Bobby Jackson

Kings Notes: Mitchell, King, Ramsey, Jackson

Rookie guard Davion Mitchell lived up to his defensive reputation as the Kings defeated the Celtics Tuesday to capture the championship in the Las Vegas Summer League, writes Jason Jones of The Atheltic. Jones suggests Mitchell could be a strong Rookie of the Year candidate, even without exceptional numbers on offense.

Mitchell showed he can be a difference-making defender during Baylor’s run to the NCAA title, and he brought that same intensity to Summer League play. In Tuesday’s game, he shut down Boston’s Payton Pritchard, who had been averaging 20.3 PPG in Vegas, holding him to six points.

“I think if my teammates see that, they’re going to want to play hard because I’m like the head of the snake,” Mitchell said. “So I’m going to be up there playing pressure defense, so my teammates are going to follow behind me. So I think if I lead by example and be myself in training camp, I can change the identity here.”

Sacramento was hoping to land Michigan’s Franz Wagner on draft night, according to Jones, but when the Magic took him one pick earlier, the Kings opted for Mitchell, the highest-rated player left on their board, even though they already have two ball-handlers in De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. They have confidence in Mitchell as a defender, even against bigger players, Jones notes, and plan to use a lot of three-guard lineups.

There’s more on the Kings:

  • The MVP of the title game was Louis King, who had 21 points and five steals, Jones states in the same story. A two-way player who played six games for Sacramento at the end of the season, King can provide size on the perimeter and showed he can play defense, which was a question coming into Las Vegas. “He’s got an edge about him and that’s why I like him,” Summer League coach Bobby Jackson said. “He’s confident. He understands where he wants to be at and what he wants to achieve.”
  • Another player who improved his standing was Jahmi’us Ramsey, a second-round pick in 2020 who got into just 13 games last season. The Kings weren’t sure if Ramsey would play in the Summer League because of injuries, but he was steady throughout and scored 16 points in the win over Boston.
  • Jackson, who was named head coach of the Kings’ G League affiliate in May, showed he’s ready for the job, observes James Ham of NBC Sports California. “I told them training camp was going to be hard, but I kept preaching teamwork, chemistry, having each other’s backs, defending at a high level, making other teams uncomfortable, and taking things away,” Jackson said.

Western Notes: Azubuike, Jackson, Wright, Green

Jazz 2020 first-round selection, big man Udoka Azubuike, was hampered by a severe ankle sprain in his rookie campaign, Sarah Todd of the Deseret News writes. Azubuike suffered the injury during the Salt Lake City Stars’ first game in the G League bubble last season. “It was tough, it was really tough for me going through that injury, that process,” Azubuike said. “Not being out on the court practicing or learning, doing what a regular rookie like me would do.” He’ll likely compete for backup center minutes this season with veteran acquisition Hassan Whiteside.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The King’s young players are not the only ones going through a learning process during summer league action. Bobby Jackson, the team’s summer league coach, is also gaining valuable experience, Jason Jones of The Athletic writes. “I can get better in late-game situations, understanding who to have on the floor, the substitutions, all the stuff that comes with it,” Jackson said. “But me and my stuff, just like the players have to do a better job, we’ve got to do a better job of making sure we have the right personnel on the floor. But it’s a growing experience for me, I love it.” Jackson was also recently named the head coach of the G League’s Stockton Kings.
  • McKinley Wright IV received a two-way deal from the Timberwolves last week. The former Colorado standout grew up in Minnesota and is thrilled to play in his home state, according to Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “I didn’t know that I was going to be coming home,” Wright said. “I didn’t know that Minnesota was this interested in me. … I told my family, ‘We didn’t hear my name called how we initially planned, but this is better for me, going undrafted, betting on myself, and I continue to look forward to proving people wrong.”
  • Jeff Green’s versatile offensive game, which is built around 3-point shooting and elite finishing around the rim, should be a major boost for the Nuggets’ second unit, Eric Spyropoulos of the team’s website writes. The veteran big man signed a two-year deal with Denver in free agency.

