Sacramento Kings

Ty Lawson Had Planned To Meet With Pelicans

After visiting the Kings on the weekend, free agent point guard Ty Lawson had planned to meet with Pelicans officials early this week, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. However, Lawson ultimately cancelled that meeting when Sacramento made a contract offer, which he accepted.

Within his initial report on Lawson’s deal with the Kings, Wojnarowski noted that the Pelicans had “serious interest” in the 28-year-old. Lawson has significant upside, but is coming off the worst season of his career and has dealt with off-field problems in recent years, as he was arrested multiple times on DUI charges and spent time in rehab.

The Pelicans are currently poised to enter the season with Jrue Holiday as their starting point guard and Tim Frazier backing him up. Other backcourt players, such as Tyreke Evans and Langston Galloway, could occasionally handle the ball, but aren’t really point guards. As such, Lawson probably would have had to battle Frazier for the No. 2 spot on the point guard depth chart if he had landed in New Orleans.

[RELATED: New Orleans Pelicans’ depth chart at RosterResource.com]

The path to playing time might be a little simpler for Lawson in Sacramento, where Rajon Rondo is no longer manning the point. Darren Collison looks like the Kings’ starter, with Garrett Temple backing him up. However, Collison is facing domestic violence charges and Temple – while capable of playing the point – isn’t really a pure point guard.

Terms of Lawson’s new deal with the Kings aren’t yet known, but it will be interesting to see if Sacramento offered him more money than New Orleans would have been able to, in order to convince him to cancel that meeting. The Pelicans used most of their $2.9MM room exception on Frazier, and would have had to offer Lawson a minimum-salary deal, while the Kings still have their full room exception available.

Kings, Ty Lawson Agree To Deal

The Kings have reached an agreement with free agent point guard Ty Lawson, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Sacramento is signing Lawson to a one-year contract for the coming season.Ty Lawson vertical

Lawson visited the Kings on Saturday and ultimately decided to sign with the team despite having also received “serious interest” from the Pelicans, tweets Wojnarowski. The 28-year-old has seen his career trajectory change significantly within the last couple years, after he was arrested multiple times on DUI charges and spent time in rehab.

A 2009 first-round pick, Lawson became the Nuggets’ full-time starting point guard during the 2011/12 season, and averaged 16.4 PPG to go along with 8.0 APG over the next four years. However, Denver sent him to the Rockets last July, and Houston subsequently waived him. Over the course of the 2015/16 season, Lawson appeared in 66 total regular-season games, averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.6 APG in part-time roles for the Rockets and the Pacers, who signed him late in the season.

[RELATED: Sacramento Kings’ depth chart at RosterResource.com]

The Kings had been on the lookout for point guard help this offseason, having lost Rajon Rondo in free agency. Rondo’s departure left Darren Collison as the team’s de facto starter at the point, but Collison is facing domestic violence charges, which could eventually lead to a suspension depending on how the case plays out.

While Sacramento added Garrett Temple in free agency and Isaiah Cousins in the draft, Temple is more of a combo guard than a pure point guard, and Cousins was a late second-rounder who has yet to sign a contract.

The terms of Lawson’s contract aren’t yet known. Sacramento doesn’t have any cap room left, but the team has yet to use its $2.898MM room exception. So the veteran point guard could either get a minimum-salary deal or something slightly larger, if the Kings dip into that room exception.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Poll: DeMarcus Cousins’ Future

DeMarcus Cousins has been a popular topic of trade speculation for multiple seasons, which comes as no surprise. Cousins is one of the NBA’s more talented big men, but his Kings haven’t won more than 33 games in a season during the six years he has been in Sacramento, and he hasn’t always seen eye-to-eye with the team’s head coaches.

With another new coach – Dave Joerger – taking over for 2016/17, the Kings and Cousins have agreed to take a “fresh-start approach” to their relationship, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders, who noted this week that Cousins liked the hiring of Joerger. As Kyler details, Sacramento has been turning away any inquiries from rival teams on Cousins, and expects to play out the ’16/17 season with Cousins as the cornerstone of the roster.

Still, Cousins is only under contract with the Kings for two more years, and if the team doesn’t become a playoff contender soon, that summer of 2018 could begin looming larger and larger. As Zach Harper of CBSSports.com writes, many people around the NBA believe Cousins will leave Sacramento when his contract expires, and think the Kings need to seriously consider moving him at some point before then.

“They’re fooling themselves if they think he’s sticking around,” one league executive said to Harper. “The good news for them is his value will always be high. There isn’t a point of no return in which you’re not getting high value for him. Teams will bid against each other in the trade market. Maybe [Cousins] doesn’t go for the biggest money in free agency, but you’d love to have that card to play.”

