Monte McNair

Pacific Notes: McNair, Warriors, McGee, Suns

The Kings‘ roster may appear imbalanced, but general manager Monte McNair is satisfied with the group that will gather for training camp, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Sacramento has eight guards and five centers, but an apparent shortage of depth at the wing. The team will bring 20 players into camp, assuming a reported deal with DJ Steward is finalized by Tuesday.

The most significant offseason addition was Davion Mitchell, who was taken with the ninth pick in the draft. The Kings already have a crowded backcourt, but Mitchell was a Summer League star and could be a difference maker no matter how he is used.

“This is going to be our team going in,” McNair said. “I look at our roster and I see a lot of versatility, guys who can slide up, slide down and really give us different looks. Talking with (coach Luke Walton), I think we’re excited about the possibilities of different lineups, how we can match up in different situations. I think we actually have pretty good roster balance in the sense of, not traditional thinking, but … I think we can put a lot of different lineups out there to match up with whatever we need.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • James Wiseman and Kevon Looney are the only traditional centers on the Warriors‘ roster and the team may not be in the market for another big man, per Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports By Area“I think the league has changed quite a bit,” coach Steve Kerr said in a recent appearance on Tim Kawakami’s podcast“I know if you look at our team historically over the last six, seven years, we’ve always carried a lot of centers. But think about the last part of last season, we played Draymond (Green) at five so much, we even played Juan (Toscano-Anderson) at five. The league seems to be getting smaller and quicker every single year.”
  • JaVale McGee is the Suns‘ most important offseason addition, contends Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Rankin notes that Phoenix hasn’t had a rim-protecting center to back up Deandre Ayton since he was a rookie, and suggests that McGee can serve another veteran leader in the locker room.
  • The Suns get an A-minus from Zach Harper of The Athletic for their offseason moves. Phoenix kept the core of last season’s Finals team together, re-signing both Chris Paul and Cameron Payne, and added depth with McGee and Landry Shamet.

Kings Notes: Mitchell, Fox, Ranadivé, Sarin, Coleman III

Many around the NBA world were surprised when the Kings selected guard Davion Mitchell with the 9th pick of the 2021 draft, not because they thought Mitchell was undeserving, but because two of the Kings’ best players last season were De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton, both slender guards.

However, Mitchell quickly showed his value in Summer League, spearheading a dominant defensive effort en route to the championship, winning co-MVP in the process. Fox believes Mitchell’s defense-first mentality will be “great for the team,” and “he’s definitely going to come in and help us change a lot of that,” in regard to turning around the team’s 30th ranked defense, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee (via Twitter).

There’s more on the Kings:

  • Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé announced today that he bought out the shares of several minority owners who were essential in keeping the team in Sacramento, per James Patrick of The Sacramento Bee. It’s worth noting that the move was made in part because the former owners believe the team is stable now, with no plans to relocate.
  • The Kings are hiring Saagar Sarin as a scout, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Sarin served as the Timberwolves’ scouting coordinator the past two seasons and previously worked with Kings general manager Monte McNair in Houston. Anderson adds that the move was unrelated to the recent firing of Gersson Rosas.
  • McNair believes players want to play for coach Luke Walton and credits him with the the team’s ability to re-sign free agents as well as the return of Alex Len, per Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • The Kings have officially signed Matt Coleman III to a non-guaranteed training camp contract, per Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Coleman played four seasons for Texas and was a two-time All-Big 12 member for the Longhorns. James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area confirms the contract will be a standard Exhibit 10 (via Twitter). The move was first reported in July by Jeremy Woo of SI.com.

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Kings, Rondo, Lakers’ Big Men

The Kings still need to re-balance their roster, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area, and the Sixers still need to find a graceful exit from the debacle they find themselves in with Ben Simmons.

While it’s unlikely the Kings have what Sixers president Daryl Morey might consider the Godfather offer he’s been waiting for, Ham writes that Sacramento has been all in on Simmons since he became potentially available, and the three-time All-Star could represent the franchise-changing move GM Monte McNair has been looking for.

