De’Aaron Fox

Kings Notes: Hield, Bogdanovic, Labissiere

Shooting guard Buddy Hield isn’t afraid of putting up shots, even the occasional ones that leave Kings fans scratching their heads. That’s just something head coach Dave Joerger will have to work with if it means keeping the prolific deep threat in a rhythm, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes.

I’m a shooting guard, so I’m trying to get as many shots as I can get,” Hield, who joined the Kings in the midseason trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans last year, said. “They call me thirsty on the team. They say I’m thirsty because I’m always trying to get a shot up.”

Jones notes that Hield’s teammates don’t consider him selfish so they aren’t afraid to keep feeding him the ball if it means that he might get hot from the perimeter and change the outlook of a game.

I’ve been reining him in, making him play the way we want to play,” said Joerger in his second year at the helm of the Kings. “[…] But then for certain guys at any moment you give them a little more latitude, and I think he’s one of those guys.

There’s more news from Sacramento:

  • After sitting out the first three games of the season, Bogdan Bogdanovic‘s status for Monday’s game against the Suns has been upgraded to probable, the team announced on its website. If he plays, it’ll be the 25-year-old draft-and-stash rookie’s NBA debut after signing the largest rookie contract in league history.
  • It won’t be long before the Kings turn to Skal Labissiere as more of an offensive weapon, James Ham of NBC Sports writes. The 21-year-old sophomore has already made substantial improvements over the course of his young career.
  • Despite how impressive De’Aaron Fox looks in his rookie season, it’s unlikely that the Lakers regret drafting Lonzo Ball, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes in a question-and-answer with readers. Los Angeles knew exactly what they were getting in Ball and there’s a good choice that both end up becoming All-Stars.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, West, Reed

The Clippers were punished by injuries during preseason but regardless of the short-staffed lineups there were observations to be taken away, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. For one, star player Blake Griffin‘s toe appears to have held up despite his having undergone surgery for it in May.

I haven’t had any problems,” Griffin said. “I haven’t sat out any practices. I haven’t had any restrictions. I didn’t really anticipate that. At the beginning of the season, I met with probably four of the top foot surgeons in the United States and I never anticipated sitting out [Clippers] training camp.

Other takeaways from the exhibitions include Milos Teodosic making an immediate impact with his playmaking abilities and Lou Williams seamlessly adopting the sixth man role vacated by Jamal Crawford.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings‘ rebuild is progressing well for a number of different reasons but one of the most obvious is the fact that they have two first-year players in the race for the Rookie of the Year award. By Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee‘s count, both De’Aaron Fox and Bogdan Bogdanovic are legitimate contenders for the year-end hardware.
  • The reason Jerry West left his executive role with the Warriors to join up with the Clippers‘ front office is because he would have had to take a pay cut in the realm of $1MM. Daniel Mano of the Mercury News cites an excerpt from Jack McCallum’s book on California basketball.
  • Offseason Clippers addition Willie Reed can have his misdemeanor domestic battery charge dismissed if he agrees to a diversion program, Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel writes.

Pacific Notes: Jackson, Jersey Sponsorship, Clippers

The Kings enter training camp with one of the more interesting rosters in the NBA. Only one of the club’s three first-round picks from the 2017 NBA Draft, however, makes sense as a starter on opening day. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes that Justin Jackson boasts the length and offensive awareness to make an impact out of the gates.

In particular, Jones writes that Jackson impressed the Kings’ coaching staff with how quickly he picked up the team’s offensive and defensive schemes. The fact that he doesn’t need the ball to be effective on offense is another bonus, too.

The fact that Jackson may be the only Kings rookie ready to break the starting lineup right away is merely a product of circumstance. Jones notes that De’Aaron Fox could still be instrumental in his first season with the club, despite the fact that he’ll likely cede starts to veteran George Hill.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Earlier this week, the Lakers announced that they had come to terms on a jersey sponsorship deal with Wish, John Lombardo and Terry Lefton report for the Sports Business Journal. The team specifically sought a sponsor that would appeal to a younger audience and did so with the company behind one of the fastest growing e-commerce apps available.
  • It won’t be easy for the Clippers to maintain their status as a 50-win team in the Western Conference, Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register rights. This offseason the roster saw a substantial amount of turnover.
  • The Warriors are heavily favored to repeat as NBA champions after maintaining the bulk of their historically successful core, Shaun Powell of writes. Many other teams, however, made dramatic moves to try to catch them.

Kings Notes: Depth Chart, Gudaitis, Labissiere

Don’t look now, but the Kings have assembled a veritable stockpile of intriguing assets. Recently, Shahbaz Khan of the team’s official website broke down what fans can expect to see on the team’s depth chart.