As dysfunctional a franchise as Sacramento has been for the last several years, Joerger is a well-respected coach, and the team made some solid moves this offseason, inking veteran free agents Arron Afflalo, Matt Barnes, Garrett Temple, and Anthony Tolliver to multiyear deals, and adding three first-round prospects in Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, and Skal Labissiere. If the Kings start playing well, Cousins trade rumors figure to remain on the back burner for the foreseeable future. But if the team struggles out of the gate, the rumor mill figures to be more active than ever.

What do you think Cousins’ future holds? Will the Kings ultimately decide to trade him? Will he leave in two years as a free agent? Or will Cousins remain in Sacramento long-term after a rocky first few years with the franchise? Vote in our poll, and weigh in below in our comment section with your thoughts on the All-Star big man.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Latest Update On Unsigned 2016 Draftees

The NBA draft took place two months ago tonight, and when Brandon Ingram signed his rookie contract with the Lakers earlier today, he became the final first-rounder to lock in a plan for the 2016/17 season.

Of course, for Ingram, there was never any doubt that he’d sign an NBA contract and enter the league immediately, but that’s not the case for all of this year’s first-rounders. As our list of draft pick signings shows, three of the 30 players selected in the first round – including two Celtics – will play overseas this season.

The percentage of draftees heading (or staying) overseas is higher among second-round picks, but for those second-rounders, there are options besides entering the NBA or playing international ball — Celtics second-rounder Abdel Nader, for instance, has agreed to sign with Boston’s D-League affiliate in Maine. He’ll earn less money there than he would’ve overseas, but the Celtics will be able to keep a close eye on him and will have a hand in his development as they retain his NBA rights.

When we provided an update on 2016 draft pick signings in late July, five first-round picks and eight second-rounders were still waiting to resolve their situations. Since then, 10 of those draftees have gotten that resolution, leaving just three players whose statuses remain uncertain. They are as follows:

  1. Oklahoma City Thunder: Daniel Hamilton, SG (UConn)
  2. Sacramento Kings: Isaiah Cousins, SG (Oklahoma)
  3. Utah Jazz: Tyrone Wallace, PG (California)

Hamilton, Cousins, and Wallace were all bottom-five picks in the draft, having been selected 56th, 59th, and 60th, respectively. All three were also drafted by teams with their own D-League affiliates. As such, it wouldn’t be surprising if those clubs wanted agreements similar to the one Nader worked out with the Celtics — getting these draftees to sign D-League contracts would mean retaining their rights without having to worry about clearing an NBA roster spot for them.

If Hamilton, Cousins, or Wallace signs an NBA contract, then doesn’t earn a spot on his team’s 15-man, regular-season roster, that team would still hold his D-League rights, but would lose his NBA rights. In other words, Hamilton could be assigned to the OKC Blue, but another NBA team could sign him to its regular-season roster, and the Thunder wouldn’t be able to stop it.

For a team to retain its NBA rights to a second-round pick, it must tender a one-year, minimum-salary contract offer before September 6. With that deadline fast approaching, we should soon find out what the short-term future holds for this year’s final three unsigned draftees.

Kings, Cousins Taking "Fresh-Start Approach"

  • The Kings and Cousins have agreed to take a “fresh-start approach” to their union, according to Kyler, who notes that the big man likes the hiring of coach Dave Joerger. While Cousins’ potential 2018 free agency will be a factor down the road, Sacramento is turning away incoming inquiries and will likely play out the 2016/17 season with Cousins as the team’s cornerstorne before considering any franchise-altering decisions.
  • Like the Kings with Cousins, the Thunder would have to play extremely poorly in the first half for the team to consider any major in-season change involving Westbrook. Sources tell Kyler that there is almost no scenario in which Oklahoma City explores moving the star point guard during the season, though the team will of course be keeping a close eye on how its roster looks in the post-Kevin Durant era.

    [SOURCE LINK]

And-Ones: Krzyzewski, Griffin, Simmons, Patterson

Mike Krzyzewski desperately wants to win his final game as coach of Team USA, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Krzyzewski demonstrated he is putting victory over player egos by pulling DeMarcus Cousins from the starting lineup in Friday’s semifinal against Spain and inserting defensive specialist DeAndre Jordan. Voisin also suggests that the closeness of many of this year’s game displays the need for a different philosophy in picking players. Krzyzewski, whose team will face Serbia in Sunday’s gold medal game, has an 82-1 record and two gold medals since taking over as Team USA coach in 2005. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will assume control of the team after the Olympics are done.