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a similar vein, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes that sports betting site MyBookie.ag recently gave the Kings the best odds at landing Simmons of any team (+275). Anderson doesn’t believes that the Kings are fully “all-in” on Simmons though, adding that Sacramento is unlikely to include either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential trade.
  • Rajon Rondo isn’t worried about the Lakers’ age as a team, writes Royce Young of ESPN. In fact, he considers it an advantage. “Wisdom is definitely key to winning a championship,” Rondo said after officially rejoining the club. “We have a lot of that, obviously, with the age and experience on the court. I’m most excited about not being the oldest guy on the team anymore.” Rondo adds that it’s tough to last to the age many of the Lakers’ players have without discipline, which will be key for the team in its title hunt.
  • While not naming DeAndre Jordan specifically, Marc Stein confirms that – according to his league sources – the Lakers have been exploring the center market, despite Marc Gasol having one more year on his deal.

Kings, Warriors, Clippers Eyeing Pascal Siakam

The Kings, Warriors, and Clippers are among the teams believed to be especially “enamored” with forward Pascal Siakam, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

A source with knowledge of the situation tells Anderson that Raptors president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri has received numerous trade inquiries on Siakam and is “listening like a good negotiator.” However, while a deal is possible, Anderson’s source doesn’t believe it’s likely, noting that Siakam has no desire to be moved.

Siakam’s name has popped up in trade rumors throughout the offeason. John Hollinger of The Athletic first suggested in June that the former All-Star was on Golden State’s radar, and multiple subsequent reports referenced a leaguewide belief that Siakam could be had, particularly in the wake of Toronto using the No. 4 pick to draft Scottie Barnes.

Sam Amick of The Athletic said last week that Sacramento “definitely” has interest in Siakam, and Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report stated that the Trail Blazers engaged in some preliminary discussions involving the veteran forward.

If the Kings were to make an offer for Siakam, it would likely include Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, and at least one future first-round pick, per Anderson. While that would be a perfect salary match, it’s not clear if such a package would be enough to seriously entice Toronto, Anderson acknowledges.

Siakam is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and will likely miss a little time at the start of the 2021/22 season.

The Kings have also displayed interest in Sixers star Ben Simmons, Anderson confirms, adding that GM Monte McNair seems motivated to make a major roster move as the pressure to win begins to build. Outside Sacramento, there’s a sense that McNair and his front office – installed just a year ago – are already “feeling the heat” from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive to take a significant step forward, says Anderson.

Kings Notes: Walton, McNair, Finch, Fox

The news broke on Monday that Luke Walton would be retained as the Kings’ head coach. There has been speculation that the decision was, at least in part, financially motivated. He’s reportedly owed $11.5MM over the next two seasons.

However, GM Monte McNair downplayed that notion in his season-ending press conference, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets. “I’ve been given every resource I need to get the team back to the playoffs and this was a basketball decision,” McNair said.

We have more on the Kings:

  • Walton’s job became much safer when the Timberwolves hired Raptors assistant Chris Finch as their head coach midway through the season, Sean Cunningham of KXTV Sacramento tweets. Numerous sources told Cunningham that Sacramento’s front office was interested in Finch, who previously worked with  McNair in the Rockets’ organization. Walton maintained a strong relationship with the Kings’ front office and earned respect of the locker room, which also helped his cause, Cunningham adds.
  • De’Aaron Fox‘s bout with COVID-19 was a rough one, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee tweets. Fox had a headache after the April 21st game against Minnesota and then body aches and chills the next night. He apparently wasn’t close to returning at the end of the season, but he says he’s feeling much better, Anderson adds.
  • Richaun Holmes is expected to be a hot commodity on the free agent market. Get the details here.

Kings Notes: Walton, King, Sunday’s Game, Reserves

Luke Walton says he’s “very confident” he’ll be retained as the Kings’ head coach, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee reports.

