Dave Joerger

Pacific Notes: Rivers, Looney, Bennett

If Austin Rivers is going to silence naysayers who claim his career has been propped up by his head coach father, now is as good an opportunity as any. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times spoke with the 25-year-old Clippers guard about life after Chris Paul.

Rivers averaged 12.0 points per game in 74 games for the Clippers last season but drove that up to 16.1 in 29 games as a starter. With Paul and shooting guard J.J. Redick  no longer with the squad, he could see a lot more time as a primary scoring option.

Rivers also spoke about the rumor that Paul requested a trade because Doc Rivers, then still the president of basketball operations, refused to trade his son in an effort to bring Carmelo Anthony to the Clippers.

I talked to him after that rumor came out, confronted him about it and he said it wasn’t coming from him or coming from his camp,” Austin said. “So we left it at that.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Although the mission was to get the Kings into the postseason when he signed on with the team, head coach Dave Joerger is comfortable with and committed to the rebuild at hand, too, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes.
  • Now down to 232 pounds, the lightest he’s been in years, 24-year-old Anthony Bennett is ready to resuscitate his career, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes. The former first-overall pick is on a non-guaranteed deal with the Suns.
  • The Warriors could wait until the deadline to accept Kevon Looney‘s fourth-year option, Anthony Slater of the Athletic writes. The forward has been hard-struck by injuries over the course of the past few years but could finally be ready to show potential.

Kings Extend Vlade Divac, Dave Joerger Through 2019/20

The Kings have extended the contract of general manager Vlade Divac and exercised their fourth-year option on head coach Dave Joerger, the team announced today in a press release. As a result of the moves, both Divac and Joerger will now be under contract with Sacramento through the 2019/20 season.

While neither Divac nor Joerger was expected to be on the hot seat entering the season, the decision to extend their contracts before opening night represents a show of support from the franchise as the Kings kick off their rebuilding process in earnest. Having entered last season intent on making the playoffs, the DeMarcus Cousins-less Kings will head into the season focused more on developing young players and taking incremental steps forward.

Divac, who has been with the Kings since 2015, made some questionable moves and decisions during his first year or two with the franchise, and was widely criticized for the club’s return in the Cousins trade. However, the Cousins package – essentially Buddy Hield, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, and Frank Mason – looks a little more promising today than it did at the time, and the Kings had a good offseason. Sacramento drafted a potential franchise point guard in De’Aaron Fox and made some solid veteran signings in free agency, picking up George Hill, Zach Randolph, and Vince Carter.

As for Joerger, in 2016/17 – his first season with the Kings – he led the team to a 32-50 record. Prior to arriving in Sacramento, Joerger had a 147-99 (.598) record in three seasons with the Grizzlies. While the club in Memphis had perennial aspirations of contending, Joerger will be tasked with coaching a different sort of club in Sacramento over the next couple seasons — the Kings’ decision to pick up his 2019/20 option indicates the team believes he’ll be up to the challenge of developing the young players on the roster.

Kings Notes: Joerger, Fox, Giles

With as many as five rookies on board for 2017/18, the only way to gauge head coach Dave Joerger‘s performance as the club’s head coach will be with time.

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes that the the 43-year-old bench boss will need to show discipline and patience with his young roster, traits that would have serve him well during his stint as a minor league coach in the G League.

It could be years before Kings fans see just what players like De’Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson are capable of and that’s never a good thing for coaches at the professional level. As Jones notes, Joerger’s three predecessors didn’t even last two seasons.

Still, there’s been a culture shift in Sacramento and, in addition to this year’s rookie crop, the roster boasts numerous development projects ranging from 2016/17 mid-season acquisition Buddy Hield to sophomore Greek big man Georgios Papagiannis.

There aren’t many teams who have had nine players in the first or second years of their contract,” Joerger said. “It hasn’t been done, but you have to give them time and keep our expectations that guys go out and compete hard every night and they get better everyday in practice.”

