Sacramento Kings Rumors
May 24 at 12:12pm CST By Luke Adams
As we head into the offseason, the Clippers and Lakers are looking to retain elite free-agents-to-be, the Warriors are looking for ways to upgrade a roster that's dangerously close to tax territory, the Clippers and Suns are in the market for a new head coach, and the Kings are in the process of changing ownership groups. The Pacific Division certainly isn't lacking for storylines, so let's round up the latest on a few of them:
- Alvin Gentry has a standing invitation to join Mike D'Antoni's staff with the Lakers as an assistant, but is more interested in the Clippers' open head coaching spot, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. Gentry is expected to be among the candidates receiving consideration once the process gets more serious, says Shelburne.
- Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link) downplays the significance of a recent report listing Golden State among Dwight Howard's potential destinations. According to Bucher's source, since making a wish list last year that included the Nets, Mavericks, and Lakers, Howard has become more open to the Rockets, but there's been no indication his position on the Hawks or Warriors has changed.
- Once the new ownership group is able to officially take control of the Kings, Vivek Ranadive and Co. intend to begin sorting out the team's basketball operations "very quickly," as Ranadive tells Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
- Jones adds within the same piece that Tyreke Evans' free agency figures to be the biggest roster decision facing the Kings this summer. For his part, Evans plans on waiting until the ownership situation stabilizes, and says agent Arn Tellem will meet with management once things are settled.
May 23 at 10:41pm CST By Ryan Raroque
We've rounded up a few links on Dwight Howard tonight. Peter May of Sheridan Hoops explains why it wouldn't make sense for him to choose a return to the Lakers over a chance to join the Rockets. Marcus Thompson II of Mercury News - going off of the speculation linking Dwight to the Warriors - lists some of the biggest obstacles standing in the way of Golden State being able to acquire him. Tim Cowlishaw of SportsDayDFW thinks that the Mavericks will finish fourth behind the Hawks, Houston, and Los Angeles in the sweepstakes for Howard, adding that Dallas has little else to offer aside from no state income tax. Here are a few more links to share out of the Western Conference:
- On an appearance with Fitzsimmons and Durrett on KESN-FM, ESPN's Chad Ford explained why the Mavericks could have some issues in trying to deal their 13th overall pick. With a draft pick owed to Oklahoma City next year, Dallas can't technically deal their pick until draft night and would have to select a player for a team that they've made a prearranged deal with. Only until after they've drafted a player would they be able to trade his rights in order to get around the NBA rule that prohibits teams from trading a first-round pick in consecutive seasons (hat tip goes to SportsDayDFW). Though it is a strategy that Ford disagrees with, he admits that the pick will likely be moved.
- Later in the interview, Ford spoke about Dallas' chances of adding Dwight, saying that he's more available to them than Chris Paul at this point. He also said that their pitch could also depend on whether or not they can make the team attractive enough to make Howard believe it will contend, and that Houston looks further along in the process in that respect.
- Completely focusing on the situation between Howard and the Lakers heading into the summer, Steve Kyler of Hoopsworld says that the big man just wants to enjoy the game again and that it will be up to the team to convince him that he can do so in Los Angeles. Kyler reiterates that Brooklyn had been Howard's initial choice and that L.A. had been someone else's preference (Twitter links).
- As for Pau Gasol, Kyler predicted that the Lakers will keep him, let his deal expire, and then re-sign him to a cheaper deal, also mentioning that he doesn't think they'd trade him without knowing what happens with Dwight first.
- Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee hears that the NBA Board of Governors will take a formal vote on the Kings sale between the Maloofs and the Ranadive-led group on Tuesday next week (Twitter link).
- Though there appeared to be some disagreements on the Grizzlies' practice court with regards to making adjustments against the Spurs, Matt Moore of CBS Sports says that there weren't any indications that the players were upset or angry with each other or coach Lionel Hollins and chalks it up to any normal frustration from a team being down 2-0 in the playoffs. Though I wouldn't think that Hollins' future in Memphis is exclusively determined by whether or not he gets the team past the conference finals, it will be intriguing to see if the way they finish the postseason factors into the team's decision on potentially offering him an extension.
- Darnell Mayberry of NewsOK gave Kevin Durant his season report card, listing that while he had his best season to date, his good-but-not-great playmaking, the instances where he lacked poise, and his propensity to turn the ball over were reasons why the Thunder superstar didn't earn straight A's this year. To Durant's credit, Mayberry explains why his playoff struggles in recent years may make the 6'9 wingman more determined than ever next season. Lastly, a few of The Oklahoman's staff writers provide their take on Durant's season.
May 22 at 12:42pm CST By Zach Links
Here's today's look around the Association..
- After signing Georgetown product Otto Porter, David Falk is nearly done re-building the FAME agency, tweets Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal (via Twitter). “We will sign two or three more players and that is it," said the agent.
- The new Kings ownership group is set to buy the Downtown Plaza shopping mall where the team's new arena will be built, according to Tony Bizjak, Dale Kasler, and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee. Meanwhile, principal owner Vivek Ranadive is actively talking to people about selling his stake in the Warriors.
