Harry Giles

Pacific Notes: Dedmon, Giles, AD, Kerr, Clippers

Kings head coach Luke Walton said earlier this week that making Dewayne Dedmon inactive for three consecutive games wasn’t related to the big man’s desire to be traded and wouldn’t necessarily be permanent, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes. Sure enough, an injury to Richaun Holmes gave Dedmon an opportunity to get back on the court on Tuesday.

In fact, Holmes’ absence paved the way for two big men who had been out of the rotation earlier in the season to play significant roles. Harry Giles got his first career NBA start, while Dedmon played 32 minutes off the bench. The duo combined for 20 points and 18 rebounds, helping to lead the Kings to a comeback road win over Phoenix.

According to James Ham of NBC Sports California, both centers received praise from Walton after the game, with the Kings head coach telling reporters that Giles gave the club some “good minutes” and Dedmon “took full advantage” of his opportunity.

With Giles facing unrestricted free agency at season’s end and Dedmon hoping to be dealt, it’s possible neither center has a place in the Kings’ future. But having both players perform well could open some doors for Sacramento at the trade deadline — at the very least, it will help keep the team in the playoff race while Holmes recovers.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • While Anthony Davis will be eligible to earn a projected $202MM over five years with the Lakers on his next contract, he may be more inclined to sign a three-year deal with a player option, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. That would give Davis the chance to opt out and sign a more lucrative long-term contract in 2022, when he has 10 years of NBA experience.
  • The NBA has fined Warriors head coach Steve Kerr $25K for “verbally abusing” a game official and failing to leave the court immediately after being ejected, the league announced today in a press release. Kerr expressed his displeasure with a call in the second quarter of Monday’s game vs. Sacramento, yelling “Wake your a– up!” at referee Jason Goldenberg.
  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic explores the likelihood of the Clippers adding a veteran like Darren Collison, Aron Baynes, or Thaddeus Young. Buha views a trade for Baynes or Young as a long shot, but believes the Clips shouldn’t hesitate to open a roster spot for Collison if he’s willing to sign with them.

Harry Giles: Lack Of Role Is “Tough”

The Kings used a first-round pick on Harry Giles in 2017 and seemed to view him as a franchise cornerstone during his de facto rookie season in 2018/19. However, Sacramento turned down its fourth-year option for 2020/21 on Giles this fall and the big man has only appeared in seven games so far this season, logging 52 total minutes.

Giles, whose rookie season was wiped out due to knee problems, is healthy now after battling injuries in recent years. Still, he hasn’t seen the court since November 27 and admits to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee that falling out of the rotation this season has been difficult.

“It’s tough,” Giles said. “I’m a competitor, so it’s hard, but it is what it is. It’s not my decision. All I can do is work hard every day, control what I can control, and stay as ready as I can. What else can I do?”

As Anderson notes, Giles was expected to vie with Richaun Holmes for backup center minutes behind Dewayne Dedmon this season, but the Kings’ frontcourt rotation has been upended as a result of impressive performances from Holmes and Nemanja Bjelica. Neither Dedmon nor Giles has played as of late, though head coach Luke Walton suggests both big men should get another chance at some point.

“He’s going to get an opportunity and it’s his job to be ready and take full advantage of that,” Walton said of Giles. “Right now, we feel like our best group is tightening the rotation and keeping as much shooting and spacing out there as we can. With Marvin [Bagley] coming back, we wanted to get him in that rotation, but we’re playing eight or nine guys right now, so it’s more of a numbers thing. We want to play everyone, but we can’t.”

While the Kings say Giles will get another chance and insist he hasn’t been ruled out as a long-term piece, it seems unlikely at this point that his time in Sacramento will extend beyond this season — especially with Bagley, Holmes, Dedmon, and Bjelica all on multiyear deals. Giles, who will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, will be just 22 years old at that time, so I’d expect another NBA team to roll the dice on his upside if Sacramento doesn’t retain him.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Montrezl Harrell, Clippers, 25, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2018
The Rockets had no idea what they were giving up when they tossed Harrell into the Chris Paul blockbuster. Harrell doesn’t have a three-point shot but otherwise, he’s a terror. He was a prime candidate for Sixth Man of the Year last season and will be once again. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 2.2 APG despite starting just two of 22 games. Harrell will be a hot commodity as an unrestricted free agent and the Clippers will be pushed into luxury tax territory if they want to retain him. It would be worth the cost.

