Davion Mitchell

Pacific Notes: Hield, Holmes, Shamet, Bradley, Iguodala

Few players who returned to their teams for the 2021/22 season came closer to being traded over the summer than Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield. However, speaking to reporters at the start of training camp this week, Hield sounded happy to still be in Sacramento and unbothered by seeing his name pop up in offseason trade rumors, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays.

“Yeah, I saw (the trade rumors), but I can’t control none of that and this is the business we live in,” Hield said. “My job is to come in and work my butt off every day and produce, and try to produce wins, and I can’t get mad at that. I get paid lots and lots of money to do this, so I’m blessed each and every day to come in here and compete. I love being around my guys. I love the team camaraderie we share and all that. The coaching staff has been great. It’s been fun, so I love it. Whatever happens, happens.”

Kings forward/center Marvin Bagley III, who was also the subject of trade speculation during the offseason, downplayed those rumors too, telling reporters that he’s “right where God wants me to be,” per Anderson. Head coach Luke Walton expressed enthusiasm about getting both players back, suggesting that Bagley was having a career year last season before breaking his hand and calling Hield “one of the most elite shooters” in the NBA.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Veteran center Richaun Holmes told reporters on Tuesday that he never got the feeling during free agency that he wouldn’t be back with the Kings, who “came out of the gate and showed (him) love from the beginning” (Twitter link via Sean Cunningham of ABC10). Holmes also lauded the team’s offseason additions of Davion Mitchell and Tristan Thompson. You add guys like Davion and Tristan Thompson, and a certain attitude comes,” Holmes said of his new teammates (Twitter link via James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area). “They bring a certain attitude, a certain swagger and that’s something we’re going to need.”
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams said on Tuesday that Phoenix had been trying to acquire Landry Shamet for two years (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Shamet was traded during the 2020 offseason from the Clippers to the Nets, who flipped him to Phoenix last month.
  • Warriors camp invitee Avery Bradley, who said on Tuesday that he believes he “might be the best on-ball defender in the NBA,” has a viable case for a regular season roster spot, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Bay Area, who writes that Golden State could use Bradley’s presence on defense — even if he may be overstating his own talents.
  • The Warriors are already feeling the effects of Andre Iguodala‘s leadership, says Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody both spoke this week about looking forward to learning from the veteran swingman. “He’s a guy that’s been through it all in the NBA,” Moody said. “So, especially a guy if a guy of his stature is in the perfect position to teach me as a young guy whatever I need, whatever I need to know.”

Kings Notes: Mitchell, Fox, Ranadivé, Sarin, Coleman III

Many around the NBA world were surprised when the Kings selected guard Davion Mitchell with the 9th pick of the 2021 draft, not because they thought Mitchell was undeserving, but because two of the Kings’ best players last season were De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, both slender guards.

However, Mitchell quickly showed his value in Summer League, spearheading a dominant defensive effort en route to the championship, winning co-MVP in the process. Fox believes Mitchell’s defense-first mentality will be “great for the team,” and “he’s definitely going to come in and help us change a lot of that,” in regard to turning around the team’s 30th ranked defense, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (via Twitter).

There’s more on the Kings:

  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé announced today that he bought out the shares of several minority owners who were essential in keeping the team in Sacramento, per James Patrick of The Sacramento Bee. It’s worth noting that the move was made in part because the former owners believe the team is stable now, with no plans to relocate.
  • The Kings are hiring Saagar Sarin as a scout, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Sarin served as the Timberwolves’ scouting coordinator the past two seasons and previously worked with Kings general manager Monte McNair in Houston. Anderson adds that the move was unrelated to the recent firing of Gersson Rosas.
  • McNair believes players want to play for coach Luke Walton and credits him with the the team’s ability to re-sign free agents as well as the return of Alex Len, per Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • The Kings have officially signed Matt Coleman III to a non-guaranteed training camp contract, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Coleman played four seasons for Texas and was a two-time All-Big 12 member for the Longhorns. James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area confirms the contract will be a standard Exhibit 10 (via Twitter). The move was first reported in July by Jeremy Woo of SI.com.