The Kings are loaded with youth this season, and it’s not just first-rounders De’Aaron Fox, Justin Jackson and Harry Giles that show promise. Sacramento has at least one – if not multiple – young projects at each spot from 1 to 5, from international star and darkhorse Rookie of the Year candidate Bogdan Bogdanovic to the lengthy Skal Labissiere, who flashed promise after the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

The club isn’t without its fair share of veteran leadership, however, and Khan discusses the experience the young Kings will be able to glean from offseason additions like Vince Carter and returning players like Garrett Temple.

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • While there was plenty of turnover on the Kings roster this offseason, De’Aaron Fox leads Sacramento’s new cast of players, A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England writes.
  • Don’t expect to see 2015 second-round pick Arturas Gudaitis debut with the Kings any time soon, the Lithuanian big man recently signed a two-year deal in Italy without an opt-out clause after the first season, Sportando tweets.
  • After a solid rookie season, Kings big man Skal Labissiere has changed representation, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. The Haitian has signed with Thad Foucher and Jason Ranne at Wasserman.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Ball, Warriors, Jordan

The decision to remove DeMarcus Cousins from the equation has brought a sense of happiness and hope around the moribund Kings franchise, Nick Zappulla of RealGM opines. The pieces are now in place for a quick turnaround via the acquisition of Buddy Hield in the trade with the Pelicans along with four promising rookies taken in the draft, particularly floor leader De’Aaron Fox and forward Harry Giles, Zappulla continues. Big men Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein showed progress once Cousins was removed from the picture and the club also brought in three veteran free agents to facilitate the development of the young players, Zappulla adds.

In other items regarding the Pacific Division:

  • The league’s television partners certainly have Lonzo Ball fever, as evidenced by the Lakers’ 35 nationally-televised games next season, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register notes. That’s the fifth-most national broadcasts among all teams despite the franchise coming off a 26-win season. Much of it can be attributed to lottery pick Ball, both for his passing skills and the hype-man routine of his father LaVar, Oram adds.
  • The Warriors’ center rotation is unlikely to change next season despite the presence of some promising young players at the back end, Anthony Slater of The Athletic opines. Zaza Pachulia will continue to start with JaVale McGee backing him up and David West getting minutes there at the start of second quarters, according to Slater. Damian Jones, who was inconsistent in summer-league play, or rookie Jordan Bell could force their way into the rotation at some point, Slater adds.
  • Center DeAndre Jordan realizes the Clippers won’t be the same team without Chris Paul, but expects point guard additions Patrick Beverley and Milos Teodosic to keep the franchise among the best in the West, Jovan Buha of reports. “Those guys are going to come in and play their style of basketball, and it’s going to be fun,” Jordan told Buha.

Poll: Best Rookie Point Guard Season

The 2017 NBA Draft was loaded with talented point guards, including first overall pick Markelle Fultz, No. 2 selection Lonzo Ball, and fellow lottery picks De’Aaron Fox, Frank Ntilikina, and Dennis Smith Jr. 

Fultz showed flashes of brilliance in the NBA Summer League amid overall inconsistent play before he ultimately injured his ankle in his Las Vegas debut. The 76ers guard was promptly shut down for the remainder of Summer League. This season, the rookie figures to be a regular fixture in the Philadelphia backcourt.

After dominating his freshman season at UCLA, Ball won Las Vegas Summer League MVP honors, racking up assists (9.3 APG) and steals (2.5 SPG), as well as points and rebounds. Although it is not clear whether Ball will start for the Lakers right out of the gate, he will certainly be the beneficiary of a hearty amount of playing time.

Fox is also expected to see his fair share of action this season, but averaged just 21.3 minutes per game in four Las Vegas Summer League games. Like Fultz and Ball, Fox exhibited tantalizing athleticism. The Kentucky product averaged a solid 11.8 points per contest and 3.0 assists. Fox’s 2.3 SPG were extremely impressive.

The Knicks drafted Ntilikina eighth overall because of his speed and agility. Last season, the point guard averaged just 15.5 minutes per game for Strasbourg in France but displayed tremendous promise and improved noticeably as a shooter. With D. Rose out of town, it appears as if the keys to Madison Square Garden are about to be Frank’s.

In six games in Las Vegas, Smith averaged 17.3 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 4.2 APG, shooting 45.7% from the floor and electrifying with the occasional powerful dunk. The Mavericks prospect also tallied 2.2 SPG.

This brings us to today’s poll: Which of these point guards will have the best rookie season in 2017/18?