Glenn Robinson III, Warriors, 25, SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.9MM deal in 2019
Robinson’s last season in Indiana was a washout due to an ankle injury. His one season in Detroit was a washout due to a lack of production. With an expanded role on a bad team, Robinson is upgrading his resume. He’s averaging 32.1 MPG as a starter and averaging 11.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 2.0 APG while making 38.9% of his 3-point tries. Stats compiled under these circumstances can be deceiving but Robinson has at least regained his confidence and shown he’s worthy of a rotation spot on most teams.

Avery Bradley, Lakers, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9.8MM deal in 2019
Bradley started 10 games for the streaking Lakers this season, though he didn’t shoot well (28.6% from deep) playing alongside two of the league’s biggest stars. The big issue for Bradley in recent seasons has been staying on the court and once again, the injury bug has bitten him. He’s out at least another week with a lower leg issue. Bradley’s contract includes a $5MM player option and he needs to show he can stay healthy and productive for a long stretch in order to decline that option and test the free agent waters.

Aron Baynes, Suns, 32, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10.6MM deal in 2018
The popular Australian big man has gotten off to a terrific start in Phoenix with Deandre Ayton serving his 25-game league-imposed suspension. Baynes is averaging 14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 2.9 APG in 24.0 MPG through 13 games. He’s also turned into a solid three-point shooter (43.9%), adding a new element to his game. He’s been slowed recently by a calf injury but with a dearth of quality centers around the league, Baynes will get some multi-year offers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Harry Giles, Kings, 21, PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $6.6MM deal in 2017
The 20th pick of the 2017 draft, Giles has battling injuries since entering the league. He didn’t make his NBA debut until last season, then appeared in 58 games off the bench. The Kings declined their fourth-year option on him prior to this season, making him an unrestricted free agent this summer. He doesn’t have a rotation spot under new coach Luke Walton, averaging just 7.4 MPG in seven appearances this season. The same age as a college senior, Giles will get a second chance somewhere but his offers will be modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Notes: James, Giles, Playoff Changes, Doncic

Second-round pick Justin James made an impression Friday with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists in his first significant playing time of the season. Before that, the Kings guard was mostly known for his non-stop chatter, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic.

James is talkative and opinionated, something that has been evident since the start of training camp. It’s his way of showing that he belongs in the league, and his teammates have noticed.

“He has that ‘it’ factor — he’s not shy,” Buddy Hield said. “From Day 1 when he first came in, he was not too shy to talk back, shy to voice his opinion … but he means well, and that comes from being confident.”

Sacramento took James with the 40th pick in June, and some draft experts were surprised he was selected at all. However, a series of injuries has provided him with an opportunity, and he played 33 minutes against Brooklyn after getting just 15 total minutes before that game.

“Every practice, he never shuts up, really,” coach Luke Walton said. “I think because of that, he knows the offense, he knows the play calls. There was one play out there he was directing veterans out there where to go. I think he knows what an amazing opportunity this is for him, and he’s doing everything in his power to make it work. He made a nice case for himself.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • The Kings haven’t given up on Harry Giles, even though they decided not to pick up the fourth year of his rookie scale contract last month, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Giles, who has been plagued by injuries since high school, provides another dimension with his ability to run the offense through the high post. Knee soreness caused him to miss all of training camp and the first eight games of the season.
  • Proposed changes to the NBA’s playoff format could have helped the Kings reach the postseason last year, Ham notes in a separate story. The play-in system that the league is considering would have matched the Kings and Lakers in a one-game format to take on the loser between the Spurs and Clippers for the eighth seed.
  • The Kings passed on Luka Doncic in last year’s draft in part because general manager Vlade Divac doesn’t like Doncic’s father, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon claimed on a podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski (hat tip to Jesse Reed of Sportsnaut). “My understanding is that him (Divac) being so close to Luka and knowing his dad so well factored into their decision,” MacMahon said. “Basically he didn’t think a whole lot of Luka’s dad, and the whole like father like son … well … no, this is a different dude. You messed that one up, Vlade.”