Monetary factors may work in Walton’s favor, Anderson notes. He’s reportedly owed $11.5MM over the next two seasons and first-year GM Monte McNair has publicly expressed support for Walton, pointing out the progress made by several key players.

Walton is focused on better results for next season.

“We have an offseason plan put in place from when they’re going to be in Sacramento, and what coaches will be working with them, and what we need them focused on,” Walton said. “Clearly, a big thing for all young players is developing in the weight room as well, but it’s good, after you get a taste of what the NBA is all about, to be able to really fine tune some things in the offseason.”

We have more on the Kings:

Bjorkgren, Stotts, Budenholzer Among Coaches On Hot Seat

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that Nate Bjorkgren‘s future as the Pacers‘ head coach is uncertain, and Shams Charania and Sam Amick echo that point in their latest report for The Athletic. According to The Athletic’s duo, Bjorkgren’s “abrasive” style and a tendency to be controlling with assistants and other staff members has been a cause for concern.

Sources tell Charania and Amick that multiple Pacers players have expressed dissatisfaction with Bjorkgren this season, with Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis among those who haven’t been on the same page with the first-year coach. Those same sources tell The Athletic that several Pacers players feel the analytical style Bjorkgren has employed doesn’t suit the team’s personnel.

The growing pains Bjorkgren has experienced in Indiana don’t necessarily mean that the Pacers will make a coaching change at season’s end, but the situation is worth keeping a close eye on, per Charania and Amick.

The two Athletic reporters also singled out a few other coaching situations worth watching around the NBA. Here are a few highlights from their report:

  • The Trail Blazers are increasingly likely to part ways with head coach Terry Stotts this offseason unless he can “pull a rabbit out of his hat” and make a deep playoff run, according to Charania and Amick. Sources tell The Athletic that Stotts has less player support this season than he has in past years. Charania and Amick identify Jason Kidd, Dave Joerger, Chauncey Billups, Brent Barry, and – if he becomes available – Nate McMillan as potential targets for Portland if the team makes a change.
  • There’s significant pressure on Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer entering the postseason, according to Charania and Amick, who say Budenholzer’s job will be in serious danger if the team is eliminated in the first two rounds. Budenholzer has one year left on his contract after 2020/21, per The Athletic’s duo.
  • Luke Walton of the Kings and Scott Brooks of the Wizards are other coaches whose job security isn’t exactly rock solid, but Charania and Amick point to financial considerations in Sacramento and a recent hot streak in D.C. as factors working in favor of Walton and Brooks keeping their jobs. Walton has a strong relationship with Kings GM Monte McNair, while Brooks is well-liked in Washington, note Charania and Amick. Still, the long-term future of Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard is also somewhat uncertain, which further clouds Brooks’ status.

Pacific Notes: Schroder, George, McNair, Gasol

Dennis Schröder wants to stay with the Lakers but there’s still a good chance he’ll test the free agent market this summer, according to Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Schroder likes his current situation, stating, “I want to be a part of this organization for a long time.”

However, Schroder has yet to sign an extension, even though he’s eligible for one. Schroder admits he’s conflicted, knowing the Lakers’ salary situation and the fact they can go over the cap to retain him in unrestricted free agency.

“So, we’re kind of, between these: Should we just sign the extension? Or should we wait until the summer? Because at the end of the day, I want to be a Laker for a long time,” he said. “I always say I want it to be fair.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Paul George has drawn a $35K fine from the league for criticizing the officials to the media after a loss to Dallas on Wednesday, according to an NBA press release. George said of some non-calls, “We’re putting a lot of pressure at the rim. It’s insane that we’re not getting these calls.” He also characterized the officials’ explanations for the lack of whistles as a “bunch of lies,” according to ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.
  • Kings GM Monte McNair has the final say in personnel moves as the trade deadline approaches, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee reports. Ownership will be consulted, but McNair will be the one making roster decisions and related basketball moves, Anderson adds. However, it’s worth noting owner Vivek Ranadive has to sign off on any major deal, so the Kings organization may be trying hard to downplay Ranadive’s involvement in basketball operations.
  • Lakers center Marc Gasol remains under the league’s health and safety protocols but he’s out of isolation, Goon writes in a separate story. He still has a “few steps to clear” before he’s allowed to play, coach Frank Vogel said. Gasol hasn’t played since February 28.

