Keon Ellis

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Powell, Fox, Ellis, Huerter, Allen

The Clippers found a way to hold the Mavericks to 30 points in the first half of Game 1. Coach Tyronn Lue knows that keeping Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving under control for Game 2 tonight will be even tougher, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes.

“It’s very challenging,” he said. “You got two of the best scorers in the league on the same team. So, when they’re both on the court at the same time, it’s kind of hard to double-team one guy and leave the other guy. So, you got to pick your poison. I thought for the most part our guys did a good job with executing the defensive plan.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Norman Powell is upset he wasn’t one of the finalists for the Sixth Man of the Year award, Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN tweets. “I mean, I think it’s BS, to be honest, two years in a row,” he said. “I don’t know what else you’ve got to do to be a sixth man. Last year, you’re leading the league in bench points. Don’t get nominated. This year, the most efficient off the bench, given the fact I’m playing with four Hall of Famers, limited touches. … it’s just tough.” Powell averaged 13.9 points during the regular season on .486/.435/.831 shooting.
  • De’Aaron Fox said on Monday that it’s impossible to think of this Kings season as anything but a major disappointment, per Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Sacramento was bounced in the play-in tournament. “You want to continue to play for more,” Fox said. “I don’t think we were bad this year, but obviously the West got tougher and I don’t think we stepped up to that plate. … We took a step backward a little bit as a team. We still have things we can continue to get better at as a group.”
  • In the same story, Patterson notes that Keon Ellis and Kevin Huerter could have a spirited battle for the Kings’ starting shooting guard spot next season. Ellis impressed with his defense, while Huerter is a career 38.2% 3-point shooter. “It’s definitely the season where I’ve kind of made a name for myself a little bit,” Ellis said. “We didn’t finish the way we wanted to with the injuries and all of the things that go into that, but definitely for me it’s a season I’m going to look back at and be like, ‘This is where it started for me.’”
  • Suns wing Grayson Allen suffered a right ankle injury in Tuesday’s game against Minnesota and did not return. Allen came into the game with a sore ankle, per The Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin (Twitter link), but was deemed healthy enough to play.

Pacific Notes: Beal, Ellis, K. Jones, Russell

Suns guard Bradley Beal admitted that the finger he injured on his right hand last month is still far from 100%, but told reporters on Thursday that he has gotten more comfortable playing with a wrap on his ring finger and dealing with the pain (Twitter video link via Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports).

“It’s definitely a little, I think, partially torn, sprained, whatever they want to call it,” Beal said. “I haven’t had an image on it in weeks. The swelling’s not going anywhere, that’s one thing the doc said, he said you’ve kind of gotta deal with it, so I’m cool. I’ve been shooting it alright, so I’m not going to mess with it.”

Beal made just 3-of-11 shots from the floor in his first game back from the injury on March 27, but has been on fire since then, averaging 20.3 points per game on .582/.683/1.000 shooting in his last nine outings. He made all six of his attempts from beyond the three-point line in Sunday’s regular season finale that clinched Phoenix’s playoff spot.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Keon Ellis went undrafted out of Alabama in 2022 and barely played at the NBA level during his first season with the Kings, but he has emerged as a crucial role player in Sacramento in his second year, earning a promotion to the standard roster and a spot in the starting lineup. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee takes a look at how Ellis has boosted the Kings’ defense and helped make up for the loss of both Kevin Huerter and Malik Monk. “Obviously, when guys go down, it’s hard to just fill in that type of scoring, two guys (Huerter and Monk) who basically average 15 points,” De’Aaron Fox said. “… But I think since they’ve been out, having someone like Keon stepping into that starting lineup and being able to guard the best guys in this league, and doing a great job on guys as well, obviously helps us as a whole.”
  • Kai Jones‘ new contract with the Clippers includes a non-guaranteed minimum-salary team option for 2024/25, Hoops Rumors has confirmed. Even if Los Angeles picks up the option this June, Jones’ $2,196,970 salary for next season wouldn’t become guaranteed unless he remains under contract through January 7.
  • Last season’s series vs. Denver was a forgettable one for D’Angelo Russell, who averaged 6.3 points per game on 32.3% shooting and lost his starting job in Game 4, but he told reporters he’s not treating the Lakers‘ rematch with the Nuggets differently than he would any other playoff series, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “There’s no extra preparation for me,” Russell said. “Been preparing all year for whoever we would see in the postseason. Obviously, y’all make it a Denver-D-Lo thing, but I’m ready to compete.”

