Kings Rumors

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/23/19

Here are Saturday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Kings have assigned Cody Demps, who signed a 10-day contract yesterday, back to their Stockton affiliate, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. He’s posting an 11.8/4.8/3.2 line in 49 G League games.
  • The Spurs assigned Lonnie Walker to Austin for tonight’s regular season finale, according to Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link).

Kings Sign Cody Demps To 10-Day Contract

The Kings have signed free agent guard Cody Demps to a 10-day contract, the club announced today in a press release. Sacramento had an open spot on its 15-man roster, so no corresponding move was necessary to create room.

Demps is a local product who played his college ball at Sacramento State and has spent the past two years with the Kings’ G League affiliate. In 49 games (41 starts) for the Stockton Kings this season, he has averaged 11.7 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 3.2 APG on .446/.308/.802 shooting.

Sacramento’s roster looks fairly healthy at this point, so it’s not clear whether Demps will see much playing time in the next 10 days. If he impresses the Kings during that stretch, perhaps he’ll earn a rest-of-season contract, though his 10-day stint in Sacramento could end up being more of a reward for the work he has put in for the club’s NBAGL squad.

As a rookie, Demps will earn $47,371 over the course of his 10-day deal.

Marvin Bagley III Returns To Basketball Activities

There’s no set return date scheduled for Marvin Bagley III but the standout Kings rookie has at least returned to basketball activities, Sean Cunningham of ABC10 Sacramento tweets. Bagley has been sidelined since spraining his left knee on Feb. 27.

Earlier this week, Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee wrote about the 20-year-old’s recovery status after a scary injury, noting that he was “feeling good” and walking without a limp. That’s good news for a Kings team on the outside of the postseason looking in.

The ninth-seeded Kings have managed to keep their heads above water in their pursuit of a playoff berth since Bagley has been out, managing .500 basketball in the four games that they’ve been without him. In 10 February contests, Bagley averaged 17.5 points and 9.4 rebounds per game.

No NBA Teams Below Salary Floor For 2018/19

The salary cap line and the luxury tax threshold receive far more attention, but there’s another noteworthy level of spending that NBA teams must adhere to each season: the minimum salary floor.

As we explain in our glossary entry on the subject, the league’s salary floor means that a club to spend at least 90% of the salary cap on player salaries. For instance, with the 2018/19 cap set at $101,869,000, the salary floor for this season is $91,682,100.

If a team finishes the regular season below the NBA’s salary floor for that league year, the penalty isn’t harsh — the franchise is simply required to make up the shortfall by paying the difference to its players. For example, if a team finished this season with a team salary of $88,682,100, that team would be required to distribute that $3MM shortfall among its players.

In contrast to most recent NBA seasons though, no teams are currently projected to fall below the league’s salary floor for 2018/19.

The Mavericks appear on the surface to be below the salary floor — Basketball Insiders’ data lists their current team salary as $89,266,661, making them the only team with a payroll below $100MM.

However, when determining whether a team has reached the salary floor, the NBA considers how much the club has actually paid to players over the course of the season, rather than the team’s current cap figure. And when a team makes trades during the season, that team only owes its incoming players their remaining prorated salaries, having already paid its outgoing players a prorated portion of their salaries.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Proration]

In Dallas’ case, the club made a pair of trades prior to last month’s deadline – one with the Knicks and one with the Kings – that reduced team salary considerably.

Because of the prorated money the Mavericks had paid to those outgoing players during the first two-thirds of the season – including nearly $16MM to Harrison Barnes and almost $14MM to DeAndre Jordan – there’s a significant gap between their current team salary (about $89MM) and the salaries they’ve actually paid. By my count, the Mavs are currently on the hook for about $99MM in total player salaries for 2018/19 once all the prorated figures have been calculated.

Conversely, the Kings carried a team salary below the floor for much of the season, but a trio of deadline deals – most notably that one with Dallas involving Barnes – helped pushed them above the floor.

According to Basketball Insiders, Sacramento currently has a team salary of $104,029,182. Based on my math, the Kings will actually only pay about $97MM in player salaries once the prorated figures for the likes of Barnes, Alec Burks, and others are taken into account. Either way, they’ll easily clear the 2018/19 salary floor.

Playoff Teams With Open Roster Spots

The Warriors became the latest NBA team to fill their final open roster spot today, signing Andrew Bogut to a rest-of-season deal. The move made Golden State the ninth club currently holding a postseason spot to fill its 15-man roster.

