Malachi Richardson

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 Kings.com 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:

Kings Rookie Malachi Richardson Out 4-6 Weeks

Kings rookie shooting guard Malachi Richardson will miss approximately 4-6 weeks with a partial thickness tear of his right hamstring, according to team press release.

The injury, which Richardson suffered late in the fourth quarter against the Warriors on Wednesday, was diagnosed after an MRI was performed on Thursday.

The No. 22 overall pick in last June’s draft was selected by the Hornets, then shipped to the Kings in exchange for veteran guard Marco Belinelli.

This is yet another injury-related setback for the Kings, who lost second-leading scorer Rudy Gay to a season-ending Achilles tendon rupture last month. Richardson’s playing time had perked up since Gay’s injury, as he appeared in the last 16 games. He played a season-high 27 minutes against Golden State, posting 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists. He scored a season-high 12 points in 14 minutes against the Cavaliers on January 25th.

Overall, Richard is averaging 3.6 PPG and 1.0 RPG in 10.6 minutes over 22 games.

This leaves the Kings even thinner at the wing positions. Garrett Temple has been sidelined this month with a partially-torn hamstring. Sacramento will have to lean more heavily on Arron Afflalo, Ben McLemore, Matt Barnes and perhaps Omri Casspi in the interim, though Casspi has been hampered by a calf injury.

The wave of injuries could force the club to make a depth-related move before the trade deadline. The Kings entered Thursday 1 1/2 games behind the Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Kings Notes: Cousins, McLemore, Casspi, Richardson

Kings GM Vlade Divac should be calling all interested parties to make the best possible deal for DeMarcus Cousins before the February 23rd deadline, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Voisin argues that the franchise doesn’t have enough assets in place to build a contender around Cousins, who will become a free agent in the summer of 2018, and mentions the Celtics, Lakers, Cavaliers, Mavericks, Suns and Magic as possible destinations. Phoenix owns two first-round picks from Miami and has $13MM in available cap space, and GM Ryan McDonough has said he wants to acquire a star. Voisin believes the Kings should insist that Devin Booker be part of any deal with the Suns.

There’s more news out of Sacramento:

  • Injuries to Rudy Gay and Garrett Temple have given fourth-year shooting guard Ben McLemore another chance to prove himself, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. McLemore returned to the Kings’ starting lineup Friday after losing that position last month and put up a season-high 18 points. He is hoping to finish the season strong before heading into free agency this summer. “Once I knew I was going to get the starting spot, I knew I was prepared,” McLemore said. “But now I’ve just got to go out there and perform and not worry about making mistakes and stuff like that. I’ve been working real hard, and it showed out there on the floor [Friday].”
  • The Kings expect to be without forward Omri Casspi until after the All-Star break, according to Matt Kawahara of The Sacramento Bee. Casspi was projected to miss one or two weeks after straining the plantaris tendon in his right calf during a January 16th practice. He was re-evaluated last week and hoped to play this weekend, but coach Dave Joerger said Saturday that the return could take much longer. “I don’t think we’re going to see Omri ’til after the All-Star break,” Joerger said. “That could change, but we’d rather be a little conservative with him.” Casspi has appeared in just 22 games this season, averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
  • The injuries have also created an expanded role for first-round pick Malachi Richardson, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea. Richardson has spent much of the season in the D-League, but has been used by Joerger in the past eight games.

Kings’ Temple Out Two To Three Weeks

Kings guard Garrett Temple will miss two to three weeks with a partially torn hamstring, tweets Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com. Temple suffered the injury in Tuesday’s loss at Houston.

The 30-year-old swingman has been a reliable bench player for Sacramento for most of the season and moved into the starting lineup after Rudy Gay‘s Achilles tear last month. Temple is averaging 7.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 49 games.

“I got a strip on James [Harden] and pushed off to go grab it and felt it right away,” Temple told Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. “I knew it wasn’t a cramp. I knew what it was right away.”

Temple has experience with hamstring tears, and says this one isn’t as severe as one he suffered a couple of seasons ago when he played for the Wizards. That kept him out of action for about a month, as he aggravated it in his first practice when trying to return.

The Kings are already shorthanded at the wing position with injuries to Gay and Omri Casspi, so until Temple recovers, they will have to rely on rookie Malachi Richardson along with Ben McLemore, who played Tuesday for the first time in six games.

“Guys are going to step up,” Temple said. “I have a lot of faith in Malachi, Ben, and when Omri gets back, we can still bounce back and hopefully I’ll be back sooner than later.”

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Richardson, Lakers

Though Earl Watson is well aware that the final decision isn’t up to him, the Suns head coach wants big man Tyson Chandler to stay in Phoenix. According to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic, Watson cites Chandler’s willingness to teach his younger teammates as the biggest reason why he remains so valuable.

I have very little input, but if it was up to me, I love Tyson Chandler,” Watson said. “I think our front office loves Tyson Chandler. Tyson wants to be a part of this process. He doesn’t mind the work and building.”

As the 2017 trade deadline approaches, teams will inevitably inquire about the 34-year-old low post presence. Especially because in his 16th season, Chandler is averaging 8.3 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. The veteran is under contract through the 2018/19, but could fortify the frontcourt of a playoff team.