Pacific Notes: Paul, Clippers, Jackson, Kings’ Staff

Another ill-timed injury for Chris Paul imperils his chances of winning a championship, as ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne details. Paul has been hampered by a shoulder injury as the Suns have fallen behind the Lakers 2-1 in their opening-round series. “You control what you can control,” Paul said. “I know I do everything on a daily basis to prepare myself to be ready to play. When things happen, they happen. You’ve got to overcome it and get through it.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers face a gut check heading into Dallas this weekend with a 2-0 deficit in their playoff series, according to Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. “When you’re down 2-0, it shows what you’re made of,” coach Tyronn Lue said. “Our toughness and all year, just trust, sticking together. And then this is going to show us (Friday) who we are and what we’re made of. So, I’m excited to see.”
  • Bobby Jackson has been named head coach of the Kings’ NBA G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, according to a press release from the G League team. Jackson has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach/player development coach for the Kings under head coach Luke Walton.
  • The Kings announced staff changes within their basketball operations department via press release. Paul Johnson has been promoted to VP of player development, in addition to his current role as the Stockton Kings’ GM. Jonah Herscu has been named an assistant coach on Sacramento’s staff, while Penny Chatzis is the new director of team player development. Robbie Lemons has been named director of basketball operations.

Western Notes: Mitchell, Popovich, Kings, Brewer

Speaking to reporters on Monday, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell confirmed that he was shocked by the team’s decision to hold him out of Game 1 when he thought he’d be playing, as Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune writes.

“I was frustrated and upset,” said Mitchell, who has missed over a month with a right ankle sprain. “I was ready to go. I was ready to go.”

s tell Tony Jones and Sam Amick of The Athletic that Mitchell had hoped to make his return late in the regular season and was already irritated by the delay, so Sunday’s decision only exacerbated his frustration. The Jazz, who didn’t want to risk a re-aggravation of the injury, felt that holding him out for one more game – resulting in three extra days of rest – was the best move for Mitchell’s health and safety, per Jones and Amick.

Having been cleared to play in Game 2, Mitchell said on Monday that he’s ready to move past the situation, tweets Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Still, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on his latest Hoop Collective podcast that some damage has been done to the relationship between the Jazz and their All-Star guard.

“Is it damaged to the point where it can’t be repaired? I’m not saying that,” Windhorst said, per RealGM. “Is it something that they’ll get past and he’ll just move on and it will just be a blip on the radar screen? Maybe. Maybe they’re in The Finals in two months and who cares? Maybe they win the next four games and it’s totally forgotten. But right now, Donovan is hurting. He’s really hurting the way this happened.”

As the Jazz look to even the series in Game 2 on Wednesday, Mitchell said there have been no discussions yet about him facing a minutes limit in his first game since April 16. The 24-year-old said he wants to be smart, but added that he’s prepared to play all 48 minutes if necessary, tweets Jones.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • It remains unclear whether Gregg Popovich will decide to continue coaching the Spurs in 2021/22, writes Mike Finger of The San Antonio Express-News. As Finger details, the longtime Spurs coach said last week that there would be “a lot of time” to figure out what’s next, so it could still be weeks or months before the team makes an announcement.
  • The Stockton Kings, in search of a new head coach, are interviewing candidates from Sacramento’s coaching staff , per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento (Twitter link). Bobby Jackson, Lindsey Harding, and Jonah Herscu are receiving consideration to coach the Kings’ G League team, sources tell Cunningham.
  • Former NBA wing Corey Brewer, who joined the Pelicans as a player development coach last fall, wrote for BasketballNews.com about transitioning from playing to coaching and what he learned in his first year in the new role. Brewer also shared some thoughts on several of New Orleans’ young players.