Pacific Notes: Green, Ellis, Clippers, Lakers

Warriors forward Draymond Green is getting banged up while playing the center position for the team, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. On Tuesday, Green dealt with lower back soreness and was listed as questionable against the Grizzlies but managed to come in and play well. He had a three-and-a-half-hour treatment session before that game.

Green is taking a proactive approach to his injury management so that he can stay on the floor as much as possible. Golden State is leaning heavily on the former Defensive Player of the Year as the team moves away from lineups featuring two non-shooters. Green doesn’t take the floor with Kevon Looney anymore and only plays alongside Trayce Jackson-Davis in short stretches.

Green being able to play center is helping the Warriors play Andrew Wiggins and Jonathan Kuminga together, with that trio being a plus-70 in 377 minutes. Still, it doesn’t come without its toll.

It’s definitely more taxing because at the five you are involved in every possession,” Green said. “At the four, fours don’t crash every time. You may not have to box out every possession. At the five, you got to box out every play. Fives are trying to get the ball every play. Even something as simple as that, let’s call it 20 more box outs a game. That’s contact. That’s a battle. So it’s definitely more taxing. But I’m cut out for it.

Given Green’s injuries, Slater ponders whether it’s sustainable to have him keep playing the five or whether it’s something that could be avoided.

I can do it. I’m cut out for it,” Green said. “I don’t overly worry about it because I know we have fives that are perfectly capable of taking over and doing what we need them to do. It’s not something I think about.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings guard Keon Ellis began the year on a two-way contract but saw it converted to a standard deal. He’s impressing in an expanded role, with the Kings now 7-1 with Ellis in the starting lineup. Entering Thursday, the Kings were undefeated with Ellis in the starting five (before losing to the Wizards), and were outscoring opponents by 84 points when he was on the floor, according to FOX 40 Sacramento’s Sean Cunningham (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers seemed to lose their way in recent games after winning 25 of 30 games in the middle of the season, the Los Angeles Times’ Broderick Turner writes. However, they found themselves again in a win over the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, winning 116-103. “We just happen to be going through a tough stretch,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “But we know who we are. You’re not going to win every game. We understand that. We understand that we can play better. We understand that. But let’s start with executing on both sides of the basketball. We know what our identity is and who we are.” The team’s defense, in particular, stood out as Los Angeles continues to develop its competitive identity, Turner writes.
  • The round of 64 of the men’s NCAA Tournament kicked off Thursday, and Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times identified 10 prospects the Lakers should be scouting. Baylor’s Yves Missi and Ja’Kobe Walter, Duke’s Jared McCain and Kansas’s Johnny Furphy are among some of the more likely names to be available where L.A’s pick currently sits (No. 14). However, it’s crucial to note that the Lakers don’t have the rights to their own pick this season. As part of the Anthony Davis trade, the Lakers owe this pick to the Pelicans. As Woike points out, though, the Pelicans have the option to defer this pick to 2025 in what is considered to be a stronger class. It’s possible New Orleans takes its chances on next year’s class and lets L.A. keep its own ’24 pick.

Kings Notes: Huerter, Ellis, Vezenkov, Monk

Kings shooting guard Kevin Huerter suffered a left shoulder injury in Monday’s game against Memphis and there are concerns that he could miss the rest of the regular season, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Huerter had to leave the game after being fouled by Desmond Bane, and he was ruled out for tonight’s contest at Toronto.

The Kings are likely exploring treatment options for Huerter before making a formal statement on his prognosis, according to Anderson, who cites a 2020 study by the National Library of Medicine showing that NBA players are typically sidelined for 3.6 weeks with shoulder subluxations and 7.6 weeks with shoulder dislocations. Anderson notes that a four-week absence would keep Huerter out until the start of the playoffs, while an eight-week absence would have him returning in mid-May in the midst of the conference semifinals.

Huerter is a valuable part of Sacramento’s offense, averaging 10.2 PPG in 64 games this season while shooting 44.3% from the field and 36.1% from three-point range.

