Mike Brown

Spurs Haven’t Shown Much Interest In Trae Young

Trae Young could be an ideal fit for the Spurs. However, San Antonio has thus far shown little interest in acquiring the Hawks point guard, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer’s story echoes a couple other reports from the past month that have downplayed the idea of Young ending up in San Antonio.

The Hawks, who unexpectedly landed the top overall pick via the draft lottery, are widely expected to consider trade scenarios that would break up their backcourt of Young and Dejounte Murray. Atlanta scoured the league to gauge interest in all of its players prior to February’s trade deadline with the exception of forward Jalen Johnson, Fischer notes.

San Antonio has no clear long-term floor leader and it’s expected the Spurs will explore their options to find a pick-and-roll partner for Victor Wembanyama. Yet multiple league figures tell Fischer that San Antonio’s interest in trading for Young has been vastly overstated.

The two teams could be doing some business together this summer, whether or not it involves Young. San Antonio holds the No. 4 and No. 8 picks, making it a natural trade partner if the Hawks choose to move down. The franchises, of course, completed the Murray blockbuster two summers ago and Atlanta’s front office duo of general manager Landry Fields and assistant GM Onsi Saleh began their careers in the Spurs’ front office.

As for Young, the Lakers hold some interest in him and now have three first-rounders available to trade. Los Angeles will have to consider other options before committing any type of capital for Young, Fischer adds, though Donovan Mitchell might be off the table if he signs an extension.

The Lakers are still pondering their coaching options and they might wait until next month to make that hire, Fischer confirms in a separate story. That’s primarily due to their interest in J.J. Redick. His current obligation to ESPN/ABC for the network’s postseason schedule and NBA Finals has various insiders under the impression Los Angeles’ search may stretch into June, as Marc Stein previously reported.

The Lakers have numerous candidates on their list, but James Borrego has been widely categorized as the experienced, veteran foil to Redick’s candidacy, Fischer writes. The former Hornets head man and current Pelicans assistant has maintained close ties with Anthony Davis since Davis was a rookie and Borrego was an assistant for the then-Hornets.

In other coaching news, Mike Brown’s contract extension talks with the Kings are expected to center around an eight-figure threshold and a Tom Thibodeau extension with the Knicks is also expected to reach those figures, Fischer notes.

Pacific Notes: M. Brown, Moody, Westbrook, Durant

While there has been some chatter about Mike Brown‘s contract situation since the Kings‘ season ended last week, Brown denied on Wednesday that the issue is “top of mind” as he enters the summer, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

“It’s not, really, at the end of the day,” Brown said. “I have one year left on my deal. Everybody knows that, but I’m excited about being here. I’m excited about our future, so I’m going to go into this summer trying to figure out how we can be better next year.”

Brown technically has two years left on his contract, but the 2025/26 season is a mutual option, meaning both he and the Kings would have to opt in. Since ’24/25 is his last guaranteed season, the two sides may feel compelled to try to get a new deal done sooner rather than later. Brown is reportedly expected to seek a deal that’s in line with the new market for head coaches after Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, and Monty Williams signed lucrative contracts in the past year.

“Look at a two-year horizon here, which is when Coach Brown and his staff came in, and (there are) a lot of positives,” general manager Monte McNair said on Wednesday. “We’re certainly disappointed this year, and Mike and I will sit down and try to figure out how we get back to where we want to get to. And, yeah, we’ll have all those conversations here starting soon.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Within a discussion about a few Warriors-related subjects, Anthony Slater of The Athletic notes that it will be an interesting offseason for Moses Moody. The former 14th overall pick will be extension-eligible beginning in July and should be in line for a larger role next season, especially if Klay Thompson leaves in free agency or if Golden State trades Andrew Wiggins. “I think it’s really important coming into year four for (Moody) that there is some reasonable playing time available for him where he can impact our team and be out there and continue to improve,” general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. said this week.
  • The Clippers have been better both offensively and defensively when Russell Westbrook is on the court during the first two games of their series against Dallas, according to Law Murray of The Athletic, who suggests that Westbrook’s contributions are critical to counter the Mavericks’ small lineups. Westbrook can become a free agent this offseason if he turns down a $4MM player option for 2024/25.
  • In a feature for ESPN.com, Baxter Holmes explores Kevin Durant‘s return from a 2019 Achilles tear, an injury that the Suns‘ star forward thought might end his run as an All-NBA-level player. As Holmes writes, Durant’s intense love of the game helped fuel his recovery process and allowed him to eventually regain his All-NBA form.

