Kent Bazemore

Western Notes: Powell, Bazemore, Holiday, Brown, Timberwolves

Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, who is signed through the 2022/23 season, is showing good progress as he rehabs from a torn right Achilles, Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News reports. Powell, who underwent surgery in January, has no movement limitations. However, the closure of the Mavericks practice facility has created an obstacle to get on-court time. It typically takes an NBA player a year or more to return to action from an Achilles tear but the delayed start of next season should work in his favor.

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • The Warriors could consider adding one of their former players,  the Kings’ Kent Bazemore or the Pacers’ Justin Holiday, in free agency, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Poole breaks down the pros and cons of both players and concludes Holiday would be a better fit, since he has proven more durable in recent years. However, it’s also likely he’d cost more than Bazemore, Poole adds.
  • It’s unclear if former Sixers coach Brett Brown is a candidate for the Thunder’s opening but there is a strong connection to the front office, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman notes. Brown worked with GM Sam Presti in the Spurs organization from 2002-07.
  • The Timberwolves mini-camp facilitated Jarrett Culver‘s development and Josh Okogie‘s playmaking skills, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. It also reinforced the value of forward Jake Layman, though he suffered a broken nose during the workouts.

Pacific Notes: Harrell, Bazemore, Thompson, Booker

Clippers coach Doc Rivers is hopeful big man Montrezl Harrell can play in the team’s final seeding game on Friday, Jovan Buha of The Athletic tweets. Rivers would like to play one game with his usual rotation prior to the playoffs, Buha adds. One of the league’s top reserves, Harrell left the Orlando campus due to the passing of his grandmother. He’ll have to rebuild rhythm with teammates and regain his conditioning, Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times notes.

We have more on the Pacific Division:

  • Kings swingman Kent Bazemore appears unlikely to play against the Lakers on Thursday, Sean Cunningham of KXTV tweets. Bazemore, who hasn’t played since last Thursday, is dealing with a calf injury. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson has been working out mainly in Orange County, Calif., including a workout with backcourt partner Stephen Curry, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. Thompson was cleared to train without restrictions in June after suffering a torn ACL during last season’s Finals.
  • The Suns have been the breakout team in Orlando and Devin Booker is confident that will carry over to next season, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “I don’t think there’s going to be any sad faces around here, whether we leave here in the playoffs or not,” Booker said. “We’ve put the work in and we’ve grown as a team. We’ve took tremendous strides that I think will build for us for continuing years to come.”

Pacific Notes: Kings, Booker, Davis, Bazemore

In anticipation of the Kings returning to NBA action against the Spurs on July 31, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area analyzes the team’s full 17-man roster. The team will begin practicing in tandem after the squad arrives at the Orlando Disney World campus next week.

Sacramento big man Marvin Bagley III, injured for most of the season, and newly inked guard Corey Brewer are considered intriguing “wild card” pieces to the Kings puzzle. With a 28-36 record, the Kings are currently on the outside of the playoff hunt looking in.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Suns All-Star Devin Booker deserves to shoulder little blame should Phoenix miss the playoffs in the NBA’s season restart, according to Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. Rankin posits that, with Booker having elevated his play this season, the front office deserves much of the blame for his surrounding teammates. Center Deandre Ayton, drafted ahead of All-Stars Luka Doncic and Trae Young in 2018, has been putting up solid counting statistics this season, but has yet to live up to his billing as a No. 1 pick.
  • Lakers All-Star big man Anthony Davis considers the long league layoff to be beneficial to his club’s title hopes, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “I think our chances are higher just because we’re all rested and we’re all ready to go,” Davis said while addressing reporters during a video conference yesterday. Davis and fellow All-Star starter LeBron James have been instrumental in leading the 49-14 Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference. The team boasts top-five ratings in offense and defense this season.
  • Kings bench swingman Kent Bazemore, currently playing out the final season of a four-year, $70MM contract, has indicated that he would like to re-sign in Sacramento for next season and beyond, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link). Bazemore was traded to Sacramento from Portland in January. In 21 games with his new team, he has averaged 10.3 PPG, while shooting 42.6% from the field and 38.6% from three-point range, plus 5.0 RPG, 1.1 APG and 1.2 SPG.

