Sacramento Kings

Kings Notes: Draft, Bogdanovic, Labissiere

The Kings must establish a long-term answer at the point guard position, Bobby Marks of The Vertical contends. There will be plenty of options on the free agent market, including Darren Collison and Ty Lawson, who both started at least 20 games for the club this past season. However, Marks believes the team should look to the draft to find a playmaker at the position.

The Kings’ first-round pick is currently slotted in the eighth spot in the upcoming draft. They have only a 2.5% chance of moving into the top-3 since the Sixers will likely swap first-rounders with them should their pick come in higher than Philadelphia’s, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors details. Sacramento will also receive the Pelicans’ pick should it fall outside the top-3 (96% chance) as a result of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • The franchise must be patient as it rebuilds post-Cousins, Marks argues in the same piece. For quite some time, Sacramento had a short-term goal of making the postseason, something that led it to chase after veterans in free agency and not take a long-term view when building the roster. Sacramento will likely have cap space for the third straight offseason and Marks cautions that the team should refrain from adding any long-term money to the books in order to maintain future flexibility since the organization will most likely not be in a position to contend during the 2017/18 season.
  • Benedict Tagle of NBA.com examines the game of  Kings’ draft-and-stash prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic. GM Vlade Divac previously said the organization wants him to come stateside this offseason. “We would love to have him here. We have his rights, and this summer we’ll talk about it,” Divac said.
  • Skal Labissiere broke out toward the end of the season and his former college coach credits the Kings for putting the 21-year-old in a position to succeed, as James Ham of Comcast Sportsnet relays. “I look at Skal and the progress – I give Sac credit,” Kentucky coach John Calipari. “These guys are working with him. He’s playing more confident. They’re putting him in positions he can have success. I didn’t do as good a job as they did.”

Divac Embraces 'Drama'-Free Kings

  • After a tumultuous first few seasons at the helm, Vlade Divac has been given an opportunity to manage a stable Kings franchise, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes. “I knew the staff I wanted to put together. There was always so much (drama) going on ever since I got here, it took up a lot of my time,” Divac said. “Finally I have been able to find people who believe in what we are trying to do and who I am very comfortable with.

Kings Hire Scott Perry As Executive VP

2:51pm: The Kings have made it official, formally announcing Perry’s hiring in a press release.

“I’m thrilled that Scott will be joining our front office team,” Divac said in a statement. “His extensive experience in the league and management talents will help build on our progress are we work to develop a winning franchise.”

2:40pm: Just over a week after he was dismissed from the Magic front office along with Rob Hennigan, former Orlando assistant GM Scott Perry has found a new job. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter links), the Kings are hiring Perry as their executive VP of basketball operations and intend to have him work closely with Vlade Divac.

Perry, a seasoned NBA executive who has strong relationships throughout the league, is expected to execute many of the general manager duties in his new role with the Kings, though Divac will still have the final say on basketball decisions, Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter).

Shortly after word broke last Thursday that the Magic had fired Hennigan and Perry, multiple national reporters expressed surprise that Orlando would let Perry get away, since he and Hennigan had different voices in the front office. According to multiple reports, Perry wanted to make a trade with the Kings that would have landed DeMarcus Cousins in Orlando, but Hennigan wasn’t on board with the proposed deal — Perry will now join the other team involved in those Cousins talks, though the All-Star center is obviously no longer in Sacramento.

Perry began his career as an NBA executive back in 2000 when he was hired by the Pistons to work under GM Joe Dumars. Perry won a title with the club and later worked for the SuperSonics under Sam Presti before returning to the Pistons and eventually joining Hennigan’s front office in Orlando.

Perry will add a veteran voice to a decision-making process that has been headed by Divac and controlling owner Vivek Ranadive, two men without extensive NBA front office experience on their respective résumés.

New Head Of Analytics Hired

  • The Kings have hired Luke Bornn as their VP of Analytics and Strategy, James Ham of NBC Sports California reports. Bornn, 31, was working for soccer’s A.S. Roma. “We’ll be looking at more advanced modeling tools often with the player tracking data to try and get a deeper understanding of player performance,” Bornn told Ham. Roland Beech, the team’s previous analytics guru, left the organization earlier this week.

Kings Must Be Patient

  • Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee wonders if the Kings will be patient enough to build something sustainable. Jones believes the team needs to give its young talent time to develop, something that will require the ownership to have more patience than they’ve shown in the past.
  • The Kings could draft a point guard and re-sign either Ty Lawson or Darren Collison to mentor the young prospect, Jones contends in a separate piece. Sacramento has plenty of cap room this summer and Jones believes it could mean a lucrative contract for one of its veteran point guards.