California Notes: Kings, Carmelo, Lakers

The Kings have had a relatively quiet 2021 offseason thus far, Zach Harper of The Athletic observes in a thorough recap of Sacramento’s transactions across every position. Sacramento shored up their big man depth behind Richaun Holmes, whom they re-signed to a reasonable four-year, $46.5MM deal. Sacramento also added Tristan Thompson via trade and brought back old friend Alex Len on a two-year agreement.

Harper notes that the Kings appear to have also improved on the lead guard front, having drafted Summer League co-MVP Davion Mitchell with the ninth selection out of Baylor. However, Harper opines that, thanks to the strength of several clubs at the top of the Western Conference, the Kings will be once again struggling to make the play-in tournament for the 2022 postseason.

Another item of interest is the long-term future of maximum-salaried Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox with the team, in the wake of 2021 All-Rookie first team guard Tyrese Haliburton and now Mitchell both flashing significant promise.

There’s more out of California:

  • New Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, reflected on his first official workout for Los Angeles, held at the UCLA Health Training Center. “That purple and gold is different, it always has been and it always will be,” Anthony said, per Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter video link). “I’m just happy to be a part of it. I wish my fans could see me here working, but just know that I’m in here working.” Anthony, 37, proved his mettle as a valuable offensive role player for two playoff-bound Trail Blazers teams during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. Last year, Anthony averaged 13.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG, while posting a solid shooting line of .421/.409/.890.
  • The veteran-heavy Lakers added a lot of familiar faces, including five who have played for the team before. Dave McMenamin of ESPN details how the five once-and-future Lakers made their way back to Los Angeles, and what the team and fans should reasonably anticipate from their on-court output. Three of those former Lakers have won titles with the club. Point guard Rajon Rondo (previously with the Lakers from 2018-20) and center Dwight Howard (a Laker for the 2012/13 and the 2019/20 seasons) were both members of a championship-winning 2019/20 L.A. squad. Forward Trevor Ariza was a key two-way player for the 2008/09 champions.
  • In case you missed it, former NBA point guard Darren Collison scrimmaged with the Warriors this week ahead of a potential comeback. Collison, a California native, was most recently the starting point guard for a playoff-bound Pacers club during the 2018/19 season.

Kings Notes: Fox, Mitchell, G League Staff, Schedule

The Kings have been identified as one of the teams with trade interest in Ben Simmons, but a July report indicated the team likely won’t include point guard De’Aaron Fox in any offer for the Sixers’ three-time All-Star.

Revisiting that subject, Paolo Uggetti of The Ringer says he has heard from a league source that Fox in “content” in Sacramento. Given the recent history of the franchise, which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2006, having a rising young star who is happy to stick around may be too valuable for the Kings to mess with, Uggetti writes.

Here’s more out of Sacramento:

  • In a subscriber-only article for The Sacramento Bee, Jason Anderson identifies some of the key takeaways from the Kings’ championship victory at the Las Vegas Summer League, writing that rookie Davion Mitchell wants to help change the identity of a defense that ranked last in the NBA in 2020/21.
  • Coming off his Summer League title, Stockton Kings head coach Bobby Jackson has made several additions to his staff, including Will Scott as associate head coach, the team announced in a press release. The G League club also announced that Sydney Haydel will serve as Stockton’s director of basketball operations and Sacramento’s player development coordinator.
  • Despite having exciting up-and-comers like Fox, Mitchell, and Tyrese Haliburton on their roster, the Kings won’t get much national television exposure in 2021/22, as James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area details. Sacramento will play five games on NBA TV, but none on TNT, ESPN, or ABC.

Pelicans Notes: Hart, Offseason Moves, Murphy, Summer League

Josh Hart‘s new three-year deal with the Pelicans includes some unique terms, according to ESPN’s Will Guillory and Bobby Marks (Twitter links). In an Instagram video, Marks provides a more in-depth breakdown of the agreement.

