Kings Rumors

De’Aaron Fox To Withdraw From Team USA

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox will become the latest player to withdraw from Team USA, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris B. Haynes (Twitter link). Fox will focus on Sacramento’s 2019/20 season with the goal of making the postseason, Haynes adds.

In addition to Fox, Rockets’ center P.J. Tucker withdrew on Friday due to injury, with Kyle Lowry and Marvin Bagley having previously pulled out. Team USA is down to 13 players, so just one more cut is necessary to set its 12-man roster for the 2019 World Cup.

Fox, 21, is entering this season coming off an outstanding sophomore campaign for the Kings. In 81 games, the University of Kentucky Product averaged 17.3 PPG and 7.3 APG for Sacramento.

 

Fox's Jumper Impresses Kemba Walker

  • Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox has caught everyone’s attention at the USA Basketball training camp with his quickness and Celtics guard Kemba Walker sees Fox’s jumper improving as well. “What impressed me the most is probably his shooting,” Walker told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk and other reporters. “He has really been knocking it down. That is what is going to take him to that next level. Like for myself entering the league, the next step for me was my jump shot. That is what helped me get to the next level.” Whenever he consistently gets that, it will be over.” Fox shot 45.8% overall and 37.1% from long range in his second NBA season.
  • Luke Walton has already made a good impression with Kings players prior to training camp, as Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register details. Big man Marvin Bagley is one of the players that Walton has supervised during personal workouts. “He’s been there helping me out,” Bagley said of his new coach. “Been there for my workouts, telling me what I’m doing right, what I’m doing wrong, what I need to get better at. I think it’s gonna be an exciting year. I’m looking forward to playing for him as a head coach and getting into it.”

World Cup Notes: Olynyk, Canada, Select Team

As first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, a knee injury will prevent Heat forward Kelly Olynyk from playing for Team Canada during this year’s World Cup in China. The Heat confirmed as much today in a press release announcing Olynyk’s right knee bone bruise.

According to Wojnarowski and the Heat, Olynyk is expected to be ready for the start of the NBA regular season. However, it’s not clear whether he’ll be healthy enough to fully participate in training camp next month. If he’s not, it could mean added reps for the likes of Meyers Leonard, James Johnson, Duncan Robinson, and/or some camp invitees.

As for Team Canada, their World Cup squad takes yet another hit. It has been overshadowed by all the Team USA withdrawals, but Team Canada has also experienced an exodus of NBA players from its roster, as we detailed last week. Olynyk joins Jamal Murray, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Tristan Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Dwight Powell, and many other Canadians on the list of players won’t be participating in the 2019 World Cup.

Here are a few more notes related to the World Cup:

Marvin Bagley III Withdraws From Team USA

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III has withdrawn from Team USA’s training camp to focus on the upcoming NBA season, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link).

Bagley, who earned a promotion to the Team USA senior roster by playing well in training camp last week, had impressed coaches and officials enough to earn consideration for the final 12-man roster that has yet to be finalized, Stein notes in a separate tweet.

Bagley is coming off a rookie season that saw him average 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and one block in 25.3 minutes per contest, playing off the bench in 62 of his 65 games. He beat out fellow bigs Thaddeus Young and Bam Adebayo to make the senior roster on Team USA.

The Kings still have third-year guard De’Aaron Fox and veteran forward Harrison Barnes vying to make the final group out of 16 remaining players. The FIBA World Cup is scheduled to begin play on Aug. 31, with Team USA set to have its first game on Sept. 1.

Poll: Which Team Will Win Pacific In 2019/20?

While it’s far less impressive than their run of five consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals, the Warriors have also won the Pacific Division five times in a row. However, that streak may be in jeopardy heading into the 2019/20 season.

The Warriors figure to be a contender again next season, with perennial MVP candidate Stephen Curry, newly-extended big man Draymond Green, and newly-acquired All-Star D’Angelo Russell leading the way. But the Dubs don’t have quite the same amount of star power that they’ve had in recent years. Kevin Durant is gone. So are veteran stalwarts Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. And Klay Thompson isn’t expected to be back until sometime after the All-Star break as he recovers from a torn ACL. A step back seems likely.

The Suns appear to be on the right track in their rebuild, and the Kings added some intriguing veteran reinforcements after taking a big step forward last season, but it’s probably safe to assume that the biggest threats to Golden State’s streak of five straight division titles are in Los Angeles.

