Louis King

Southwest Notes: Ingram, Hearn, Vassell, King, Rockets

Fans and people around the league didn’t think very highly of the Pelicans when Brandon Ingram signed a five-year extension with the team back in 2020, but that perception is changing, writes Christian Clark of NOLA.com (subscription required). Clark notes that Jonas Valanciunas, Zion Williamson and most recently CJ McCollum have all signed extensions with the franchise after Ingram inked his deal a couple years ago.

It’s a good place to be,” Ingram said about New Orleans. “They see what’s going on. They see how we bond with each other. How we play on the floor. It’s kind of unheard of in the league, having 14 or 15 guys care about each other and believe in each other and actually want to know about each other. It’s pretty different here.”

The Pelicans have historically struggled in the postseason, having failed to advance past the second round in their 20-year existence. Ingram says the team has its sights set on loftier goals.

The expectation is to win, especially for our team,” Ingram said. “We just have some added fans. We always believed in what we were doing. The expectation is still the same. I don’t know what the outside expectation is. But for us, it’s to bring a championship to New Orleans.”

Ingram had a great playoff run with New Orleans last season. Despite falling to Phoenix in the first round, the Pelicans and Ingram put up a good fight, with the star forward averaging 27.0 PPG, 6.2 RPG and 6.2 APG on .475/.407/.830 shooting in six games (39.3 MPG).

Here’s more from the Southwest:

  • Guard Reggie Hearn has decided to retire after nine professional seasons, having agreed to join the Spurs as a scout, sources tell our JD Shaw (Twitter link). As Shaw notes, Hearn spent the majority of his career in the G League, holding career averages of 11.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG on .431/.392/.799 shooting in 317 games (218 starts, 27.7 MPG). Hearn also made a brief appearance with the Pistons in 2018, playing three games while on a two-way contract.
  • After increasing his averages across the board in year two, former lottery pick Devin Vassell is hoping to have a breakout third season with the Spurs in 2022/23, according to Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News. “I don’t think I can put into words how excited I am,” Vassell said. “I think it’s going to be a big year, not only for me but for this organization to grow and build. I can’t wait to get this thing going.”
  • The Rockets‘ G League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, have acquired the returning player rights to Louis King from the Westchester Knicks, Shaw tweets. Rio Grande sent Westchester its first-round pick and a second-rounder (via the Maine Celtics) in the NBAGL draft to complete the deal. King holds three years of NBA experience with the Pistons and Kings on two-way contracts. He was waived by Sacramento in February.
  • In the recently completed eight-player trade that saw Derrick Favors head to Houston, the Rockets received a staggering $6,363,000 in cash from Oklahoma City, per Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter links). That’s the maximum amount of cash a team can send in a trade in 2022/23. The Thunder, meanwhile, generated two traded player exceptions worth $10.18MM (Favors) and $4.22MM (Ty Jerome), Pincus adds.

Summer League Commitments: Lakers, Suns, Magic, Warriors

Undrafted UConn guard R.J. Cole has committed to play summer league with the Lakers, a league source told Hoops Rumors. Cole, 22, is coming off an impressive season with the Huskies, averaging 15.8 points and 4.1 assists per game. He also recorded 1.1 steals per contest and shot 41.5% from the floor.

The Las Vegas Summer League will be held from July 7-17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Cole will reportedly join a number of other undrafted players on the Lakers’ roster, including Shareef O’Neal and Fabian White Jr.

Here are some other summer league-related notes:

  • Free agent forward Louis King — MVP of the 2021 Las Vegas Summer League — has accepted a summer league invite from the Suns, sources said. King most recently played for the Knicks’ G League affiliate. He holds past NBA experience with Sacramento.
  • Undrafted Saint Mary’s guard Tommy Kuhse has agreed to play summer league with the Magic, a league source told Hoops Rumors. Kushe is expected to see significant minutes with the team. He averaged 12.2 points and 3.7 assists per game this past season.
  • Kalob Ledoux has committed to play summer league with the Warriors, his agents BJ Bass and Cam Brennick of RBA Sports told Hoops Rumors. Ledoux played 14 games with Golden State’s G League affiliate, the Santa Cruz Warriors, this past season.

