Davion Mitchell

Trade Market Heating Up For Kyle Kuzma

There’s plenty of interest in Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma as the NBA’s unofficial trade season begins this week, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

Pincus cautions that Washington hasn’t decided to move Kuzma, but there’s a risk he’ll leave in free agency next summer if he declines his $13MM player option for 2023/24 as expected. General manager Tommy Sheppard recently indicated that the Wizards intend to re-sign Kuzma, but Pincus points out that the team already has two established scorers in Bradley Beal and Kristaps Porzingis and is off to an 11-16 start.

Pincus adds that Kuzma could be one of the five best players on the free agent market and may become too expensive for Washington to keep.

“He wants out,” an NBA source said told Pincus. “He’s looking for over $20 million a season and in a big market (or with a contender).”

Pincus cites the Kings, who tried to trade for Kuzma in 2021 before the Lakers sent him to the Wizards, as a team to watch. Sacramento can’t unconditionally offer a first-rounder earlier than their 2028 pick, but Pincus believes a deal could be constructed around Harrison Barnes and either that future pick or a young prospect such as Davion Mitchell.

The Suns may see a Kuzma trade as a chance to finally unload Jae Crowder, Pincus notes, suggesting Crowder and Cameron Johnson, who is recovering from knee surgery, may be enough to get a deal done. Johnson will be a restricted free agent next summer, which would allow the Wizards to match any offer he might get.

Pincus also believes the Knicks have interest in Kuzma, who is represented by CAA, the former agency of team president Leon Rose. Obi Toppin could be the centerpiece of a deal, according to Pincus, who adds that New York has young players such as Immanuel Quickley and Cam Reddish to offer, along with a wealth of draft assets.

Kings Pick Up Davion Mitchell’s Option For 2023/24

The Kings have picked up their 2023/24 team option for guard Davion Mitchell, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Mitchell will earn a guaranteed $5,063,640 in ’23/24, his third season.

The No. 9 overall pick in 2021 after helping Baylor win the NCAA Tournament, Mitchell had a big role as a rookie, averaging 11.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG and 4.2 APG on .418/.316/.659 shooting in 75 games (19 starts, 27.7 MPG). He ranked 10th among rookies in both PPG and MPG, and fifth in APG, the team noted in its press release (Twitter link via James Ham of TheKingsBeat.com).

A talented defensive player, Mitchell also posted a solid 2.75-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in ’21/22. He is part of a revamped backcourt that includes De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk, with the latter two being offseason acquistions (via trade and free agency, respectively).

The Kings are trying to break their 16-season playoff drought, which is an NBA record. They have some talented players on the roster to aid in that effort, including the aforementioned backcourt rotation, this year’s No. 4 overall pick Keegan Murray, veteran Harrison Barnes, and two-time All-Star big man Domantas Sabonis.

California Notes: Lakers, LeBron, Hield, Turner, Klay, DiVincenzo, Mitchell

While it’s still early in training camp, Lakers first-year coach Darvin Ham revealed a surprise starting lineup he’s been using in practices, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. The group around Anthony Davis and LeBron James includes Russell Westbrook, Damian Jones and Kendrick Nunn. Westbrook has heard his name mentioned often in trade rumors, Jones has never been a regular starter in the league, and Nunn missed all of last season due to injury.

James plans to play more often this preseason, when he only saw action in two games, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

We have more from the California teams:

  • The Pacers would almost certainly trade Buddy Hield and Myles Turner to the Lakers if Los Angeles is willing to include its 2027 and 2029 first-rounders without any protections, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the Lowe Post podcast (hat tip to HoopsHype). “My best intel right now is if the Lakers called Indiana right now and said ‘Both picks unprotected,’ the Pacers would do that deal, would probably do that deal.”
  • Klay Thompson was held out of playing in Tokyo this week because he didn’t do any scrimmaging this offseason after the Warriors won the title, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “I didn’t play much this summer,” Thompson said. “With what I went through the last summer, I was healthy, popping my Achilles, it was really hard for me to get out of it, mentally. It’s hard to explain. It’s a mental block or something.”
  • During the preseason opener in Tokyo, Warriors guard Donte DiVincenzo played 17 minutes off the bench, contributing nine points, seven rebounds and two assists. He also didn’t commit any fouls or turnovers. Those types of contributions are why the Warriors added him, Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. DiVincenzo signed a two-year, $9.3MM contract early in free agency.
  • Davion Mitchell‘s defensive prowess, paired with his budding talent as a creator, could lead to a breakout season for the Kings’ second-year guard, Ethan Fuller of Basketball News writes.

