Sacramento Kings

Pistons Favorites To Sign Eric Moreland

Free agent Eric Moreland will soon decide between the Pistons, Lakers and Kings, with Detroit being the front-runner, league sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM. Details on any offers are not yet known.

There’s a strong chance Moreland would make the roster on any of the three teams. The Lakers and Kings have openings with 12 and 14 fully guaranteed contracts, respectively, as Charania points out. While the Pistons appear to be the favorite, they have a roster that provides much less flexibility. Detroit is carrying 17 fully guaranteed contracts, as our own Chuck Myron examined.

The Lakers worked out Moreland earlier this summer. The Kings waived Moreland in July because, reportedly, his playing style was too similar to that of No. 6 pick Willie Cauley-Stein. If the Kings had not released Moreland, his salary would have became guaranteed. Sacramento, however, is interested in re-signing Moreland, according to vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac.

Moreland, 23, had a labral tear in his left shoulder end his rookie year prematurely after he’d made it into only three games this past season.

Pacific Notes: Morris, Rondo, Russell, Davis

Markieff Morris was notably absent as Suns players began gathering for voluntary workouts this week, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Morris, unhappy since his twin brother Marcus was traded to the Pistons July 9th, isn’t expected to attend the sessions. Markieff Morris was irate about the deal and asked the Suns to trade him as well, but Coro notes that it would be nearly impossible for Phoenix to get equal value at this point and the team has no one on the roster to fill his role. The twins are angry because they contend they gave the Suns a break on the extensions they signed last year in hopes of remaining together.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The KingsRajon Rondo tops Yahoo Sports’ Ben Rohrbach’s list of players facing make-or-break seasons in 2015/16. Rondo, who signed a one-year, $9.5MM deal with Sacramento last month, is trying to rebuild his reputation after being shut down early during the playoffs by the Mavericks. Ty Lawson, who was traded to the Rockets July 20th, is second on Rohrbach’s list, followed by Miami’s Hassan Whiteside, Boston’s Jared Sullinger and Oklahoma City’s Dion Waiters.
  • The addition of D’Angelo Russell has Lakers‘ part-owner Jim Buss excited about the upcoming season, according to Eric Pincus of The Los Angeles Times. The Lakers took a risk by drafting Russell second overall, ahead of Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, and Buss said the front office had about 30 meetings before making its final decision. “It was a long, long process that we decided to go with Russell,” Buss said. “He’s just very impressive. We saw an upside of being a potential superstar in the league.”
  • Free agent Glen Davis, who has spent the last season and a half with the Clippers, has to convince a team that he can still be an effective scorer, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Nearing age 30, Davis has evolved into an energy player in recent years, averaging just 4.0 points per game last season, down from a career-high 15.1 in 2012/13. Washburn also notes that the Clippers are being selective in possible deals involving Jamal Crawford. They are willing to part with the 35-year-old, but only for the “right return.”

Pacific Notes: Kobe, Buss, Casspi, Suns

Lakers Executive VP of basketball operations Jim Buss believes Kobe Bryant is worth his league-high $25MM salary this season after all he’s done for the franchise and said that while the team is operating on the premise that Bryant will retire at season’s end, he’d welcome him back with open arms if he’s willing to accept a role that fits his age and ability. Buss made his comments as part of an interview with Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times, adding that he “feels like we’ve righted the ship” with coach Byron Scott and a new cast of key players, even if the team didn’t sign a star free agent this summer.

“It’s just that it takes time to build a core that guys want to play with,” Buss said to Pincus. “I understand a superstar doesn’t want to come in and say, ‘Oh, we still have two or three years of rebuilding.’ I think with Jordan Clarkson, [D’Angelo] Russell, [Julius] Randle, even [Roy] Hibbert … we’re getting a core of seven or eight players.”