There’s more on the Kings:

  • Coach Mike Brown plans to start Keon Ellis while Huerter is unavailable, Anderson adds. Ellis, who had his two-way contract converted to a multi-year deal last month, has started six games and the Kings have won them all. “Obviously, with this team, it’s always next-man up mentality,” De’Aaron Fox said. “We have to be ready to play without Kev if it is some type of long-term thing, and I think everybody is confident in Keon. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the minutes he’s been providing the last few games, especially since he’s been back in the rotation, have been great.”
  • Sasha Vezenkov isn’t quite ready to return from his right ankle sprain, Anderson tweets. The first-year power forward, who hasn’t played since February 9, had been upgraded to questionable for tonight, but the team opted to give him another night off.
  • In an interview with Anthony Slater of The Athletic, Malik Monk explains the career arc that has made him the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year honors as well as his decision to leave the Lakers and sign with the Kings as a free agent in 2022. “I feel like the organization needed a turnaround,” Monk said. “I feel like they needed new faces here. I feel like I could bring an energy that Sac had been waiting for since (DeMarcus Cousins) left. And my homie is here, my best friend here. Fox. This was going to be the most comfortable fit for me. Because leaving Los Angeles, a big city, coming here slows everything down. Slow pace. Now I can just focus on my craft. It’s been working for me.”

Pacific Notes: Thomas, Vezenkov, Ellis, Dinwiddie

Isaiah Thomas is expected to be available for the Suns’ game against Philadelphia on Wednesday, John Gambadoro of 98.7 FM Phoenix tweets.

While the transaction has not officially been finalized yet, Thomas is expected to sign a 10-day contract with the Suns. The 35-year-old guard recently joined the Salt Lake City Stars in the G League in hopes of landing another NBA opportunity. He showed he still has his scoring touch, averaging 32.5 points in four games while shooting 45% from three-point range.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Kings rookie forward Sasha Vezenkov (Grade 3 ankle sprain) was a full participant on Monday at the team’s shootaround. He won’t play against the Grizzlies but is making good progress toward a return to action, Sean Cunningham of the Kings Beat podcast tweets. Vezenkov hasn’t played since Feb. 9.
  • The Kings are 6-0 in games that Keon Ellis has started, but the second-year guard told James Ham of The Kings Beat in a Q&A that he tries not to make too much of that stat. “There’s just more basketball to be played, so I don’t get too deep into those things,” he said. “I just try to focus on the next game and just try to lock in for every game, for real. So the record will be whatever it is if I’m as locked in as I can be. I just kinda let it figure itself out, for real.” Ellis signed a three-year contract last month after starting the season on a two-way deal.
  • Lakers guard Spencer Dinwiddie is adjusting to his bench role after starting 48 games for Brooklyn this season. The Raptors waived him after he was traded but Dinwiddie doesn’t feel like a typical backup at this stage of his career. “Obviously, the way (things) shook out in Brooklyn kind of put me more so in this box than my game being in that box,” he said, per Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). “It’s not like I’m 35 or coming off injury or washed or anything. … Like, I’m one of them guys. Let’s not get it twisted. But I also understand being a part of a bigger unit.”

Pacific Notes: D-Lo, Schröder, Curry, Kings, Hyland, Harden

While D’Angelo Russell had some good moments for the Lakers in last year’s playoffs, he also struggled mightily in the Western Conference Finals against the eventual champion Nuggets, leading to him being benched in Game 4 in favor of Dennis Schröder, a superior defender who had a preexisting relationship with head coach Darvin Ham. Russell, on the other hand, was acquired in a trade last February, meaning he’d only known Ham for a few months.

Russell claims he was “the scapegoat” for that series, which saw Denver sweep Los Angeles, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

(Schröder’s) relationship with Darvin is the reason I couldn’t have a relationship with Darvin,” Russell said. “When I was struggling, I would’ve been able to come to the coach and say, ‘Bro, this is what we should do. Like, I can help you.’ Instead, there was no dialogue. … I just accepted it.

And we got swept and I’m here and he’s not. And I like our chances.”

As McMenamin writes, Russell initially wasn’t enthusiastic about re-signing with L.A. as a free agent last summer, apparently in part due to the presence of Schröder. But on the first day of free agency, the Lakers wound up signing Gabe Vincent and Schröder signed with Toronto (he has since been traded to Brooklyn). Russell inked a two-year deal with the Lakers the following day.

The Lakers and Russell reached a compromise on that contract — he got a player option for 2024/25, but he also waived his ability to veto a trade.

Russell was featured prominently in trade rumors for months leading up to last month’s deadline, McMenamin notes, but the Lakers wound up keeping him because he’s been playing so well of late — since January 13, a span of 27 games (36.1 MPG), the 28-year-old is averaging 21.9 PPG, 6.4 APG and 3.2 RPG with a highly efficient .472/.452/.840 shooting line.