There’s more from the Kings:

  • When fifth-overall pick De’Aaron Fox goes to work with his new Kings teammates he’ll do so with one big advantage; he actually knows his fellow rookies well already. Fox spoke with the Sacramento Bee’s Jason Jones in a recent media scrum.
  • It didn’t take long for the basketball world to notice that the Kings brought home a good haul from the NBA Draft and, unsurprisingly, general manager Vlade Divac is happy with who they got. Divac spoke with the media, including Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee.
  • For better and worse, 20th-overall pick Harry Giles is drawing comparisons to former Kings forward Chris Webber, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes.

Kings Notes: Point Guards, Bogdanovic, Gay

GM Vlade Divac said it’s “too early to say” whether or not the Kings will try to bring back Darren Collison or Ty Lawson next year, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Jones adds that the team is stocked at many positions, but point guard is not of them.

Lawson had an uninspiring season in Sacramento, scoring 9.9 points per game while dishing out 4.9 assists per night. He made 24 starts for the club. Collison was suspended for the first eight games of the season because of domestic battery charges. He ended up playing in 68 contests for the Kings, averaging 13.2 points, 4.6 assists, and a steal per game. Both veterans will be unrestricted free agents this summer.

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • Divac said Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose rights were acquired by the Kings in a 2016 draft night trade, is a “natural shooting guard” and added that the team wants him to come stateside, Jones relays in the same piece. “We would love to have him here. We have his rights, and this summer we’ll talk about it,” Divac said.
  • The Kings added an assistant GM last offseason and they remain open to expanding the front office even further, Jones adds in the same piece. “We’re open, always, to improve,” Divac said. “The team, the front office, everything is always open for improvement. I’m very happy and confident in what we have right now, but we should be open if something can make you better.”
  • Both Divac and coach Dave Joerger would like Rudy Gay to return to the Kings next season, Sean Cunningham of ABC10 tweets. Gay can become a free agent this summer by turning down a player option in his contract, but he remains undecided on whether or not he will do so.

Western Notes: Galloway, Carraro, Mavs, Gasol

Langston Galloway came to the Kings in the DeMarcus Cousins trade and didn’t get much playing time initially, but he’s finding the court now as the team begins to rest its veterans. Coach Dave Joerger credits the point guard for staying ready even though he wasn’t receiving consistent minutes, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee relays.

“I think he has a survivor mindset. … That mindset that, ‘you know what, when I get my opportunity I’m going to be ready’ and he’s done that,” Joerger said. “He’s practiced hard, he’s worked hard and he’s been ready, keeping himself ready for whatever minutes may come.”

Galloway is making $5.2MM this season and he can become a free agent during the summer if he turns down his $5.434MM player option for the 2017/18 campaign.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Lakers assistant GM Glenn Carraro has resigned, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). Carraro has been with Los Angeles since 2000.
  • It would be shocking if the Mavericks don’t select a point guard in the upcoming draft, Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News writes. Dallas currently owns the ninth spot in our Reverse Standings and there should be several point guard prospects worthy of being selected at the top of the draft.
  • Offseason addition Pau Gasol added the 3-pointer to his game and Jeff McDonald of the Express News notes that the big man has made over 54% of his attempts from downtown. That figure, which isn’t likely to decrease severely over the next few games, is by far the best percentage for a 7-footer in NBA history. Gasol has fit in well since coming to the Spurs and he has one more season on his contract after this one.

Pacific Notes: Kings’ Rookies, Booker, Nwaba, Ulis

While the Kings have dropped out of playoff contention, Dave Joerger will still seek to build the talent and IQ of his younger players. As Joerger acknowledged in a recent post-game press conference, ensuring proper player development is a large part of his job.

“Having been there with those guys (in Memphis) I felt a great deal of responsibility to maximize every win that we could get,” Joerger told reporters, including Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. “That’s where are these gray hairs popped out. Now the gray hairs are (from) are you playing the right guys with the right group, developing guys, giving them the right experiences?”

