Kings Rumors

Ball, Edwards, Haliburton Head All-Rookie Team

LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Jae’Sean Tate and Saddiq Bey comprised this year’s All-Rookie First Team, according to an NBA Communications tweet.

Ball, who was named Rookie of the Year on Thursday, led first-year NBA players in assists (6.1 APG) and steals (1.59 SPG) and ranked second in scoring (15.7 PPG) and rebounding (5.9 RPG) for the Hornets. Edwards, the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Timberwolves, averaged a rookie-high 19.3 PPG.

The Kings’ Haliburton ranked third among rookies in scoring (13.0 PPG) and second in assists (5.3 APG).  Bey, the 19th overall pick, made a rookie-high 175 three-pointers for the Pistons.  Tate, who went undrafted in 2018 and played in Australia last season, averaged 11.3 PPG and 5.3 PPG for the Rockets.

The All-Rookie Second Team consists of Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley, Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane, Pistons center Isaiah Stewart, Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro and Bulls forward Patrick Williams.

Draft Notes: Mamukelashvili, Carr, Champagnie, Figueroa, Cockburn, Sims

Seton Hall’s Sandro Mamukelashvili is scheduled to work out for the Pistons on Thursday, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. The 6’11” Mamukelashvili already worked out for the Jazz, Thunder and Hornets. He’s currently listed as the No. 56 overall prospect on ESPN’s Best Available list.

We have more news and insights on this year’s draft:

LaMelo Ball Named NBA Rookie Of The Year

6:55pm: Ball’s victory has been confirmed by the NBA in a press release. He received 84 of 99 first-place votes, with the others going to Edwards.

Overall, Ball had 465 points, while Edwards was second with 309. Haliburton was third with 114 points. The Pistons’ Saddiq Bey was the only other player to receive votes, garnering three third-place selections.


1:53pm: Hornets guard LaMelo Ball has won the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award for the 2020/21 season, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, an official announcement from the league is expected soon.

Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards and Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton were the other finalists for the award. I’d expect Edwards to finish second in the voting, with Haliburton coming in third, but we’ll have to wait for the official breakdown from the NBA.

The third overall pick in the 2020 draft, Ball had a breakthrough rookie year in Charlotte, averaging 15.7 points, 6.1 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per games in 51 contests (28.8 MPG). There were questions about the 19-year-old’s jump shot entering his first professional season, but Ball put up a respectable shooting line of .436/.352/.758, emerging as the Hornets’ starting point guard despite the presence of veterans Terry Rozier and Devonte’ Graham.

A fractured right wrist sidelined Ball for over a month in March and April, but he returned to the court down the stretch to help the Hornets clinch a spot in the play-in tournament. The club was bounced in the first game by Indiana, but Ball’s performance in 2020/21 bodes well for the long-term future in Charlotte.

NBA Announces 2020/2021 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced the All-NBA First, Second, and Third Teams for the 2020/21 season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the way as the lone unanimous selection for the First Team.

Antetokounmpo and Nuggets‘ MVP Nikola Jokic were the two top vote-getters, combining for 998 out of a possible 1,000 points, with Warriors guard Stephen Curry following shortly behind. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounding out the top five.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (69), Wizards guard Russell Westbrook (44), Nets guard James Harden (41), Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (37) and Heat center Bam Adebayo (32). A total of 12 other players received votes. The full results can be found here.

Today’s announcement has major financial implications across the league. Tatum, who received more votes than Kyrie Irving but still fell 20 votes short of a final forward spot, will lose out on a projected $32.6MM on his rookie scale extension, as his next deal will start at 25% of the cap instead of the 30% he would have received if he’d been named to an All-NBA team. Likewise, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Adebayo will all receive starting salaries worth 25% of the cap on their respective extensions as a result of missing out on All-NBA honors.

Doncic, having been named to his second consecutive All-NBA First Team, will be eligible for a 30% extension that would be worth a projected $201MM+ and is almost certain to be offered this summer. Doncic has previously made clear his intentions to sign the extension when offered. It will go into effect for the 2022/23 season.

Embiid is now eligible for a super-max contract extension, which would run for four years, starting in 2023/24, and would be worth a projected $191MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. It’s unclear whether the Sixers will immediately put this extension on the table this offseason.

Bradley Beal‘s deal will not change with his first career All-NBA selection, as he is already eligible for a 35% contract extension on his next deal. Jokic, having been named MVP previously this week, also sees no change in his possible future super-max extension, which will be worth approximately $241MM.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our poll. Devin Booker, Adebayo, and Tatum were your picks who didn’t make the official list.