If he maintains that level of play in the postseason, Russell could very well decline his $18.7MM player option for next season and become an unrestricted free agent again in 2024.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • For his part, former Lakers guard Schröder said he was confused by Russell’s comments, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. I don’t understand it,” the German veteran said. “But at the end of the day, it just shows off immaturity. You’re not really mature if you’re just keeping somebody’s name in his mouth and just running it. I don’t understand.” Ham also responded to Russell’s comments from McMenamin’s article, saying their relationship “is in a great place,” as Jovan Buha of The Athletic relays in a Twitter thread. “We have great conversations,” Ham said. “Great text exchanges after games. During the game our in-game conversations. … It’s tough. That’s why the phrase is called ‘building a relationship.’”
  • The Warriors expect star guard Stephen Curry to return to action on Saturday vs. the Lakers, tweets Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Curry, who has missed the past three games with a right ankle sprain, said “that’s the plan” when asked if he was going to suit up tomorrow, per Mark Medina of Sportskeeda (Twitter link).
  • Kings guard Keon Ellis was in the starting lineup the past two games, and his defense on Damian Lillard and Russell was critical in both victories, writes Hunter Patterson of The Athletic. Sacramento knows it needs to continue to play strong defense to have a shot at advancing out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in 20 years, Patterson adds.
  • The Kings are now 6-0 when Ellis starts. Will he continue to start going forward? Head coach Mike Brown sounded pretty skeptical about that possibility, per James Ham of The Kings Beat (Twitter video link). However, Brown said the second-year guard could finish games at times, similar to Sixth Man of the Year frontrunner Malik Monk.
  • With James Harden out with a shoulder injury, Clippers guard Bones Hyland made the most of his opportunity in Thursday’s victory over the Bulls, observes K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Hyland, who was often left open due to the attention paid to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, recorded 17 points (on 6-of-9 shooting), 11 assists, five rebounds and four steals in 32 minutes. Harden will miss his second straight game on Friday, though head coach Tyronn Lue said the former MVP is “feeling better,” tweets Law Murray of The Athletic.

Kings Sign Keon Ellis To Three-Year Deal

2:05pm: The Kings have issued a press release officially confirming Ellis’ new deal and his promotion to the 15-man roster.

The three-year contract will be worth approximately $5.56MM, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). As cap expert Yossi Gozlan points out (via Twitter) that figure suggests Sacramento used the remainder of its room exception on Ellis, with minimum salaries in years two and three. It’s unclear whether the deal features guaranteed money beyond this season.

11:40am: The Kings will use the open spot on their 15-man roster to promote two-way player Keon Ellis, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Agent Corey Marcum tells Wojnarowski that the Kings and Ellis have agreed to a new three-year contract.

Ellis signed a two-year deal with Sacramento in July 2022 after going undrafted out of Alabama. The 24-year-old didn’t play much as a rookie at the NBA level, making just 16 brief appearances over the course of the season, but he has been in and out of the Kings’ rotation in 2023/24.

A 6’6″ guard, Ellis has averaged 3.8 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists in 11.9 minutes per game across 29 appearances (three starts) this season, posting a shooting line of .429/.377/.647.

Although he’s not a true point guard, Ellis was De’Aaron Fox‘s primary backup for much of December. Davion Mitchell has reclaimed that role as of late, but the Kings remain high on the former Crimson Tide standout.

Sacramento acquired Robin Lopez in a salary dump trade with the Bucks on Thursday, taking him into the open spot on the 15-man roster, but waived him shortly after completing that deal, so Ellis will now fill that opening. The promotion will create a two-way vacancy for the Kings alongside Jordan Ford and Jalen Slawson.

In order to sign Ellis to a contract exceeding two years, the Kings figure to use a leftover portion of their room exception. The 2023/24 league year represents the first time that the room exception can be used to complete a deal of up to three years instead of just two.

Kings Notes: Losing Streak, Rotation, Murray, NBAGL Team

The Kings remain in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race with a 23-18 record, but they’re in the midst of their worst stretch of the season, having dropped a fourth consecutive game on Thursday. While road losses in Philadelphia and Milwaukee last Friday and Sunday were understandable, Sacramento blew a big fourth quarter lead in Phoenix on Tuesday and fell at home to a depleted Pacers team last night.

“It’s a lot of little things that are turning into big things,” Keegan Murray said of the Kings’ on-court issues, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

One of those issues is free throw shooting. The Kings’ 72.5% rate from the foul line this season is easily the NBA’s worst mark and the team made just 25-of-44 (56.8%) free throws in its past two losses.

