Sacramento Kings Rumors

Hornets Eye Cole, Sessions Amid Walker Injury

January 28 at 1:02pm CST By Chuck Myron

WEDNESDAY, 1:02pm: Walker will miss a minimum of six weeks, the team confirmed via press release.

MONDAY, 5:21pm: Hornets coach Steve Clifford acknowledged the possibility that the Hornets would sign a player to help offset the loss of Walker, but while he said Walker has been “by far our best player,” he added that he believes the club has “more than enough” internally to maintain its performance. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has the details, and notes that the club is without an open roster spot to accommodate a would-be signee.

5:12pm: The Hornets have Ramon Sessions and Norris Cole on their radar as they pursue trade possibilities to replace injured point guard Kemba Walker, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (on Twitter). Walker will have surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, the team announced, and while Charlotte didn’t provide a timetable for his recovery, the team hopes he’ll be back in six weeks, Wojnarowski tweets. The team isn’t looking to trade Walker, but merely to find someone to replace his production during his absence, Wojnarowski clarifies (Twitter link).

Charlotte is familiar with Sessions, having signed him in 2012, and he spent a season and a half with the club, a tenure that ended with a trade at last year’s deadline. Sacramento recently engaged in discussions regarding a swap of Sessions for Jordan Farmar before the Clippers waived Farmar, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee, who at that point pegged Sessions as the King most likely to be traded. The 28-year-old makes $2.077MM this season and is in line for more than $2.17MM next year.

Cole makes roughly the same amount, drawing slightly more than $2.038MM this year in the final season of his rookie-scale contract. Heat president Pat Riley insists he hasn’t made any offers to any teams, in spite of a report that indicated Miami had proposed a deal for Brook Lopez that would have sent Cole to the Nets. Cole “pretty much knows” that the Heat are ready to trade him, as Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio wrote last week as reported that Miami had put the 26-year-old soon-to-be restricted free agent on the trade block.

The Hornets appear to be active in talks of late, many of them involving Lance Stephenson. Charlotte holds a half-game lead over the Nets for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and is a game and a half back of the Heat. It’d seem unlikely that Miami would want to help a team it’s competing against for a playoff spot, though that’s just my speculation.

Kings Shop Derrick Williams

January 28 at 8:47am CST By Chuck Myron

The Kings are shopping former No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams, league sources tell Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. The fourth-year power forward is putting up career lows in several categories this season as his minutes have sunk below 20 per game for the first time. Williams was reportedly part of Sacramento’s discussions with the Nets last month regarding Deron Williams and was apparently in the earliest proposals the Kings made to the Pistons this summer for Josh Smith.

The 23-year-old is on an expiring contract with a salary of more than $6.331MM this year and is eligible for restricted free agency this coming summer. His draft slot calls for a qualifying offer of more than $8.262MM, but because he’s unlikely to meet the starter criteria, the value of that qualifying offer is instead in line to be slightly less than $4.046MM. That’d make it easier for whichever team holds him at season’s end to retain the right to match offers for him this summer, though it wouldn’t be a shock if that team declines to tender the qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

It was somewhat surprising to see the Timberwolves decide last year to pick up Williams’ team option for this season, and precisely a month after doing so, Minnesota traded him to the Kings straight up for Luc Mbah a Moute. Sacramento has been active in the year and a half since owner Vivek Ranadive and GM Pete D’Alessandro took charge, as Kennedy notes, though Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee recently pegged Ramon Sessions as the King most likely to be traded. Charlotte reportedly has Sessions on its radar, while Sacramento recently made Nik Stauskas available, as Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported.

Just which teams the Kings have called about Williams is unclear. Sacramento has shown a willingness to try to win quickly and make a playoff push this season, but the team doesn’t have a reasonable shot at the postseason at this point as it sits eight and a half games back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Kings have a chance to open some cap room this summer, with about $55.3MM in commitments against a projected $66.5MM salary cap. Taking back salary from a trade partner who values Williams for his expiring contract would compromise Sacramento’s flexibility for the summer ahead.

Kings To Sign Quincy Miller To Second 10-Day

January 25 at 9:35pm CST By Zach Links

The Kings will sign forward Quincy Miller to a second 10-day contract, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter).  Miller has appeared in two games since signing with the Kings earlier this month.

Prior to joining the Kings on January 17th, the 22-year-old was with Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate.  The 6’10”, 220-pound big man had proven himself as one of the best scorers in the D-League with 26.3 PPG to go with 7.6 RPG and 1.8 APG.  He was shooting 52.2% from the field, and a solid 35.6% from three-point range.