Kings Notes: Monk, Brown, Ranadive, Offseason, Vezenkov

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Sixth Man of the Year finalist Malik Monk made it pretty clear that he plans to test the open market in free agency this summer, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

I can go somewhere else with a lot more money and be in a worse situation, so you never know,” the Kings guard said. “I’ve got a great agent who’s going to do his job. I think my job is done.”

Sacramento holds Monk’s Early Bird rights, so the team is somewhat limited in what it can offer him this summer. Monk said in a perfect world, he’d “definitely” like to return, but he’s not sure what the future will hold, as Anderson relays (Twitter links).

I came here, (played with) one of my best friends, turned the organization around, turned the city around,” Monk said. “The city loves me and I love the city, so the emotions are everywhere right now.”

Monk added that he would prefer a starting role, but he’s willing to come off the bench if it’s better for whichever team he signs with, per James Ham of ESPN 1320 and The Kings Beat (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • Even though they lost their second play-in game in disappointing fashion, the Kings have undoubtedly played much better under 2023 Coach of the Year Mike Brown the past two seasons. Sources tell Anthony Slater and Sam Amick of The Athletic that Brown is essentially entering the last season of his contract (2025/26 is a mutual option), and he hopes to sign a long-term extension that includes a raise. However, owner Vivek Ranadive hasn’t presented an extension offer to this point, and it’s unclear if he’ll be willing to commit to Brown going forward, per The Athletic.
  • Anderson of The Sacramento Bee recently released an offseason preview for the Kings, with Monk’s future the biggest question mark.
  • In a feature for The Ringer, Howard Beck wonders if Sacramento will be able to escape NBA purgatory as a good-but-not-great team. “We knew the expectations were coming for us right away,” GM Monte McNair told Beck. “That’s what we’ve seen this year. And that’s the reality of the NBA. For us, it’s trying to figure out: How do we continue to take those next steps? And that means getting back into the playoffs and eventually winning a round or two.”
  • Despite dealing with injuries and inconsistent minutes, rookie forward Sasha Vezenkov said he had no regrets about coming stateside last summer, Ham tweets. I made the right choice, no doubt about it,” last season’s EuroLeague MVP said. The 28-year-old will earn $6.7MM next season, with a $7MM team option for ’25/26.

Pacific Notes: Hachimura, Ham, James, Brown, Lee

Rui Hachimura, who remained with the Lakers by signing a three-year, $51MM contract last summer, erupted for a career-high 36 points against Utah on Wednesday. His teammates implored him last week to be more assertive on the offensive end and Hachimura believes he’s capable of playing an important role the rest of the way, Dave McMenamin of ESPN writes.

“I want to be the X factor for the team, either coming off the bench or starting, whatever that is, offensively, defensively, everything,” the Lakers forward said. “Just got to be aggressive, use my size, whatever it takes to win.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The NBA world was shaken up by the revelation that the Warriors had made inquiries to the Lakers about LeBron James‘ availability prior to the trade deadline. Lakers coach Darvin Ham was asked for his reaction and Ham did his best to sidestep the issue, Khobi Price of the Orange County Register writes. “To put it [simply], the alignment that I have with [Lakers governor] Jeanie [Buss] and [GM] Rob [Pelinka] is they handle that stuff,” Ham said. “It’s my job to try to extract the most positive performances out of our team.”
  • Mike Brown isn’t backing down from publicly criticizing officials, even though he’s already been fined by the league for it. The Kings coach was upset about a number of officiating decisions during the team’s loss to Phoenix on Tuesday, including what he felt was a foul by Devin Booker that wasn’t called in the final minute. “I don’t know, man. You fight so hard and then you just feel like it’s just not fair down the stretch,” Brown said to Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee and other media members. “That no-call — I’m going to be interested to see the 2-minute report, because if they say that’s not a foul on Booker, I’m really lost.” Brown was fined $50K last month by the league for comments about the officiating.
  • Following Booker’s first-quarter ejection against Detroit on Wednesday, Suns two-way player Saben Lee stepped in and contributed 16 points, six rebounds, four steals and two assists in 24 minutes against one of his former teams. It was easily his most impactful outing this season, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic notes. “He’s an elite athlete. He can really touch the paint at will and he makes good decisions when he gets there,” coach Frank Vogel said. “Very shifty. He’s got great ability to draw fouls, sweet moves and shot fakes and those types of things. He’s a hell of a guy to have in that situation to come in and give us that spark.”