Between now and April 10, more teams figure to join that list. During the regular season, there are benefits to carrying 14 – or even 13 – players for long stretches, particularly for healthy teams with luxury-tax concerns. But when the postseason rolls around, there’s little downside to filling the entire roster, even if it just means adding a 15th man during the final week (or day) of the season.

With that in mind, here are the teams in the top eight in each conference that still have at least one open spot on their 15-man rosters and could make a move or two in the coming weeks:

Playoff teams with multiple open roster spots:

  • Toronto Raptors (2)
  • Houston Rockets (2)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (2)

The Raptors, Rockets, and Thunder will all be required to sign at least one more player in the coming weeks to ensure that they get back up to the NBA-mandated minimum of 14 players. Houston may actually need to make multiple moves, since a third open spot would open on the Rockets’ roster once Terrence Jones‘ latest 10-day contract expires.

Playoff teams with one open roster spot:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Brooklyn Nets *

While the Celtics, Clippers, and Spurs each have one open roster spot, the Nets actually have a full 15-man squad for now. That could change as soon as Friday though, as Tahjere McCall‘s 10-day deal with Brooklyn is set to expire overnight on Thursday.

Playoff contenders with at least one open roster spot:

  • Miami Heat (2)
  • Sacramento Kings (1)
  • Washington Wizards (1)

Of the teams within three games of a playoff spot, these are the ones with roster openings. While the Kings and Wizards may opt not to add reinforcements as they push for a postseason berth, the Heat – like the other teams with two openings – will be required to add a 14th man soon.

For a full breakdown of the current NBA roster counts, be sure to check out our tracker.

Fox Hires Trainer As His Agent

  • The longtime trainer of Kings guard De’Aaron Fox is now his agent, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweets. Chris Gaston is newly certified as an agent and has launched the “Family First Sports Firm.” Knicks guard Damyean Dotson has also hired Gaston to co-represent him, Haynes adds.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:

DeMarcus Cousins, Warriors, 28, C (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $5.3MM deal in 2018
Everyone was curious to see how healthy Cousins would look after returning from the Achilles injury and whether he’d fit in with the star-laden Warriors. So far, so good. Other than getting a couple nights off on back-to-backs, Cousins hasn’t had any physical setbacks. He’s settling in as a third or fourth option in the attack, averaging 23.3 PPG over the last three games. He’s also given the Dubs a defensive presence in the middle. Cousins may not find a max deal this summer but he’ll get something close to it from one of the teams with ample cap space.

Garrett Temple, Clippers, 32, SG (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $24MM deal in 2016
The defensive specialist didn’t move the needle as a starter with the Grizzlies and he was dealt to the Clippers just before the trade deadline. Temple is the No. 5 option when he’s on the court but he hasn’t made the most of his limited opportunities, shooting 33.9% from deep after knocking down a career-high 39.2% of his long-distance shots last season in Sacramento. Temple’s age will work against him in the open market. Forget about an $8MM average in his next contract. He’ll be shopping for the veteran’s minimum this time around.

Rajon Rondo, Lakers, 33, PG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $9MM deal in 2018
A strong argument can be made that Rondo’s decision to sign with the Lakers ruined the season for two franchises. With Rondo at the point, the Pelicans reached the second round of the Western Conference playoffs last season. They wanted him back but he jilted them to join Los Angeles. New Orleans’ season went sour, leading to Anthony Davis‘ trade demand. Rondo has been a poor fit with the Lakers and his PER is a well-below-average 11.7. He’s played heavy minutes during the Lakers’ recent slide, including a 1-for-10, four-assists, two-turnover stinker against Phoenix on Saturday.

Troy Daniels, Suns, 27, SG (Down) — Signed to a three-year, $10MM deal in 2016
Daniels is essentially a one-trick pony and he hasn’t been allowed to perform it as often as he did last season. Daniels, who is playing for his fifth team, has seen his minutes drop to an average of 13.3 per game under first-year coach Igor Kokoskov with quite a few DNPs mixed in. His 3-point shooting hasn’t suffered — his 40% average mirrors what he did last season when he appeared in 79 games and averaged 20.5 MPG. Daniels’ shooting ability should keep him in the league a few more years but he may have to settle for one-year deal or a partially guaranteed two-year contract this summer.