Pacific Notes: Beverley, Westbrook, Saric, Kings

Since the Lakers traded for veteran point guard Patrick Beverley, the future of 2021/22 starter Russell Westbrook has seemed murky. Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register wonders if the duo can actually share the floor together, or at the very least both stick around on the team this season.

Swanson reads tea leaves in recent public statements from head coach Darvin Ham and team owner Jeanie Buss that seem to suggest they appreciate Westbrook and his contributions to the club last year. Swanson writes that, because Beverley can function so well off the ball as a catch-and-shoot long range sniper, and can defend at least both guard positions, he could theoretically play alongside Westbrook, who tends to be significantly more ball-dominant.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • With Donovan Mitchell headed to the Cavaliers, Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times opines that the Lakers could look to move Westbrook (and draft compensation) to the Jazz, who have already offloaded four of their best veteran players in separate deals this summer, including both their All-Stars. Woike writes that combo forward Bojan Bogdanovic should be L.A.’s top priority, and also floats the possibility of adding some combination of Mike Conley, Jordan Clarkson, Malik Beasley and Rudy Gay into such a deal.
  • Suns reserve big man Dario Saric missed all of the 2021/22 season while he recovered from a ruptured ACL in his right knee suffered in the first game of the 2021 Finals. The 6’10” big man played well during the Croatian national team’s FIBA EuroBasket 2025 pre-qualifiers in August, writes Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.
  • Three reserve point guards will be duking it out during the Kings‘ training camp later this month. James Ham of Kings Beat assesses each player in terms of their relative strengths and weaknesses on the current Sacramento roster. As a former lottery pick, defensive-oriented second-year guard Davion Mitchell seems guaranteed to get some run behind pricey starter De’Aaron Fox. Ham predicts that Quinn Cook could have an edge over Matthew Dellavedova as the team’s third point guard option.

Kings Notes: Gentry, Jones, Metu, Mitchell

Alvin Gentry will likely coach his final game with the Kings today, but he didn’t want to talk about his future Saturday night, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. In a pre-game meeting with reporters, Gentry brushed aside the topic when asked if he wants to remain with the organization beyond this season.

“I’ve not talked to anybody about that and I’m sure that’s going to come quickly after the season is over, so I’ll leave it at that,” Gentry said. “I’m sure that’s something that’s going to happen pretty quickly after the season.”

Gentry, who started the season as the team’s associate head coach, was promoted to interim coach in November when Sacramento decided to fire Luke Walton 17 games into the season. Gentry was previously able to remain as head coach of the Pistons and Suns after taking over those teams on an interim basis, but it doesn’t appear that will happen with the Kings, who are reportedly looking at established names such as Mike D’Antoni and Terry Stotts, among others.

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • More changes are expected after another losing season, and they could include Damian Jones, who is headed for free agency after spending his first full season with the Kings. The 26-year-old center played 55 games this year, starting 14, and averaged a career-high 7.9 points per night. “We’ll see what happens in the summer,” he said Saturday when asked about his free agent plans. “… I’ve gained more chemistry with the guys and we see eye-to-eye on some things, so we’ll see what happens when that time comes.” (Twitter link from Anderson)
  • Chimezie Metu is also uncertain about his future, tweets James Ham of ESPN 1320. Metu became a regular part of a rotation this season for the first time in his four-year NBA career, playing 59 games and averaging 8.9 points and 5.6 rebounds in 21.2 minutes per night. However, his $1.91MM contract for next season is non-guaranteed. “The one thing I learned about this league really fast is that situations can change really fast,” Metu said. “You can’t fall in love with your situation, whether it’s good or bad. Wherever I end up, whether it’s here, another team, it is what it is.”
  • Losing has been an adjustment for Davion Mitchell, who won an NCAA title last season at Baylor, but he believes things are going to improve, Anderson adds in a separate story. Before setting the franchise mark for assists by a rookie in a single game earlier this week, Mitchell addressed Sacramento fans and promised, “This offseason we’re going to get better and make you guys proud.”