After earning a guaranteed $12MM salary in year one, Hart will have a $12.96MM non-guaranteed salary in year two, says Guillory. If the Pelicans want to avoid paying Hart that salary, they’ll have to waive him by June 25, meaning he’d get a head-start on finding a new team in free agency.

If Hart plays out the first two years of his deal, his $12.96MM salary for 2023/24 would be non-guaranteed as well, but he also has a player option for that third year. It would essentially be a mutual option for Hart and the Pelicans. He’d have until June 24 to decide whether to exercise or decline his player option, then – if he opts in – New Orleans would have until June 25 to decide whether to guarantee his salary.

Here’s more on the Pelicans:

  • Scouts and executives polled by Tim Bontemps of ESPN were critical of the Pelicans’ offseason, questioning the team’s decision to replace Lonzo Ball with Devonte’ Graham. “They’re a sinking ship and reaching for a life preserver that just isn’t going to help,” one Western Conference executive said. “I don’t understand how (Jonas Valanciunas) is going to fit. I don’t understand how Devonte’ is worth what they paid. It’s just weird.”
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic loved what he saw from the Pelicans and Trey Murphy at Las Vegas Summer League, noting that he talked to two separate scouts who thought Murphy was the best rookie in Vegas. Vecenie referred to New Orleans’ Summer League team as “juggernaut” on the defensive end, singling out Murphy, Naji Marshall, Herb Jones, and Kira Lewis for their performances.
  • Murphy was one of seven players named to the All-Summer League First Team, per the NBA, as he joined co-MVPs Davion Mitchell and Cameron Thomas, among others.

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.

Kings Sign Davion Mitchell To Rookie Contract

The Kings have officially signed Davion Mitchell to his first NBA contract, the team announced today in a press release.

The Naismith Defensive Player of the Year in 2021, Mitchell helped lead the Baylor Bears to a national title in his junior season, averaging 14.0 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 1.9 SPG on .511/.447/.641 shooting in 30 games (33.0 MPG).

Sacramento made Mitchell the ninth overall pick in last Thursday’s draft, surprising observers who expected the team to opt for a wing or a big man. Mitchell will vie for minutes in a talented backcourt led by rising stars De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton.

As our breakdown of first-round salaries shows, Mitchell will earn $4.6MM as a rookie, assuming he receives 120% of his rookie scale amount, as nearly every first-rounder does. His four-year deal will be worth just shy of $21MM.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Lakers, Davis, Hield, Kings

Draymond Green was on board with the Warriors‘ selections at Nos. 7 and 14, according to president of basketball operations Bob Myers, who said Green texted him with the names “(Jonathan) Kuminga” and “(Moses) Moody” a few spots before Golden State was on the clock for each selection (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

Myers also said in his post-draft press conference that the Warriors will need to add some veteran players in free agency. After weeks of rumors that Golden State was looking into trading its lottery picks for veteran contributors, the team ended up using those selections to draft an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old, making a massive bet on its player development program, Slater writes for The Athletic.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • An earlier report indicated that when LeBron James and Anthony Davis spoke to Russell Westbrook about teaming up in Los Angeles, the Lakers‘ stars expressed a willingness to play more at positions they’ve resisted in the past (power forward for James, center for Davis). Jovan Buha of The Athletic confirms (via Twitter) that the plan is, in fact, to have Davis play more minutes at center next season.
  • With his deal to land Westbrook, Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka provided a reminder that he’s one of the NBA’s “most audacious operators,” says Bill Oram of The Athletic.
  • The Kings, who had been in serious discussions with the Lakers about a Buddy Hield trade, will now have to pivot and explore other options for Hield after L.A. chose to use its assets to acquire Westbrook instead, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic.
  • Kings general manager Monte McNair on Thursday when he used the No. 9 pick to add Davion Mitchell to a crowded backcourt headlined by De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton. However, McNair isn’t worried about the positional overlap, as James Ham of NBC Sports California relays. “Best player available and Davion just won a national championship in a three-guard lineup,” McNair said, referring to a Baylor team that featured Mitchell, Jared Butler, and MaCio Teague.

