Frank Mason

Kings Notes: Jackson, Kuzma, Papagiannis, Mason

First-round pick Justin Jackson is falling out of the Kings’ rotation with DNPs in two straight games, and Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee explains why in a mailbag column. Sacramento has opted for a smaller starting lineup with two point guards, free agent addition George Hill and rookie De’Aaron FoxGarrett Temple has moved to small forward, where he shares time with Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield.

That has cut into the minutes for Jackson, who started five games earlier in the season. Coach Dave Joerger has been using veteran Vince Carter off the bench ahead of Jackson, and the power forward minutes Jackson used to get are now going to Skal Labissiere and Willie Cauley-Stein. Jackson hasn’t performed terribly, averaging 6.7 points in about 19 minutes per night, but it looks like his playing time is going to be limited as long as Joerger relies on his veterans.
There’s more out of Sacramento:
  • The Kings could have solved their small forward problems by taking rookie sensation Kyle Kuzma in the draft, Jones states in the same piece. Sacramento brought Kuzma in for a pre-draft workout and saw his performance at the combine, but opted for Jackson with the 15th pick and Harry Giles at No. 20. Jones says fans should watch Giles in action before criticizing the pick. Giles is being held out until at least January because of his injury history with both knees.
  • Second-year center Georgios Papagiannis can expect to spend most of this season in the G League, Jones adds. Joerger wants the 20-year-old to get plenty of playing time, which won’t happen with the NBA squad, where he is behind Kosta Koufos and Zach Randolph. Jones thinks Papagiannis will get a chance to show the Kings what he can do once the G League season ends. He was the 13th pick in the 2016 draft, but played just 22 games for Sacramento last season and four so far this year.
  • Before earning his way into the Kings’ rotation four games ago, rookie point guard Frank Mason endured a lot of slights in his basketball career, Jones writes in a separate story. A second-round pick out of Kansas, Mason provides a defensive tenacity the team has lacked. “Even if they didn’t need a tough guy to come off the bench, that’s still who I am,” Mason said. “That’s what I bring to the team and I’ll continue to be that way and play that way forever.”

Kings Notes: Hill, Randolph, Labissiere, Okafor

Sacramento added a veteran presence to a rebuilding team this summer and the combination can make the older guys feel out of place, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. The Kings spent their free agent money on George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter, but their contributions have been limited as the team stumbled to a 1-8 start. Between nights off for rest and sitting through the fourth quarters of blowouts, they are playing and producing less than expected.

Hill has been the starting point guard as the Kings wait for prize rookie De’Aaron Fox to develop, but his stats have dropped to 9.6 points and 2.7 assists per game after posting 16.9 and 4.2 last season in Utah. Randolph is averaging 12.0 points, his lowest in six years, and 6.0 rebounds, his smallest number since 2002/03. Carter is scoring a career-low 2.6 points per game in less than 12 minutes per night.

“I ain’t been through this,” Randolph said. “…We’re a young team with a young talent, so staying positive and keeping everybody together, that’s the main thing.”

There’s more this morning out of Sacramento:

  • Bad matchups contributed to Skal Labissiere‘s lack of playing time this week, Jones explains in a separate story. The second-year power forward was on the court just six minutes in Saturday’s loss to the Pistons and sat out the entire first half Wednesday against the Celtics. Coach Dave Joerger said he hasn’t lost confidence in Labissiere, but at 6’11” he has trouble matching up against stretch fours like Detroit’s Tobias Harris and Boston’s Jayson Tatum. “It’s hard when all these teams are playing threes as fours and they’re stretching you out,” Joerger said. “… As he learns and gets experience, he’ll be able to play on the perimeter defensively. He’ll be able to take a guy down low if he has a mismatch down there.”
  • The Kings need all the young talent they can find, but Sixers center Jahlil Okafor doesn’t seem like a good fit, Jones states in a mailbag column. He believes Sacramento should prioritize perimeter shooting and defense, two areas where Okafor doesn’t offer much help. Although Jones doesn’t dismiss the idea, he says the Kings shouldn’t offer much for Okafor, who will be a restricted free agent next summer after Philadelphia declined his 2018/19 option.
  • Young players such as Frank Mason and Malachi Richardson are likely to get more playing time as the season wears on, Jones adds in the same piece. As the Kings fall farther out of the playoff race, their emphasis will be on developing their young talent and maximizing their draft position.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Mason, Warren

The Clippers will rely more heavily on DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin than usual this season, the long-tenured frontcourt pairing will assume extra leadership duties in the wake of the trade that sent Chris Paul to the Rockets, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

The roles absolutely changed out of necessity,” Griffin, who has already logged eight seasons with the Clippers, said. “Anytime you lose somebody like CP, everybody has to step up. I know DJ and I have talked about it all summer and we’re excited about that challenge.