I’m a loyalty guy. I’m really taking pride in helping the process of these young players,” Chandler says. “If things change and somebody comes to me with a conversation, then I’ll have to address it, but I don’t even let my mind go there.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Used sparingly through the first few months of his rookie season, Malachi Richardson didn’t expect to get the taste of first-quarter action he did on Saturday. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee suggests that it might be Dave Joerger‘s December decision to give the Kings shooting guard extra opportunities finally coming to fruition. Already well-equipped to handle himself on offense, the Syracuse product will need to improve upon his defense, suggests teammate Garrett Temple.
  • The Lakers would be better off emphasizing player development than chasing a playoff spot, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. Changes to the league’s collective bargaining agreement put extra pressure on drafting players now that it will be harder to pry players away from other teams via free agency. A potential No. 3 pick in 2017 could be the next key component of Los Angeles’ process.
  • The Clippers could soon face the reality that their championship window is closing, writes Moke Hamilton of Basketball Insiders. Years of attrition has taken its toll on the club and they may not get many more opportunities to contend for a ring with the current squad.

 

Pacific Notes: Gay, Joerger, Griffin, Warriors

Rudy Gay will have surgery Monday to fix a torn Achilles tendon, the Kings announced on their website. The procedure will be performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, and Gay will be out for the remainder of the season. The injury may affect the free agent market, as Gay had planned to opt out of his $14,263,566 deal for next season.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Garrett Temple has taken Gay’s spot in the starting lineup for now, but long-term decisions may not be made until next month, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. If the Kings continue losing and slip out of the playoff race, coach Dave Joerger may elect to give more minutes to younger players. Rookie guard Malachi Richardson was used in the first half Saturday for the first time all season. “Just be a buncha different dudes running in and out of there,” Joerger said. “Trying to find something that fits as you go through it.”
  • Blake Griffin plans to be ready for the Clippers game Tuesday at Philadelphia, relays Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Griffin has missed 17 games since undergoing minor knee surgery December 20th. “It’s as close as I can be, I think,” Griffin said Saturday. “It was good to get some contact in yesterday. So it’s good to get some like real work in besides just running and shooting. It’s kind of up to them.”
  • Warriors coach Steve Kerr is using seven low-salaried big men in a rotation at center, writes Anthony Slater of The San Jose Mercury NewsZaza Pachulia, David West, JaVale McGee, Kevon Looney, James Michael McAdoo, Anderson Varejao and Damian Jones are all getting minutes at the position, depending on the matchup.

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 1/10/17

Here are Tuesday’s D-League assignments and recalls from across the NBA:

10:40 pm: 

  • The Nets have recalled Chris McCullough from their D-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets, according to a team press release. The power forward played seven games with Long Island during his latest stint, averaging 18.8 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 steals per contest.

3:17 pm

  • The Kings have sent 2016 first-round pick Malachi Richardson to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). In 11 games so far this season for the Reno Bighorns, Richardson has averaged 21.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG.
  • The Pelicans have re-assigned rookie forward Cheick Diallo to the D-League, the team announced today (via Twitter). Interestingly, after being assigned to San Antonio’s affiliate twice earlier in the season, Diallo joined the Long Island Nets this time around. New Orleans doesn’t have its own NBADL squad, so the club needs to rely on other affiliates, using the flexible assignment rule.
  • Maurice Ndour and Marshall Plumlee have been assigned to the D-League, according to a tweet from the Knicks. Both players are expected to suit up tonight for the Westchester Knicks, New York’s NBADL affiliate.

Western Notes: M. Gasol, Carter, Green, Richardson

The Grizzlies need Marc Gasol‘s injured ankle to heal as quickly as possible, writes Sam Amick of USA Today. Gasol rolled his left ankle in Saturday’s game, providing a scare for the team’s top player this season. The 32-year-old center is averaging a career high in points and rebounds, while anchoring the NBA’s top defense. X-rays were negative and Gasol was listed as day-to-day with a sprained ankle, according to ESPN“It hurts, but it’s not broken,” Gasol said. “It’s tender right now, so we will take it day-to-day, just like always.”

There’s more out of the Western Conference:

  • The contracts for Grizzlies Vince Carter and JaMychal Green both became guaranteed today, tweets Bobby Marks of The Vertical. Carter will make $4,264,057 this season, while Green will collect $980,431. Both players will become free agents when the season ends.
  • The Kings are planning to give more playing time to rookie guard Malachi Richardson, writes James Ham of CSNBayArea. Richardson has gotten into just five games with Sacramento, averaging 6.4 minutes. But he has played well in the D-League, with 21 points per night in 11 games, and coach Dave Joerger is ready to give him a chance at the NBA level. “I think that it’s time for Malachi to get into the rotation, especially with Rudy [Gay] out,” Joerger said. “That’s something that you’ll see, probably, going forward.”
  • Agent Rich Kleiman will leave Roc Nation to become the manager and business partner for the WarriorsKevin Durant, according to Mark J. Burns of SportTechie (Twitter links). The agency will continue to represent Durant.
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