- The NBA players union has expressed interest in former league executive Steve Mills, according to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (on Sulia). The former Knicks executive vice president would bring a deep understanding of how the owners think and negotiate to the negotiating table since he was on their side for the better part of his career.
May 21 at 4:00pm CST By Luke Adams
Phil Jackson appeared on the Dan Patrick Show (video link) this morning to promote his new book, to compare Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, and to address a few more items of note. The Zen Master confirmed to Patrick that he doesn't intend to return to coaching, but did talk about another job he had discussed with the prospective Seattle ownership group. Here are a few highlights from Jackson's appearance:
On whether he would have been involved with a Seattle franchise had the Kings relocation been approved:
"I had an agreement with the guy that put the deal together for Seattle.... Chris Hansen. I thought he was dynamic, I thought he had great ideas. He went through the whole process of getting an arena. He did everything right, except win the franchise. But his vision I could buy into. I thought he had the right vision for a team. And he made basically the offer of take what you want to take as a job -- a consultant, if you want to be an owner, be a part-owner, work in the basketball operations side of it if you want to, or coach. It didn't matter to him. We talked about a number of things that would progress the team that was going to move, which was Sacramento, which is a team that has to improve to be a significant team that's going to stay in Sacramento."
On whether the Clippers have reached out to him:
"No, I've never had any contact with Clippers management."
On the best offer he has received recently:
"Well, the Brooklyn situation I think is a good situation.... That was coaching, basically. They wanted to know if I was still interested in coaching."
On whether he thinks Dwight Howard will re-sign with the Lakers:
"Would you, if you felt like your game wasn't going to be featured?"
May 21 at 3:23pm CST By Luke Adams
We received word earlier this afternoon that head coach Vinny Del Negro will not be retained by the Clippers, and Ken Berger of CBSSports.com says (via Twitter) that one of the primary reasons for the decision was the fact that Chris Paul wasn't a fan of Del Negro. According to Berger (via Twitter), the star point guard didn't back the coach to management at season's end.
Here are a few more afternoon rumblings out of the Western Conference:
- Another Los Angeles free-agent-to-be, Dwight Howard, apparently isn't a fan of his head coach either -- Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Howard voiced some displeasure and frustration with Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni in a meeting with GM Mitch Kupchak at season's end. However, McMenamin notes that the relationship between D12 and D'Antoni isn't irreparable, and former Howard coach Stan Van Gundy told David Baumann of Sports Talk Florida (Twitter link) today that he wasn't giving much credence to the story.
- A source tells Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune (Twitter link) that there's "no merit" to trade rumors involving Eric Gordon.
- No teams have contacted the Grizzlies to ask permission to speak to head coach Lionel Hollins yet, tweets Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
- According to Ric Bucher of 95.7 The Game (Sulia link), the fact that the Sacramento arena plan involves a significant public subsidy wasn't insignificant when the league voted on the Kings' relocation bid.
May 21 at 2:12pm CST By Chuck Myron
TUESDAY, 2:12pm: Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter link) hears that the finance committee will vote on the sale of the Kings early this week, with an official vote by the full Board of Governors coming before the end of May.
MONDAY, 1:45pm: Ranadive doesn't formally own the NBA team yet, tweets Ryan Lillis of The Sacramento Bee, pointing out that the team will move forward with the Maloofs' plan to send coach Keith Smart to the draft lottery. Windhorst has deleted his tweet from yesterday, so perhaps Johnson jumped the gun in saying that Ranadive had assumed control of the franchise. In any case, Ranadive and company remain on track to take over the Kings.
SUNDAY, 1:33pm: Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson says NBA owners have approved the sale of the Kings to the Sacramento-based group headed by Vivek Ranadive, tweets Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The league had been expected to make a formal announcement of the deal between the Maloof family and Ranadive's group this week, although it was thought that escrow would not close until the end of the month. In any case, Ranadive now has control of the franchise, according to Johnson.
There's usually a much longer gap between the time an agreement on a sale is reached and the point when the purchase becomes official. Last year, Robert Pera agreed to buy the Grizzlies in June, but didn't take control of the team until October 31st. An official announcement from the league has yet to come, but it's not entirely surprising the process was expedited this time around, since the league had a chance to thoroughly vet Ranadive's bid as it sorted out whether to allow the Kings to move to Seattle.
Johnson said earlier this week that the agreement had been "signed on both ends" and that the "money has been wired," so it looked like the green light from the league was the last step in the process. Ranadive was a relative late-comer in an effort that began in earnest in January, around the time the Maloofs reached a deal to sell the team to Seattle investor Chris Hansen and his partners. Johnson spearheaded the effort to put the group together, combining $1MM commitments from 20 Sacramento-area locals with the larger financial backing of deep-pocketed "whales," including Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle. Mastrov became the lead investor, but Burkle, an enemy of the Maloofs, proved a stumbling block, and as he faded from the picture, Ranadive took over the primary reigns of the bid.