Pacific Notes: Green, Wiseman, Whiteside, Clippers, More

The Warriors haven’t publicly announced which two players on their roster tested positive for the coronavirus, but head coach Steve Kerr “spelled it out pretty plainly” on Monday, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Seventeen of the team’s 20 players participated in the first practice of the season. Besides Klay Thompson, the only players missing were Draymond Green and James Wiseman.

“I will not comment on that any further,” Kerr said, per Slater. “I’m not allowed to comment on that. You can make your own deductions … I’m just trying to figure out which one of you has put all the pieces together and has figured out what is happening here.”

Assuming Green and Wiseman are indeed the two players who tested positive for COVID-19, the Warriors are expected to be without them until at least next week, Slater notes. That will give some of Golden State’s other frontcourt players a chance to play more significant roles during the preseason as they potentially audition for regular season minutes.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • New Kings center Hassan Whiteside is dealing with a mild calf strain and likely won’t be available for the team’s preseason opener, head coach Luke Walton said on Monday (Twitter link via Jason Jones of The Athletic).
  • Analytical data provided by new Kings general manager Monte McNair is expected to influence Walton’s new uptempo offensive system, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes. “It’s been great working with Monte,” Walton said. “We’ve talked and he’s going to bring ideas analytically to what he sees, and then at the end of the day I can take what ideas I want and leave the ones I don’t.”
  • Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said that assistant coach Larry Drew is focusing on the team’s offense, while Dan Craig is leading the defense with the help of Roy Rogers. Chauncey Billups is focusing on both sides of the ball, while Kenny Atkinson is leading player development, Lue added, per Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link).
  • Abdel Nader isn’t concerned about being considered “the other guy” sent to Phoenix in the Chris Paul trade and is looking forward to playing for the Suns, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. “I haven’t really spent time in Phoenix but I knew (the Suns) had a nice, young unit with a lot of talent,” Nader said. “Ability to grow. Also the city sounds like a nice place to me. I wasn’t complaining too much.”

California Notes: Bogdanovic, Clippers, Gasol, McNair

The Kings may have been savvy to let shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic walk in restricted free agency, Jason Jones of The Athletic posits. The addition of promising rookie shooting guard Tyrese Haliburton via the 2020 draft made Bogdanovic superfluous to Sacramento’s long-term team-building plans.

The replacement of former Kings GM Vlade Divac with Monte McNair this summer also yielded a different assessment of Bogdanovic’s value with the still-developing club, Jones writes. Bogdanovic’s four-year, $72MM contract extension also would have put Sacramento, a team that has not made the NBA playoffs since 2006, well above the salary cap.

There’s more out of California:

  • Jovan Buha of The Athletic assesses the current roster depth of the Clippers and speculates about how Los Angeles could still upgrade its club, most likely through trading point guards Lou Williams or Patrick Beverley for a ball-handler upgrade.
  • New Lakers center Marc Gasol discussed his fit with his new club, especially with regard to how he intends to contribute on the defensive end of the floor, according to Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times. “I know we’re going to have great communication,” Gasol said. He also discussed his expected on-court meshing with Finals MVP LeBron James“I’m a first pass kinda guy. But somebody — he’s gonna score too at his will whenever he decides to score, he’s gonna be able to score.”
  • Jason Jones of The Athletic takes stock of Kings GM Monte McNair‘s patient approach to his first offseason in Sacramento. Jones suggests that McNair’s reticence to make a big splash on the free agent or trade market indicates a confidence in the development of the club’s young core.