Jake Stephens

Kings Waiving Jaylen Nowell, Two Others

The Kings are waiving guard Jaylen Nowell following their preseason finale, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Nowell averaged 10.8 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 19.3 minutes per game across 65 appearances in 2022/23 as a regular part of the Timberwolves’ rotation. However, after becoming an unrestricted free agent, he remained on the open market for nearly three months before eventually settling for an Exhibit 10 contract with Sacramento.

Most players who sign Exhibit 10 deals are waived before the regular season begins and then join their team’s G League affiliate. However, there was a sense that Nowell might have a path to a regular season roster spot, since the Kings only had 14 players on standard guaranteed contracts. With Nowell seemingly no longer in the mix for that spot, Sacramento may not carry a 15th man to start the season.

Nowell appeared in just two preseason games for the Kings, scoring five points on 1-of-6 shooting in 13 total minutes of action.

The Kings are also cutting center Jake Stephens and guard Dane Goodwin after signing them on Thursday, tweets Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 in Sacramento. According to Cunningham, both players will immediately head to Stockton to join the Kings’ G League team.

It’s unclear whether joining the Stockton Kings is also the plan for Nowell, but he’d receive a bonus worth $75K if he reports to the NBAGL club and spends at least 60 days there.

The moves will reduce Sacramento’s roster count to 17 players — 14 on standard deals and three on two-way contracts. While the Kings’ roster would be ready for the regular season, they could still sign-and-waive players for G League purposes or add a 15th man before Monday’s deadline.

Kings Sign Dane Goodwin, Jake Stephens To Exhibit 10 Deals

The Kings have signed undrafted free agents Dane Goodwin and Jake Stephens to training camp contracts, per RealGM’s NBA transactions log.

According to James Ham of ESPN 1320 and TheKingsBeat.com (Twitter link), who first reported Goodwin’s signing, the former Notre Dame guard received an Exhibit 10 deal. Stephens also signed an Exhibit 10 contract, Siegel Sports & Entertainment announced (via Twitter).

A 6’6″ wing, Goodwin spent five seasons with the Fighting Irish, holding career averages of 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds on .441/.391/.823 shooting in 158 games (94 starts, 30.5 minutes). He was allowed to play an extra “super senior” season due to the pandemic.

Stephens, meanwhile, is a 6’10” center who spent his first four college seasons at VMI prior to transferring to Chattanooga for the 2022/23 season. He had a stellar season for the Mocs, averaging 22.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 blocks on .552/.408/.820 shooting in 24 games (32.1 minutes).

A source tells Ham that Goodwin is expected to be waived and head to Stockton to play for Sacramento’s G League affiliate in ’23/24. That’s the likely outcome for Stephens as well. If both players are released, they would each be eligible for a bonus worth up to $75K if they spend at least 60 days with Stockton.

The Kings now have 20 players under contract, one shy of the preseason limit. In addition to Goodwin and Stephens, they have 14 players on guaranteed standard deals, Jaylen Nowell on a non-guaranteed Exhibit 10 deal, and all three two-way slots filled.

Pacific Notes: Westbrook, Vezenkov, Suns, Dunleavy, Lakers

Russell Westbrook will have to balance money vs. playing time when he makes his decision in free agency, write Law Murray and Danny Leroux of The Athletic.

Westbrook took over as the starting point guard after he signed with the Clippers in February and raised his value by averaging 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 21 games. Leroux speculates that there may not be another team willing to give him a starting role, although opportunities exist if he’s willing to be the first guard off the bench.