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Rondo, Kings, George

Former Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson recently appeared on Fox Sports 1 to discuss his old team, the well-documented trade conversations involving Anthony Davis and more.

Prior to the trade deadline last February, with Davis seeking to move out of New Orleans, Johnson and then-Pelicans GM Dell Demps engaged in a serious of discussions with hopes of finalizing a trade to land Davis in Los Angeles. The Lakers never believed Demps was truly looking to accommodate Davis’ request, and Johnson used a noteworthy level of honesty while discussing the matter in his appearance on Fox.

“He was looking at me like I caused Anthony Davis to want to be traded,” Johnson said (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports). “So, we’re on the phone, and he’s blaming me. I said, ‘What are you blaming me for, Dell?’ I heard he wanted to be traded, so I’m giving you a call. ‘Are you going to trade him?’ ‘You’re not going to trade him.’ So, he had me send three or four proposals, but he never got serious, Shannon. He never got serious. And I said, I told Rob [Pelinka], I told Jeanie [Buss], ‘He doesn’t want to trade AD to us.’ And sure enough, the last one was, ‘Give us your whole team and five first-round picks.’ I said, ‘Listen, man. [Laughter.] I can’t give you five first-round picks and the whole team.’ He wanted all our young guys. I said, ‘No, I can’t do it now.’ That’s when I said he doesn’t want to trade him.

“And look what happened. When they found out, the owner found out what was the trade proposal from us, she was like, ‘Oh, what are you doing?’ And then the new general manager comes.”

Johnson didn’t mince words about what failing to trade Davis did for Demps’ job security, either.

“It got him fired,” he proclaimed.

There’s more from the Pacific Division tonight:

  • Despite originally targeting a Sunday return date, Lakers guard Rajon Rondo (calf) will wait to make his season debut, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes (Twitter link). Rondo participated in a workout on Saturday and will work out again on Sunday to ramp up his endurance, Haynes notes. The Lakers have games scheduled this week against the Suns on Tuesday, Warriors on Wednesday and Kings on Friday.
  • In his latest mailbag, Jason Jones of The Athletic examines the situation of Kings big man Harry Giles, where coach Luke Walton stands with the front office, and more. Sacramento has opened the 2019/20 season with 3-6 record, including a 1-3 mark at home.
  • Clippers star Paul George could make his season debut as early as Monday after being cleared for five-on-five practice this weekend, Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register writes. George had separate surgeries earlier this year to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder and a small labrum tear in his left shoulder.

Pacific Notes: Burks, Leonard, Howard, Giles

Alec Burks doesn’t regret joining the Warriors despite their injury woes, Anthony Slater of The Athletic reports. He originally committed to the Thunder in free agency, then shifted gears when their two stars were traded. Burks signed a one-year deal with Golden State.

“I committed here for other reasons besides playing with those great players. I like the culture. I like (Warriors head coach) Steve (Kerr),” he said. “I like (GM) Bob (Myers). That’s what sold me at first. And I like the people right here that’s playing, that’s healthy. We’ll eventually get those guys back. … I’m glad where I’m at. I’m proud I made a good decision.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard was blindsided by the league revealing the nature of his knee injury while fining the team $50K for making conflicting statements about his health, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN relays. According to the league statement, Leonard is dealing with a patella tendon issue in his left knee. “I mean it was shocking, but it doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “I’m not a guy that reads the media anyway. We’re going to manage it the best way we can to keep me healthy and that’s the most important thing, me being healthy moving forward.”
  • The way the Clippers handled the Leonard load management controversy may have been sloppy but it showed that the organization has his back, Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic opine. The Clippers are trying to follow the Raptors’ blueprint to success, which includes giving Leonard a number of nights off.
  • Dwight Howard has emerged a legitimate candidate for the Sixth Man award, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype writes. Not only has Howard been a force with the Lakers’ second unit, he’s also blended surprisingly well with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, according to statistical measures, Kalbrosky adds. Howard, working on a non-guaranteed contract, is averaging 6.7 PPG, 7.9 RPG and 2.1 BPG in 21.7 MPG.
  • Kings center Harry Giles was medically cleared to play just prior to the team’s game against the Hawks on Friday, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports. Giles had been sidelined by left knee soreness. Giles, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season since the team declined its 2020/21 option on him, scored four points in eight minutes during his season debut.