No Western Conference team has a higher projected win total, according to oddsmakers, than the Clippers. Gambling site BetOnline.ag has the Clips’ regular-season over/under listed at 54.5 wins, and it’s easy to see why — the team essentially replaced Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George this offseason after winning 48 games last season.

Of course, the Clippers aren’t a lock to be a powerhouse. Leonard was limited to 60 games last season and battled an apparent leg injury in the playoffs. George, meanwhile, underwent surgery on both shoulders at season’s end, and isn’t guaranteed to be 100% by opening night. If either of those players is forced to miss extended time, the Clippers’ “under” is probably a safer bet than the “over.”

As for L.A.’s other team, the Lakers have a superstar duo of their own, with Anthony Davis joining LeBron James. Assuming both players stay healthy, the Lakers will be a force to be reckoned with in 2019/20. However, there will be a lot of new pieces besides Davis for new head coach Frank Vogel to incorporate.

DeMarcus Cousins, Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook, and Jared Dudley are among the incoming free agents signed by the Lakers to join returning players like Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, JaVale McGee, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

What do you think? Which team will ultimately end up atop the Pacific Division at the end of the regular season? And will that same team make the deepest postseason run, perhaps representing the West in the Finals next spring?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

World Cup Notes: Team USA, White, Young

Head coach Gregg Popovich is strongly considering taking 15 players to Australia later this month in advance of the World Cup as opposed to cutting the roster down to a dozen players prior to leaving the country, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets. FIBA regulations state that teams can only carry 12 players for the World Cup itself, though the remaining players could simply attend alongside the coaching staff and never suit up.

Here’s more surrounding the World Cup:

  • Spurs guard Derrick White and Kings big man Marvin Bagley III are the strongest contenders to be promoted from the Select Team to Team USA’s primary World Cup roster, tweets Stein. Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher suggests (via Instagram) that White’s promotion has already happened, while Bagley’s is likely.
  • Mitchell Robinson is dealing with a knee injury, as Marc Berman of the New York Post relays. The Knicks center initially suffered the injury over the weekend and returned to practice on Tuesday and re-injured it the following day. A source close to the situation describes the ailment as “just soreness.”
  • Hawks guard Trae Young left Team USA’s training camp because of a minor eye infection, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Young had been practicing with the Select Team.
  • Chris Boucher has withdrawn from the World Cup for personal reasons, Josh Lewenberg of the TSN tweets. The Raptors big man had been practicing with Canada’s National Team.

World Cup Notes: Fox, Olynyk, Boucher, Fall

While fans may be disappointed that they won’t get a chance to see stars like Anthony Davis, James Harden, and Damian Lillard represent Team USA in the 2019 World Cup, the players at this week’s training camp don’t sound too broken up about several stars removing their names from consideration, as Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston writes.

“This is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us. I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out,” Kemba Walker said. “This is our chance, this is our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talents. It’s a chance for us to do something new, to be a new-look team.”

Of the players on Team USA’s training camp roster, Walker is one of a handful who likely would’ve been in position to claim a 12-man roster spot even if the program had a more robust turnout. But that’s not necessarily the case for younger players like Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell.

According to Tony Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link), Fox and Mitchell were among the Team USA standouts during the first couple days of this week’s training camp. Although there has been no official word yet, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweets that Fox – who was elevated from the Select Team – looks like a virtual lock to be part of Team USA’s final 12-man roster for China.

Here are a few more notes on the World Cup:

  • Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca passes along some good news and some bad news for Team Canada (via Twitter). According to Grange, Kelly Olynyk‘s knee injury appears likely to sideline the Heat big man for about a week, but shouldn’t keep him out of World Cup action next month. However, it sounds more and more like Raptors forward/center Chris Boucher won’t be playing for Canada at the World Cup, Grange adds.
  • After being listed on Team Senegal’s preliminary 24-man World Cup roster, Tacko Fall didn’t show up on the team’s updated 16-man roster this week (Twitter links). According to Keith Smith of RealGM (Twitter link), Fall and Team Senegal reached a mutual agreement that he wouldn’t participate in the World Cup as he focuses on trying to make the Celtics. Timberwolves power forward Gorgui Dieng has also withdrawn from Senegal’s roster.
  • In a pair of separate articles for ESPN.com, Brian Windhorst tries to answer some pressing questions for Team USA and digs into why Gregg Popovich is coaching Team USA when he seemingly has nothing left to prove.

