NBA G League

Kings’ G League Affiliate Becomes Stockton Kings

The Reno Bighorns are no more, as the Sacramento Kings’ NBA G League affiliate has officially re-branded in advance of its 2018/19 relocation. As detailed in a press release, Sacramento’s NBAGL team will be known as the Stockton Kings going forward.

We heard earlier this month that the Kings planned to move their G League affiliate closer to home, relocating the club from Reno, Nevada to Stockton, California. Before that move could become official, a vote by the Stockton City Council was required. That vote took place on Tuesday night, and the City Council unanimously authorized the city to move forward with a lease agreement between the Kings and Stockton Arena.

While the Stockton Kings haven’t yet unveiled their new logos and uniforms, the G League franchise has updated its name on Twitter and other social media platforms, and launched its new website at StocktonKings.com.

The team formerly known as the Reno Bighorns is the second G League squad to re-brand itself in recent weeks. The Sixers’ NBAGL affiliate is remaining in Delaware, but is changing its name from the Delaware 87ers to the Delaware Blue Coats for the 2018/19 season.

The Bighorns were initially established in 2008 and have been affiliated with the NBA’s Kings since their inception. Sacramento has been the only NBA team affiliated with the G League franchise since 2013, and bought the team outright in 2016.

Raises Coming For G League Players

G League players will be receiving a significant salary increase next season, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.

All G League contracts for 2018/19 will pay $35K [$7K for each of the league’s five months], along with housing costs and insurance benefits. The league had been paying $26K or $19K, depending on players’ classifications. All G League salaries are covered by the NBA.

Athletes will still be able to earn affiliate player bonuses that can pay up to $44K. Those are given to players who attend training camp with an NBA team, then become part of that franchise’s G League affiliate.

Two-way contracts will remain in effect and will carry a salary of $77,250 that is prorated for the amount of time spent in the G League. Two-way players receive a minimum rookie salary while they are in the NBA, which is capped at 45 days. The new figure is a slight increase from $75K this season, and Stein notes that the maximum potential salary for two-way players next year will be $385K. Two-way contracts were introduced this season and proved to be very popular, with 83 players signing them.

The G League will expand to 27 teams in 2018/19, with Wizards becoming the latest franchise to add an an affiliate. The only organizations remaining without a direct affiliate are the Nuggets, Pelicans and Trail Blazers.

Hornets Notes: Walker, G League, Howard, Monk

With changes taking place throughout the organization, Kemba Walker understands he may not play another game for the Hornets, writes Steve Reed of The Associated Press. Walker, who became the leading scorer in franchise history this season, has one year left on his contract at $12MM and  could be moved this summer to bring Charlotte some much-needed cap relief.

“I have no idea,” he said when asked about his future with the Hornets. “That is out of my control. I am just going to focus on getting better as a player. That is really all you can do. I don’t know what they are going to do.”

Walker made his second All-Star appearance this season while averaging 22.1 points and 5.6 assists in 80 games. However, the Hornets are about $17MM over the salary cap for next season and have missed the playoffs the past two years.

There’s more tonight out of Charlotte:

  • The hiring of president and GM Mitch Kupchak and the firing of coach Steve Clifford made headlines this week, but the Hornets are going through a complete overhaul throughout the organization. Most of the training staff and analytics department were dismissed along with Clifford, tweets Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. Clifford’s assistants have been retained for now, but they will eventually be replaced (Twitter link).
  • The house cleaning extended to the G League affiliate, where head coach Noel Gillespie will not have his contract extended, the Hornets announced on their website. He compiled a 35-65 record in two seasons with the Greensboro Swarm.
  • Dwight Howard‘s track record under Clifford was an important factor in the decision to trade for him last summer, but Clifford’s departure doesn’t mean Howard will definitely be moved, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. The biggest factor for Kupchak in a potential Howard deal, Bonnell observes, is what the team would have to accept in return to match Howard’s $23.8MM salary for next season. Howard put up his best numbers in several years, averaging 16.6 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game.
  • Rookie guard Malik Monk has a lot of work to do this offseason after being limited last summer by a sprained ankle, Bonnell adds in the same story. He states that Monk could be in line for a starting spot if the Hornets decide to trade Walker or Nicolas Batum.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 4/12/18

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

  • The Spurs recalled guard Derrick White from their G League affiliate, the Austin Spurs, for the final time this season, the team announced in a press release. White helped lead Austin to the 2018 G League Championship over the Raptors 905. White averaged 24.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 4.0 APG, 1.75 SPG and 1.75 BPG during Austin’s G League postseason run. In 17 games with the Spurs, White averaged  3.2 PPG and 1.5 RPG.