See more on the Lakers amid the latest from around the Pacific Division:

  • Buss, also a part-owner of the team, has no regrets about pledging in April 2014 to resign from his basketball operations position if he couldn’t restore the Lakers to contention in three or four years, as he said to Pincus for the same piece. Buss’ sister Jeanie, the primary owner of the franchise, has said she’ll hold him to that pledge if the Lakers aren’t back in the Western Conference Finals by the spring of 2017. Still, the top goal for this season, Jim Buss said to Pincus, is identifying core players for the future, and not necessarily making the playoffs.
  • Omri Casspi cited DeMarcus Cousins, calling him the best center in the league in an interview with James Herbert of CBSSports.com, among the reasons why he decided to re-sign with the Kings this summer.
  • The Suns officially named Chris Jent the head coach of their one-to-one D-League affiliate, the franchise announced Thursday. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this month that the sides were finalizing a deal. Jent had been Michael Malone‘s lead assistant with the Kings.

Kings To Sign Marshall Henderson

The Kings will sign unrestricted free agent shooting guard Marshall Henderson, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). The length and terms of he deal are unknown, but Spears referred to the arrangement as a training camp deal, so it’s likely a minimum salary pact with little or no guaranteed money included. The addition of Henderson will give Sacramento a roster count of 17, including 14 players possessing full guarantees on their deals.

Henderson, 24, went undrafted out of Mississippi in 2014 after a number of incidents involving narcotics, the string of which began during his Senior year of high school. “I got a lot of good feedback about being drafted in the second round,” Henderson had told Spears back in March. “Then I got in trouble that summer and then it seemed like that was the end of [the NBA interest]. There was really nothing after that. I have to live with that.”

[RELATED POST: Wizards, Kings, Clippers Interested In Ryan Hollins]

During his Senior season at Mississippi back in 2013/14, Henderson averaged 19.0 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 31.1 minutes per contest. His slash line was .353/.342/.817. The 6’2″ guard played overseas last season for both Al Rayyan of the Qatari Basketball League and the Iraqi club Nift Al-Janoub.

Wizards, Kings, Clippers Interested In Ryan Hollins

2:55pm: The Wizards and Kings have also had conversations with the Hollins camp, Turner clarifies, citing a source (Twitter link).

2:41pm: The Clippers and representatives for Hollins spoke today, though a deal isn’t happening, Turner tweets. Presumably, Turner means that a deal isn’t happening at the moment, rather than that a deal won’t happen at all.

10:36am: The Kings and Clippers maintain interest in signing nine-year veteran Ryan Hollins, and the Wizards are also eyeing him, a source told Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Spears reported Sacramento’s interest in re-signing the Todd Ramasar client in early July, around the time Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times heard that the Clippers had conversations about reuniting with Hollins, who previously spent two seasons with the team.

The Clips didn’t make an offer at that point, Turner said then, and it’s unclear if any team has put a deal on the table for Hollins yet. He’s also reportedly received interest from the Mavericks and Pelicans along the way, though neither team has been connected to him for more than a month.

Hollins, who turns 31 in October, would appear to have an easier path to a regular season roster spot with the Kings or Clippers than he would with the Wizards, barring trade activity. Sacramento and L.A. have 14 full guarantees apiece while Washington has 15 and apparently isn’t offering partially guaranteed money to its camp invitees. Still, he faces competition, as the Kings were reportedly eyeing Hedo Turkoglu late last month while reports continue to show the Clippers have interest in re-signing Glen Davis.

The Kings signed him to a one-year, minimum-salary contract in 2014, and that would seem to be the sort of deal he’d command this time around, too. He averaged 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per game this past season.

Where do you think Hollins ends up? Leave a comment to tell us.

No. 60 Pick Luka Mitrovic Extends Overseas Deal

Luka Mitrovic, the 60th pick in this year’s draft, has reached an extension with Crvena Zvezda of Serbia that runs through the 2016/17 season, according to the Euroleague’s website (hat tip to Sportando’s Enea Trapani). It’s unclear if the deal includes an NBA out that would allow him to sign with the Kings, who acquired his NBA rights from the Sixers last month as part of the Nik Stauskas trade.