Joerger has given valuable playing opportunities to rookies down the stretch; providing Skal Labissiere, Buddy Hield, and Georgios Papagiannis with multiple 20+ minute games over the past week.

More from the Pacific…

  • The Suns are tanking “with spirit,” Dan Bickley of AZCentral.com writes. What’s more, Bickley points out Devin Booker‘s 70-point game as proof that he’s Phoenix’s next franchise player. “The Suns should feel blessed,” Bickley wrote. “They’ve lost 60 or more games only once in their storied history, and that was their expansion season in 1968-69. The organization’s commitment to losing is so sturdy and hardcore that they could conceivably end the current season with 60 losses and a 16-game losing streak, and somehow, the season will be perceived as a smashing success.”
  • Lakers rookie David Nwaba will be assigned to the L.A. D-Fenders to boost their D-League playoff run (source: Mark Medina, L.A. Daily News). Nwaba has been a pleasant surprise in Luke Walton‘s rotation, averaging 7.8 points with 5.5 rebounds over his last four games. Nwaba, who appeared in 40 games for the D-Fenders this season, figures to receive a considerable workload during the D-League postseason.
  • The Suns want Tyler Ulis to shoot more, Doug Haller of AZCentral.com writes. Haller relays an amusing anecdote, in which coach Earl Watson shouted “Shoot it!” at Ulis during Tuesday’s match-up with the Hawks. “He’s very talented,” veteran guard Ronnie Price said of Ulis. “He has a chance to have a long career in the league. He has a lot to his game that people are starting to see, so for him, it’s just getting comfortable and keeping him confident. As a team we all trust him. We all know what he’s capable of doing, but we can’t have him second-guessing himself with shots.”

Pacific Notes: Iguodala, Kerr, Joerger, Rob Pelinka

Andre Iguodala has been assessed a $10K fine for making “inappropriate comments” during a postgame interview, the league announced on its official website (link). Iguodala’s comments came after a 103-102 loss to Minnesota on Friday, when the 33-year-old was venting about not participating in a match-up with the Spurs. Steve Kerr had Iguodala’s back, claiming the 13-year vet likes to mess with the media.

“You guys just got Andre’d,” Kerr said to a group of reporters, including Chris Haynes of ESPN. Andre is one of those guys who likes to stir the pot and has a lot of cryptic messaging at times. [He] jokes around. I didn’t take anything from it. It’s just Andre being Andre.”

Iguodala spoke with the press Monday, expressing regret for the impact of his comments.

“I feel like it’s the wrong time because it puts my team in that situation and coaching staff in that situation,” he told Ethan Strauss of ESPN. “I have a great relationship with Steve Kerr, and he knows that. Steve spoke to you guys about it, you know what I mean. Steve in his words, someone still may not believe him, but he and I are in a great place. We don’t even have to speak about it because he knew that in no way shape or form that I’m talking about him.”

More from around the Pacific…

  • The Kings will be sticking with their veterans despite a losing record, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Coach Dave Joerger isn’t going to “throw away” the team’s remaining games in 2016/17, Jones writes, and will play veterans (Garrett Temple, Arron Afflalo, Anthony Tolliver) alongside young players. “I’m very happy with coach,” Afflalo said. “Throughout all of this, he’s remained very positive and encouraged us to win games. He’s playing to win, he’s doing the best that he can with our roster. I commend him for that. So, from a veteran perspective, you’ve always got to keep hope alive and to to go out there and take it one game at a time.”
  • New Lakers GM Rob Pelinka plans to conduct individual meetings with his players, Tania Ganguli of the L.A. Times writes. “For Earvin [Magic Johnson], Luke and I, we see our fundamental purpose, not just one that’s all about leadership in terms of the front office, but that’s also one about service,” Pelinka said. “When I say that, we want to make sure that we establish a platform of excellence for the players in that locker room. That’s the heartbeat of the team. I think the message to the guys is we want to serve your needs to help you be great.”