The Sacramento group's final purchase price for the Kings is based on a full valuation of the team at $535MM, an NBA record and $10MM greater than Hansen's initial offer. The Maloofs' share is 65%, so that works out to a $347.75MM sum that's changing hands. Hansen and company upped their valuation of the club to $625MM, but ultimately lost out, spending more than $100MM on an ill-fated effort to buy the team.
May 21 at 11:16am CST By Luke Adams
The NBA's draft lottery is set to take place tonight, with the league's 14 non-playoff teams vying for a chance at the first overall pick and the opportunity to select a player from a crop of prospects that includes Nerlens Noel, Ben McLemore, and others.
The odds at landing the first overall pick are cited frequently, from the Magic's 25% all the way down to the Jazz's 0.5%. But what chance does each team have to land a top-three pick? Listed in the chart below are the odds each lottery team has at the first, second, and third overall picks, as well as each team's overall odds at landing in the top three.
May 19 at 4:03pm CST By Chuck Myron
For a third consecutive year, there aren't any Pacific Division teams in the Western Conference Finals, a dry spell that's never happened before. The Lakers are mostly responsible for that history of success, but the Suns have had their moments, too. For most of the city's time with an NBA team, Seattle was a part of the Pacific Division, and the SuperSonics were no stranger to playing for a berth in the Finals. With the league reportedly having approved the sale of the Kings to a Sacramento-based group, it looks like Seattle won't be an NBA destination for at least a while longer.
Here's a check on each of the five current Pacific Division teams as they try to climb their way back into contention:
- Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who's attending today's opener of the Western Conference Finals, has yet to meet with Vinny Del Negro as planned this weekend, but resolution on the coach's future should come within the week, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group points out the similarities between the construction of the Warriors roster and the way the Grizzlies were built.
- Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee profile new Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive, who plans to take a hands-on approach.
- Of all the people involved in keeping the Kings in Sacramento, none were as influential as David Stern, who demonstrated that he still has control of the league even as his tenure as commissioner comes to a close, The Bee's Ailene Voisin writes.
- Suns scouts have been high on Maryland center Alex Len since before this past season began, according to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, who runs down some of the players the team will likely target with its lottery pick.
- Greg Somogyi impressed Mike Brown when the two were together in Lakers camp last fall, and Brown has invited the 7'3" center to a Cavaliers mini-camp this summer, reports Sportando contributor David Pick (Twitter link).
May 18 at 11:35am CST By Luke Adams
Of the four NBA divisions that sent three teams to the postseason this year, only the Pacific doesn't have a team still in the hunt, following the eliminations of the Lakers, Clippers, and Warriors. Here's the latest from out west:
- While Vivek Ranadive and the Kings new ownership group haven't closed the door on bringing back GM Geoff Petrie and head coach Keith Smart, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee says the team's basketball operations should and will be overhauled this summer.
- Seattle's bidders for the Kings are expected to
turn down the league's offer to repay their $30MM nonrefundable
deposit, and if they do, they will have spent more than $100MM in their
ill-fated effort to woo the team north, tweets Chris Daniels of KING-TV.
- Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group thinks Mark Jackson will receive an extension sometime in the next month,
predicts the Warriors will choose Jarrett Jack over Carl Landry in free
agency, and doesn't foresee a major trade in the offseason.
- Stephen Curry tells Marcus Thompson II of the San Jose Mercury News that he's been encouraging Jack to return to the Warriors next season. "This is the place for him,"
Curry said. "He's bounced around a lot. For him to have hopefully found a
home here for the foreseeable future would be huge. I know he wants to
be part of a winning team, and I think we have that here now."
- Assuming he's not released today, Kent Bazemore should receive a modest bonus, per Mark Deeks of ShamSports. According to Deeks, Bazemore's nonguaranteed 2013/14 contract becomes partially guaranteed for $25K if he's not waived within two days of the Warriors' final game of the season.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
May 17 at 4:16pm CST By Zach Links
Earlier today, we learned that if the Kings don't keep Keith Smart as their head coach, they're expected to target Warriors assistant Michael Malone. After months of conjecture on the coaching carousel about big names like Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Jerry Sloan, Malone now appears to be one of the most wanted men in the NBA. Here's more from the Pacific division..
- Speaking of the Warriors, Tim Kawakami of the Bay Area News Group checked in with co-owner Joe Lacob, who says that it's too early to comment on whether or when the team will pick up Mark Jackson’s option for 2014/15 and/or work out a longer-term deal beyond that. For his part, Kawakami sees the option as a virtual lock, possibly as a prelude to longer-term talks down the road.
- If the Mavs have to look into Plan B options at the point guard position this summer, Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas suggests that Warriors guard Jarrett Jack would be a solid fit.
- Dale Kasler, Ryan Lillis, and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee provide the specifics on just how much the Maloof family will pocket from the sale of the Kings. Since the Maloofs will hang on to the $30MM non-refundable deposit paid by the Seattle group and will no longer have to contribute to the relocation fee, they ultimately won't earn much less in the Sacramento deal (about $230MM) than they would have in the Seattle deal (about $241MM).
Luke Adams contributed to this post.