O’Connor’s Latest: Pistons, OKC, Grizzlies, Wagner, Pacers, More

The Pistons continued to receive inquiries about what it would take to trade the No. 1 pick, with the draft now just hours away, writes Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Although there has been increasing speculation about the possibility of Detroit trading down or even using the top pick to select Jalen Green, executives around the NBA still think the club will end up drafting Cade Cunningham, says O’Connor.

Here’s more from O’Connor on Thursday’s draft:

  • The Thunder have talked to all five teams drafting ahead of them about the possibility of moving up, per O’Connor. Rival executives aren’t sure exactly which prospect(s) Oklahoma City is targeting, but the club is thought to be high on Cunningham, Evan Mobley, and Scottie Barnes.
  • The Grizzlies, who agreed to acquire the No. 10 pick from New Orleans, are interested in another move up to the 6-8 range, according to O’Connor, who says Memphis has pursued last-minute meetings with prospects like Jonathan Kuminga, Alperen Sengun, and Davion Mitchell.
  • Franz Wagner claims he has grown two inches since college, to 6’11”, and multiple league sources believe that’s true, though there has been no update on his official measurement, O’Connor reports.
  • According to O’Connor, the Pacers are “juggling” trade talks involving the No. 13 pick, Myles Turner, and T.J. Warren in separate scenarios. Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report (Twitter link) hears that Indiana is fielding a lot of calls for the No. 13 selection, including from the Hawks. Atlanta has also been in touch with the Hornets about the No. 11 pick, says O’Connor.
  • O’Connor confirms a couple items that were previously speculated, writing that the Knicks are involved in trade discussions for Magic swingman Terrence Ross and reporting that the Hawks have offered the No. 20 pick and Cam Reddish to teams drafting in the late lottery.

Draft Notes: Garuba, Butler, Pacers, Pistons, Kispert

Usman Garuba is generating buzz a potential mid first-round pick, but the terms of the Spaniard’s contract with Real Madrid represent an obstacle in getting him stateside for the 2021/22 season. According to Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews.com, Garuba’s NBA buyout clause with the Spanish club is worth three million Euros.

An NBA team can contribute to a player’s buyout with his international team, but only up to $775K (about €655K). That means that if Garuba wants to make the leap to the NBA right away, most of the buyout would have to come out of his own pocket. To make matters worse for the 19-year-old, the amount of that buyout increases by one million Euros every year until 2024, per Urbonas. Garuba’s contract with Real Madrid runs through 2025.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), Garuba’s buyout is “insanely large” relative to other international contracts, but it may well be negotiated down to something more reasonable when the time comes for the big man to make the move to the NBA — which could happen in the coming weeks.

Here are a few more draft-related updates:

  • Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report and Jeremy Woo of SI.com have released the final versions of their respective big boards for the 2021 draft. The two draft experts have also put out updated versions of their mock drafts at Bleacher Report and SI.com.
  • Among the noteworthy items in Woo’s mock draft: Some teams have concerns about the condition of Jared Butler‘s knees, and the Pacers have thus far rebuffed efforts from teams below them to move up to No. 13. If Indiana keeps that No. 13 pick, the team is likely to target a more experienced prospect such as Corey Kispert, Davion Mitchell, or Chris Duarte, says Woo.
  • Woo also reports that there has been some “real disagreement” within the Pistons‘ front office about what to do with the No. 1 pick. However, he expects Detroit to ultimately select Cade Cunningham. In his latest mock draft at ESPN.com (Insider link), Jonathan Givony cites sources who say a Pistons commitment to Cunningham could be “imminent.”
  • Gonzaga’s Corey Kispert told reporters this week that the Spurs (No. 12), Wizards (No. 15), and Pelicans (No. 17) were among the teams he worked out for during the pre-draft process, as Mike Vornukov of The Athletic tweets. Based on reports, it looks like Kispert has worked out for every team in the 7-15 range except for the Grizzlies, who recently agreed to acquire the No. 10 pick from New Orleans.