Warriors Notes: Green, Game 6, Kerr, Evans

Draymond Green admits the Celtics present certain challenges, but it’s not the same as facing LeBron James in the NBA Finals, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. One victory away from picking up his fourth ring with the Warriors, Green reflected Wednesday on the four Finals matchups with James when he was in Cleveland.

“It doesn’t compare to mentally playing against LeBron James, who I think is arguably the smartest guy to ever play this game,” Green said. “Not one of, he is arguably the smartest guy to set foot on a basketball court. To say that it compares to that, it’s disrespectful to LeBron, and it’s a lie to you.”

Green noted that the Celtics provide matchup problems because they’re “super athletic,” but said he has been able to outthink them so far. He singled out point guard Marcus Smart and coach Ime Udoka as being especially cerebral, but again mentioned James and his ability to diagnose the game.

“Like that’s just a skill that not many people possess,” Green said. “Not many people can come and sit here and find a random stretch from seven minutes to four minutes in the second quarter and give you every play like to the T and not miss a beat. There’s not many people that can do that.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Golden State will lean on its experience as it tries to wrap up the series in Boston tonight, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN. The Warriors have been in this situation plenty of times before and realize the clinching game can be the hardest to win. “You just understand what the nerves are like,” Stephen Curry said. “We understand the specifics of how we need to approach the game from a physicality perspective, our game plan adjustments from Game 5 to Game 6, understanding what the building is going to feel like, that energy, being prepared for it.”
  • Steve Kerr has a chance to add another championship to his legacy of success, per Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. Kerr is already the first person to win at least at least three titles as both a player and a coach. “Just hanging around the right people,” he said as an explanation. “You hang around superstars long enough, you’re going to get some residual success falling your way.”
  • Former NBA guard Tyreke Evans was among the players at a Warriors mini-camp held Wednesday, tweets JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors, who adds that Evans worked out for the team in March. Justin Tillman and Louis King also attended.

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Kings, Atkinson, Lakers

After suffering a frustrating seven-game Western Conference Semifinals loss to the Mavericks, the Suns face some key rotation decisions during a 2022 offseason that arrived earlier than expected. One of those decisions involves Cameron Johnson, eligible for his rookie contract extension this summer. Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic examines whether or not it would behoove Phoenix to extend Johnson this year, and whether he should be moved into the team’s starting rotation for the start of the 2022/23 season.

Johnson, the No. 11 pick out of North Carolina in 2020, proved to be a key contributor off the bench for the Suns during the team’s 64-18 season. He averaged a career-high 12.5 PPG on .460/.425/.860 shooting from the floor, while chipping in a career-best 4.1 RPG, 1.5 APG and 0.9 SPG. Johnson also was the first player promoted to a starting role when All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker missed three postseason games due to a hamstring injury.

Rankin predicts that Johnson could earn between $15-20MM annually on an extension, and points to the fact that the Suns reached rookie extension agreements with two of its three most important extension-eligible young players during the 2021 offseason. Jae Crowder started ahead of Johnson at power forward in his 80 games of regular season availability, but as he embarks on the last season of the three-year, $30MM contract he inked with the Suns in 2020, Rankin wonders if a Johnson extension would eventually necessitate the younger player’s move into the starting five over Crowder.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings, who have not made the playoffs since 2006, are believed to be on the hunt for a “win-now player” using their lottery pick, league sources inform Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Sacramento owns the fourth pick in this year’s draft, and could either draft an NBA-ready player or use the selection in a trade to acquire a veteran who could grow with the team’s current core.
  • Thanks to successive seasons as an assistant coach with the Clippers and now the Warriors, former Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson has joined the ranks of top assistants vying for head coaching vacancies once again, as Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com writes. Atkinson was in the running late to become the new Lakers head coach, and is a major contender to be the prime shot-caller for the Hornets. “It’s a great experience being considered (for head coaching jobs), but, man, I’m in such a great place — not only from basketball, but from a living in California, the Bay Area, the whole thing,” Atkinson said of his current gig as a Golden State assistant under head coach Steve Kerr. “So it almost takes the pressure off when you’re really in a good situation. I mean, I’m still competitive, and I try to do my best in interviewing and everything, but also in the back of my mind I’m saying, like, man, if I don’t get another shot, I’m in a great, great situation.”
  • The Lakers, who may need to replace as many as seven now-free agent players from its 2021/22 roster, got an in-person look at several free agents on Tuesday, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link). McMenamin reports that free agents Alize Johnson, Langston Galloway, Kyle Guy, Louis King and D.J. Wilson were in attendance for a workout.