Lorenzo Brown Named 2017/18 G League MVP

Raptors 905 guard Lorenzo Brown has been named the NBA G League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2017/18 season, the league announced today in a press release. The NBAGL’s 26 head coaches and general managers voted on the award.

Brown, 27, has played for various G League teams since the 2013/14 campaign, having been named an All-Star twice. However, 2017/18 was arguably his most successful overall season in the G League. In 32 games for Toronto’s G League affiliate, the veteran guard averaged 18.8 PPG, 8.8 APG, and 5.2 RPG, making 46.8% of his shots from the floor.

Brown is currently on a two-way contract with the Raptors, appearing in 14 games this season for the NBA club. According to Basketball Insiders’ data, Brown’s two-way deal is only for one year, meaning he’ll become a restricted free agent this summer.

The Raptors 905 are currently down 1-0 to the Austin Spurs in the G League’s best-of-three Finals, so Brown will have a chance to lead the club to a series comeback beginning on Tuesday night — he’ll also receive his MVP trophy before tonight’s game. If the Raptors’ affiliate can extend the series, the deciding game would take place on Friday.

Current Warriors guard Quinn Cook and current Knicks guard Trey Burke finished second and third, respectively, in G League MVP voting.

Kings Plan To Move G League Team To Stockton

The Kings plan to relocate their G League team, the Reno Bighorns, to Stockton, California next season, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

The move, which must be approved by the NBA, would facilitate the team’s ability to shuttle players between the franchises, since Stockton is less than an hour’s drive away from Sacramento. The Kings have been affiliated with Reno since 2008 but have run into some weather-related issues during those seasons.

Kings G League GM Anthony McClish and his staff will use the former Kings training facility in Natomas, with access to the Golden 1 Center, Jones adds.

The Lakers, Clippers and Warriors all have affiliates in close proximity to their home base, so Sacramento is putting itself on equal footing with the other California teams.

“With the addition of NBA G League Basketball in the Central Valley, each of California’s NBA franchises have a powerful asset within an hour of their headquarters to help develop their players and expand their fan bases with elite professional basketball at an affordable price in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere,” NBA G League President Malcolm Turner said in a statement.

The Kings have sent a handful of players on their regular roster to Reno this season, along with Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson, who are on two-way contracts.

Stockton Arena opened in 2005 and holds up to 12,000.

And-Ones: Wright, 2K League, EuroCamp, Fines

After leading his Wildcats to their second NCAA title in the last three years, Villanova head coach Jay Wright figures to draw interest from NBA teams this spring. Three NBA clubs currently have interim head coaches in place and will be in the market for full-time solutions in the offseason, and a handful of other franchises could make changes on the sideline too.

Still, it may be difficult to pry Wright away from Villanova, as Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports writes. The school’s athletic director Mark Jackson acknowledged that NBA interest in Wright will be “inevitable,” but he has “no sense” that the head coach wants to go anywhere, he tells Eisenberg. Assistant coach Ashley Howard agrees with that sentiment.

“I think he loves it here at Villanova,” Howard said of Wright. “He’s shown that. He’s had opportunities to go in the past, and he’s shown that he’s committed to staying here at Villanova and continuing to make this program great.”

Wright is currently making $2.6MM per year, Eisenberg notes, but a raise figures to be on the way after the latest championship if he remains at Villanova. Since the Suns are one team that may have interest in hiring Wright, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 did some digging and was told that Wright is expected to have his salary increased to at least $4MM, making it harder for him to walk away from the Wildcats (Twitter link).

