Sacramento Kings Rumors

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

Western Notes: Mullin, Capela, Nelson

March 27 at 8:00pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Steve Lavin was fired as coach of St. John’s University today after five seasons on the job, Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv reports. “A national search is underway for a candidate who possesses the characteristics to give our program an opportunity to successfully compete at the national level,” St. John’s AD Chris Monasch said. “We will be aggressive in our search for a coach who has a track record of success, understands all the requirements of running a high major basketball program in New York City, including the media demands within this market. We are seeking someone who embraces the St. John’s mission and tradition, including the ability to attract the top talent both nationally and internationally.”

One candidate already being mentioned as a possibility to replace Lavin is Kings adviser Chris Mullin, Zagoria notes. St. John’s has already expressed interest in the former player, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). “He’s the most famous person in the school history, he’s going to have a decided edge on whatever name comes up,” a source told Zagoria. “Whether he takes it or not, I don’t know. At one point there was mutual interest but that guy’s got a pretty good [expletive] life.

Here’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • The Rockets have recalled rookie Clint Capela from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, their D-League affiliate, the team announced. Capela has averaged 16.1 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in 37 D-League contests this season.
  • Point guard Petteri Koponen‘s contract with the Russian team Khimki contains NBA out provisions, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando tweets. David Pick of Eurobasket.com (Twitter link) confirms that Koponen’s pact includes an NBA out clause that can be exercised as early as this summer. The 26-year old was originally selected with the No. 30 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft by the Sixers and his rights are now held by the Mavericks.
  • Jameer Nelson likes the situation that he has with the Nuggets, but the veteran isn’t sure if he will exercise his $2,854,940 player option this summer and remain in Denver, Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes. “I wouldn’t mind staying here,” Nelson said. “I’m not ready to make that decision just yet. I’ll make that decision with my agency and my family first and foremost when the time comes.”

Pacific Rumors: Cousins, Jordan, Stoudemire

March 26 at 11:52am CDT By Chuck Myron

Two coaching changes and more losing for the Kings have thrown DeMarcus Cousins for a loop this year, but he’s determined to learn from adversity, as Michael Lee of The Washington Post details.

“It’s been a circus, man. It’s been a complete circus,” Cousins said of this season. “We got off to a hot start. Unfortunately, I got sick, so it ruined the look of the team. I take some blame for that. I know for a fact, if I wouldn’t have gotten sick, things wouldn’t have happened the way it happened. It was no way it could. At the same time, a lot of it is not my fault and we all know why. But this has been a disappointing year.”

George Karl‘s up-tempo system doesn’t really fit Cousins but the center will keep an open mind about it, Lee writes. Cousins is in the first year of a four-year max extension. Here’s more from around the Pacific Division:

  • DeAndre Jordan said he loves the city of New York but isn’t thinking about his free agency this summer, as he told reporters, including Marc Berman of the New York Post, after the Clippers beat the Knicks on Wednesday.
  • Amar’e Stoudemire‘s said his interest in joining the Suns after his buyout with the Knicks was “extremely high,” according to Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News. “But I wanted to compete for a championship this year,” Stoudemire added. “That’s one reason why I didn’t choose the Spurs, because I knew it’d be a letdown for all my Phoenix Suns fans. I couldn’t do it. It was a tough decision, but I wanted to win this year.”
  • Wesley Johnson is finds it frustrating to be hitting free agency for a third year in a row, observes Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times. The Lakers have a general affection for him, and Johnson has been considering a new deal with the team this summer, in spite of L.A.’s hesitance to give him more than a one-year deal the past two offseasons, as Bresnahan also relays“It’s one of those things where you definitely don’t want to jump ship when something’s going bad,” Johnson said of the Lakers. I actually want to be a part of it to see if we can get back on the right foot. We’ll see what happens this offseason, see what direction they’re going.”

