Lakers next season, per a broadcast transcription from Matthew Moreno of Lakers Nation. (H/T Serena Winters)
- In a series of tweets, Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com laments the fact that Phil Jackson is likely headed to the Knicks instead of becoming a more influential part of the Lakers. The legendary coach was spurned by the Lakers in favor of Mike D’Antoni early last season, and it appears the complicated relationship he has with the Buss family will ultimately prevent a front office reunion.
The Kings signed guard Orlando Johnson to a second 10-day contract, according to Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro (Press Release). After signing a 10-day contract with the team on February 26, Johnson appeared in five games and is averaging 1.8 PPG, 0.8 RPG, 0.6 APG in 9.0 minutes per game. This comes after rumors that the team might sign him for the remainder of the season. The Kings could still elect to do so after this second 10-day contract runs out.
Johnson averaged 2.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 0.4 APG and 9.0 minutes per game with the Pacers before being waived hours after the trade deadline. For the season, he is averaging 2.3 PPG , 1.3 RPG, 0.4 APG and 9.0 minutes per game in 43 appearances as a reserve with the Pacers and the Kings.
Originally drafted by the Kings in the second round (36th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft, Johnson’s draft rights were traded to the Pacers for cash considerations that same night.
Kings forward Carl Landry will miss the remainder of the season with a medial meniscus tear in his right knee, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). He will undergo season ending surgery in the near future (twitter link).The 30-year old forward has missed the team’s previous five games with what was originally called a sprained right knee.
This is the second major injury this year for the seven-year veteran. In training camp, Landry had sustained a torn hip flexor that required surgery and four months of rehab work. He made his return to action on January 19th.
In 18 games this season, Landry has averaged 4.2 PPG, and 3.2 RPG in 13 MPG. This was after signing a four-year, $26 MM deal over the summer.
THURSDAY, 12:10pm: Sacramento has made the deal official, the team announced. The statement also notes that the team has assigned White to the D-League, as expected.
WEDNESDAY, 8:21pm: The Kings are expected to sign Royce White to a 10-day contract on Thursday, according to Marc. J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The team is giving him an NBA opportunity through their D-League affiliate, a source told Yahoo! Sports. The reported plan is to assign him to the Reno Big Horns, where he will be evaluated over four games. The former Iowa State star has battled an anxiety disorder and has a fear of flying. If White’s D-League stint goes well, the Kings will likely sign him to a second 10-day contract and add him to their active roster. The team has one open spot after waiving Jimmer Fredette.
White was taken 16th overall by the Rockets in the 2012 NBA draft. He had difficulties right off the bat because of his anxiety about flying. He missed the entire training camp and thought the Rockets weren’t treating his mental health issues effectively, according to the article. He was eventually suspended by the team for “refusal to provide services” stipulated by his contract.
White never ended up playing for the Rockets and was traded to the Sixers along with the rights to Turkish forward Furkan Aldemir and cash in July 2013, for a conditional second -round draft pick. White played for the Sixers this preseason, but was waived before the season’s start. The Sixers are on the hook for White’s $1,719,480 salary this season.
Joakim Noah attempted to sell Carmelo Anthony on the idea of joining the Bulls this summer when the two spoke at the All-Star break, according to ESPN’s Chris Broussard. The Knicks star was non-committal, though he expressed admiration for the way Chicago plays, Broussard notes, adding that the conversation began with Anthony asking Noah what it’s like to play for Tom Thibodeau (All four Twitter links). Broussard also hears that Derrick Rose, who’s notorious for refusing to recruit other players to the Bulls, would love Anthony to join Chicago and would reach out to him if the team asked him to (Twitter link). I touched on the possibility of the No. 2 player on the Hoops Rumors 2014 Free Agent Power Rankings joining the Bulls when I examined Anthony’s free agent stock Wednesday. Here’s more on Anthony’s current team as we check the latest from the Atlantic Division:
- The Knicks have been linked to 2015 free agent Kevin Love on numerous occasions, but if Anthony re-signs, Love’s poor defense and an offensive game that’s too similar to Anthony’s would make him a poor fit, opines Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal.
- Soon-to-be free agent Jordan Crawford has fond memories of his time with the Celtics, who traded him to the Warriors in January, and he greeted Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge warmly before Golden State’s game in Boston on Wednesday. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald has the details.
- Rudy Gay will hear plenty of boos when he returns to Toronto with the Kings on Friday, but Raptors ownership deserves blame for setting up the compromising situation that led to Gay’s acquisition last year, argues Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.
Indications are the Kings will keep 10-day signee Orlando Johnson for the rest of the season, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes within a story about the team’s impending addition of Royce White. Johnson’s 10-day contract is set to expire at the end of Friday, though it’s unclear if the team intends to give him another 10-day contract before locking him up for the rest of 2013/14 or is simply planning to go ahead and sign him for the season.
Sacramento has only 13 guaranteed contracts, meaning there’s room for Johnson and White. Johnson joined the team shortly after the Pacers waived him to accommodate their deadline-day trade with the Sixers. The 24-year-old has seemingly had a rough go of it in a return to his native Northern California, scoring just nine points on 21.4% shooting in 39 total minutes with the Kings, spread out over four games. He’s averaged 2.4 points and 9.1 minutes per game overall this season, declines from his numbers in 2012/13, when he posted 4.0 PPG in 12.1 MPG with the Pacers.
The Kings plan to use the waning weeks of the season to evaluate young talent and sign players who could help the team down the road, Jones writes. That suggests that Sacramento may attach a non-guaranteed second year onto a deal that would retain Johnson for the rest of this season. Sacramento drafted the shooting guard out of UC-Santa Barbara with the 36th overall pick in 2012, trading him to the Pacers shortly thereafter, but the Kings were under different management at the time.
After years of futility and being seen as a less than desirable location to play, the Clippers have officially become a draw for players, writes Arash Markazi of ESPNLosAngeles.com. With the recent signing of Glen Davis and the team possibly inking Danny Granger, it definitely is a departure from the past. The fact that a veteran player in pursuit of a championship ring would consider signing a minimum deal to join the Clippers over teams like the Spurs and the Heat is yet another example of how far the Clippers have come as both contenders on the court and in the minds of players as a destination franchise, opines Markazi. Doc Rivers, weighing in on the matter, said, “I don’t know if we’re going to make it THE destination, but we want it to be one of them. That’s our goal. Bringing in Big Baby when he could have gone to a lot of other places was a good thing. Darren Collison could have gone to a lot of other places and came here. At the end of the day we just have to keep being a good basketball team and the rest of the stuff will follow. I think the key to this is showing that we have a shot and we’re a good team. Players follow that. They’ll go anywhere for that.”
More from the west:
- Speaking of Granger, he is expected to make a decision on Friday, and the Clippers are his likely destination, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- In a video for the Journal Times, Gery Woelfel says the Jazz were considering Nate Wolters for the 21st overall pick last summer. Wolters wound up going 38th overall and has been a mainstay for the Bucks this season.
- The Kings have been entertaining the idea of signing Royce White to a 10-day contract. Tom Ziller of SB Nation details the reasons why this pairing could work out, and also looks at some possibilities for why the Sixers traded for him this past summer.
- Rockets center Greg Smith is going to have surgery on his knee, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. It is unknown if and when he will return to the court this season.
- A scout claims the Timberwolves tried to trade J.J. Barea at the deadline because team executives want Ricky Rubio finishing games, writes Chris Broussard of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). The scout also weighs in on why he thinks Rubio is overrated as a player.