Pistons Committed To Keeping Caldwell-Pope

The Pistons plan to match any offer that restricted free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope receives, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press.

The organization is prepared to give the fourth-year shooting guard a maximum deal if that’s what it takes to keep him in Detroit, Ellis adds, with several sources saying he is an important part of the team’s future.

Caldwell-Pope averaged 13.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this season, but his numbers declined after the All-Star break. Ellis states that the Pistons may have viewed the situation differently if they were confident that Stanley Johnson was ready to become a starter, but they believe keeping Caldwell-Pope is vital and they wouldn’t be able to get an adequate replacement because of their cap situation.

Ellis touches on several other Pistons-related matters:

  • Trade talks involving Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson will continue this offseason. Ellis states that the organization is becoming impatient with Drummond, with coach/executive Stan Van Gundy saying in Friday’s press conference that he needs a “sense of urgency to elevate his game.” Jackson’s drop in production stemmed from left knee tendinitis that plagued him throughout the season, and Ellis claims the only available replacement who might be an upgrade is the Suns’ Eric Bledsoe.
  • The Pistons believe they have enough young players and future first-rounders to acquire a star this offseason. There were rumors that Drummond was offered to the Kings for DeMarcus Cousins before he was sent to New Orleans, and a source told Ellis the Pistons contacted the Pacers about Paul George but never got close to a deal. George has another season left before he can opt out, and Detroit might be interested in taking the chance that it can re-sign him, but only if the price in a trade comes down. Other targets could include Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Although the Pistons might benefit from a franchise-altering move, Van Gundy said smaller deals are more realistic. “There’s a couple things we’d like to do and make us a little bit better, but I don’t think we’re broken” he said. “Getting our point guard situation back to where it was or even better is more than feasible and corrects a great deal of the problems we’re talking about. Our roster is pretty good from there.”

Kings Notes: Point Guards, Bogdanovic, Gay

GM Vlade Divac said it’s “too early to say” whether or not the Kings will try to bring back Darren Collison or Ty Lawson next year, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes. Jones adds that the team is stocked at many positions, but point guard is not of them.

Lawson had an uninspiring season in Sacramento, scoring 9.9 points per game while dishing out 4.9 assists per night. He made 24 starts for the club. Collison was suspended for the first eight games of the season because of domestic battery charges. He ended up playing in 68 contests for the Kings, averaging 13.2 points, 4.6 assists, and a steal per game. Both veterans will be unrestricted free agents this summer.

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • Divac said Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose rights were acquired by the Kings in a 2016 draft night trade, is a “natural shooting guard” and added that the team wants him to come stateside, Jones relays in the same piece. “We would love to have him here. We have his rights, and this summer we’ll talk about it,” Divac said.
  • The Kings added an assistant GM last offseason and they remain open to expanding the front office even further, Jones adds in the same piece. “We’re open, always, to improve,” Divac said. “The team, the front office, everything is always open for improvement. I’m very happy and confident in what we have right now, but we should be open if something can make you better.”
  • Both Divac and coach Dave Joerger would like Rudy Gay to return to the Kings next season, Sean Cunningham of ABC10 tweets. Gay can become a free agent this summer by turning down a player option in his contract, but he remains undecided on whether or not he will do so.

2017 NBA Draft Lottery Odds

With the NBA’s 2016/17 regular season now in the books, the odds for this year’s draft lottery have been set. With the help of our Reverse Standings, as well as information from LotteryBucket.com, here is the 2017 lottery order, along with each team’s chances of landing a top pick:

  1. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets)
    • No. 1: 25.0%
    • Top-3: 64.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 4
    • Note: Celtics acquire pick due to ability to swap first-round picks with Nets.
  2. Phoenix Suns
    • No. 1: 19.9%
    • Top-3: 55.8%
    • Lowest pick: No. 5
  3. Los Angeles Lakers
    • No. 1: 15.6%
    • Top-3: 46.9%
    • Lowest pick: No. 6
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Sixers if not in top 3 (odds: 53.1%).
  4. Philadelphia 76ers
    • No. 1: 14.7%
    • Top-3: 45.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 7
    • Note: Sixers have right to swap picks with Kings, so their No. 1 and top-3 odds are a little higher than they otherwise would be. No. 1 and top-3 odds for Sixers’ own pick are 11.9% and 37.8%, respectively.
  5. Orlando Magic
    • No. 1: 8.8%
    • Top-3: 29.12%
    • Lowest pick: No. 8
  6. Minnesota Timberwolves
    • No. 1: 5.3%
    • Top-3: 18.3%
    • Lowest pick: No. 9
    • Note: Timberwolves won tiebreaker with Knicks.
  7. New York Knicks
    • No. 1: 5.3%
    • Top-3: 18.2%
    • Lowest pick: No. 10
    • Note: Knicks lost tiebreaker with Timberwolves.
  8. Sacramento Kings
    • No. 1: N/A
    • Top-3: 2.5%
    • Lowest pick: No. 11
    • Note: Sixers have right to swap picks with Kings, rendering No. 1 pick impossible and greatly reducing odds of top-3 pick.
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Bulls if not in top 10 (odds: 0.01%).
  9. Dallas Mavericks
    • No. 1: 1.7%
    • Top-3: 6.1%
    • Lowest pick: No. 12
  10. New Orleans Pelicans
    • No. 1: 1.1%
    • Top-3: 4.0%
    • Lowest pick: No. 13
    • Note: Pick will be sent to Kings if not in top 3 (odds: 96.0%).
  11. Charlotte Hornets
    • No. 1: 0.8%
    • Top-3: 2.9%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  12. Detroit Pistons
    • No. 1: 0.7%
    • Top-3: 2.5%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  13. Denver Nuggets
    • No. 1: 0.6%
    • Top-3: 2.2%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14
  14. Miami Heat
    • No. 1: 0.5%
    • Top-3: 1.8%
    • Lowest pick: No. 14

Kings Notes: Gay, McLemore, Cauley-Stein

It will be an unusual offseason for Kings head coach Dave Joerger, who grew accustomed to relative roster stability during his years in Memphis. While the Grizzlies never made many major changes to their core, Sacramento’s roster heading into next season is in flux.

The team could have two lottery picks and draft-and-stash prospect Bogdan Bogdanovic entering the mix — it also remains to be seen how trades and free agency will affect the roster. For Joerger, who will have an extra-long offseason to consider the next moves for his club, that uncertainty will complicate matters, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee details.

“I’m going to go crazy thinking, man, ‘I want to run this, work on this, and this is going to be great next year,'” Joerger said. “But you really don’t know how it looks until all those things come together.”

Here are a few more notes out of Sacramento:

  • Rudy Gay said on Tuesday night that he remains undecided about whether or not he’ll exercise his player option to remain with the Kings this summer. Per Jason Jones (Twitter link), Gay says he’ll take it “one day at a time” as he continues to recover from an Achilles tear.
  • Ben McLemore, who will be a restricted free agent this offseason, said he can see a bright future for the Kings, and can imagine being a part of it (Twitter link via Sean Cunningham of ABC10). We’ll see this summer if Sacramento feels the same way about the RFA guard.
  • Speaking of McLemore, he failed to meet the starter criteria, meaning he’ll receive a slightly lower qualifying offer if the Kings make him a restricted free agent. For a full explanation of the starter criteria and how it affects QOs for potential RFAs, check out our breakdown from last week.
  • Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein said on Tuesday that he’s looking forward to asking management what they want of him going forward, tweets Cunningham. Cauley-Stein saw his minutes fluctuate throughout the 2016/17 season, and suggests he wants to have a clearer picture of his role heading into next year.

Labissiere Making Strides In Rookie Year

The Kings have done a fine job giving their young big men an opportunity to develop this season, as Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee recounts. For 2016 28th overall pick Skal Labissiere, the opportunities let him show all the teams that passed on him what they’re missing.

Sparsely used in the first three months of the season as the Kings flirted with the idea of the competing for the postseason, Labissiere has seen more time on the court as the year has progressed. In three April games, the 21-year-old has played 29.0 minutes per.

I’m feeling a little more comfortable out there,” the Kings center said. “It’s me learning at my own pace, not getting rushed, learning how to see things on the court. […] I’m nowhere near [physically] where I want to be. But this should be a fun summer. Lots of time with the weights, and working on all aspects of my game.

  • It’s harder to deny the appeal of tanking when your draft picks are tied up in previously negotiated trades. Such was the case when the Lakers and Kings met Friday, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports. The Lakers had incentive to lose in order to keep their top-3 protected pick. The Kings had incentive to lose to keep their top-10 protected pick. (The Lakers won).
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