Latest On Kyrie Irving

There’s little chance that the Cavaliers will salvage their relationship with Kyrie Irving, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, who says the team is “acting as if a trade is almost inevitable.” Per Lowe, the Cavs also seem confident that they’ll be able to land a significant haul for Irving, despite the fact that stars like DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George, and Jimmy Butler have returned underwhelming hauls so far this year.

Lowe’s latest piece on Irving explores possible trade scenarios involving the Suns, Celtics, Heat, Knicks, Hawks, Bucks, Nuggets, Timberwolves, Pelicans, and more. While many of those proposed scenarios appear to be speculation on Lowe’s part, they give the impression that the Cavs certainly won’t be limiting themselves to Irving’s reported wish list of four teams as they seek out the best possible deal.

Here’s more from Lowe, along with other updates on Irving:

  • The Cavaliers‘ highest priority in an Irving trade is to get a “blue-chip” young player in return, sources tell Lowe. Cleveland’s ideal scenario would be a deal that nets the club that blue-chip player, plus a veteran or two, plus draft picks. In other words, the Cavs are aiming for a trade package that provides the best of both worlds — players that can help the team contend for a championship in the short term, and valuable long-term assets.
  • Since Irving made his trade request, the Cavaliers‘ front office has studied every trade involving a star player over the last decade, per Lowe. One particular deal that caught the club’s eye was the one that sent Goran Dragic from Phoenix to Miami for a package that included multiple first-round picks.
  • Many teams, including the Celtics, have called the Cavaliers to let them know they want to be kept in the loop as trade talks progress, writes Lowe.
  • The Nets still have a chunk of salary cap room remaining and could be an interesting trade partner in a multi-team scenario, but there have been no rumblings yet about their potential participation, according to Lowe.
  • The Kings have no interest in moving De’Aaron Fox in a deal for Irving, reports James Ham of
  • One Western Conference team executive tells Chris Mannix of The Vertical that he thinks the Cavaliers may end up having to wait until after December 15 to make a deal, after this year’s free agent signees become trade-eligible. If that happens, it might create an awkward few months in Cleveland, with Irving still on the roster when the season begins.

Latest On Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving‘s request to be traded is the latest story to rock the league during an eventful offseason. The news broke Friday, but Irving’s meeting with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took place about two weeks ago, according to Terry Pluto of

The Cavs tried to keep it quiet so they could work on a deal without the distractions that are starting to happen now. Apparently some players learned about the news and started talking, which is how the trade request became public.

Pluto also speculates that Irving’s demand validates rumors last month that former Bulls star Jimmy Butler was warned by Cavaliers players not to push for a trade to Cleveland. They have a close friendship, so Irving may have told Butler that he was planning to leave the team. Butler was subsequently traded to the Timberwolves, one of the teams Irving included on his list of preferred destinations, along with the Spurs, Knicks and Heat.

There’s more today on the Irving trade front:

  • The Wolves have a strong interest in acquiring Irving, even though they just signed former Pacers point guard Jeff Teague, Pluto adds in the same story. Pluto believes the Cavs should ask for Andrew Wiggins, whom the Cavs made the overall No. 1 draft pick in 2014, as part of the deal. Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns are untouchable, but Wiggins will be a free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension before the October deadline.
  • The Knicks have offered Carmelo Anthony and a parcel of draft picks, adds Pluto, who says Cleveland should insist on Kristaps Porzingis. Other teams that have expressed interest include Sacramento, with rookie De’Aaron Fox as part of the offer, and Phoenix, with a package centered around Eric Bledsoe.
  • Pluto also notes that a trade would take away Irving’s opportunity to sign a super-max extension like the one John Wall just agreed to with the Wizards. The move could cost Irving between $50MM and $70MM.
  • Butler and Towns have done some recruiting work with Irving and have made it clear to Wolves management they would like to acquire him, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who first broke the story of Irving’s trade request. Windhorst believes Teague would likely be included in any Minnesota-Cleveland deal and notes that as a newly signed free agent he can’t be traded until December 15th.
  • The Spurs would be Irving’s first choice if he could pick a team, writes Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.
  • The Cavaliers had a deal on the table involving Irving before the draft, according to Joe Vardon of The trade was put together by former GM David Griffin, but the Cavaliers didn’t pull the trigger because they didn’t know that Irving wanted to leave.

Kings Sign Fifth Overall Pick De’Aaron Fox

The Kings have officially signed fifth-overall pick De’Aaron Fox, the team announced via Twitter. The 19-year-old speedster joins the franchise after posting 16.7 points and 4.6 assists per game with Kentucky.

Per the NBA’s rookie contract scale, Fox will presumably make $24.6MM over the course of a four-year deal, starting with $4.6MM in 2017/18.

Fox will share point guard duties with George Hill.

The team had previously reached agreements with Harry Giles and Justin Jackson.

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.
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