Pacific Notes: Nash, Wear, Len

March 25 at 9:31pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Speaking at his retirement press conference Steve Nash said that he considered his time with the Lakers a failure, Joey Ramirez of NBA.com relays. “I came here with huge hopes and dreams and was incredibly excited and humble to have the opportunity to come here and play for the Lakers and the world’s biggest fan base,” Nash said. “For it just not to be in the cards was a failure and a huge disappointment. It’s been a difficult period of my career and my life to battle through that and to try to make something of it, which was fruitless in the end. But I know I’ve never worked harder. I never wanted something more, and I never worked harder. It just wasn’t to be.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  •  Nash said that he understands the backlash he received from Lakers fans regarding him not being around the team this season, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register writes. “I really needed to get away,” Nash said. “I had an incredible amount of stress and anxiety. I wanted something so bad and held on way too long. Probably over-trained to get there. I needed to get some space.”
  • Suns coach Jeff Hornacek insists that center Alex Len will be “a great player,” and his rapid progress is seen on almost a daily basis, Matt Petersen of NBA.com writes. “He’s getting smarter and smarter every day,” Hornacek said. “He’s backed off a little bit on the pick-and-rolls. He knows the speed of the guys better, it seems like. He made a couple plays where I thought guys were going to have lay-ups…yet he can block it late. Those are big plays.
  • Quite a bit has changed with the Kings organization since David Wear, who recently inked a 10-day deal with the team, was in training camp with them earlier this season, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes. The forward is excited to get a shot to play in the NBA, Jones adds. “Of course I’ve been waiting, hoping for a call-up, so when I got the call, I was thrilled,” Wear said. “That’s what this whole year’s been all about, and it’s good to finally be here.”

Pacific Notes: Casspi, Scott, Warriors

March 24 at 4:57pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Omri Casspi has seen an encouraging change in the Kings organization since George Karl took over as head coach, Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee writes. Casspi, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, says he absolutely wants to re-sign with Sacramento this summer, Voisin adds. “I want to come back here so badly,” Casspi said. “I love the community and I feel like the team is finally moving in the right direction. George Karl’s system is great, and I’m not just saying that because I play for him, but because I really do believe this is the right way to play basketball. Spacing the floor. Moving, making extra passes, sharing the ball. Getting our hands on balls, deflections, then getting out and running. Unfortunately, coach Karl has not had a lot of time to teach us everything, but these last two games, you can see what we can become.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  •  Despite the Lakers‘ 18-50 record on the season coach Byron Scott has the approval of GM Mitch Kupchak, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News writes. “He said I’ve been doing a great job in getting all these guys to play hard every night,” Scott said. “With all the injuries that we’ve had and to be in the games that we’ve been in, he thinks I’ve done a terrific job.”
  • Scott also said that Kupchak reiterated that the team is still in a rebuilding phase and that the process would continue during the 2015 offseason, Medina adds. “We’re still on the right course and still sticking to what we talked about,” Scott said. “All of the things we talked about before they hired me and all the things we talked about since they hired me hasn’t changed.
  • The Warriors took an unconventional and roundabout path in their rebuilding efforts, Tom Ziller of SB Nation writes in his look at the team’s success this season.

Southeast Notes: Sessions, Deng, Oden, Scott

March 24 at 9:59am CDT By Chuck Myron

Ramon Sessions is growing more comfortable with the Wizards, especially offensively, after a deadline-day trade that brought him to Washington ended a brief and unusual tenure with the Kings, as Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post details.

I’ve been around for a while and I’ve been around with a few different teams and it was probably one of the strangest things, to have three coaches by the All-Star break,” Sessions said. “A lot different things you’re hearing from different people and it didn’t really correlate with what was going on on the court. So it was tough. It definitely was tough. Me being an older guy, it was a little easier, but I know for some of the young guys it had to be real tough.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast Division:

  • The Suns reportedly had interest in Luol Deng at last year’s trade deadline and during this past offseason‘s free agency, but they didn’t ask about him as they negotiated the Goran Dragic deal with the Heat last month, Grantland’s Zach Lowe reports.
  • The Heat have been planning a free agency push for 2016, but that’ll be difficult unless team president Pat Riley wants to break up the core he has now, as Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel examines.
  • Ohio State coach Thad Matta has suggested that Greg Oden will make another NBA comeback attempt, but the former No. 1 overall pick had limited passion for the game last season with the Heat, Winderman writes in the same piece.
  • The toe injury that’s sidelined Hawks power forward Mike Scott doesn’t involve a broken bone as previously reported, writes Paul Newberry of The Associated Press. Scott was reportedly expected to miss four to six weeks as of a week ago, but now it’s likely he’ll be back at full strength for the playoffs, according to Newberry. The postseason begins three weeks from Saturday. The team’s 10-day contract with Austin Daye, whom the Hawks signed to offset the loss of Scott, expires overnight tonight.