Miller has appeared in two games with the Kings and he made his presence felt in his last appearance, scoring 13 points against the Warriors on Friday night.  For his career, Miller has averaged 4.6 PPG and 2.6 RPG across parts of three seasons.

Knicks Shop Prigioni, Clippers, Pistons Interested

January 25 at 12:35pm CST By Chuck Myron

SUNDAY, 12:35pm: The Pistons are among the teams to show exploratory interest in Prigioni, in wake of losing Brandon Jennings to injury, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

THURSDAY, 8:53am: The Clippers have held an interest in Prigioni, a source tells Zagoria, adding that the Clips don’t have the second-round pick New York is looking for. The earliest second-round pick that the Clippers can guarantee New York is for 2019. The point guard has drawn interest from three or four European clubs, agent Claudio Villanueva told Jorge Sierra of HoopsHype, though Villanueva cautioned that he and his client haven’t pursued those possibilities and that they’re not worried about his situation in New York.

WEDNESDAY, 1:17pm: The Knicks would like to trade Pablo Prigioni in exchange for a second-round pick, reports Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). The 37-year-old point guard doesn’t have much of a role at present, having fallen out of the team’s rotation the past three games, and he’s not a part of the club’s future, either, according to Zagoria. He’s making nearly $1.663MM this season, but his salary of almost $1.735MM for next season is only partially guaranteed for $290K.

New York reportedly considered attaching Prigioni to a deal that would unload Wayne Ellington this past summer. Knicks officials were apparently nonetheless fond of Prigioni, though it seems they continued to mull trading him even after they were able to keep him when they shipped Elliington to the Kings. The Knicks opened the season with playoff aspirations, but their need for an aging backup isn’t great with the team at 6-36. New York is reportedly shopping starter Jose Calderon, but Shane Larkin has moved ahead of Prigioni on the Knicks depth chart.

It appeared this past summer that the Jazz were in the mix for Prigioni as the Knicks and Kings looked for a third team to facilitate the Ellington trade. It’s unclear whether Utah still has any interest, even in the wake of Tuesday’s announcement that shooting guard Rodney Hood will be out until at least the All-Star break. Prigioni had been seeing fairly consistent minutes before his recent downturn in playing time, and he’s averaged 4.8 points, a career high, in 19.1 minutes per game this season.

And-Ones: Durant, Heat, Raptors, Bynum, Heslip

January 22 at 1:38pm CST By Chuck Myron

The Wizards seem like prime contenders for Washington native Kevin Durant when he hits free agency in 2016, but the thought of a homecoming isn’t on the reigning MVP’s mind, at least yet, as he told reporters, including Royce Young of ESPN.com.

“I’ve never thought about it, to be honest,” Durant said. “I mean, I hear it in the summertime. I heard it for the first time this summer. That’s when it started heating up. I love playing for Oklahoma City, man. There’s just a certain level of pride that I have when I play with that Oklahoma City on my chest.”

The Thunder picked up a key victory Wednesday against the Wizards as they fight to grab a playoff spot and salvage this year’s chance to win a title while Durant remains under contract. Here’s more from around the league:

  • Miami won’t re-sign Tyler Johnson to another 10-day contract, at least for the time being, a source tells Hoops Rumors. The Heat want to maximize their flexibility in case of a trade, but it’s possible that they’ll re-sign him later, perhaps as soon as a week from now, the source added. Johnson’s original 10-day pact with the Heat expired after Wednesday.
  • The Raptors had interest in Tyrus Thomas before he reached a deal to sign a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link).
  • NBA interest is growing in former Pistons point guard Will Bynum, whose Chinese team has won 22 games in a row since he joined the club last month, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Still, the Chinese Basketball Association playoffs threaten to keep him off-limits to NBA teams until March, Wojnarowski notes.
  • Wolves camp invitee Brady Heslip will sign with BC Igokea in Bosnia, USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt reports (on Twitter). Gino Pilato of D-League Digest first reported that Heslip had left the D-League affiliate of the Kings, with whom he had been playing since Minnesota cut him loose (Twitter link).
  • Providence junior small forward Tyler Harris plans to enter this year’s NBA draft, sources tell Shams Charania of RealGM. Harris is the 65th-best NBA prospect among juniors, according to Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress. Chad Ford of ESPN.com doesn’t have him within his rankings.