Kings’ Mike Brown Fined $50K By NBA

Kings head coach Mike Brown has been fined $50K for “aggressively pursuing” a referee during the team’s Sunday loss in Milwaukee and for publicly criticizing the officiating after the game, the NBA announced today in a press release (Twitter link).

Brown was ejected in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game when he confronted and berated referee Intae Hwang to express his displeasure with how the game was being called (Twitter video link via Sean Cunningham of Fox 40 Sacramento).

During his postgame press conference, Brown brought the team’s video coordinator and a laptop to show reporters specifically which calls led to his ejection (Twitter video link via Carmichael Dave).

“The referees are human, and they’re going to make mistakes, but you just hope that there’s some sort of consistency and there’s some sort of communication between the refs,” Brown said. “The refs tonight, they were great, they communicated with me all night. But in terms of consistency, you guys saw it right here. In my opinion, the consistency wasn’t here tonight.”

It’s a significant penalty for Brown relative to other fines that players and coaches have received for criticizing the officiating, which suggests that the league wasn’t pleased by the Kings coach’s on-court outburst — or by the extra preparation that preceded his postgame comments and the visual examples that accompanied them.

By comparison, Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic was fined $25K for a postgame rant ripping the officiating earlier this month.

Pacific Notes: Green, Brown, Clippers, Reddish

Draymond Green will return to the court today after missing 16 games during his suspension and reconditioning process, but it might take some time before the Warriors look like a cohesive unit, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Golden State had the second worst defense in the league during Green’s absence, according to Andrews, giving up 123.8 points per 100 possessions. The Warriors have allowed opponents to score at least 70 points in the first half in four of their last six games.

“Nothing ever just flips,” Green said. “I don’t look at myself as some savior, like this is going to save our defense or anything like that. I think I can help with communication. And like with everything else, it’s contagious.”

Green stayed away from the Warriors while he underwent counseling and didn’t rejoin the team until his suspension was lifted on January 6. He believes the break from basketball helped with his mental health, and coach Steve Kerr indicated that it could be beneficial for everyone.

“He’s still obviously a huge part of this thing and a huge part of our leadership,” Kerr said. “But he needs the awareness that comes with what he’s just gone through and what he has put the team through as well.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Mike Brown is the latest coach to vent about officiating, but he found a creative way to do it after the Kings‘ overtime loss Sunday at Milwaukee, per Rich Rovito of The Associated Press. Brown brought the team’s video coordinator and a laptop to his post-game press conference to show reporters the calls that led to his ejection. “The referees are human, and they’re going to make mistakes, but you just hope that there’s some sort of consistency and there’s some sort of communication between the refs,” Brown said. “The refs tonight, they were great, they communicated with me all night. But in terms of consistency, you guys saw it right here. In my opinion, the consistency wasn’t here tonight.”
  • Seerat Sohi of The Ringer looks at how the Clippers were able to get all their stars on the same page after a rough start to the James Harden era. Coach Tyronn Lue believes they were too deferential to one another following the trade that brought Harden to L.A. “I think not wanting to step on each other’s toes. I think having respect, all four guys having a huge respect for each other,” Lue said. “Sometimes that can be a negative because now they don’t want to do what they’re capable of doing.”
  • Cam Reddish could miss multiple games after leaving each of the Lakers‘ last two contests with knee soreness, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

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 Sportsnet.ca 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.

De’Aaron Fox To Miss Time With Ankle Injury

11:58am: Fox suffered a moderate right ankle sprain and is expected to miss some time, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sources tell Marc J. Spears of Andscape that the guard could return within a week (Twitter link).

7:59am: The Kings are determining the severity of an ankle injury that De’Aaron Fox suffered late in Sunday’s win over the Lakers, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. A league source told Anderson that the team’s medical staff was examining Fox after the game and an update will be provided once the extent of the damage is clear.

The All-Star guard hurt his right ankle late in the fourth quarter, but returned to the court for the start of overtime despite being told to remain on the bench, according to Anderson. Head coach Mike Brown pulled him from the game after about 90 seconds, saying he was “limping really bad,” but he admires Fox’s toughness for attempting to play.

“(Fox) is tough as nails, man,” Brown said. “To try to show the grit that he showed and get out there to help us win a ballgame, that just speaks volumes to who he is and how much he wants to lay his body on the line to help his team.”

Fox was injured on a drive to the basket when he stepped on Gabe Vincent’s foot and rolled his right ankle. He remained on the ground for two to three minutes, Anderson states, then limped to the locker room with trainers before quickly returning to the team’s bench.