Pacific Notes: Bazemore, Kings, Booker, Rivers

Kent Bazemore gave the Kings an unexpected boost after they acquired him from the Trail Blazers, as Zach Lowe of ESPN details. Bazemore made 39% of his 3-point attempts and averaged 16 points per 36 minutes while providing energy and rebounding, Lowe continues. Bazemore, an unrestricted free agent this offseason, also had success on post-ups against smaller guards, Lowe adds.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Re-signing restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic will be the top priority for the Kings this offseason, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic. The Kings intend to match any offer sheet, says Jones. Sacramento will look to upgrade its defense, particular on the wing, but it’s unlikely that big man Harry Giles will return after the team declined to pick up his option for next season, Jones notes.
  • Suns guard Devin Booker has been named a global ambassador for the Special Olympics, ESPN’s Malika Andrews reports. As an ambassador, Booker will continue to work with Special Olympics Arizona, communicate with young Special Olympics athletes on social media and participate in international Special Olympic events, Andrews adds.
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers has been hammering home the message to his players to remain focused on winning a championship, Jovan Buha of The Athletic reports. “I’m trying to get my guys to understand two things: that our goals haven’t changed and the second thing is we cannot use whatever happens when we come out of this as the reason we don’t win,” Rivers said. “So we have to be mentally prepared for something different, something strange, (like) an NCAA tournament-style (or) a three-game series —  Those are just dangerous, anybody can win those things – (or) a five-game series. You just got to be prepared for it and you’re in the same boat. We use this phrase: ‘Win the wait.’”

Pacific Notes: Bender, Kings, Lakers, Ayton

After failing to become long-term building blocks in Phoenix, former Suns lottery picks Marquese Chriss and Dragan Bender have reunited in Golden State. Bender is only on a 10-day contract for now, but Chriss thinks his former and current frontcourt mate is fitting in nicely with the Warriors, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic details.

“I think it’s a good fit for him, especially being around people who believe in you and help you grow,” Chriss said. “I think that’s all he needs.”

Bender’s 10-day contract with the Warriors will expire on Tuesday night, at which time Golden State will have the option of signing him to a second 10-day deal before having to make a decision on a rest-of-season commitment. Bender, who is simply looking to prove he still belongs in the NBA, hopes he’s making a good impression.

“I take it day-by-day,” Bender recently said, per Rankin. “I think there’s always options, but with this team, take it day-by-day and see what happens. Obviously, a great place to be, like I said. Great organization. I’m looking forward to the opportunity, but like I said, take it day-by-day and see what happens.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Although the Kings have missed Richaun Holmes over the last two months, they could actually have a logjam at center soon, writes James Ham of NBC Sports California. Holmes is reportedly nearing a return, but Harry Giles and Alex Len have played well up front for Sacramento as of late, so it’ll be interesting to see how the team divvies up playing time down the stretch.
  • Despite the fact that Anthony Tolliver was waived by the Kings over the weekend, he and Kent Bazemore helped get the team out of its lowest point of the season in January, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. The two recently-acquired veterans told their new teammates in a team meeting that they were better than their record showed. “We were very vocal about the potential here,” Tolliver said. “Coming from Portland and seeing how we played there, and seeing how these guys played here, even though they were losing a lot of games at that point, we were like, ‘You guys are not that far away from winning.'” Sacramento is 11-5 since that motivational pep talk.
  • With a comfortable hold on the top seed in the West, the Lakers are using the final stretch of the season to experiment a little with lineups, says Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register. That included starting Alex Caruso when Danny Green missed Saturday’s game with a minor hip injury.
  • Even though he’s not the All-Star and borderline MVP candidate that Luka Doncic is, Deandre Ayton is on an impressive run for the Suns, averaging 20.9 PPG and 12.4 RPG in his last 19 games. Greg Moore of The Arizona Republic makes the case that it wasn’t a mistake for Phoenix to select Ayton first overall in 2018, two spots ahead of Doncic.

Pacific Notes: Giles, Len, Lakers, Clippers, Bazemore

Kings big man Harry Giles III recorded his first double-double on Saturday, helping his team pull off an improbable 112-103 victory over the Clippers at Staples Center.

Giles posted 14 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes, proving his worth on both ends of the floor as starting center. He started the 2019/20 season with very limited playing time, but his recent surge has caught the attention of Sacramento’s coaches.