Pacific Notes: Thompson, Caroline, Fall, Kings’ Staff

Mychal Thompson, father of Warriors star Klay Thompson, said there’s “no question” Klay will re-sign with Golden State, Connor Letourneau‏ of the San Francisco Chronicle tweets. The Warriors are expected to offer him a full five-year maximum deal worth nearly $190MM despite Thompson’s knee injury during Game 6 on Thursday. Thompson suffered a torn left ACL and is expected to miss most of next season.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

Western Notes: Capela, Brunson, Kings, Roberson

Clint Capela‘s thumb injury could cost him a $2MM bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. The Rockets center has a 2,000-minute criteria tied into the team reaching the Western Conference Finals and for a defensive rebounding percentage above 30%. He has another bonus for attempting 150 or more free throws and a free throw percentage above 65%. He is currently shooting 62.6% from the line. Through 42 games, Capela has played 1,436 minutes. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks rookie Jalen Brunson and veteran Devin Harris will pick up the minutes vacated by backup point guard J.J. Barea, who suffered a torn Achilles on Friday, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson played 30 minutes against the Warriors on Sunday but Harris will see his role expand as well. “He’s going to be ready and he’s going to be there for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Harris.
  • Kings assistant coaches under Dave Joerger are having their options for next season picked up by the front office, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. That group includes Bryan Gates, Elston Turner, Bob Thornton, Jason March, Duane Ticknor, Larry Lewis, Bobby Jackson, Phil Ricci and Dan Hartfield. It’s a way of aligning the contracts of the staff with Joerger’s deal. The surprising Kings are currently a game above .500.
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac warned members of the executive board to stop meddling in the team’s affairs, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. Divac made the pronouncement during a conference call with 13 members of the  executive board, along with lead owner Vivek Ranadive. Divac has been frustrated by internal complaints and used the forum to demand respect, Amick adds.
  • Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson remains sidelined indefinitely, coach Billy Donovan told Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman and other media members. “He’s worked hard, he’s doing all he needs to do but he’s still in the rehab process.”  Roberson suffered a season-ending left knee injury last January and suffered a setback in late November when an MRI revealed an avulsion fracture in the knee.

Kings Notes: Karl, Jackson, Divac, Ranadive

George Karl‘s agent, Warren LeGarie, is upset with Kings television analyst Bobby Jackson for some negative comments he made on air regarding the embattled coach, Bill Oram of The Orange County Register relays. Jackson pointedly suggested that it was time for the organization to fire Karl, something LeGarie is worried will influence the team’s volatile front office, Oram adds. “It’s my opinion that he [Jackson] should be fired or suspended,” LeGarie, told Oram. “[There’s] no place for that in a legitimate organization.”

LeGarie noted that Jackson is close to Sacramento executives Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic, Oram notes. “It’s way more transparent when you know the cast of characters involved and way more obvious then,” LeGarie said. “Except to the fans who take what they say as gospel.” The agent also noted in regards to broadcasters that,”They condition their audience, which ultimately influences the management.”

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • Karl noted that his recent talk with Divac, which he initially believed would result in him being fired, was similar to their usual conversations, Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes. “I don’t think it’s anything different,” Karl said. “Just the situation, frustration – everybody’s frustrated when you lose. I’m not going to go into the private conversations that we had. Talked about the team, talked about the trade deadline situation. We talked about going forward in a positive way, in a committed, connected way.
  • The franchise needs Divac to be a stabilizing influence amid all the current turmoil, something he has yet to effectively accomplish as an executive, Ken Berger of CBSSports.com opines.
  • If the Kings decide to deal swingman Rudy Gay prior to the trade deadline, the team needs to receive players signed beyond this season and not short-term rentals in return, Bobby Marks of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports writes in his deadline primer for the franchise. With Sacramento not known as a destination for free agents, it would be difficult for the team to replace Gay’s production, making it paramount that the Kings receive players they can utilize beyond the current campaign, Marks notes.
  • The Kings’ troubles start at the top with majority owner Vivek Ranadive and the muddled messages he sends to the team and its fans with his often flighty nature, Marcos Breton of The Sacramento Bee writes. The scribe also notes that Ranadive has been the one constant throughout all the coaching changes and failed personnel moves, which have the organization looked upon as a laughingstock around the league.