The forthcoming 2017/18 campaign will be a particularly important one for Jordan. This season, the center will become the longest tenured players in Clippers franchise history, having suited up in blue and red for 10 seasons. Jordan slides past former Clips guard Eric Piatkowski who played for the team from 1994-2003.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • He may not be the most talked about Kings rookie at the point guard position but Frank Mason is ready to produce in his first season in the NBA, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes. The 23-year-old played four seasons at Kansas and is ready to bring his fast, aggressive style of play to the next level.
  • According to Basketball Insiders, the base value of T.J. Warren‘s four-year contract extension with the Suns is worth $47MM (as opposed to the $50MM that was initially reported). The difference could be comprised of contract incentives, although that’s merely our speculation.
  • The Warriors‘ new arena in San Francisco is schedule to open in time for the 2019/20 season. The franchise has recently submitted a bid to hold an All-Star Game there, Chris Haynes and Marc Spears of ESPN write. Sources tell them that the earliest the bid could be for is the 2021 All-Star Game.

Kings Sign Second-Rounder Frank Mason

JULY 15: Mason signed a three-year deal with the Kings, according to Keith Smith of RealGM (via Twitter). Mason’s deal is believed to be fully guaranteed for 2017/18 and he will likely hit restricted free agency in 2020.

JULY 13: The Kings have signed Frank Mason, according to the team’s website. Sacramento has remaining cap room, so Mason may receive more than just a two-year deal, and it’s possible that it will be worth more than the minimum salary.

Mason spent four seasons at Kansas where he played in 145 games and averaged 13.0 points per contest. He was named the AP National Player of the Year during his senior season after leading his team to a 31-5 record while averaging 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per contest.

Sacramento selected the point guard with the No. 34 overall pick in the 2017 draft. He is one of four prospects drafted by the team.

Kings Notes: Fox, Post Draft Grades, Private Jet

The Kings got their man when they selected De’Aaron Fox with the fifth overall pick in Thursday’s draft but even if the team had the first pick, the result may have been the same. Per Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 (via Twitter), general manager Vlade Divac said that Sacramento “most likely” would have taken Fox first overall.

“It was a guy that we all loved and in some way,” he said, according to The Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin. “If we had the No. 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy. De’Aaron is our future.”

The Kentucky guard averaged 16.7 PPG and 4.6 APG in 36 collegiate contests this past season and was rumored to be taken anywhere from second overall to sixth overall. Despite working out for several teams, Fox told FOX Sports’ Aaron Torres that the vibe around the team was special and that he felt his presence could lead to bigger things.

I know they really want a point guard, I know they need one,” Fox said. “They have the young pieces, and in a few years I do think we could be competing for championships.

Here are additional notes surrounding the Kings:

Western Notes: Wolves, Thunder, Mavs, Spurs, Suns

On Tuesday, the Timberwolves signed a three-year contract with Fitbit to display the company’s logo on a jersey patch, reports Jon Krawczynski of The Associated Press. The team will also explore ways the wearable technology can help players, employees and fans track their health and fitness during practices, games and everyday activities.

“This is going to change the way teams evaluate these types of deals and relationships going forward,” Timberwolves CEO Ethan Casson said. “This is different than anything I’ve seen before.”

The Timberwolves were among five teams bidding for Fitbit’s business.

Here’s more from around the Western Conference:

  • Frank Mason (Kansas) had a solo workout with the Thunder on Tuesday, his second workout with the team, according to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (link via Twitter). Sacramento and Orlando also saw Mason twice, per Fischer.
  • The Thunder also brought in guard Brad Wanamaker for a workout, tweets international basketball journalist, David Pick. Wanamaker was voted All-EuroLeague as a member of Turkish team Darussafaka under David Blatt this past season.
  • The Mavericks have a lot of decisions to make this summer and their decision to either select a point guard on Thursday or pursue one in free agency could change their entire offseason strategy, The Dallas Morning News’ Eddie Sefko writes.
  • Veteran Italian coach Ettore Messina will sign a new two-year contract to remain with the Spurs‘ coaching staff, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando.
  • The Grizzlies do not have a first or second round pick in the draft —  for the first time in franchise history — but general manager Chris Wallace is working around the clock to see if any sensible deals come up,’s Michael Wallace writes.
  • Suns GM Ryan McDonough said this week that off-court issues will not factor into the team’s selection with the fourth overall pick, per AZCentral’s Doug Haller. That suggests that the team figures to seriously consider Josh Jackson if he’s available at No. 4.

Mark Suleymanov contributed to this post.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Bako, Collins

The Hornets worked out a handful of possible first-round draft picks Sunday, including familiar face Justin Jackson. Alongside video footage of Jackson following the workout, Diedra Laird of the Charlotte Observer writes that club additionally auditioned Bam Adebayo, Luke Kennard and more.

Jackson, a North Carolina product, is being forecast as the No. 19 overall pick in‘s latest mock draft. Duke product Kennard, on the other hand, has been projected as the No. 12 pick. Adebayo, out of Kentucky, is currently forecast to go No. 17 in that same mock.

Although the Hornets will pick earlier than any of those projections at No. 11, it’s reasonable that they could elect to take a flyer on a blue chip prospect that played their college basketball in state.

There are more pre-draft workout notes from around the league:

Southeast Notes: Millsap, White, Vasquez, NBA Draft

The Hawks are planning on using their 19th overall pick in the NBA Draft on the best player available and Paul Millsap‘s contract situation will not change that, per Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (links via Twitter).

