Pacific Notes: Kings, Durant, Zubac

The Kings haven’t necessarily solidified a spot in the deep Western Conference playoff picture but there’s still reason to celebrate given their 18-15 record at this point in the season. Jason Jones of The Athletic examines how the team has drastically improved in 2018/19.

The Kings have benefited from the monstrous strides De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield have taken this season. That backcourt, Jones writes, is emerging as one of the most fun to watch in the NBA.

Of course contributions from other young veterans like Willie Cauley-Stein and Bogdan Bogdanovic have helped the Kings at least appear to turn a corner early on.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division today:

  • Potential free agent Kevin Durant hasn’t exactly tipped his hand as to what he plans to do this summer but he did tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that he wants to make sure he can get “as much money as [he] can on his next deal.” The Warriors are the only team eligible to offer him a five-year max contract, worth around $221MM. That’s one year and nearly $60MM more than any other team.
  • Although he can’t vote for his own player, Suns coach Igor Kokoskov told Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic and the rest of the media that he thinks more people should consider Deandre Ayton when discussing potential Rookie of the Year winners. In his last five games, Ayton has averaged 22.8 points and 15.6 rebounds per game.
  • While it’s not always easy to find three pure centers minutes in a regulation basketball match, that’s one problem Lakers coach Luke Walton will be happy to welcome after two solid spot starts from third-stringer Ivica Zubac this week. The third-year center dropped 16 and 11 on the Pelicans on last Friday and followed that up with 19 points and four blocks against the Grizzlies on Saturday. “Luke’s always been saying to me that he trusts me,” the 21-year-old big man told Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “If there’s a chance to put me on the floor, he’s gonna put me there and he’s gonna always trust me like every other player on the team. I’ve been doing the same stuff every day”.
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5 thoughts on “Pacific Notes: Kings, Durant, Zubac

  1. Why do people say Durant is eligible for a “supermax” contract? He will be eligible for the exact same contract any other 10 year veteran with Bird rights can get.

    • There’s difference between a Max contract and a super-max contract

      I can get an outsider free agent from another team and offer him a Max contract, but that guy is not eligible for a supermax.

      Only a guy who’s been on my team a while, thus bird rights come into play.

      • “Super-max” is an invented media term for the Designated Veteran rule that allows teams to sign or extend players with eight or nine years of service to a higher salary (up to 35% of the cap) than they normally would (30% of the cap), if that player has made all-NBA, DPOY, or MVP. It has no relation to Durant, who can sign a typical Bird rights contract (5 yrs, 8% raises.) Obviously, if another team signs him as a free agent they can’t offer as much (4 yrs, 5% raises.)

        • x%sure

          Well said. My post should have a sarcastic imagination attempt at humor warning.

      • x%sure

        There might be an even bigger difference between max and supermax in the next CBA, if small-market owners get their way, driven by the image of the flaming Lebronicushead on the phone with their players.

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