Malachi Richardson

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/9/17

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

Kings Notes: Hill, Randolph, G League, Draft

George Hill becomes eligible to be traded in six days, and Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee expects rumors involving the Kings point guard to start emerging soon. Like most players who signed contracts over the offseason, Hill can be traded beginning December 15. He probably envisioned a larger role when he inked a three-year, $57MM deal with Sacramento, as he is getting just 25.5 minutes per night, even though he has started all 23 games that he has played.

Hill’s playing time might diminish even further if he stays with the Kings. First-round pick De’Aaron Fox is Sacramento’s point guard of the future and the organization views him as a developing star. Second-round pick and fellow point guard Frank Mason has been a pleasant surprise, leaving Hill to play off the ball more often. His numbers are down across the board after averaging 16.9 points for the Jazz next season, and Jones suggests a trade would be best for both Hill and the Kings.

There’s more out of Sacramento:

  • Zach Randolph, another veteran offseason free agent addition, has developed into the Kings’ most consistent player, Jones writes in the same piece. Coach Dave Joerger doesn’t believe in using young players just for development purposes, so Randolph has pushed rookie forward Justin Jackson and second-year forward Skal Labissiere to the bench. Joerger’s policy is to reward production with playing time, and Randolph has earned his minutes by averaging 15.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per night.
  • The Kings made the right decision to send Jackson, Labissiere and Malachi Richardson to the G League this week, Jones contends in a separate story. Sacramento doesn’t have enough playing time to devote to the nine first- or second-year players on its roster. Fox and Mason are joined by rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic in the rotation, and Joerger is reluctant to use too many young players at the same time. “It’s just generally not great practice for us if we put at least four young guys on the floor together,” he said. “It can get ugly.”
  • The Kings’ focus has changed since adding free agents Hill, Randolph and Vince Carter over the summer, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Those signings were made by Scott Perry, who has since left the organization to become GM of the Knicks. The new regime reportedly told its three free agent additions and fellow veteran Garrett Temple that the emphasis is now on acquiring a top five pick in next year’s draft rather than contending for the playoffs.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/29/17

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Knicks sent Joakim Noah and Damyean Dotson to the G League today, then recalled them after the conclusion of the Westchester Knicks’ day game (Twitter links). Dotson scored 23 points in the loss to Maine, while Noah chipped in with nine points, five boards, and four assists.
  • Troy Williams has been re-assigned to the G League by the Rockets, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). Williams figures to suit up tonight for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers against the Texas Legends.
  • The Kings have assigned a trio of players – Georgios Papagiannis, Malachi Richardson, and Justin Jackson – to the G League, the team announced today in a press release. The Reno Bighorns don’t play again until Saturday, so it’s not clear if the three youngsters will stick around that long, or if they’re just on assignment for practice purposes.
  • After helping the Delaware 87ers earn a win on Tuesday, rookie guard Furkan Korkmaz has been recalled to the NBA by the Sixers, per a press release from the team. Korkmaz had just 14 points on 3-of-12 shooting for Delaware last night, but was a team-best +19.
  • The Pacers have sent rookie center Ike Anigbogu to the G League, the club announced today. Anigbogu has played just 17 total minutes for Indiana so far this season, so assignments to the G League give him an opportunity to get more reps.

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.

Kings Exercise 2018/19 Options On Five Players

The Kings have picked up 2018/19 rookie scale options on five players, the team announced today in a press release. The moves will add about $14MM in guaranteed salary to Sacramento’s books for the ’18/19 season. Here are the options exercised by the club in advance of today’s deadline:

None of these decisions comes as a real surprise. With the exception of Hield – who was the centerpiece in the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans – all of these players were drafted by Vlade Divac and the current Kings management group.

Cauley-Stein, the only player of the bunch whose 2018/19 option is on the fourth year of his rookie contract, will be eligible for a contract extension during the ’18 offseason, and will reach restricted free agency in the summer of ’19 if he’s not extended next year. The other four players are on track to be RFAs in 2020 if their fourth-year options are picked up next offseason.

All of this year’s rookie scale team option decisions can be tracked right here.

Magic, Kings Discussed Mario Hezonja Trade

The Magic are exploring the trade market for Mario Hezonja with the deadline looming on his 2018/19 option, reports Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Orlando will have to decide today whether or not to exercise Hezonja’s fourth-year option for next season, which has a cap charge of about $5.17MM.

According to Scotto (via Twitter), the Kings were one club that spoke to the Magic about Hezonja. The two teams discussed the possibility of a deal that would send Hezonja to Sacramento in exchange for Malachi Richardson and a second-round pick. However, those trade talks recently stalled, Scotto reports.