Alec Burks, Kings, 27, SG (Down)– Signed to a four-year, $42MM deal in 2015
Burks was better off playing regularly on a bad team than spot minutes on an improving club in the playoff hunt. Burks flourished with Cleveland after getting dealt by Utah early in the season. He posted averages of 11.6 PPG, 5.5 RPG and 2.9 APG in 28.8 MPG with the Cavs, who then shipped him to the West Coast in a three-team swap. Burks has done next to nothing with Sacramento, scoring 2.6 PPG in 12.1 MPG through seven games. Burks has only attempted five 3-pointers since the deal and missed all of them. Burks needs a strong finish to reestablish his value in unrestricted free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Kings, Durant, Warriors, Clippers

The Kings came into the 2018/19 season projected to be a 25-win team. They’ve already blown past that projection and continue to vie for a playoff spot in a competitive Western Conference. And in the view of head coach Dave Joerger, the club’s success this season is just the start of something special in Sacramento, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee details.

“We’re playing hard and we don’t quit,” Joerger said. “What we’re building here, we will reap the rewards of this for many years to come — not many years from now, but going forward. If this is who we are, and I believe it is, we’re a tough out (in a playoff series) and Sacramento is a tough place to play if you’re a visiting team. We’ll keep coming at you.”

If the Kings’ young players continue to make positive strides, Joerger is right that things should only get better for the franchise moving forward. De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, and Harry Giles are all in their first, second, or third NBA season, and none are over 26 years old.

Let’s round up a few more notes from around the Pacific…

  • Speaking to Kerith Burke of NBC Sports Bay Area, Warriors star Kevin Durant offered a couple interesting answers in a Q&A, suggesting that he won’t be thinking about his legacy when he makes his free agency decision this summer. He also indicated that he doesn’t feel the need to “build something” somewhere. “I don’t need anything in this basketball world to fulfill anything in me. The NBA is never going to fulfill me,” Durant said. “It’s going to make me feel good about all of the work that I’ve put in, but I think those days of me wanting to prove something to anybody or walk around with a huge chip on my shoulder is not my thing.”
  • While Kevon Looney is probably still the Warriors‘ more trusted option, he and Jordan Bell have been trending in opposite directions lately, with Bell taking some of Looney’s minutes, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Both players are eligible for free agency in 2019, so they’ll be looking to finish the season strong.
  • Despite trading away their leading scorer at each of the last two deadlines (Blake Griffin in 2018 and Tobias Harris in 2019), the Clippers remain in the playoff mix and have managed to pull off the enviable feat of retooling their roster without bottoming out, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of Armed with young players, some draft assets, and cap flexibility going forward, the Clips are in position to make a splash this offseason.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/1/19

Here are Friday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Lakers recalled rookie wing Isaac Bonga from the G League in advance of Friday’s game against Milwaukee, the team announced (via Twitter). Bonga was held to just three points on 1-of-6 shooting in South Bay’s loss on Thursday.
  • The Kings have recalled forward Caleb Swanigan from their G League affiliate, according to a press release. Swanigan, acquired in a deadline deal last month, has yet to appear in a game for Sacramento, having instead earned playing time for the Stockton Kings.
  • After posting a double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds) in a triple-overtime win for the Greensboro Swarm on Thursday, Dwayne Bacon was recalled from the G League today by the Hornets, the team announced in a press release.
  • The Spurs have recalled rookie Chimezie Metu from the G League, per an announcement from the club. Metu played for the Austin Spurs on Thursday, recording 15 points and 10 boards off the bench.
  • Rookie shooting guard Melvin Frazier was recalled from the G League by the Magic, the team announced (via Twitter). Frazier has appeared in 16 games for Orlando’s affiliate, the Lakeland Magic, this season, most recently posting 14 points, eight rebounds, and four steals for the squad on Tuesday.
  • The Jazz recalled little-used second-year center Tony Bradley from the Salt Lake City Stars today, according to the team. The 2017 first-round pick has appeared in just one game for Utah this season.

Corey Brewer Finds New Home With Kings

  • Veteran forward Corey Brewer appears to have found a home with the Kings, with the 32-year-old explaining that Sacramento is his top option right now. “This is option No. 1 right now,” Brewer said, as relayed by Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “I like it here. I love it here. I’m having a great time.” Brewer signed a rest-of-season contract with the Kings today after inking a pair of 10-day deals.