Kings Sign David Wear To 10-Day Deal

March 23 at 12:53pm CDT By Will Joseph

MONDAY, 12:53pm: The signing is official, the team announced.

SUNDAY, 10:09pm: The Kings will call up big man David Wear from their D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, for a 10-day contract, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). In 43 games, Wear has averaged 16.3 points per game and 5.6 rebounds per game for Reno. He is shooting 47.8% from the field and 39.4% from three-point range.

Sacramento currently has 14 players on its roster, as Hoops Rumors’ roster counts show, so signing Wear would not necessitate a corresponding move. Wear was one of the Kings’ final cuts before the preseason after he signed a non-guaranteed one-year contract for camp. He was acquired by Reno on November 2nd. Wear thrived in Reno’s run-and-gun system and participated in the Three-Point Contest during the 2015 D-League All-Star Weekend. He could provide the Kings some extra scoring and solid defense if given playing time with the Kings, who are 24-45.

Wear’s twin brother, Travis Wear, is a forward on the Knicks. The twins played together at UCLA for two seasons after they both transferred from North Carolina. UCLA gave David Wear the Irv Pohlmeyer Memorial Trophy for top defensive player after the 2013/14 season.

Western Notes: Gasol, Kings, Jazz, Messina

March 19 at 12:29pm CDT By Chuck Myron

“The understanding is” that Marc Gasol will indeed be the No. 1 target of the Spurs this summer, depending on the fates of fellow soon-to-be free agents Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobilia Western Conference GM told Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Gasol has given plenty of signals that he prefers to stay in Memphis, and if he were to leave, he would likely move only to a team that would give him a better chance to win a title, sources also tell Deveney. The Spurs would conceivably fit that bill, but even if they don’t end up with Gasol, one GM expects San Antonio to make a surprise move this summer and hints that it’ll come at draft time, as Deveney details. There’s more on the Spurs amid the latest from around the Western Conference:

  • Kings adviser Chris Mullin, reportedly a candidate for the team’s coaching position earlier this season, resisted the recent hirings of coach George Karl and vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac, high-ranking team execs tell Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. GM Pete D’Alessandro also resisted the hiring of Divac, who’s technically atop him in the organization, according to Voisin, though D’Alessandro said to Voisin on Tuesday that he and others are pleased to have the former center around.
  • The Hornets have three prominent former members of the Jazz, and Al Jefferson, Marvin Williams and Mo Williams all expressed fondness for their time in Utah when their new team came to Salt Lake City for Monday’s game, observes Mike Sorensen of the Deseret News. Mo Williams will hit free agency again this summer, and Jefferson can, too, if he turns down a $13.5MM player option.
  • Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina would like to become a head coach in the NBA someday, but he’s content with the Spurs and said he’d ask Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford for advice before pursuing a head coaching job, as Messina told Italy’s La Gazzetta dello Sport (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia).

Pacific Notes: Karl, Cousins, Price, McAdoo

March 16 at 5:42pm CDT By Chuck Myron

George Karl acknowledged that he and DeMarcus Cousins started their relationship under trying circumstances and that it will take a while for them to truly build camaraderie, asthe Kings coach detailed in an interview with TNT’s David Aldridge for his NBA.com Morning Tip column.

“I’ve had some really good, serious talks about him,” Karl said of Cousins. “I think it’s hard, because of the skepticism of his agent and all that. It’s a process right now. I’m not saying the trust is with capital letters yet. But I think it’s on the page. That’s all I can ask for. I hope he understands that the process is not going to work coming in the middle of the season, taking a team that was basically a possession, defensive-minded team, and turning it into a running team. I think we’re getting a good pace, but we’re not doing it that well.”