Western Notes: Hyland, Mitchell, Schröder, McCollum, Lue

Nuggets rookie Bones Hyland will replace Kings rookie Davion Mitchell in the 2022 Rising Stars game Friday night in Cleveland, the NBA announced in a press release. Mitchell is currently suffering from a right hand injury.

Hyland, 21, was the No. 26 overall pick by Denver after two collegiate seasons with VCU. Through 46 games this season (18 MPG), he’s averaging 8.8 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 2.0 APG on .369/.346/.881 shooting.

Mitchell, 23, was the No. 9 overall pick by Sacramento after three collegiate seasons, the latter two with Baylor. He won a national championship with the Bears last season. Through 53 games this season (26 MPG), Mitchell is averaging 10.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, and 3.5 APG on .406/.326/.558 shooting.

Mitchell was also going to be part of the Clorox Clutch Challenge, a shooting competition where he was to team up with Scottie Barnes. The event will take place between the second and third Rising Stars games. A replacement will be announced soon, the league says.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Dennis Schröder has already shown how he can help the Rockets after just two games with his new club, writes Rahat Huq of The Houston Chronicle. Schröder started in place of the sick Kevin Porter Jr. Wednesday night and put up 23 points, six rebounds, and nine assists in 38 minutes in Houston’s 124-121 loss to Phoenix. Huq believes that Schröder’s addition will be beneficial for rookies Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, who had nice games of their own with the German point guard running the show. However, he’s concerned that Schröder might hurt the development of Josh Christopher, who has been a regular member of the team’s rotation over the past few months and played just nine and 11 minutes the past two games. Huq also thinks if Schröder plays too much he could help add a few wins, which would be detrimental to the team’s lottery odds.
  • CJ McCollum has been showcasing his stellar ability to create shots in his brief time with the Pelicans, according to Christian Clark of NOLA.com. “It’s a process, man,” McCollum said. “I’m getting there. I like this type of challenge. It challenges you mentally. It challenges you physically. You have to study the game more and puts you in an uncomfortable environment. I’ve been in a comfortable environment my entire career. This is a great change for me and a great challenge.”
  • Clippers coach Tyronn Lue says that missing stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George for much of the season has made him a better coach, per Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group. “It has definitely made me a better coach this year, just trying to scratch and claw and win a game every single night,” Lue said. “Usually, you are in the playoffs and you try to win one game (at a time). It’s like that every single night.” The resilient Clippers are currently 29-31, eighth in the West.

2021/22 Rising Stars Team Rosters

As we previously relayed, the NBA announced a new format for its Rising Stars event at All-Star weekend, which will take place on Friday, February 18. The event will feature four seven-player teams competing in a three-game tournament (two semifinals and a final).

The player pool is comprised of 12 NBA rookies, 12 sophomores, and four players from the G League Ignite, while the games will be played to a target score: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.

The rosters were announced on February 1, but now the four honorary coaches (75th anniversary team members Rick Barry, Isiah Thomas, Gary Payton and James Worthy) have selected their seven-man teams, per our JD Shaw (Twitter link). Here are the rosters:

Team Barry:

Team Isiah:

Team Payton:

Team Worthy:

James Ham of ESPN 1320 and The Kings Beat provides (via Twitter) the full draft results.

The top 10, in order, were: Edwards, Mobley, Ball, Anthony, Giddey, Barnes, Cunningham, Bey, Bane, and Wagner. It’s worth noting that Worthy and Anthony both went to the University of North Carolina, so Anthony’s selection at No. 4 is less surprising given that context.