Jazz Notes: Far From Contending, Mini-Camp, Prospect Workouts

All four of the 2021/22 Conference Finalists — the Warriors, Mavericks, Celtics and Heat — proved how far the Jazz are from contending for a championship, Sarah Todd of The Deseret News opines.

Todd notes that head coach Quin Snyder, whose status remains uncertain for next season, said Utah was very close to competing at the highest level at his end-of-season press conference.

This year, I thought that our record didn’t necessarily reflect what we could do in the playoffs. I felt like we were this close to having a spark and kicking it in and finding that unity, that extra secret sauce, and taking off. And obviously that didn’t happen,” Snyder said, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune.

Todd disagrees. Even assuming the Jazz had advanced past Dallas in the first round (they lost in six games), Todd is doubtful the Jazz would have been able to take the Suns to seven games in the second round, as Dallas was able to do.

She also doesn’t think the Jazz would have fared any better than the Mavs did against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, if they’d gotten past Phoenix.

Ultimately, the Todd believes the flawed roster was too much to overcome, and Utah’s front office will have a tough job improving it this summer.

Here’s more from Utah:

Eastern Notes: Knicks, R. Williams, Isaac, Portis

The Knicks held a free agent mini-camp this week, according to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog (Twitter link), who says a number of players with NBA experience were in attendance.

Guards Devon Dotson and Chris Clemons, swingman DaQuan Jeffries, forwards Louis King and George King, and big men Alize Johnson and Reggie Perry were among the players who participated in the Knicks’ mini-camp, per Zagoria. John Petty, Craig Randall, Carlik Jones, Aaron Henry, and A.J. Lawson also took part.

The Knicks won’t necessarily sign any of the free agents who attended the mini-camp, but it gave them a chance to see some of the talent that’s out there as they mull possible Summer League and training camp invites.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Celtics big man Robert Williams, who is still listed as questionable for Game 6 on Friday, was diagnosed with a bone bruise in his left knee after colliding with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Game 3, head coach Ime Udoka said today. Williams’ injured knee is the same one he had surgery on in March, but that procedure isn’t the cause of his current absence. “There’s no problems with the surgery at all,” Udoka said, per Andrew Lopez of ESPN. “It’s just that specific hit that he took (in Game 3).”
  • Because of the injury-related language and games-played requirements in Jonathan Isaac‘s contract with the Magic, his $17.4MM annual salaries for the next three years are now partially guaranteed instead of fully guaranteed, as Keith Smith of Spotrac tweets. Isaac has missed two straight seasons due to an ACL tear, but there’s no indication that the Magic are considering waiving him, which is the only way they could avoid paying his full salaries.
  • Bobby Portis only shot 4-of-14 from the floor in the Bucks‘ Game 5 win on Wednesday, but he grabbed 15 rebounds and made the sort of crucial hustle plays the team values, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Averaging a double-double (11.3 PPG, 10.4 RPG) so far this postseason, Portis is once again displaying his value ahead of possible free agency. He holds a $4.6MM player option for 2022/23.

And-Ones: Mock Draft, King, Napier, Summer League

Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren remains atop ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz’s latest mock draft, with Auburn’s Jabari Smith moving up one notch to No. 2. The G League Ignite’s Dyson Daniels has moved into the lottery while Milwaukee Panthers forward Patrick Baldwin Jr. has dropped from No. 15 to No. 25.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • The G League’s Westchester Knicks are acquiring forward Louis King, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. King had been on a two-way contract with Sacramento but was waived by the Kings on February 17th. In 16 career games with Sacramento, including 10 this year, King averaged 5.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 11.8 MPG.
  • Former NBA guard Shabazz Napier has left Russia and Zenit Saint Petersburg, according to EuroHoops.net. Napier, who has been sidelined most of the season with an ankle injury, was already preparing to return to the United States prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine because he did not feel he was ready to play.
  • The NBA will hold its annual Summer League in Las Vegas on July 7-17, Shaw adds in another tweet.