Fox checked back into the game and led a comeback that put Sacramento in front, but the Lakers forced overtime on a layup by LeBron James. Fox wasn’t supposed to stay in the game for the extra session, and Brown wasn’t aware that he was on the court until it was too late.

“So I started calling him, and he’s ignoring me,” Brown said. “He felt he could go, so he stayed on the floor, and then when I felt he really couldn’t go, we took him out.”

Anderson points out that Fox missed 17 games during the 2019/20 season with a Grade 3 sprain to his left ankle. The Kings have to hope the news isn’t as bad this time, as a prolonged absence would be a significant obstacle in what’s expected to be a tight Western Conference playoff race. Fox scored 37 points Sunday night, including 13 in the fourth quarter, and is averaging 31.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists through three games.

Mike Brown Talks Kings, Fox, Sabonis, Monk, Murray

Second-year Kings head coach Mike Brown is aware that the club is heading into the 2023/24 season with serious expectations for the first time in a good long while. As the reigning Coach of the Year tells Mike Scotto of HoopsHype in an extensive new interview, his team is hoping to improve on last season’s 48-34 record. Sacramento did secure the West’s No. 3 seed, but was ousted in a seven-game, first-round playoff slugfest by the Warriors.

“We’re a good team,” Brown said. “We established that narrative with our play last year and our connectivity and work throughout the summer. Now, we’ve got to continue building on that. We’ve got to go from good to great. Our expectations aren’t just to make the playoffs again. We know that’s who we are. Our expectations are to go from good to great and be an NBA champion, just like every other team out there, that’s competing as hard as we feel like we’re going to compete this year.”

The whole conversation is well worth reading in full. Below are just a few key highlights.

On winning his second Coach of the Year award in 2023:

“The reality to me is I have a fantastic staff, and you appreciate their work. At the end of the day, I recognize greatness, and I truly mean that our players stepped up, and everybody in the organization did too. I’m not just talking about my coaching staff. I have at least four or five guys on my staff right now who are ready to be head coaches. I’ve been saying that. I’ve tried to tell people about Jordi Fernandez. Others on my staff are ready to be head coaches right now.”

“I recognize how blessed, fortunate, and lucky I am to have not just a great coaching staff but a great medical staff, and a great performance and conditioning staff. I love the guys in the front office, ticket sales, community relations, and (COO) Matina Kolokotronis. To see the vertical and horizontal levels of trust we have with all the levels in the organization, in my opinion, showed itself in the best possible way with me being named the unanimous Coach of the Year because I know I didn’t do it by myself.”

On the chemistry between All-Stars De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis:

“Those two guys have to continue taking leaps forward, but part of the reason why we brought so many guys back is because I firmly believe in order to have a winning culture at the highest level, you have to have a core of guys that you believe in and are able to play together year after year so that connectivity can grow to an insurmountable level. This is our first year of trying to bring our guys back to establish that core, so that means everybody we bring back has to elevate their game. Keegan Murray, Kevin Huerter and Harrison Barnes all have to elevate their game, especially knowing the way we like to play on both ends of the floor.”

On Malik Monk‘s shot at Sixth Man of the Year honors:

“He has a chance. Malik Monk is one of the most talented guys I’ve been around. He’s not 6-foot-7, but if he was, he’d be All-NBA. He’s that talented. It’s going to be up to him what he wants to be. I thought last year, coming in, his work ethic and his focus were pretty good. Just like how everyone else can help us improve internally to help us become a better team, Malik can, too. His talent level is there. Now, he’s got to be locked in 24/7, 365 days a year, when it comes to hoops. If he is, and he doesn’t take anything for granted, he’s in great shape and locked in by playing every possession, the sky’s the limit for him. He can shoot the three. He’s got a medium (mid-range) game. He’s one of the best I’ve seen in pick-and-rolls.”

On the growth of second-year forward Keegan Murray:

“If you think about it, last year, the way we played with our pace and our body and ball movement, he got a lot of his shots off the catch-and-shoot. Now, we expect Keegan to bring the ball up if he gets a rebound and initiate the offense, be a little selfish, and go get his shot, which you saw a couple of times throughout the preseason and when he played in Kings Summer League action in Sacramento. Not only that, but offensive rebounding. He’s worked hard on his body. Defensively, don’t get bullied… Be able to guard the ball in pick-and-roll situations. These are some areas, like going to get shots off the bounce that Keegan worked on that we’ve been fortunate to see throughout the offseason. Now, we expect him to do that come game time.”