What do you think of the teams? Who do you think will come out on top? Head to the comments section and let us know your thoughts!

NBA Announces 2021/22 Rising Stars Rosters

The NBA has revealed the 28 players (12 rookies, 12 sophomores, and four G League Ignite players) who will suit up for the 2022 Clorox Rising Stars Game in Cleveland this year, per its official PR account (Twitter links). There are a few intriguing surprises among the first-year NBA players.

Here are the players who made the cut:



Additionally, four players from the G League Ignite will participate in the Rising Stars Game based on voting from NBA G League head coaches. The NBAGL has announced (Twitter link) that MarJon Beauchamp, Dyson Daniels, Jaden Hardy and Scoot Henderson will partake in the action. Players will be separated into four teams, and each G League player will be drafted to join one of the teams later this week.

Among the rookie NBA players, the additions who would be most surprising ahead of the 2021/22 season would be Dosunmu and Jones, both of whom were second-round draft selections. 2021 lottery picks Jonathan Kuminga, Ziaire Williams, James Bouknight, Joshua Primo and Moses Moody were all omitted from inclusion this year.

Among the second-year players, Ball could be appearing on multiple nights during All-Star Weekend this season, as he appears to be a very possible first-time All-Star this year thanks to his outstanding work with the upstart Hornets.

The lottery-bound Magic, Pistons, and Rockets can boast having the most inclusions here, with three players apiece.

As we detailed last week, this year’s Rising Stars event will look a little different, with the four teams taking part in a mini-tournament and playing to a target score in each game: 50 points in the semifinals and 25 points in the final, in honor of the league’s 75th anniversary season.

Sixers’ Drummond, Clippers’ Jackson, Others Exit Protocols

Sixers center Andre Drummond has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols and was in attendance at the team’s practice on Wednesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Drummond had been one of three Sixers players in the protocols, along with Shake Milton and Danny Green. While Green is still listed as out for Thursday’s game in Brooklyn, the team is hopeful that Milton will be able to clear the protocols and play in that game, tweets Pompey. Milton is currently considered questionable.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson has exited the COVID-19 protocols and rejoined the team, but won’t play on Wednesday in Boston, sources tell Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Jackson will need a little reconditioning work before being activated.
  • Kings rookie Davion Mitchell has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Another rookie, center Neemias Queta, is currently the only Sacramento player in the protocols.
  • Thunder center Derrick Favors is no longer listed on the team’s injury report, which is a sign that he has cleared the protocols, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Favors was just placed in the protocols on Tuesday, so he may have registered a false positive.

Kings Place Davion Mitchell In Protocols, Sign Justin Robinson

8:45 PM: The Kings have signed Robinson to a 10-day deal using the hardship exception and he will be available to play Friday night, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee (Twitter links).

4:01 PM: The Kings have placed guard Davion Mitchell in the health and safety protocols, according to Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 Sacramento (Twitter link). Mitchell was initially listed as questionable for Friday’s game vs. Memphis – perhaps in the hopes that his COVID-19 test was a false positive – but he has now been ruled out, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Even if a player registers a false positive, he needs to return consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart in order to exit the protocols, so a negative result today wouldn’t have cleared Mitchell, assuming he tested positive earlier in the day.

Sacramento also has five other players in the health and safety protocols and is missing Richaun Holmes due to a right eye injury. On top of that, Tyrese Haliburton (back) and Chimezie Metu (knee) are listed as questionable for Friday’s game. If Haliburton and Metu are ruled out, the club would be down to eight available players, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee notes (via Twitter).

According to Wojnarowski (Twitter link), the Kings may sign free agent guard Justin Robinson before tonight’s contest to provide further reinforcements, assuming the game takes place as scheduled. Robinson would receive a 10-day contract via a hardship exception in that scenario.

Robinson began the season on a two-way contract with Milwaukee and appeared in 17 games for the team, averaging 2.8 PPG and 1.2 APG on .316/.270/1.000 shooting in 11.6 minutes per contest. However, he was waived at the end of November when the Bucks opted to replace him on the roster with Javonte Smart.