Karl arrived in Sacramento amid Cousins’ frustration with the team’s frequent coaching turnover, and a person familiar with Karl’s thinking apparently told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck that the Kings are open to trading Cousins this summer. Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Ronnie Price was a revelation for the Lakers this season, becoming a starter after signing a non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary in the offseason, and he’d like to come back to the team even if he’d only be a third-stringer, as he told Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Price, who seems doubtful to play again this season because of a bone spur in his right elbow, will be a free agent this summer.
  • The Warriors have recalled James Michael McAdoo from the D-League, the team announced. The rookie scored 25 points in 29 minutes for Golden State’s affiliate Sunday the day after the Warriors sent him on assignment.
  • Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob shared his thoughts on Draymond Green, David Lee and more with Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group, as we passed along earlier today.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Brown, Bhullar

March 14 at 9:04am CDT By Chris Crouse

The Warriors could have traded Klay Thompson in a package for Kevin Love and GM Bob Myers deserves praise for the move he didn’t make. Myers is one of a few candidates that Chuck Myron of Hoops Rumors mentions in his latest poll that asks who should win the Executive of the Year award.

Here’s more from the Pacific Conference:

  • The Knicks have a leg up on the Lakers in the rebuilding process because Carmelo Anthony chose New York in free agency last summer, opines Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report. Ding adds that the Lakers have the edge in young talent because Los Angeles has Julius Randle and New York lacks a prospect with that level of talent.
  • Jabari Brown has impressed the Lakers so far during his 10-day contract, which he signed on Tuesday, writes Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. “Out of all our guys, I thought Jabari played the best,” said coach Byron Scott. “I thought he did a pretty good job, for being just kind of thrown in there for that many minutes.” Brown made three of four baskets during 18 minutes in his debut against the Knicks on Thursday.
  • Sim Bhullar could be the next great big man in the league, opines Daniel O’Brien of Bleacher Report. The 360-pound center is averaging 7.84 rebounds and 3.62 blocks per game for the Reno Bighorns, the D-League affiliate of the Kings.

Hoops Rumors Weekly Mailbag 3/8/15-3/13/15

March 13 at 9:28pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

In addition to our weekly chat, which Chuck Myron facilitates every Wednesday, we have added a second opportunity for you to hit us up with your questions in this, our weekly mailbag feature. Have a question regarding player movement, the salary cap, or the NBA draft? Drop me a line at HoopsRumorsMailbag@Gmail.com or @EddieScarito on Twitter. Now for this week’s inquiries:

“Can you see the Knicks trading their lottery pick (after the draft) to Sacramento for DeMarcus Cousins since the Kings didn’t rule out trading him at the deadline?” Rodney M.

I honestly don’t see the Kings parting ways with Cousins, who is one of the most talented big men in the league, unless a schism develops between him and coach George Karl that is deemed irreparable. But if given the chance, that’s a deal that Knicks president Phil Jackson should take immediately. Normally, I’m a big proponent of building teams through the draft, but the Knicks’ situation is a complicated one.

I wasn’t a fan of the Knicks re-signing Carmelo Anthony, and I still believe that New York would have been better served to work out a sign-and-trade for ‘Melo instead of tethering all its hopes to an aging, one-dimensional scorer. But the team is stuck with Anthony for the next few seasons, and to get the most out of team owner James Dolan’s investment in the forward, the Knicks need to acquire talent who can help them win immediately. There isn’t a player in this year’s draft, save for perhaps Willie Cauley-Stein of Kentucky, who could step in from day one and be a solid contributor. But he’s not top three pick material, which is where the Knicks will likely be selecting come June.

So if I’m the Knicks, I would explore all of my options with the pick, including trading it. Though the Kings are unlikely to bite and give up on Cousins without seeing what he can be under Karl’s tutelage. I certainly wouldn’t given his talent level.