And-Ones: Rondo, Karl, Allen, Turner

January 21 at 10:11pm CST By Eddie Scarito

George Karl still wants to return to coaching in the NBA, and he had thought that the opportunity to do so presented itself when the Kings fired Michael Malone, Sam Amick of USA Today writes. But Sacramento promoted assistant coach Tyrone Corbin for the remainder of the season instead. “There’s obviously been communication,” Karl said. “But have they ever talked to me about being the head coach? We’ve talked around it, but we’ve probably never talked about that situation. Do I feel I’m on their list? Yes, but I think they made it very clear when they made the decision to give Corbin the opportunity to coach that that was what they were going to do.” Karl is indeed likely to be among the candidates for the Kings head coaching position, unless the team performs unexpectedly well under Corbin, according to Amick, who also notes that Warriors assistant Alvin Gentry is also expected to be a candidate. Sacramento has discussed Mark Jackson‘s potential candidacy internally, but he appears to have a minimal shot at landing the job, Amick writes

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Though the Mavs are said to be the favorites to re-sign Rajon Rondo when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer, Kobe Bryant hasn’t given up on recruiting Rondo to come and join the Lakers, Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald writes. “No way,” Bryant said. “I’m not done. I’m not stopping until he signs an extension.”
  • With the Celtics now fully in rebuilding mode, veteran swingman Evan Turner said that Boston’s situation is markedly different from what he experienced as a member of the Sixers last season, Bulpett adds in the same article. “This isn’t anything like it was with the Sixers,” Turner said. “They traded everybody, and on top of that they’d just go and get new players every 10 days. So this is sweet compared to that. When we make trades this year and get new players, I’ve actually heard of them. In Philly, they’d bring somebody in, and you just never heard of the person in your life. They’d introduce me to them, and I’d just go about my business. This is kind of typical. I can deal with these type of trades. The other stuff was crazy. I guess this is new to a lot of guys here, but this is small compared to what I was going through last year.
  • Ray Allen has been leaning toward retiring instead of returning to action this season, but the veteran sharpshooter is hinting that he may have changed his thinking regarding suiting up to play, Dave Brousseau of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes.

And-Ones: Russell, Malone, Covington

January 20 at 8:58pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell is quickly becoming a potential top five pick in the upcoming NBA draft, according to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required). Scouts believe that Russell has the tools to excel at both guard positions in the NBA, and he could be the next guard selected after Emmanuel Mudiay, who is a likely top three pick, Ford notes. “There’s so much to love about his game,” an NBA GM told Ford regarding Russell. “Even when he has a bad game, it looks like a good one because every time the ball leaves his lands, it looks like it’s going in. He plays with such great confidence and has a terrific feel. I think he could be a James Harden-type player at the next level. That’s what kind of scorer and playmaker he could be.” Russell is currently ranked No. 9 in the Hoops Rumors 2015 Draft Prospect Power Rankings.

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Michael Malone‘s stint as a special observer with the Wolves is ending, but the former Kings coach will be visiting other teams in the near future, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities reports (Twitter link).
  • A number of NBA teams have made trade inquiries regarding the SixersRobert Covington, but Philadelphia intends to hold onto the forward, Shams Charania of RealGM reports. The 24-year-old Covington is averaging 12.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 27.2 minutes per game this season, and he is a core part of the franchise’s long-term plans, Charania notes.
  • The Russian team Krasny Oktyabr has decided to part ways with DeAndre Liggins, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reports. Liggins signed a pair of 10-day contracts with the Heat last season, but he only appeared in one game for Miami. Liggins averaged 6.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists in Russia this season.
  • Former Sixers swingman James Anderson, who is playing for Lithuania’s Zalgiris Kaunas, was asked in interview with Erildas Budraitis of RealGM about what it was like to be a part of Philadelphia’s alleged tanking last season. Anderson said, “With the players and the coaches, we had the same mindset all year. Who likes to lose? We were not going out and trying to lose on purpose. We had a lot of close games actually that we should have won. It was the same mindset; our coach [Brett] Brown did a great job of keeping everybody together and keeping the locker room close. Everybody continued to improve. We just could not get over the hump for a while. It was tough but it was not a mindset of trying to lose.

And-Ones: Onuaku, Jackson, LeVert

January 19 at 7:26pm CST By Eddie Scarito

Six NBA teams have shown interest in power forward Arinze Onuaku, reports Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Onuaku, who was briefly with the Pelicans and Cavs last season and spent camp this past fall with the Pacers, recently turned down an offer to play in the Philippines as he continues his dialogue with NBA clubs, Kennedy adds (Twitter links).