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk told Vivlamore for a separate story that Millsap “might get better offers than we can make him.” Despite Atlanta’s desire to retain the four-time All-Star, the team is focused on assembling the best roster possible and worry about Millsap — or replacing him — afterward.

“You draft the best talent available regardless who is on your roster. … I think that’s when you get in trouble, when you draft off need not off talent,” Schlenk said. “Especially the way the league is going where guys are interchangeable and guys are multi-positional, you just take the best player.”

The Hawks went 43-39 last season, making the postseason as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, last year’s prized offseason acquisition Dwight Howard struggled in the postseason and expressed his issues with his lack of playing time; the team is also facing several potential departures in unrestricted free agency, such as Ersan Ilyasova, Kris Humphries and Mike Muscala. While those decisions will shape the 2017/18 Hawks, the club will look to attain the strongest asset in the NBA draft before worrying about anything else.

Below are notes from around the Southeast Division:

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Mason, Clippers, Reed

A Lakers backcourt of D’Angelo Russell and Lonzo Ball might be potent offensively but a liability defensively, as Eric Pincus examines in a Bleacher Report piece. Russell could run pick-and-rolls, while Ball would excel in transition and ball movement, though neither tends to attack off the dribble, Pincus continues. The biggest concern would be on the defensive end because of quickness issues, which would require the Lakers to have a speedy, defensive-minded guard to rotate with both players, Pincus adds.

In other developments around the Pacific Division:
  • Kansas point guard Frank Mason III will work out for the Kings for a second time on Wednesday, according to the team’s website. Mason is considered a second-round prospect — he’s currently ranked No. 45 on Chad Ford’s Big Board. Sacramento, which has the No. 34 overall pick in the second round, will also bring in Kentucky point guard Isaiah Briscoe, UCLA shooting guard Isaac Hamilton, Florida shooting guard Canyon Barry, Indiana center Thomas Bryant and Miami forward Kamari Murphy.
  • The Clippers will bring in FIBA small forward Howard Sant-Roos for workouts later this week, international journalist David Pick tweets. The Cuban-born Sant-Roos, 26, has been playing for CEZ Nymburk in the Czech league, where he averaged 13.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG and 3.4 APG in 40 games this season.
  • Kansas State shooting guard Wesley Iwundu and Vanderbilt big man Luke Kornet headed the list of six draft hopeful that the Lakers brought in on Monday, the team’s website reported. Iwundu is ranked No. 53 overall by Draft Express, while Kornet comes in at No. 67. The Lakers do not have a second-round pick.
  • Miami shooting guard Davon Reed headlined a group of six players that the Clippers worked out on Monday, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders tweets. Reed is pegged as the No. 76 prospect by Draft Express. Murphy also participated in the workout.

Southeast Notes: Porter, Wall, Gay, Hawks

The Wizards will face plenty of competition for free agent Otto Porter if they don’t submit a max offer, writes Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Coming off a season in which he put up career-best numbers in points, rebounds, steals and blocks, Porter is eligible for a new contract starting at $25.5MM per season. Because he is restricted, Washington can match any offer he receives. Another free agent priority will be Bojan Bogdanovic, who was acquired from the Nets at the trade deadline. He will be looking for a substantial raise from the $3.73MM he made this season, and Marks says Washington will have to determine how much luxury tax it is willing to absorb to keep him.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • After earning All-NBA honors, Wizards point guard John Wall is eligible for an extension worth up to 35% of the salary cap, Marks notes in the same story. The DPVE would begin with the 2019/20 season and is projected at $168MM over four seasons. Wall’s cap hit, which is $18.1MM next season and $19.2MM in 2018/19, could be as much as $37.5MM when the extension kicks in. If Wall’s extension is delayed and he makes an All-NBA team again next season, he could increase the value of the deal by about $50MM. If he doesn’t, Wall would only be eligible for a regular extension worth 120% of his 2017/18 salary.
  • Kings free agent Rudy Gay continues to have interest in joining the Heat, tweets J.D. Shaw of Def Pen Hoops. However, it’s uncertain whether Miami intends to pursue him (Twitter link).
  • North Carolina forward Justin Jackson made an impression on the Hawks during a workout Friday, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal Constitution. The ACC Player of the Year averaged 18.4 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists this year as a junior and helped the Tar Heels capture the national championship. Jackson’s trip to Atlanta was his fifth workout so far, and he hopes to complete five or six more before draft day. “Honestly, I’m just trying to put myself in the best position,” Jackson said. “Whether that is [overall pick No.] 10 or 20. In the back of my mind, I know these guys have watched me play all year, pretty much my whole career. At the end of the day, it’s one workout.”
  • Indiana center Thomas Bryant and BYU center Eric Mika were also part of Friday’s workout, Vivlamore notes in a separate story, along with Kansas guard Frank Mason, Kansas State guard Wesley Iwundu and Notre Dame small forward V.J. Beachem. Vivlamore believes the Hawks will be looking for size with the No. 19 pick (Twitter link).
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