Kings Won’t Pick Up 2020/21 Options On Giles, Swanigan

The Kings are declining two of their four rookie scale options for the 2020/21 season, a league source tells James Ham of NBC Sports California (Twitter link). According to Ham, Sacramento won’t be picking up the fourth-year options for Harry Giles ($3,976,510) or Caleb Swanigan ($3,665,787).

As expected, Sacramento has exercised its fourth-year option on De’Aaron Fox ($8,099,627) and its third-year option on Marvin Bagley III ($8,963,640). Those were procedural moves and were never in doubt. However, the decisions on Giles and Swanigan are a little more interesting.

Giles, the 20th overall pick in the 2017 draft, has been plagued by knee issues since entering the league. Injuries cost him his entire rookie year and limited him to 58 games (14.1 MPG) in 2018/19. He has also yet to play this season as he battles knee pain.

Given his upside, I still though Sacramento would likely exercise Giles’ 2020/21 option. However, it appears the club decided the risk outweighed the reward when it came to guaranteeing nearly $4MM for the big man.

The Kings’ option decision on Swanigan is less surprising. The former Purdue power forward has averaged just 2.1 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 51 career regular season contests with Portland and Sacramento, having never developed into a reliable rotation player.

Giles and Swanigan, two of just four players around the NBA who have had their rookie scale options turned down, will both become unrestricted free agents in 2020 as a result of today’s decisions. At that time, Sacramento won’t be able to offer them a starting salary worth more than the value of their declined options.

Meanwhile, Fox will become extension-eligible next July, while Bagley has one more option on his rookie scale contract for the 2021/22 season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Notes: Walton, Giles, Bogdanovic

Luke Walton’s tenure as head coach of the Kings is off to a difficult start, notes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Preseason was conducted around 20-hour flights to and from India, and the regular season started with a 29-point loss that saw Marvin Bagley break his right thumb. Some fans are angry that Bagley was on the court in the final minutes of a blowout, but Walton defends the decision, saying it’s part of building a winning organization.

“Marvin is a huge part of our future, so we’ve got to get the time and the reps with him,” Walton said. “But to speak on who Marvin is, he fractures his thumb two days ago and he was at shootaround (Friday), in the weight room, running sprints with our strength coach. He’s going to do everything he can possibly do to stay in shape and even get better. I’ve already informed him that I want him sitting next to our coaches during games so he can talk to them about what he sees and (we can) continue to coach him.”

There’s more Kings news to pass along:

  • Knee issues have been a long-time concern for Harry Giles, but he insists the latest one is nothing to be concerned about, relays Jason Jones of the Athletic. Giles practiced just once during training camp and wasn’t cleared for contact until this week. Still, he has declared himself healthy on social media and in a session with reporters last night. “Nothing happened,” he said. “Just ramped it up from workouts and my knee flared up a little bit. When you have a knee or something like that, there’s players that go through that all the time. It happens year-round, you’ve just got to approach it and treat it the right way.” The team hasn’t set a timetable for his return.
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic is denying a report that he’s unhappy as a reserve, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. He stressed that he’s willing to play any role to help the Kings win.
  • Bogdanovic’s decision to turn down an extension offer makes him more likely to be traded, writes Tommy Beer of Forbes. Bogdanovic is headed for restricted free agency, and the Kings already have nearly $200MM tied up in Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield, with extensions looming for De’Aaron Fox and Bagley the next two summers. Beer suggests the Knicks might be interested, as Bogdanovic would fill their need for an outside shooter.

Kings Notes: Hield, Giles, Gabriel, Outlook

No player who signed a rookie scale extension this week has more potential variance from year to year than Kings shooting guard Buddy Hield. While his new deal has a base value of $86MM over four seasons, Hield can reportedly earn an extra $5MM in annual incentives, increasing the total value of the extension to $106MM.