“He’s moving much better now,” head coach Luke Walton said, as relayed by Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “He’s out there calling coverages. He’s out there at the level, backing up, rebounding the ball. He’s doing all the things that we love about Harry. He looks like, physically, he’s in the best place I’ve seen him since I’ve been the coach here, and his skill set, as far as his passing and rebounding and toughness, that’s something we need.”

Giles has an injury-riddled history, particularly with his knees, but it hasn’t stopped the 21-year-old from continuing to persevere and improve. Instead, it’s motivated him to play better.

“I think with time and reps I’m going to get better,” Giles said. “I’m going to keep getting better. You know how the fouls go. It varies depending on how you’re going to play and depending on how the refs are going to let you play, too, so I’m going to keep getting better at that and just playing hard.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Luke Walton also spoke highly of Alex Len, who made his debut with the Kings on Saturday and recorded eight rebounds in 16 minutes. “It was nice to have a big body out there like that,” Walton said, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). “He did a good job of clogging up that paint. We’ve got to get him a little more familiar with what we’re doing so we can open up the playbook, but he knows some of the basic sets and he helped us win.”
  • The Lakers and Clippers are set to play their rescheduled game on April 9 at Staples Center, forcing the Lakers to play three consecutive home games from April 7-9, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes. The game was originally scheduled to be played on January 28 but was later postponed due to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.
  • The union of Kent Bazemore and the Kings has been a perfect fit for both sides, Jason Jones writes in a different story for The Athletic. Sacramento traded for Bazemore last month, acquiring a proven two-way player at the wing position.“Sometimes fresh blood does help,” Bazemore said. “I hadn’t been having the best year, so it was kind of a match made in heaven. A guy coming over desperate and team in a desperate situation. We’re kind of making it work right now.”

Blazers Offered Expiring Contracts For Kevin Love

The Trail Blazers were rumored to have kicked tires on Kevin Love earlier this year, and according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic (via NBC Sports), the team offered Kent Bazemore and Hassan Whiteside for the big man.

Whiteside is making $27.1MM this season. Bazemore is making $19.3MM while Love is taking home $28.9MM. The outlined of the deal suggests that Portland would have received other players as part of the trade in order to meet the league’s salary-matching rules.

It’s not clear when exactly the proposal took place — the Blazers ended up trading Bazemore to the Kings in earlier January, so presumably, it was before that deal. Portland netted Trevor Ariza as part of the five-player trade.

The Cavaliers had Brandon Knight and John Henson on substantial expiring pacts prior to the team trading them to Detroit for Andre Drummond. Perhaps one of those two were in the proposed deal. Tristan Thompson, who is making $18.5M in the final year of his contract, could also have been a possibility, though that is simply speculation.

The Cavs couldn’t find common ground with potential trade partners when it came to Love’s trade value. Cleveland reportedly wanted a first-round pick in exchange for the big man, while it was rumored that some teams wanted a first-rounder just to take Love. The former All-Star has approximately $91MM left on his deal after this season.

Kings Notes: Bagley, Dedmon, Parker, Bazemore

Marvin Bagley‘s status for the rest of the season remains uncertain as he recovers from a sprained left foot, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. The second-year forward has barely played since suffering the injury December 26, and the Kings announced last week that he will be re-examined after the All-Star break.

Bagley was wearing a walking boot as he visited the team in the locker room following last night’s game. He talked to the media for the first time since the injury, but wasn’t able to add much clarity to his situation.

“I’m definitely going to try to come back this year, but that’s too far ahead at this point,” Bagley said. “The most important thing for me right now is to make sure I’m healthy. Honestly, who knows, I’m just going one day at a time with this, I’m trying not to think too far ahead. I obviously want to play, I want to be out there. … I’ve only played however many games I’ve played this season over things I can’t control.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • General manager Vlade Divac admitted the Kings didn’t get what they hoped for from Dewayne Dedmon when they signed him to a three-year, $40MM contract in free agency, Ham relays in a separate story. Sacramento granted Dedmon’s trade request this week, sending him back to Atlanta. “Definitely disappointed for me, for the organization and I’m sure from Dedmon’s side that things didn’t work,” Divac said. “We had good intentions. He didn’t work out. We’re happy to move on and wish Dedmon all the best. Definitely, he wasn’t what we expected.”
  • The players the Kings received in the deal with the Hawks are both close to returning from injuries, Ham adds. Jabari Parker may play tomorrow after missing most of the past month with a shoulder impingement, while Alex Len is making progress in his recovery from a hip flexor. In a video posted by Sean Cunningham of KXTV, Parker said he wasn’t surprised to be traded. “I’ve always had a perspective I’m not employed by individual teams; I’m employed by the NBA,” he said.
  • The Kings began to turn their season around when they acquired Kent Bazemore from the Trail Blazers, observes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Bazemore has brought energy and attention to detail to the Sacramento defense. “He goes out there and does a lot of the dirty work,” De’Aaron Fox said. “… He does a lot of things for us, and the chemistry we’ve had since he’s been here has been great. It feels like we’ve been playing with him a lot longer than two weeks.”