Kings Waive Louis King

The Kings have waived two-way player Louis King, per Sean Cunningham of ABC10 (KXTV) Sacramento (Twitter link).

King, 22, went undrafted in 2019 after spending one season with Oregon. He caught on with the Pistons during his rookie year, signing a two-way contract and appearing in 10 games with Detroit, holding modest averages of 2.0 PPG and 1.0 in 6.2 MPG.

King signed a two-way contract with Sacramento at the end of last season, but he hasn’t made a significant impact at the NBA level. In 16 career games with Sacramento, including 10 this year, King averaged 5.6 PPG, 1.9 RPG, and 1.1 APG in 11.8 MPG. He holds a career shooting line of .392/.327/.684 in 251 total minutes.

King has received much more playing time in the G League, appearing in 58 games (45 starts, 29.1 MPG) while averaging 14.0 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, and 1.4 SPG on .438/.349/.692 shooting. In 12 games with Stockton this season, Sacramento’s G League affiliate, he’s averaging 12.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 3.7 APG, and 1.2 SPG on .410/.269/.692 shooting.

The Kings now have one two-way spot available, but their 15-man roster is currently full.

COVID-19 Updates: Osman, Lyles, Maxey, Kings, Aldridge, Mavericks

If the Cavaliers are able to host the Raptors Sunday afternoon, both teams will have a shell of their normal lineups. Cavs forward Cedi Osman has become the team’s eighth player in the league’s health and safety protocols, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. He joins Jarrett Allen, Ed Davis, Evan Mobley, RJ Nembhard, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens and Dylan Windler.

Toronto’s roster is even more strained, with 10 players currently in protocols. Khem BirchIsaac Bonga, and Justin Champagnie were placed in the protocols earlier today, joining Precious AchiuwaOG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Malachi Flynn, Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet. Toronto will have to finalize 10-day hardship contracts with at least one more player before game time to reach the league roster minimum of eight.

There’s more COVID-19 news from around the league:

  • Pistons forward Trey Lyles entered the protocols Saturday, becoming the team’s sixth player this week to do so, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Lyles is coming off his best game since signing with Detroit in the offseason, posting 28 points, eight rebounds and four blocks Thursday night. Sankofa expects rookie Luka Garza and possibly Jamorko Pickett to see more playing time while Lyles is unavailable.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has also been placed in the protocols, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Maxey has taken over as point guard in the absence of Ben Simmons and has started 28 of the 29 games he has played in his second NBA season.
  • Kings forwards Marvin Bagley III and Louis King have cleared protocols and should be available Sunday, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Terence Davis has been cleared as well, Anderson tweets.
  • Nets coach Steve Nash said veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge has either exited the protocols or is close, but will need time for conditioning before he can resume playing, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Josh Green has joined his Mavericks teammates in Utah after clearing protocols, but won’t be active for tonight’s game, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). He’s expected to be able to play during the rest of the team’s road trip.
  • Mavericks assistant coach Kristi Toliver tweeted on Christmas that she contracted COVID-19.

De’Aaron Fox, Two Other Kings Enter Protocols

DECEMBER 17: Kings center Alex Len and two-way forward Louis King were also placed in the health and safety protocols on Thursday evening, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. The team now has five players in the protocols.


DECEMBER 16: The Kings’ top player, guard De’Aaron Fox, has entered health and safety protocols, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

As we noted earlier, the Kings canceled practice on Thursday and closed their practice facility due to concerns about a COVID-19 outbreak. There is an expectation more positive tests will be revealed among both players and staff members.

Head coach Alvin Gentry, forward Marvin Bagley III, and guard Terence Davis all entered the protocols on Wednesday with indications both Gentry and Bagley have tested positive for COVID-19.

Fox is averaging 21.3 PPG and 5.0 APG this season. He scored 28 points against the Wizards on Wednesday when the Kings snapped a three-game losing streak and 29 against the Raptors on Monday.

As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets, approximately 7% of the league’s players are now under protocols.

There’s some concern that the team’s game vs. Memphis on Friday could be in jeopardy.