“Where do you see JaVale McGee ending up?” Quincy

The easy answer to this question is that he’ll go to the first team to offer him a player option for 2015/16. McGee doesn’t strike me as being picky at this point. He absolutely needs to catch on somewhere and rehabilitate his rep and value before the end of the season. His next contract hangs in the balance. There are a number of contenders who could absolutely use McGee’s skills on the court, but very few of those franchises likely want to deal with him off of the hardwood, where he has a reputation for being immature and difficult.

But not to cheat you on providing an answer, I would say that he’ll most likely end up in Texas with the Mavs or the Rockets. Both teams are willing to gamble on players with questionable maturity, and both could benefit from more depth in the middle.

“Do you see a chance that any player other than Jahlil Okafor becomes the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft?”  Stephen R.

Is there a chance? Absolutely. In fact, Okafor’s hold on the top pick is becoming more tenuous as the NCAA season wears on. It’s not because Okafor has disappointed, because he’s been exceptional for Duke this season. It’s more about potential. Okafor isn’t an elite athlete, nor a good defender for his size, which will limit his overall ceiling somewhat. He’ll be a fixture in the middle for years to come for the team that drafts him, but that doesn’t mean he’ll end up the best player in this draft. There are a growing number of scouts who believe that Karl-Anthony Towns will end up being the superior player in a few short years. Towns does possess the athleticism to evolve into someone quite special on the court. His offense is a work in progress, but he’s already a superior defender to Okafor. But the Duke big man gets the edge in maturity and overall polish over Towns.

The wildcard in this year’s draft will be the positional needs of the team that wins the NBA lottery. A team like the Sixers, who have Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel in their frontcourt already, may find selecting Emmanuel Mudiay or D’Angelo Russell a more practical choice. Both guards have been mentioned at one time or another as being in contention to go No. 1 overall by various scouts. But barring an injury to Okafor between now and June, I still don’t foresee too many GMs taking a pass on adding Okafor to their roster if given the opportunity on draft night.

“Who do you think will be a sleeper pick in the NBA draft?” Dustin

This is a funny sort of draft. Just about every player in the second-tier could be considered a sleeper depending on where they are selected. The crop this year is close in so many ways. But I’ll give you a few players who could end up surprising the league.

  • R.J. Hunter (Georgia State) — Guard
  • Jakob Poeltl (Utah) — Center
  • Zhou Qi (China) — Forward
  • Justin Anderson (Virginia) — Forward/Guard
  • Robert Upshaw (Washington) — Center

Both Hunter and Poeltl could be mid-to-late first-rounders, though Poeltl may come back for his sophomore season at Utah. Poeltl has a wealth of potential, but needs quite a bit of polish. Coming back for one more season would be a good move, especially given the wealth of big men in this year’s draft.

Hunter is a player who I believe will make a better pro than college player. The kid is fearless and he can and will shoot from anywhere in the arena. He’s hitting under 40% of his field goal attempts this season, which obviously isn’t great. But he’s a player who could turn into a big time scorer off the bench.

Anderson should end up being a mid first round pick as well, and he’s a player with quite a bit of upside and athleticism. As with most college wings, his outside shot needs more consistency, and he needs to figure out how to create his own shot better if he wants to succeed at the next level.

The last two on this list, Upshaw and Qi, are likely second-rounders. Upshaw has first round talent, but with the glut of big men available in this year’s draft, he’ll probably slide a bit as a result. His defense should translate very well to the NBA, but he needs some serious development on offense. Upshaw also has some character concerns. He was dismissed from Fresno State for multiple rules violations before attending Washington. But his talent will make him worthy of a gamble.

Qi is a bit of a wild card. He’s a fantastic athlete with a high skillset. The Chinese big man would be a great draft-and-stash candidate for a patient team. The 19-year-old is scary thin, and would not survive an NBA season until he added some weight and muscle. But Qi just may be the third most talented international player in this year’s draft behind Mario Hezonja and Kristaps Porzingis.

That’s all the space I have for now. I’ll be back next week to answer more of your questions. So please keep filling up my inbox with them in the meantime. Feel free to add to the discussion in the comments section below.