Kings players already feel a closer bond with new coach Luke Walton than they did with previous coach Dave Joerger, Jason Jones of The Athletic reports. Having a coach that would help bring in free agents and make current roster members want to stay in Sacramento is part of the reason why Walton was hired.
“He just comes in, and it’s an instant connection,” Kings guard Buddy Hield told Jones. “He’s played before so he knows that player relationship and now he’s a coach so he knows how to relate to us, so that’s big coming from him.”
We have more from the Western Conference:
- Mentoring Clint Capela is a major reason why the Rockets brought in veteran center Tyson Chandler, Kelly Iko of The Athletic writes. Chandler signed a one-year contract in July. The Rockets want Capela to become an elite defensive presence and anchor and Chandler will help facilitate that process.
- Rockets guard Eric Gordon enters the preseason as a starter but Danuel House could make a push for that status, Iko adds in the same piece.
- The Nuggets have promoted John Beckett from director of player development to full-time assistant coach, Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports tweets. Ognjen Stojakovic has taken over Beckett’s previous spot, while Boniface N’Dong has been added to the player development staff.
- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle believes Tim Hardaway Jr. has been cleared to participate in training camp, Dwain Price of the team’s website tweets. Hardaway met this week with the surgeon that performed the surgery in April on his left tibia and got a positive review. Hardaway’s availability for camp would coincide with the anticipated timetable following the surgery.