De’Aaron Fox Elevated To Team USA Roster

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox has been elevated from Team USA’s Select Team squad to the preliminary World Cup roster, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Haynes adds that Fox has a “good chance” to make the final 12-man roster for the 2019 World Cup.

Fox had previously been one of 14 players who was on track to suit up for the Select Team, which will scrimmage against the primary Team USA roster at training camp in Las Vegas this week. However, his promotion to the main group makes sense, as Kemba Walker is the only healthy point guard who is a lock to make the 12-man roster. Kyle Lowry is still recovering from thumb surgery, while Donovan Mitchell and Marcus Smart aren’t really true point guards.

Here are the players who will represents Team USA for this week’s training camp at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center:

Main roster:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  3. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  4. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  5. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  6. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  7. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  8. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  9. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  10. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  11. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  12. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  13. P.J. Tucker (Rockets)
  14. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  15. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  16. Thaddeus Young (Bulls)

Select Team:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Nets)
  2. Marvin Bagley III (Kings)
  3. Mikal Bridges (Suns)
  4. Jalen Brunson (Mavericks)
  5. John Collins (Hawks)
  6. Pat Connaughton (Bucks)
  7. Torrey Craig (Nuggets)
  8. Joe Harris (Nets)
  9. Jonathan Isaac (Magic)
  10. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies)
  11. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  12. Derrick White (Spurs)
  13. Trae Young (Hawks)

According to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press, it took more than 50 invitations for Team USA to ultimately set its training camp roster for the World Cup. In addition to featuring players like James Harden, Damian Lillard, and Anthony Davis – all of whom removed their names from consideration in recent weeks – that list of 50+ invitees probably also included the likes of LeBron James and Stephen Curry, who presumably declined to participate from the get-go.

Still, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo tells Reynolds that he doesn’t have any “angst” over the roster-building process — or about Team USA’s chances in next month’s event. According to Colangelo, he’s looking forward to seeing some of the new faces play roles in China.

“The focus has to be on who’s here — not who’s not here,” Colangelo said. “A number of the young players in this group have a chance, a real chance, some of them to make this team, some of them to make an impact in the World Cup.”

2019 NBA Head Coaching Carousel Recap

The 2017/18 NBA league year was one of the most active in recent memory for head coaching changes. Nine teams – nearly one-third of the league’s 30 franchises – named new head coaches between the start of the ’17/18 season and the 2018 draft.

The ’18/19 league year was only slightly quieter in terms of head coaching changes. Fred Hoiberg (Bulls), Tyronn Lue (Cavaliers), and Tom Thibodeau (Timberwolves) were fired during the season, and several more coaches got the axe at season’s end.

Jim Boylen, Hoiberg’s replacement in Chicago, was named the Bulls’ new permanent head coach during the season and was extended at season’s end, but Cleveland and Minnesota conducted head coaching searches this spring. As such, the Cavs and Wolves are included in our round-up below of the offseason’s head coaching shake-up, but the Bulls aren’t.

Here’s a recap of which teams have named new permanent head coaches since the end of the 2018/19 season:

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Hired: John Beilein (story)
  • Replaced: Larry Drew (story)
  • Contract details: Five-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Juwan Howard, Jamahl Mosley, J.B. Bickerstaff, Alex Jensen, Ime Udoka, Ettore Messina, Steve Hetzel, Wes Unseld Jr., Jordi Fernandez, David Vanterpool

After mutually agreeing to part ways with Drew, the Cavaliers conducted a long, thorough coaching search that focused primarily on young, up-and-coming assistants. So it came as a surprise when they made a long-term commitment to Beilein, a 66-year-old college head coach.

Still, Beilein has a strong track record developing young players at the University of Michigan. He’ll bring that pedigree to Cleveland, where he’ll be joined by other new hires like associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff and assistant Lindsay Gottlieb.

Los Angeles Lakers

  • Hired: Frank Vogel (story)
  • Replaced: Luke Walton (story)
  • Contract details: Three-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Monty Williams, Tyronn Lue, Jason Kidd, Juwan Howard, J.B. Bickerstaff

After months of rumors that Walton was on the hot seat, it seemed as if the Lakers would have a top candidate or two in mind to pursue at season’s end, when Walton’s ouster became official. Williams and Lue appeared to be those top targets, but Williams accepted an offer from Phoenix and Lue and the Lakers couldn’t agree to terms.