“That’s two games in a row we shoot 50% from the free throw line,” head coach Mike Brown said on Thursday. “I’m not sure what it is. Today we shot more free throws in a shootaround than we ever have in a shootaround since I’ve been here. And yesterday, we shot more free throws in a practice than we ever have since I’ve been here.”

“You go back to the work. You get in the gym,” wing Kevin Huerter said. “You’ve got to build your confidence by trusting the work you put in. We shot ourselves in the foot. This is the third game in a row this has happened against three good teams. It feels like it’s all self-inflicted and that’s why it’s frustrating for us. It’s no secret. We can’t miss 14 free throws at home and expect to beat a team that’s this good, even with the players they have out. That’s stuff that we can control.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Despite the losing streak, Brown seems to have settled into a rotation he likes, with Huerter back in the starting five and Malik Monk, Trey Lyles, Sasha Vezenkov, and Alex Len playing regular minutes off the bench, notes Anderson. “I hate to say this, but I feel fairly comfortable (with the current rotation),” Brown said prior to Thursday’s loss. “Now, that doesn’t mean I may not change again with the way our rotation is right now, but I feel fairly comfortable with what we’re doing right now, and I’m going to ride with it a little bit and give it an opportunity.” Davion Mitchell, Chris Duarte, Keon Ellis, and JaVale McGee are among those not seeing regular playing time as of late.
  • Anthony Slater of The Athletic outlines why the Kings consider Murray essentially untouchable in trade talks, writing that the team views the former No. 4 overall pick as a player who could round out a long-term big three alongside Domantas Sabonis and De’Aaron Fox. “Keegan is a huge part of our future,” Brown said. “We rely on him for a lot and, to a certain degree, it is a little unfair. Because we’re a playoff team. There aren’t many guys that are in year two that are expected to do what he does.”
  • Anjali Ranadive, the daughter of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, has stepped down from her position as the general manager of the Stockton Kings, Sacramento’s G League affiliate announced today in a press release. She’ll be pursuing a Ph.D. and focusing on her non-profit organization while assistant general manager Gabriel Harris takes on the day-to-day GM responsibilities in Stockton. “We are grateful to Anjali for her contributions to the Stockton Kings over the past two seasons,” Kings GM Monte McNair said in a statement. “Under her leadership the team has excelled on the court and is set for success in the future.”
  • In other Stockton news, the Kings’ G League team added a former NBA first-round pick earlier this week, announcing in a press release that veteran swingman Shabazz Muhammad has joined the roster. The No. 14 pick in the 2013 draft, Muhammad last played in the NBA in 2018 for Milwaukee, but continues to try to make it back to the league.

Kings Rumors: Siakam, LaVine, Kuzma, Monk, Murray, Ellis

When the Kings and Raptors discussed a possible Pascal Siakam trade, the two teams are believed to have talked about a package that would have included Harrison Barnes, Kevin Huerter, Davion Mitchell, and a first-round pick, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype podcast.

Shams Charania reported earlier in the week that Sacramento wanted to get a deal done quickly and pulled out of those talks when Toronto didn’t immediately accept the Kings’ initial offer. However, James Ham of The Kings Beat and ESPN 1320, appearing with Scotto on the HoopsHype podcast, said he thinks the Kings would still be in on Siakam if they felt more confident about their chances of re-signing him.

While Ham hasn’t been able to independently confirm the reporting of his ESPN 1320 colleague Damien Barling, he told Scotto that Barling has heard from his sources that Siakam made it clear he wouldn’t re-sign with Sacramento if the team were to acquire him.

Reports dating back to June have suggested that Siakam would be unwilling to re-sign with a team that trades for him — or at least would maintain that stance. The two-time All-Star would be eligible for a super-max contract during the 2024 offseason if he makes an All-NBA team this season, but only if he’s still a Raptor, as a trade would make him ineligible. With those financial considerations in mind, it makes some sense that Siakam might want to dissuade teams from trading for him.

It’s also worth noting that Michael Grange of reported over the weekend that the Kings aren’t interested in giving Siakam a standard (non super-max) maximum-salary contract. If that’s accurate and that was conveyed to the 29-year-old, it could also explain why he’d be hesitant to commit to Sacramento.