It’s no surprise to see Mitrovic remain overseas, as Sportando’s Orazio Cauchi reported shortly after Philadelphia made him the final pick in June that he would do so. The 22-year-old’s contract had been set to run through this coming season, as Mark Porcaro shows in our register of Draft Rights Held Players, so the extension tacks on another year.

The Mark Fleisher client is well-regarded, having been the 39th overall prospect in this year’s draft according to Chad Ford’s ESPN Insider rankings. Mitrovic, a 6’8″ power forward, averaged 9.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game this past season for Crvena Zvezda. He just gained a new teammate with NBA experience, as Gal Mekel has signed to play with the club.

The Sixers also sent the rights to No. 47 overall pick Arturas Gudaitis to Sacramento in that swap. Gudaitis signed for at least two years with Lietuvos Rytas of Lithuania before the trade became official.

Suns Sign Deonte Burton

The Suns have signed unrestricted free agent Deonte Burton, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders reports (Twitter link). It is a non-guaranteed training camp pact, adds Pincus, and most likely for the league minimum, though that is merely my speculation. The agreement will also include limited injury protection, Pincus adds, so it is likely an Exhibit 9 contract. The addition of Burton will give Phoenix a roster count of 18 players, including 13 with fully guaranteed deals.

Burton, 24, went undrafted out of Nevada in 2014 after averaging  20.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.4 assists against 2.0 turnovers in 38.6 MPG as a Senior. His career NCAA numbers were 16.2 PPG, 2.9 RPG, and 4.0 APG to accompany a shooting line of .439/.337/.751.

The guard appeared in the 2014 summer league with the Wizards before catching on with the Kings for training camp. Burton was cut by Sacramento last October and later signed with Germany’s Ratiopharm Ulm for the remainder of the 2014/15 season. His numbers in 31 appearances for Ratiopharm were an underwhelming 2.6 PPG, 0.6 RPG, and 0.5 APG in 10.1 minutes per contest. Burton played in the 2015 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League for the Sixers’ squad.

And-Ones: Williams, Thomas, Nunnally

Alan Williams, who starred at UC Santa Barbara and made an impact during summer league, was surprised that no NBA team was willing to give him a guaranteed contract, according to Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Instead, Williams signed with the Double Star Eagles in Qingdao, China, grabbing an overseas spot that usually isn’t available once NBA training camps end in October. “It gave me financial stability, which is something a lot of people don’t get in their first year,” Williams said. “It gives me an opportunity to go out there and develop my game more and play for a pretty good team. Culturally, I get to go to a whole different continent and see how they play.” Williams thought he might get more interest from NBA teams after an impressive performance with the Rockets‘ summer league squad. He averaged  20.5 points and 11.8 rebounds in four games and was named to the all-NBA Summer League second team. Williams is hoping for another shot at the NBA once his CBA season ends in February or March.

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

  • Tyrus Thomas, the fourth pick in the 2006 draft, still dreams of returning to the NBA, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Thomas missed the entire 2013/14 season after undergoing an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion for an arachnoid cyst. He signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies in January, but only appeared in two games. At 29, he is training for another shot at the league and hopes to be in someone’s camp next month.
  • James Nunnally has signed with Sidigas Avellino of the Italian Serie A, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Nunnally, another UC Santa Barbara product, appeared in a combined 13 games with the Hawks and Sixers during the 2013/14 season. He spent last season with teams in Spain and Israel, and played for the Pacers‘ entry in this year’s summer league.
  • Several teams took risks this summer, and Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders evaluates the best and worst of them, including the Lakers‘ and Knicks‘ draft picks, the Rocketsdeal for Ty Lawson, the Raptors giving big money to DeMarre Carroll and Cory Joseph and the Kingsgamble on Rajon Rondo.

Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 8/17/15

The DeMarcus Cousins saga has been a constant source of news, rumors and innuendo throughout the offseason. The mercurial Kings center is certainly one of the most talented players in the league and, at 25, is just entering the prime years of his career. He’s also locked up contractually through the 2017/18 season.