Kings Rumors: Stojakovic, Divac, Jackson

Former Sacramento All-Star Peja Stojakovic has received an offer to join the organization’s front office, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com. VP of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac reportedly asked Stojakovic to assist him in a player personnel role. Stojakovic worked as a consultant to Divac during summer league, Stein notes. Divac and Stojakovic were teammates on the Kings and in international play.

There’s more out of Sacramento:

  • The Kings may have to wait few weeks for Stojakovic’s decision, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. “I asked him to join me,” Divac said, “and in September we’ll probably know.”
  • Another former Divac teammate could be in line for a job, according to Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link). Divac is reportedly trying to convince ex-Kings guard Bobby Jackson to accept a role with the organization.
  • Sacramento has taken some ridicule for its offseason moves, but Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders argues that the organization is daring to be great. The Kings have formed a potentially unstable mix by adding free agent Rajon Rondo and coach George Karl to an unhappy star in DeMarcus Cousins, who has been the subject of trade rumors, but Divac contends that every move is about building a winner. The team assembled its newly signed free agents on a private plane to summer league games in Las Vegas and emphasized the need for everyone to put aside personal interests and do what’s best for the franchise.

Odds & Ends: 2014 Draft, Jay Z, Wolves, Mavs

We're 290 days away from the 2014 NBA draft, but for ESPN.com's Chad Ford, it's by no means too early to forecast next June's first round. In an Insider-only piece for ESPN.com, Ford presents his first 2014 mock draft, headlined by a top five of Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Dante Exum, and Jabari Parker.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the Association:

  • The NBPA is still waiting for official confirmation that Jay Z has divested his ownership stake in the Nets before granting him full NBA agent certification, according to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal (Twitter links). We heard last week that the rapper is selling half his Nets share to head coach Jason Kidd, and the other half to a current minority owner.
  • The Timberwolves officially announced today that they've hired Bobby Jackson as a player development coach and promoted David Adelman, Rick Adelman's son, to assistant coach (Twitter link). Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune adds (via Twitter) that the Wolves didn't pick up Shawn Respert's option at the end of August, leaving Jackson as the team's only player development coach.
  • Bryan Gutierrez of ESPNDallas.com loves the Mavericks' decision to re-sign Brandan Wright to a two-year, $10MM contract, giving the team a grade of A+ for the move. I'm not sure I'd go quite that far, though it looks like a solid value for Dallas.
  • Speaking to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, Marcus Camby discusses his decision to sign with the Rockets, the recruitment he received from Dwight Howard, and his plan to coach after his playing career is over.
  • In a piece for Secret Rival, Hoops Rumors contributor Mark Porcaro examines a few former Big East standouts, rounding up where they're playing now. You can take a more in-depth look at the latest international player movement in our tracker, which we introduced earlier today.

Timberwolves Hire Milt Newton As GM

SEPTEMBER 6TH, 2:50pm: The Timberwolves have officially hired Newton as the team's general manager, the team announced today (Twitter link). Jackson's hiring will likely be announced first thing next week, tweets Zgoda.

AUGUST 29TH, 6:29pm: Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune (via Twitter) says that the team won't finalize and announce the hirings until next week. 

AUGUST 28TH, 1:41pm: The Timberwolves are in negotiations to add at least two new faces to the franchise, according to various reports. Both Charley Walters of the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune are reporting that the T-Wolves are expected to hire Wizards exec Milt Newton as the team's new general manager, and Bobby Jackson as a player development coach.

Newton and Jackson have both been interviewed for their respective positions and should finalize deals with the Wolves soon, with the hirings set to be formally announced shortly thereafter. Zgoda and Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN Twin Cities (Twitter link) also note that Koichi Sato will likely come from the Wizards along with Newton, and will become Minnesota's new strength coach. Wolves president Flip Saunders worked with Newton and Sato when he coached the Wizards, while Jackson played under current head coach Rick Adelman for several years in Sacramento.

The hirings, when they become official, will essentially signal the end of a busy offseason for the Wolves, barring some smaller moves. In addition to hiring a new president (Saunders) and GM (Newton), the team has also committed the second-most money of any NBA club in free agency this summer, as I detailed yesterday.