Here’s more on the Kings from Scotto and Ham:

  • Scotto has heard that the Kings and Bulls at least briefly discussed Zach LaVine earlier in the season. Barnes and Huerter came up in those talks, according to Scotto, who adds that Chicago likes Huerter and has done some background research on him. However, Ham is unconvinced that LaVine is a top target for Sacramento, given Mike Brown‘s focus on defense and LaVine’s massive contract.
  • Ham views Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma as a player who might be a better fit for Sacramento, noting that he has a more modest contract and pointing out that the Kings nearly traded Buddy Hield to the Lakers during the 2021 offseason for a package that would’ve included Kuzma. The team also had interest in Kuzma this past offseason, per Ham, but ultimately decided to extend Barnes to address the power forward position.
  • The Kings will hold Early Bird rights on Malik Monk when he reaches free agency this offseason, giving them the ability to offer up to $78MM over four years. Ham isn’t sure if that will be enough to retain the sharpshooting guard, who is averaging a career-best 14.8 points per game and a 41.2% three-point percentage, noting that he expects Monk to “chase money” if he gets an offer well above what Sacramento could put on the table. For what it’s worth, I’d be a little surprised if there’s a team willing to offer Monk much more than $20MM per year, but we’ll see how his season – and the market – plays out.
  • Ham says he asked a team source last year whether the Kings would be willing to trade Keegan Murray in a deal for Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen and was told, “No, we believe he’ll be better than Markkanen.”
  • While Ham doesn’t expect the Kings to fill their 15th roster spot with a rest-of-season signing prior to the trade deadline, he views two-way player Keon Ellis as a prime candidate to claim that spot if it’s still open after the deadline. “They have a lot of faith in who he is as a player and what he’s becoming,” Ham said of Ellis.

Kings Notes: Monk, Brown, Duarte, Mitchell, Ellis, Comanche

Following some sloppy play in the first quarter of the Kings‘ loss to the Hornets on Tuesday, Malik Monk was benched for the rest of the first half. When he returned to the game in the third quarter, Monk hit a pair of three-pointers, then turned and appeared to say something to head coach Mike Brown as he passed Sacramento’s bench (Twitter video link via Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 Sacramento).

At the next timeout, Brown and Monk engaged in a heated conversation on the sidelines, but they seemed to resolve their differences quickly, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, who notes that Brown shrugged off the incident when he spoke to reporters after the game.

“Heat of the moment,” Brown said. “Malik and I — I think everybody has seen it — but Malik and I have gotten into exchanges before. This was not the first time, and I would bet money it won’t be the last time, so that’s not a big deal.”

While Brown downplayed his exchange with Monk, he was disappointed in his team’s execution and sense of urgency down the stretch in an ugly loss that ended Charlotte’s 11-game losing streak, describing it as “alarming.”

“Our half-court defense, we’re literally just standing on the weak side of the floor, and we give up a stone-cold layup at a crucial part of the game,” Brown said. “So, to not have an awareness, a sense of urgency, it was not a good feeling being out there and being a part of it, and obviously I had a lot to do with it because I did not have our guys ready apparently.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Kings wing Chris Duarte got a second consecutive start on Tuesday in place of Kevin Huerter and played well, recording 12 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in nearly 30 minutes of action. As Anderson relays, Brown explained on Tuesday that he wants to get a longer look at the new starting lineup before deciding whether or not to stick with it. “It’s one of those things that we just kind of play out, wait and see and see how it goes, but it was not a one-time thing,” Brown said. “It’s a change that we made that, right now, we’re going to continue to take a look at going forward.”
  • In addition to the starting lineup tweak, Brown has made another notable change to his rotation, playing Davion Mitchell over Keon Ellis in each of the past three games. Mitchell has averaged about 14 minutes per night during that time after being out of the rotation for nearly all of December, while Ellis had a pair of DNP-CDs for the first time since November. Mitchell earned the Kings’ defensive player of the game chain in Friday’s win over Atlanta, writes Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. “Even if I’m not in the rotation, I’m still trying to help, still trying to help my team win,” Mitchell said after that game. “Keon’s a really good player in our league and I’m just trying to teach him the little things, things I experienced my rookie year, my sophomore year.”
  • Former Stockton Kings center Chance Comanche, who is accused of killing a woman last month in Nevada, made an initial court appearance in Las Vegas on Tuesday. According to an Associated Press report, separate murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy cases will be combined so that Comanche and his ex-girlfriend (and alleged co-conspirator) Sakari Harnden can be tried together. Comanche, who intends to plead not guilty, will remain in jail without bail — his next court date is set for February 8.