That hasn’t slowed down the rumor mill that the Kings will deal Cousins well before his contract expires. Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck fueled the fire today by saying that most of the people within the organization want the franchise to trade him away (video link), prompting Cousins, president of basketball operations Vlade Divac and owner Vivek Ranadive to suggest on Twitter Monday that the report was nonsense. Beck added in his video report that coach George Karl would still like to see the team deal Cousins, even though Karl has said otherwise.

Cousins recently met with Karl and later said that they were on the same page. That meeting came after a brief encounter between Cousins and the coach at summer league that was reportedly their first interaction for a period of months. Cousins had tweeted snake and grass emojis shortly after a report surfaced indicating that Karl had actively attempted to have him traded.

Karl’s reported desire to get rid of Cousins upset Ranadive to the point that he considered firing the coach, and a conflicting narrative exists about whether the Kings reached out to John Calipari as a potential replacement.

The Lakers were reportedly in talks to acquire Cousins around draft time. And while Cousins’ personality may rub some people the wrong way, there would undoubtedly be strong interest around the league in his services if the Kings decided to shop him.

Therefore, our question of the day is this: Do you believe DeMarcus Cousins will remain with the Kings throughout the upcoming season? If not, when do you think he will be traded?

Take to the comments section below to sound off with your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say.

Note: Since these Shootarounds are meant to be guided by you the reader, we certainly welcome your input on the topics we present. If there is something you’d like to see pop up here for a discussion, shoot us a message at hoopsrumorsmailbag@gmail.com.

Most Within Kings Want DeMarcus Cousins Traded?

5:44pm: Cousins, Divac and Ranadive all took to Twitter in an apparent effort to debunk the latest rumors, with Cousins posting “Blah blah blah…” and Divac chiming in with “I agree…#family.” Ranadive followed with the hashtag #WeAreFamily (hat tip to Marc Stein of ESPN.com).

2:04pm: The vast majority of the people in the Kings organization would prefer to see the team trade DeMarcus Cousins, as Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck says he’s been told (video link). Owner Vivek Ranadive has said publicly since the spring that he has no desire to trade the All-Star center, and while Beck believes that the owner is steadfast against a move, it appears others in the team’s power structure feel differently. Beck adds that coach George Karl would still like to see the team move on from Cousins, even though Karl has said otherwise.

It’s the latest twist in an ongoing saga involving the Kings and Cousins that comes on the heels of weeks of apparent peacemaking. Cousins said last week that he and Karl were on the same page after a meeting that they’d had along with vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac and assistant GM Mike Bratz. That meeting came after a brief encounter between Cousins and the coach at summer league that was reportedly their first interaction for a period of months. Cousins notoriously tweeted snake and grass emojis shortly after a report surfaced indicating that Karl had actively attempted to have him traded. A person familiar with Karl’s thinking told Beck all the way back in February that the Kings weren’t ruling out trading Cousins at the deadline this past February, and Karl advanced that notion in April when he said that he’d never coached a player who was off-limits for a trade.

Karl’s apparent efforts to trade Cousins reportedly upset Ranadive to the point that he considered firing the coach, and a conflicting narrative exists about whether the Kings reached out to John Calipari as a potential replacement. Indeed, the line of Cousins rumors has been rife with denials and nuance, dating back to concerns over Cousins’ reaction to the pair of coaching changes that Sacramento made this past season. His contract still has three full seasons left, valued at an average of nearly $16.958MM a year, so it doesn’t present an urgency to make a deal.

The Lakers emerged as a strong suitor for Cousins around draft time. The Dan Fegan client reportedly wanted to play with them, and Ranadive apparently gave Fegan permission to see if he could find a workable trade that would take Cousins out of Sacramento. However, no deal materialized as Divac, who has echoed Ranadive in saying publicly many times that he wants to keep Cousins, sought a reconciliation between Cousins and Karl. It had seemed, before today’s news, that the coach and his star player had patched up their relationship, but apparently that effort still has a ways to go.

What do you think of the latest development in the DeMarcus Cousins saga? Leave a comment to tell us.

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