Like Hezonja, Richardson has yet to make much of an impact in the NBA, but Sacramento’s second-year shooting guard is a little younger and cheaper than Orlando’s third-year sharpshooter. The Kings have already decided to pick up Richardson’s 2018/19 option, according to Tony Jones of The Salt Lake City Tribune (Twitter link). That option will count against the cap for just $1.57MM.

At $5.17MM, Hezonja’s 2018/19 option is a tougher call. The Croatian forward was the fifth overall pick in 2015, but has failed to develop as the Magic hoped, and is playing a career-low 13.0 MPG in the early part of this season. Orlando’s new management group, led by Jeff Weltman and John Hammond, didn’t draft Hezonja, so they may be less willing to roll the dice on him for one more year than the old regime would have been.

Pacific Notes: Williams, Jones Jr., Richardson

The Clippers had their work cut out for them replacing Jamal Crawford this season but fortunately had already landed Lou Williams, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Williams has carved out a successful career being one of the league’s best reserves.

Williams came over as part of the massive Chris Paul trade and will take on an even larger share of the Clippers’ offensive load than he may have initially expected now that Crawford has been bought out and signed with the Timberwolves.

You’ve got a few of us that go out there and we have a short amount of time to go and change the game,” Williams said. “And Jamal was one of those guys who perfected that. I’m one of those guys that you can put right up there. You’ve got a few other guys that you can mention in that same breath. It’s a unique position to have.

The Clippers guard may not have three Sixth Man of the Year Awards to his name like Crawford does but he does at least have one. So far.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

Pacific Notes: Gay, Inglewood, Clarkson

Expect Rudy Gay to pursue a playoff contender this offseason, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes, even if that takes him away from the Kings. The veteran could serve a valuable role with a competitive team given his proven ability to score the ball but where does that leave Sacramento?

That Gay is expecting to test the market is nothing new, he said as much last September. Not even the early season success that the Kings enjoyed in 2016/17 or the shroud of uncertainty cast when the forward tore his Achilles midseason could dissuade him from betting on himself in the open market.

Gay’s absence in the latter half of last campaign revealed the fact that whether Gay is on the sidelines or with another franchise altogether the Kings are in desperate need of a forward with size. Undersized shooting guards, Jones says, only compromise head coach Dave Joerger‘s defense.

The team has in-house options to audition at the 3, including 2016 first-rounder Malachi Richardson, but would be wise to target players like Jayson Tatum or Justin Jackson in the upcoming NBA Draft. Kings draft-and-stash prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic could ultimately address the need as well, Jones adds.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

Kings Shutting Down Malachi Richardson

Kings rookie Malachi Richardson won’t return to the court for Sacramento this season, according to James Ham of CSN California. CSN’s Kayte Christensen was the first to break the news (video link).

Richardson, one of three players drafted by the Kings in the first round last June, suffered a partially torn hamstring in mid-February. At the time, the Kings announced that Richardson’s recovery would take about four to six weeks, which would put him on track to return now. However, with the team out of the playoff race, there’s little incentive to rush the rookie guard back if he’s not 100% healthy.

Rather than having Richardson return for the final couple weeks of the 2016/17 season, the Kings will take the cautious approach and focus on getting him ready for summer league action.

With Richardson no longer on track to return in 2016/17, his rookie season will end with averages of 3.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG in 22 contests for the Kings. Although he didn’t see much action in Sacramento, the 21-year-old played well during his stints with the D-League’s Reno Bighorns, putting up 21.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG in 11 games.

Kings Notes: Hield, Evans, Richardson

When the Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans, the majority of discussion surrounding the deal focused on the superstar heading to New Orleans.

As the dust continues to settle, it’s become increasingly clear that Tyreke Evans and Buddy Hield can have substantial impacts of their own. Benedict Tagle of recently wrote about what the pair have been accomplishing since arriving in Northern California.

Though just seven games into his second stint with the team that drafted him, Evans has improved upon the numbers he posted with the Pelicans at the start of the year. Evans began the 2016/17 campaign on the shelf and had to slowly play himself back into game shape. Since rejoining Sacramento, however, he’s posted career highs in points, rebounds and blocks per 100 possessions.

Hield, too, has seen his production rise since the trade. Hield’s 14.2 points per game since the trade are 5.6 higher than what he posted in New Orleans and his effective field-goal percentage has ballooned to .636.

There’s more from the Kings today:

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