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • The draft for the NBA’s new 2K eLeague took place this week, and the league is putting its weight behind the new esports venture — as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee writes, Shaquille O’Neal will run the Kings‘ 2K squad (Kings Guard Gaming), while commissioner Adam Silver is looking to make his mark on North American esports, per Ohm Youngmisuk and Jacob Wolf at ESPN.com. We won’t be covering the league on a regular basis, but for more details on the NBA’s foray into professional gaming, check out Alex Kennedy’s FAQ at HoopsHype.
  • As Adidas withdraws its support from the annual EuroCamp for international prospects, the NBA is looking to salvage the event, reports Jonathan Givony of ESPN.com. The Eurocamp will take place from June 2-5 in Treviso, Italy and will be rebranded as the NBA Elite International Camp, according to Givony. In a separate story, Givony also takes a closer look at the new Next Generation program, an event organized by the NCAA, NBA, and USA Basketball for prospects during the Final Four.
  • Nets forward Quincy Acy and Pistons center Andre Drummond were fined $25K and $15K by the NBA earlier this week, according to the league. The two players engaged in a shoving match during Sunday’s game in Brooklyn, resulting in ejections for both.
  • Grand Rapids Drive center Landry Nnoko, who was in camp with the Pistons in the fall, was named the NBA G League’s Defensive Player of the Year for 2017/18. Peter J. Wallner of MLive.com has the details.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 4/5/18

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

  • With the South Bay Lakers set to face the Austin Spurs in the NBAGL’s single-elimination Western Conference Finals, the Lakers assigned Travis Wear to the G League to play in the game, according to the club (Twitter link). Wear has been a key contributor for South Bay this season, averaging 16.7 PPG and 8.3 RPG in 33 contests.
  • The Spurs‘ affiliate also received reinforcements for Thursday night’s Western Conference Final, as the team assigned Derrick White to Austin, per a press release. White has put up 20.1 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 3.5 APG in 24 G League games this season.
  • The G League’s Eastern Conference Final isn’t happening until Friday, but the Hawks have gotten a head-start by assigning Tyler Cavanaugh and Jeremy Evans to the Erie BayHawks for that contest, tweets Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Erie will face Toronto’s affiliate, the Raptors 905, for the right to play in this year’s Finals.

Bulls Notes: Kilpatrick, Valentine, Dunn, Blakeney

Sean Kilpatrick has shown the Bulls he can score in bunches and he hopes that will be enough to secure a roster spot next season, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. Kilpatrick is averaging 13 points per night in five games since signing with Chicago last week, including a 19-point fourth quarter in Tuesday’s win over the Hornets. His deal pays $6.2MM over three years, but nothing is guaranteed beyond this season.

“He fits well with what we try to do as far as creating long closeouts and getting into the paint,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “He’s not afraid of any moment. He’s hitting big shots. He competes at the other end as well. He’s getting to the rim. He’s getting to the free-throw line. We’re spacing the floor and he’s driving and attacking.”

There’s more news from Chicago:

  • Second-year guard Denzel Valentine underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday and expects to recover quickly, tweets Vincent Goodwill of NBC Sports Chicago. Valentine, who averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 77 games, is focused on regaining the starting spot he lost when Zach LaVine was activated, telling reporters that he has earned a bigger role and should “definitely” be a starter heading into next season. ‘‘I think I can be a consistent player at this level,” he said, per Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. “Be somebody they can rely on, somebody who defends, makes shots, makes plays for others, plays the game the right way and is a competitor. So I definitely think I’m a starter in this league.’’
  • Kris Dunn is also focused on next year after a toe injury ended his season in mid-March, relays Sam Smith of NBA.com. Dunn played 52 games in his first season with the Bulls, averaging 13.4 points and 6.0 assists, and believes he can become one of the league’s best at his position. “I’m trying to be an elite point guard,” he said. “I have the intangibles for it. I’ve got the work ethic. It’s all about putting it together and doing it the right way. I want to be an elite point guard, but a guard who wins games. That’s the big thing for me, try to make everyone better.”
  • Bulls’ two-way player Antonio Blakeney has been named Rookie of the Year in the G League, tweets Adam Johnson of Two Ways and 10 Days. The former LSU guard averaged 32.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in 32 games with Windy City. He has appeared in 19 games with Chicago, averaging 7.9 points per night.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 4/4/18

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

  • The Lakers have recalled Travis Wear, according to a tweet from their South Bay affiliate. Wear is expected to be in uniform tonight after scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds Tuesday in South Bay’s win over Reno in the Western Conference semifinals.
  • The Pacers have recalled Ike Anigbogu from Fort Wayne, the team announced on its website. He had five points, five rebounds and a block last night in the Mad Ants’ loss to Erie in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
  • The Hawks recalled Tyler Cavanaugh and Jeremy Evans from Erie, according to the team’s website. Cavanaugh had one point in Tuesday’s game, while Evans posted 24 points and seven rebounds.
  • The Spurs announced the recall of Derrick White. He had 20 points and six assists Monday as Austin defeated Rio Grande Valley and advanced to the Western Conference finals.