There’s more tonight from around the world of basketball:

  • Former D-League All-Star Eric Griffin, who will reportedly play in Israel next season, has a buyout clause that allows him to sign with an NBA team, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Griffin was recently cleared of an attempted murder charge in Florida, and his agent contends the case cost him a chance to play in the summer league.
  • Ben Simmons is the rookie most likely to make an impact in the NBA from the beginning, writes Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders. Blancarte picks the No. 1 draft choice because of his combination of court vision, size, athleticism and opportunity. Simmons is expected to take control of the Sixers’ offense right away. Others on Blancarte’s list, in order, are the Timberwolves‘ Kris Dunn, the Sixers‘ Joel Embiid and Dario Saric and the Pelicans‘ Buddy Hield.
  • After being claimed off waivers by the Kings, one of Lamar Patterson’s concerns was whether he could bring his pet alligator, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. His mother had been watching the creature while he played for the Hawks because he couldn’t keep it as a pet in Georgia. Jones found that California only allows pet gators if a special permit is obtained.

Darren Collison's Court Date Pushed Back Again

  • Kings point guard Darren Collison‘s court case has been delayed until September 8, James Ham of CSNBayArea.com tweets. Collison faces allegations of domestic violence. The case was scheduled to be heard on August 18 after getting pushed back from an earlier date. Collison was arrested in May after local deputies responded to a report from a woman who said she was being assaulted inside a Northern California home. Collison could be facing a lengthy suspension from the league, depending upon the details that come out during the proceeding and the outcome of the case.

Kings May Be Next Spot For Rubio

Ricky Rubio will start the season with the Timberwolves, but may be in Sacramento before it ends, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News in Minneapolis. Speaking on an ESPN podcast, Wolfson said the Kings are a team to watch if Minnesota decides to part ways with the Spanish point guard. Trade speculation involving Rubio intensified when the Wolves drafted Kris Dunn of Providence with the No. 5 pick, after adding Tyus Jones through the draft last year. Rubio has three seasons and more than $42MM left on his contract. There has been talk that the Wolves and Kings might agree on a swap involving Rubio and swingman Rudy Gay.

  • Nuggets coach Michael Malone doesn’t admit to harboring bitterness over his firing by Sacramento, but USA Today’s A.J. Neuharth-Keusch writes that he has cut the Kings’ dominant color out of his wardrobe. “I have not [worn purple since the firing],” Malone said during an appearance on an ESPN podcast. “And what I really love about that is I haven’t, it’s my wife’s favorite color, she hasn’t, and my daughters haven’t. It’s almost become taboo, forbidden in our household.”

Kings Notes: Gay, McLemore, Cousins, Casspi

The Heat could be interested in a Rudy Gay trade if the Kings are willing to wait until after December 15th, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. That’s the date when the free agents that Miami added to its roster this offseason are eligible to be moved. Gay’s salary would require the Heat to send back about $13.3MM, which means point guard Goran Dragic would probably have to be included, and Miami doesn’t seem inclined to part with him. By waiting until mid-December, Winderman notes, the Heat will have a better feeling for how much Chris Bosh will be able to contribute and whether Justise Winslow will have to spend more time at power forward, which would create a greater need to have Gay on the roster.

There’s more tonight out of Sacramento:

  • The Kings almost certainly won’t negotiate a rookie contract extension with shooting guard Ben McLemore, contends Bobby Marks of The Vertical. McLemore, who was drafted in 2013, is the only Sacramento player eligible for the extension before this year’s October 31st deadline, but Marks says the Kings have been trying to trade him for more than a year. McLemore averaged 7.8 points in 68 games last season and will have a $1oMM cap hold next offseason.
  • DeMarcus Cousins will become eligible for a contract extension on September 30th, Marks notes in the same piece. The Kings’ all-star center still has two seasons and more than $35MM left on his current deal, but he can agree to an extension at the end of September because it will be three full years from his when the contract was signed. If he takes an extension, Cousins would be limited to 7.5% raises from his $18,063,850 salary in 2017/18, so it’s more likely that he waits for free agency.
  • Omri Casspi sees improved camaraderie as a key to ending Sacramento’s 10-year run of missing the playoffs, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. Casspi is touring Israel this week with Gay and a group of former NBA players and celebrities. “We’ve added some good guys, some good quality players and quality individuals to our locker room, which is important, I think,” Casspi said. “The great teams in the NBA have great locker rooms.Just in general we need to start making strides, try to make the make playoffs. With a new coaching staff, we need to make a big stride forward.”

Darren Collison's Court Date Pushed Back

Kings point guard Darren Collison‘s court date regarding allegations of domestic violence has been pushed back to August 18th, James Ham of CSNBayArea.com relays (via Twitter). Collison was arrested in May after local deputies responded to a report from a woman who said she was being assaulted inside a Northern California home. It remains to be seen if the guard will face discipline from the league for the reported incident. The previous precedent established for what Collison and Sacramento could be facing was when Jeff Taylor pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor domestic assault charge back in 2014 and received a 24-game suspension from the NBA as a result.

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