Frank Mason

Kings Notes: Shumpert, Cousins, Labissiere, Mason

Iman Shumpert was one of several Cavaliers to be traded at the trade deadline, leaving a championship contender to join the rebuilding Kings. The former NBA champion is currently out of action due to plantar fasciitis and his return date is unknown.

Shumpert spoke to reporters after his first practice with the Kings and expressed optimism about joining the franchise (via ABC10).

“I like it, they play an up and down speed, which is a speed I’m accustomed to,” Shumpert said. “It’s all equal opportunity and moving the ball; they move the ball side-to-side and play hard. We got a lot of athleticism and I think I could help a lot, really, and I think I fit in.”

Shumpert, 27, has only appeared in 14 games this season, averaging 4.4 PPG and 2.9 RPG — both career-lows. As an experienced player with NBA postseason experience, Shumpert said he is looking forward to helping the Kings’ young players.

“Just appreciating the opportunity and coming in here with a fresh mind,” he said. “The stuff that I’ve been doing over there [in Cleveland], and the things that I’ve learned playing in the playoffs every year, going to the [NBA] Finals the last three years. [I’m] just trying to bring it over here and help these guys apply it.

“Sometimes just bringing that voice can mean a lot with instilling confidence in young players. I know when I was young with the Knicks, having Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace and those other guys that have been there before come and instill that confidence.”

Check out other Kings notes down below:

  • Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee looks back at the one-year anniversary of the Kings trading DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans. Despite being in the postseason hunt at the time, the Kings decided to trade their best player, signaling the beginning of what team president Vlade Divac called a “culture change.” The Kings have struggled this season and third-year center Willie Cauley-Stein has noticed a change. “It was an instant culture shift,” Cauley-Stein said. “Just like from a personnel standpoint, it’s a lot more chill, a lot more relaxed, got more productive in practice. We were able to just teach each other stuff. Everybody had a role and everybody touched the ball and could get it going and play for each other.”
  • In a separate story, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee noted that forward Skal Labissiere (shoulder) and guard Frank Mason III (heel) would return Thursday. Both men were active and saw time in Thursday’s loss to the Thunder.

Pacific Rumors: Warriors Needs, Mason, Ball, Hill

The Warriors’ top need is a shooting wing off the bench, and their most likely targets are Marco Belinelli of the Hawks and Tyreke Evans of the Grizzlies, Tim Kawakami of The Athletic opines. Patrick McCaw is the player Golden State will most likely move in order to get a wing who also has size and passing ability, Kawakami continues. Belinelli is on an expiring deal and Atlanta would have to believe in McCaw’s long-term ability enough to also take back Nick Young, Kawakami speculates. Evans would also be a rental and Golden State would probably have to pair McCaw with a first-round pick to get him, Kawakami adds.

In other developments around the Western Conference:

  • Kings point guard Frank Mason will not play until after the All-Star break, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports. The rookie out of Kansas suffered a heel injury on December 31st. Mason, chosen with the 34th overall pick last June, has appeared in 29 games, averaging 7.6 PPG and 2.9 APG.
  • Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball was unable to ramp up his workouts last week without experiencing soreness in his sprained left knee, Bill Oram of the Orange County Register reports. His workouts never progressed to lateral movement or running close to full speed, Oram continues. Ball has missed the last 10 games.
  • The Kings were close to dealing point guard George Hill to the Cavaliers but they won’t mind if he’s still on the roster beyond the trade deadline, Jones writes in a separate piece. Sacramento would have received Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert, and perhaps Derrick Rose, in return. The Kings would have to clear roster space to make that deal but their primary goals must be collecting picks, acquiring young talent and retaining financial flexibility, Jones continues. Hill has also endeared himself to the front office and the team’s young core despite losing his starting job, Jones adds.
  • Trade rumors are weighing heavily on the minds of Clippers players, Elliott Teaford of the Orange County Register relays. Coach Doc Rivers admits that trade talk has been a distraction. “Sometimes you go talk to a guy and the guy says, ‘Oh, I’m good,’ and that could mean he’s not good or good,” Rivers told Teaford. “You’ve got to read that. Sometimes it’s clear as day. I can tell you I’ve seen that over the last three or four days from a couple guys, and it’s obviously weighing on them.”

Kings’ Frank Mason To Miss Several Weeks

After initially being ruled out for at least a week last Tuesday due to a heel contusion, rookie Kings guard Frank Mason has been re-evaluated and received a new diagnosis, according to an announcement from the team. That MRI showed that Mason suffered a partial tear of the right plantar fascia.

According to the Kings, Mason will continue receiving treatment on his heel and will now be re-evaluated four to six weeks after the injury initially occurred. That timetable puts him on track to miss most or all of January, and perhaps a portion of February as well.

Mason, the 34th overall pick in the 2017 draft, was a regular part of the Kings’ rotation for the first half of the season when he was healthy, averaging 7.6 PPG, 2.9 APG, and 2.1 RPG in 29 contests (18.6 MPG). Although his .385 FG% may be a little lower than he’d like, he has been effective from three-point range (.419 3PT%).

The Kings are currently jockeying for lottery position rather than playoff position, so they’ll take their time with Mason’s rehab and ensure he’s 100% before he gets back on the court. When he does return, the 23-year-old figures to see plenty of minutes for a Sacramento team that will likely be prioritizing the development of its young players over playing time for its veterans.

Injury Notes: Sixers, Harden, Kings, Okafor

Joel Embiid is considered doubtful for Wednesday’s game, and Markelle Fultz isn’t quite ready to get back on the court yet, but the Sixers got some positive news on both players this week. As Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia details, there was some concern on Sunday night that Embiid had suffered a broken right hand, but x-rays were negative and he believes he’s dealing instead with a sprain.

Meanwhile, Fultz hasn’t played since October, but he appears to be inching toward a return. The club announced today that 2017’s first overall pick has been cleared to “begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” The press release was light on specifics, but barring setbacks, it sounds like it shouldn’t be much longer before we see Fultz back in the Sixers’ lineup.

Here are a few more injury notes and updates from around the NBA:

  • We know James Harden will be out for at least two weeks with a hamstring strain, but his exact recovery timetable remains unclear. Speaking today to reporters, including Hunter Atkins of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link), Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni suggested that Harden could miss up to four weeks. In an Insider-only piece for ESPN, Kevin Pelton examines how Harden’s absence will affect the Rockets, the NBA, and the star guard’s MVP chances.
  • As one Kings guard gets healthy, another one goes on the shelf. According to a press release from the club, De’Aaron Fox will return on Tuesday after a two-week absence, but Frank Mason will miss at least the next week with a heel contusion.
  • Third-year center Jahlil Okafor is expected to make his home debut for the Nets on Wednesday, as head coach Kenny Atkinson confirmed to reporters on Monday (link via Alex Labidou of Okafor, acquired by Brooklyn nearly a month ago, wasn’t initially ready for regular minutes after having barely played for Philadelphia this season. However, the Nets are ready to get him back on the court and to start increasing his workload, says Brian Lewis of The New York Post.
  • After missing seven games due to a groin injury, Pistons guard Avery Bradley is set to return to action on Wednesday, writes Ansar Khan of “It was lingering over a few weeks, but now I feel better, I feel like I can go out there and give my all,” Bradley said.

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.