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Nuggets, Towns, Wiggins, Dort

The Trail Blazers will entertain offers for center Hassan Whiteside, a free agent after the season, and The Athletic’s Jason Quick estimates the chances of him being traded at 50/50. Quick also dealt with a few other Blazers-related topics.

Their recent trade with the Kings which involved five players and two second-round picks was a solid one, according to Quick, because the Trail Blazers saved approximately $12MM and upgraded at the wing with Trevor Ariza replacing Kent Bazemore. Portland is unlikely to deal its first-round pick because president of basketball operations Neil Olshey covets draft choices, even if the draft class is considered weak, Quick adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • The Nuggets will continue to be without three rotation players when they face the Grizzlies on Tuesday, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets. Starting point guard Jamal Murray will miss his sixth straight game due to an ankle sprain while power forward Paul Millsap will sit out for the 11th consecutive game due to a knee injury. Backup big man Mason Plumlee will miss his fourth straight game due to a foot ailment.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins get the blame when things aren’t going well with the Timberwolves but the players around them need to do more, Kent Youngblood of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes. Guard Shabazz Napier told Youngblood that the role players need to do their jobs better. “This team is so used to KAT and Wigs doing all the work that when it doesn’t happen, we just stand around,’’ Napier said. “That’s how it is. We just gotta find ways to help them guys out. … We all, the role players, have to figure out, how do we help them out better?’’
  • Undrafted rookie guard Luguentz Dort has earned playing time with the Thunder for his defense while showing more of an offensive game, Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman relays. Over the last five games, Dort is averaging 7.2 PPG and 1.8 APG while shooting 5-for-12 on 3-pointers and making seven steals. “You can’t tell me he’s a rookie,” guard Chris Paul said of the two-way player.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Lakers, Saric, Suns

Appearing in their first game as members of the Kings on Wednesday, Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver were part of the team’s sixth consecutive loss and 15th in the last 18 games. While Sacramento’s playoff chances appear to be slipping away, the two newcomers remain optimistic that they can help turn things around.

“Me and Kent both feel exactly the same way — it’s not unfixable,” Tolliver said this week upon joining the Kings, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. “It’s not something where we feel, ‘Aw, crap, we’re just gonna have to ride it out.’ We really feel we have an opportunity to do something with the guys we have.”

The Kings are now 5.5 games back of the No. 8 seed in the West, but Bazemore isn’t convinced that deficit is insurmountable, as Anderson relays: “You win two or three games in a row, you finish strong going into the (All-Star) break and you have plenty of time to make up that slack. This league is about getting hot at the right time.”

Despite the disappointing stretch, the Kings have no changes planned for their coaching staff or management group, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California, who tweets that the club will need to work things out with the current group in place.

Let’s round up a few more items from around the Pacific…

  • Asked by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link) if the Lakers need one more piece to cement their place as a championship contender, LeBron James declined to lobby for an upgrade. We have enough right now,” he replied.
  • As a result of starting 41 games this season for the Suns, Dario Saric has met the starter criteria and will be eligible a slightly higher qualifying offer if the team makes him a restricted free agent this summer, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. A former 12th overall pick, Saric would have been in line for a $4.79MM QO, but it’ll now be worth $5.09MM, the equivalent of a QO for the ninth overall pick.
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams and star Devin Booker expressed enthusiasm about NFL receiver Larry Fitzgerald joining the club’s ownership group, as Brendon Kleen of Forbes.com writes. “The level of credibility of our franchise continues to go up,” Williams said. “When someone like Larry partners and pours his money into it, it says a lot about who we are and who we’re trying to be.”