Hoops Links: Murray, Maker, Barnes, Christmas

On Sundays, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Send it to us at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s rundown:

Kings Notes: Cousins, Joerger, Barnes, Afflalo

Kings coach Dave Joerger is defending DeMarcus Cousins after his latest controversy, which involved two technicals, one of which was rescinded, and a brief ejection in Tuesday’s game, relays the Associated Press. Cousins, who leads the NBA with eight technicals and is third in fouls committed with 102, has complained that officials treat him differently than other players. “I wish they’d just call it like a high school game,” Joerger said. “Set the tone in the first 5 minutes how you want to officiate and go from there. He’s not easy to officiate. He creates a lot of contact and people bump him, just like they do with all the bigs.”

There’s more tonight out of Sacramento:

  • The Kings took the easy way out with a $50K fine for Cousins’ latest run-in with a journalist, charges Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Considering that Cousins makes about $15.7MM this season and $16.7MM next season, the fine won’t impact him, she writes, making it the latest in a series of incidents in which the franchise has enabled his bad behavior.
  • A woman who was allegedly involved in the December 5th nightclub brawl involving Cousins and Matt Barnes in New York City has been arrested, according to Ryan Lillis of The Sacramento Bee. Police took Laura Closure into custody on suspicion of assault and attempted assault for allegedly throwing a bottle at a woman’s face inside the club. The New York Post has reported that Closure was with Barnes and Cousins at the time of the incident. Neither player has been charged, but they were named in a civil suit earlier this month filed by Jasmine Besiso and Myrone Powell.
  • Arron Afflalo is denying a report that he refused to enter a game in Houston last week. In a video posted on the ABC 10 website, Afflalo says he has been “active and available” for every game this season. Joerger refused to discuss the incident, according to station reporter Sean Cunningham (Twitter link).

Kings Notes: Afflalo, Cousins, Temple

Arron Afflalo reportedly refused to enter a game between the Kings and Rockets last week, Sacramento radio personality Carmichael Dave tweeted earlier this evening. The KHTK radio host also noted that “league sources” said the 31-year-old journeyman was slow to enter the contest against the Jazz last weekend as well.

If Afflalo is in fact refusing to play, that would be one more source of drama in a Kings locker room already dealing with a recently published video of DeMarcus Cousins berating members of the media and with the charges Matt Barnes faces after an altercation at a New York night club.

Just this summer, Afflalo opted out of the final year of a deal with the Knicks in order to pursue free agency and ultimately the two-year, $25MM contract he signed with the Kings.

Last April, ESPN reported that a desire to be a starter was a motivating factor in Afflalo’s then-pending decision. This month, however, Afflalo has seen his play time drop precipitously and has been in and out of the starting lineup since late November. In five December games, the shooting guard has failed to clear more than 16 minutes and his production has dropped dramatically.

Worth noting, as trade speculation begins to swirl around the league and particularly with the Kings, is that the veteran’s contract is worth $12.5 annually but remains only partially guaranteed for $1.5MM in the second year.

That’s not all coming out of Sacramento…

  • Kings head coach Dave Joerger has called the aforementioned video published by the Sacramento Bee late last week “ridiculous” and went on to defend his franchise star. In the short clip, Cousins is seen involved in several hostile incidents with various members of the media. This isn’t the first time Joerger has been unhappy with the newspaper’s coverage, writes the Sacramento Bee’s own Jason Jones.
  • The Kings found a gem in free agent acquisition Garrett Temple, Jones writes in a separate article. The utility veteran, signed for three years and $24MM, has stepped up as a multipurpose perimeter threat averaging 10.4 points per game in December.
  • For all the latest Kings-related headlines, be sure to check out our Sacramento team page.
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