Here’s more from around the league:

  • Reggie Jackson is open to signing his qualifying offer this summer in an attempt to align his unrestricted free agency with the summer of 2016, USA Today’s Sam Amick reports. Most league executives reportedly assume the salary cap will surge to around $90MM. Jackson is on pace to invoke the starter criteria, which would lift the value of his qualifying offer from to nearly $3.223MM to almost $4.434MM.
  • Michigan’s Caris LeVert will miss the remainder of the season after injuring his foot during Saturday’s contest against Northwestern, the university has announced. The junior is scheduled to undergo surgery this week to repair the damage. This will be the second such procedure on LeVert’s left foot, as he had a similar injury last May. LeVert is currently the No. 14 ranked prospect by DraftExpress.
  • ESPN’s Chad Ford (Twitter link), who has LeVert slotted No. 30 in his draft rankings, still projects the guard to be a late first round to early second round pick come this June, provided LeVert is healthy in time for his pre-draft workouts.
  • Former Kings coach Michael Malone isn’t expected to remain with the Wolves past Wednesday’s game against Dallas, Jerry Zgoda of The Star Tribune reports (Twitter link). Malone has been acting as a special observer with the Wolves, but Flip Saunders, Minnesota’s president of basketball operations, doesn’t see Malone having a role with the team past this stint, Zgoda notes.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Suns, Clippers, Lakers

January 17 at 10:52pm CST By Chris Crouse

A month after the Kings shocked the league by firing coach Mike Malone, the move remains puzzling, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Interim coach Ty Corbin has been tasked with changing the team’s style of play midseason and players feel the strategy is unusual. “With Avery, P.J. pretty much stuck to the script, stuck to what we had been doing—nothing really changed a lot,”  said veteran Reggie Evans, who experienced a midseason coaching change earlier in his career while playing for the Nets. “This year is different. We are changing some things and that’s the different part. We have to make it work to the best of our ability. I was surprised when Avery got fired, and I was surprised with this situation, too.” Sacramento is 16-23, which puts the team in danger of missing the postseason for the ninth straight season.

Here’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • New addition Reggie Bullock should find himself in a good situation on the Suns, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. The team certainly believes he can become a contributor. “He’s a young player who has shooting ability, who has good size and length,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. “It’s going to be hard in the middle of the season to get him acclimated to everything, but he seems like a smart kid, and I think he’ll pick up things fast just like Brandan (Wright) did.” Bullock was acquired from the Clippers in a three team trade earlier this week.
  • The Clippers waived Jordan Farmar with the future in mind, writes Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. “We think this will be another buyout season for a lot of guys,” coach and president of basketball operations Doc Rivers said. “You want to have flexibility and it gives us that.” After its recent moves, the team is left with a 13-man roster.
  • The Lakers might be in better position to land Kevin Love in free agency than originally anticipated when the forward was dealt to the Cavs in August, speculates Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times. Pincus cites the Cavs struggles this season as a reason that Love could move on from the team when given the opportunity either this summer or next. Love reportedly plans to opt in and remain in Cleveland through the 2015/16 season. That will be the same offseason that Kobe Bryant‘s extension, worth $25MM in the final year of the deal, comes off the books for Los Angeles, which could allow the Lakers to have cap space for two maximum-salaried players.

Kings Sign Quincy Miller To 10-Day Deal

January 17 at 10:30pm CST By Eddie Scarito

10:30pm: The signing is official, according to the team’s twitter feed.

SATURDAY, 1:42pm: The Kings will sign Quincy Miller to a 10-day contract, Shams Charania of RealGM reports (Twitter link). With Sacramento’s current roster count sitting at 14 players, no corresponding roster move will be needed to add Miller. Multiple teams were reportedly interested in signing Miller, including the Clippers, Pacers, Hawks, Thunder, and Spurs.

Miller had been playing with the Reno Bighorns, Sacramento’s D-League affiliate. In 14 D-League appearances this season Miller had averaged an impressive 26.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. He was shooting 52.2% from the field, and a solid 35.6% from three-point range.

The 22-year-old Miller was selected No. 38 overall in the 2012 NBA draft, and then spent two seasons with the Nuggets. Miller attended training camp with Denver this season, but was waived back in October. His career NBA averages are 4.5 points, 2.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists. His slash line is .366/.316/.702.

The Kings have reportedly been seeking to add a stretch four as well as a wing defender, and have recently made rookie Nik Stauskas available in trade discussions. It’s unclear if signing Miller is related to this talk, seeing as he’s not necessarily known as a shut-down defender, and despite being 6’9″, Miller isn’t strong enough to guard most NBA power forwards.