The Lakers moved onto Plan B (or was it Plan C?), unexpectedly turning to Vogel on a fairly short-term deal. The former Pacers coach will be joined by other former head coaches on the Lakers’ sidelines, as Kidd and Lionel Hollins are reportedly coming aboard as assistants.

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Hired: Taylor Jenkins (story)
  • Replaced: J.B. Bickerstaff (story)
  • Contract details: Not known
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Alex Jensen, Jarron Collins, Igor Kokoskov, Nate Tibbetts, Adrian Griffin, Sarunas Jasikevicius

The longest-lasting head coaching search of the offseason also resulted in the most out-of-left-field hire. Jenkins, a longtime Mike Budenholzer lieutenant in Atlanta and Milwaukee, hadn’t received much head coaching buzz in recent years, but the Grizzlies liked what they saw in multiple meetings with him.

The hiring of Jenkins was the first major decision made by the new Memphis management group led by team president Jason Wexler and executive VP of basketball operations Zach Kleiman.

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Hired: Ryan Saunders (story)
  • Replaced: Tom Thibodeau (in-season change)
  • Contract details: Not known
  • Also reportedly interviewed: Juwan Howard, David Vanterpool, Chris Finch, Darvin Ham

Saunders stepped in as the Timberwolves’ interim head coach in January when Thibodeau was let go, and he immediately emerged as a player-friendly coach who earned the trust of Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins, and others.

With a new president of basketball operations arriving in the spring, it seemed as if the Wolves might go in another direction, and Gersson Rosas did briefly consider outside candidates. However, Rosas ultimately opted for continuity, making the 33-year-old the NBA’s youngest current head coach.

Phoenix Suns

  • Hired: Monty Williams (story)
  • Replaced: Igor Kokoskov (story)
  • Contract details: Five-year deal (link)
  • Also reportedly interviewed: David Vanterpool, Nate Tibbetts

Williams was one of the most popular head coaching candidates on the market this offseason, as the Sixers assistant received consideration from the Lakers and Kings in addition to the Suns. In Phoenix, he’ll assume control of a young roster headed by Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker.

It will be Williams’ second opportunity to serve as an NBA head coach. He previously held that position in New Orleans from 2010-15 for the Hornets and Pelicans.

Sacramento Kings

  • Hired: Luke Walton (story)
  • Replaced: Dave Joerger (story)
  • Contract details: Four-year deal (link)

No team moved faster to name a new head coach than the Kings, who had a deal in place with Walton just two days after firing Joerger. While there were rumors that Sacramento would consider Monty Williams and Ettore Messina, the team settled quickly on Walton, who was originally hired in Los Angeles to coach a young Lakers squad that didn’t feature LeBron James. He’ll get another opportunity to coach an up-and-coming roster in Sacramento.

The fact that the Kings moved so quickly on Walton meant that by the time sexual assault allegations against him surfaced later in April, he was already under contract with his new team. There has been no indication that Sacramento is reconsidering its commitment to Walton, who has vehemently denied those allegations.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings Sign Isaiah Pineiro To One-Year Deal

JULY 30: The Kings have officially signed Pineiro, the team confirmed today in a press release. It’s an Exhibit 10 deal, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California.

JULY 19: Former University of San Diego forward Isaiah Pineiro has reached an agreement to sign with the Kings, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic, who reports (via Twitter) that Pineiro will receive a one-year, partially guaranteed contract.

Although Scotto doesn’t specify, it’s possible Pineiro will sign an Exhibit 10 contract. A deal with an Exhibit 10 clause is for one year and features a partial guarantee of up to $50K in the event that the player ultimately joins the team’s G League affiliate or has his contract converted into a two-way pact.

Pineiro, 24, went undrafted in June after averaging 18.8 PPG, 9.4 RPG, and 2.1 APG with a .487/.336/.820 shooting line in 36 games for the University of San Diego in 2018/19.

The Auburn, California native joined his hometown Kings for the California and Las Vegas Summer Leagues this month, appearing in eight total games for the squad. He saw limited action in those games, but performed well, making 13 of 24 (54.2%) shots from the floor.