However, maxing out on all those incentives won’t be easy, as Jason Jones and Sam Amick of The Athletic detail. For instance, more than half of Hield’s annual bonuses are tied to the following achievements:

  • Being named an All-Star ($1MM)
  • Kings make the playoffs ($500K)
  • Kings make it to Western Semifinals ($250K)
  • Kings make it to Western Finals ($500K)
  • Kings make it to NBA Finals ($1MM)

Another $2MM in annual incentives are more reachable, but are hardly locks. According to Jones and Amick, Hield could earn up to $2MM if he appears in at least 70 games and achieves the following benchmarks:

  • Makes at least 85.0% of his free throws ($500K)
  • Averages fewer than two turnovers per game ($500K)
  • Leads the NBA in made three-pointers ($500K)
  • Has a defensive rating below 110.5 ($500K)

Hield wasn’t an All-Star in 2018/19 and the Kings didn’t make the playoffs. However, he appeared in all 82 games and made 88.6% of his free throw attempts, averaged 1.8 turnovers per game, and had a defensive rating of 110.0. So if he were to repeat those numbers, he’d earn $1.5MM in bonus money.

Here are a couple more notes on the Kings:

  • Big man Harry Giles won’t be ready to start the regular season, head coach Luke Walton confirmed earlier this week (link via Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee). Giles, who is dealing with left knee soreness, isn’t yet participating in the contact portion of Kings’ practices.
  • Wenyen Gabriel‘s new contract with the Kings is a non-guaranteed one-year deal worth the minimum, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. Gabriel, who was moved to the 15-man roster on Monday, would be a restricted free agent at season’s end if he finishes the contract.
  • James Patrick of The Sacramento Bee explores the best- and worst-case scenarios for the Kings in 2019/20.

Western Notes: Hield, Kings, Grizzlies, Poole

As the Kings mull over whether to offer fourth-year guard Buddy Hield a contract extension, Hield has received strong praise from a major voice in the organization: De’Aaron Fox.

“Everybody deals with their own, so it’s something I worry about, but obviously I want to continue to play with a guy like that,” Fox said, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California. “For me, just hopefully they get it done.”

Hield has expressed interest in signing an extension with the Kings, and the 26-year-old hasn’t demanded a max-salary offer to this point, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. He averaged a career-high 20.7 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists per game last season, appearing in all 82 contests.

“As a player, you want to have that trust that the franchise has your back and we’re just waiting for them to make a move and come to an agreement,” Hield said last week. “They’re talking, but nothing is moving yet. Nothing has moved. I’m ready to make things happen, man. I want to make Sacramento my home. I’m ready to get this s— done. I want to be here and if it doesn’t happen, then things can go the other way.”

Hield, who would become a restricted free agent next summer if the two sides fail to reach an extension, is due to make $4.8MM with the Kings this season. The deadline for teams to reach decisions on rookie-scale extensions is October 21.

Here are some other notes from the Western Conference:

  • Kings forward Trevor Ariza underwent a successful procedure to remove a lipoma from his back last week, the team announced, as relayed by James Ham (Twitter link). He is expected to miss the remaining two preseason games and be reevaluated after the Oct. 16 game against Melbourne United. Sacramento also announced that Harry Giles (sore left knee) is expected to miss the rest of the preseason after an Sept. 30 MRI revealed no new findings on the injury.
  • Michael Wallace of NBA.com evaluates where every Grizzlies player stands as the team crosses the halfway mark of the preseason. Wallace examines the likes of No. 2 overall pick Ja Morant, veteran forward Jae Crowder, third-year guard Dillon Brooks and more.
  • The Warriors’ overall confidence in rookie guard Jordan Poole is gradually beginning to grow, Monte Poole of NBC Sports writes. “He’s really advanced,” Draymond Green said of his teammate on Thursday, moments after Poole scored 19 points in 21 minutes against the Timberwolves. “He’s very good with the basketball and he can shoot it, which is obviously at a premium in this league today. But he can really create shots for himself and can really stretch and space the floor out.”