The Clippers would prefer to keep Westbrook, but without his Bird rights, they’re limited to an offer of 120% of the veteran’s minimum. Although L.A. could theoretically trim enough salary below the $179.5MM second apron to offer Westbrook the mid-level exception, that wouldn’t be a huge raise because it’s being lowered to $5MM in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Leroux suggests that owner Steve Ballmer could try to re-sign Westbrook with an unspoken understanding that he’ll get a bigger deal next summer when the team will have his Early Bird rights.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Kings are determined to bring Sasha Vezenkov  to Sacramento next season, according to Christos Tsaltas of Sportal. High-ranking team officials traveled to Greece this season to watch Vezenkov in action and to learn more about his character and work habits. The Kings see Vezenkov as a back-up to Keegan Murray and believe they’re versatile enough to play together, Tsaltas adds.
  • Miles Simon and John Lucas III are the latest additions to Frank Vogel‘s coaching staff with the Suns, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. Simon was the head coach of the South Bay Lakers in the G League, and they both worked under Vogel in L.A.
  • New general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. was brought to the Warriors‘ management team by his former agent, Bob Myers, shortly after he retired as a player, notes Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Myers hired Dunleavy as a scout in 2018, and he worked his way up through the organization. He has been taking on more of Myers’ duties over the past two years, including attending the league’s gatherings of general managers.
  • The Lakers hosted six players for a pre-draft workout on Saturday, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN. On hand were UConn’s Andre Jackson Jr., Stetson’s Sam Peek, Chattanooga’s Jake Stephens, Overtime Elite’s Jazian Gortman, Texas’ Timmy Allen and Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis. L.A. has the 17th and 47th picks in this year’s draft.

Eastern Notes: Hawks, Quickley, Pistons, Banchero

The Hawks will take a look at six draft prospects on Tuesday, Lauren Williams of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. That group includes three guards — UCLA’s Tyger Campbell, Furman’s Mike Bothwell and Ole Miss’ Matthew Murrell — along with Miami (Fla.)’s Norchad Omier, UTC’s Jake Stephens and Arizona State’s Marcus Bagley.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Immanuel Quickley missed Game 4 of the Knicks’ playoff series against the Heat on Monday due to a sprained left ankle, the team’s PR department tweets. Quickley had been listed as doubtful on Sunday after suffering the injury on Saturday.
  • The Pistons need to prioritize perimeter shooting and defense, as well as veteran guards, during the offseason, Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press opines. Veteran options for their perimeter needs includes the likes of free agents Jerami Grant and Cameron Johnson (restricted), while Dennis Schroder and Patrick Beverley could fill the other need, unless they bring back free agent Cory Joseph.
  • Magic forward Paolo Banchero, who was named Rookie of the Year last week, said he had no idea he might be taken with the top pick last June until draft day, when he saw a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, Banchero told the ESPN analyst on the Woj Pod (Twitter link). “My mom was in complete shock. … I was freakin’ out. Going No. 1 is a whole different thing, especially when you’re not expecting it,” he said.

Southeast Notes: Hornets Workouts, Bridges, Suggs, Banchero

The Hornets have begun working out draft prospects as they try to bounce back from a 27-win season. They brought in six prospects on Tuesday — Angelo Allegri (Eastern Washington), Malique Jacobs (Kent State), Jarkel Joiner (NC State), Seneca Knight (Illinois State), Jake Stephens (Chattanooga) and Qudus Wahab (Georgetown), the team’s PR department tweets. Joiner barely makes the cut on ESPN’s Best Available rankings — he ranks No. 100 on the list.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver defended his suspension of Hornets forward Miles Bridges, which will keep him out of action for just 10 games next season, Shauntel Lowe of The New York Times writes. Bridges, who didn’t play this season, was technically suspended for 30 games for domestic violence but was given credit for 20 games for time served. Silver said crediting Bridges for 20 games seemed like the right thing to do because he missed a year of income.
  • Jalen Suggs showed signs of living up to his draft status during the second half of the season, Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel opines. The fifth pick of the 2021 draft appeared in just 14 of the Magic’s first 38 games due to right ankle ailments. His health improved as the season went along and he averaged 10.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.4 steals in 24.3 minutes in his final 28 games. He also knocked down 38.1% of his 3-point attempts during that stretch.
  • Italian Federation President Gianni Petrucci is pessimistic that Paolo Banchero, the league’s Rookie of the Year, will play in the FIBA World Cup this summer, Sportando relays. “Banchero has been overwhelmed by events in recent months. If he won’t be with us for the World Cup, we now hope for the Paris Olympics,” Petrucci said of the Magic forward.