Pistons Adding Three Assistants To Dwane Casey’s Staff

The Pistons are finalizing deals to add three new assistant coaches to Dwane Casey‘s staff, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). According to Wojnarowski, Detroit is expected to hire Jerome Allen, Bill Bayno, and Rex Kalamian.

Allen, who recently interviewed for the Celtics’ head coaching job and has been linked to the Trail Blazers’ vacancy as well, has been an assistant on Brad Stevens‘ staff in Boston since 2015, but appears set for a change of scenery.

Bayno, who previously worked on Casey’s staff in Toronto, was a Pacers assistant from 2016-21 before resigning due to mental health issues earlier this year. Kalamian was also a Raptors assistant under Casey until 2018. He joined the Clippers for two years, then the Kings for the 2020/21 season.

A recent report suggested that Pistons assistant Micah Nori may leave Detroit for a job with the Timberwolves, so it seems safe to assume Casey’s staff will look much different in 2021/22 than it did this past season.

At least one familiar face will be back, however. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Detroit is currently negotiating a new two-year contract with assistant coach Sean Sweeney, who has been on the staff since 2018.

Draft Notes: Thor, C. Parker, Combine, T. Taylor

Auburn freshman forward JT Thor has decided to remain in the 2021 NBA draft and go pro, announcing on Instagram that he has signed with an agency (hat tip to Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports).

Thor’s numbers were modest during his first and only college season. In 27 games (all starts) for the Tigers, he averaged 9.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.4 BPG on .440/.297/.741 shooting in 23.0 minutes per contest. However, his stock is thought to be rising ahead of next month’s draft.

Thor, currently ranked No. 66 on ESPN’s big board, is generating a “ton of buzz” based on his workouts in Miami, according to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, who tweets that the 6’10” youngster is showing “flashes of untapped shot-making versatility.”

Here’s more on the 2021 draft:

  • Liberty guard Chris Parker, who declared for the draft following his senior season, tells Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports (Twitter link) that he has signed with an agent and plans to keep his name in the draft pool rather than using his extra year of NCAA eligibility. Parker, who began his college career at Henderson State, averaged 10.3 PPG and 3.4 APG on .455/.373/.826 shooting in 29 games (28.3 MPG) in 2020/21.
  • Approximately 100 prospects will be invited to participate in either the 2021 draft combine or the college portion of the G League Elite Camp, says Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Twitter link). Givony expects a few more international prospects at this year’s combine since the pre-draft calendar has been pushed back by about a month.
  • Austin Peay wing Terry Taylor has workouts lined up with the Warriors, Grizzlies, and Kings this week, according to Alex Kennedy of BasketballNews.com (Twitter link).

Fox Showed Growth In Middling Kings Season

  • Recently-extended Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox exhibited significant growth in his play and leadership, even amidst an otherwise-disappointing Sacramento season, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area“Just trying to get to that level of consistency, where night in and night out you’re playing really good and if you’re not playing great, you’re still playing really good basketball and I don’t think I was there just yet,” Fox said. He averaged a career-best 25.2 PPG, to go along with 7.2 APG, 3.5 RPG and 1.5 SPG. Ham observes that Fox’s driving ability and his stroke on jumpers from 10-16 feet away from the bucket are high-level, though the rest of his shot chart is a bit more erratic.

Free Agent Stock Watch: Pacific Division

Throughout the season, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents this off-season. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, 29, SF (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $103MM deal in 2019

Until Giannis Antetokounmpo and other All-Stars decided to sign extensions, the summer of 2021 was considered a free agent bonanza. Leonard’s free agent foray two seasons ago, after leading the Raptors to the NBA championship, was one of the big stories of that summer. He chose to go to Los Angeles and the Clippers mortgaged their future by trading for Paul George to give him a superstar sidekick. It could all unravel for the franchise this year if the Clippers lose to the Mavericks in the opening round. Leonard was expected to opt out this summer so that he could maximize his salary with his current team. Now, other contenders might kick the tires to see if Leonard would be willing to jump ship again. If nothing else, the Clippers’ front office will be sweating it out until Leonard signs the bottom line.

Cameron Payne, Suns, 26, PG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.2MM deal in 2019

It’s become an annual and unfortunate occurrence in the NBA postseason – Chris Paul suffers an injury at the worst time. Paul’s shoulder issue has limited his minutes against the Lakers the last two games and those minutes have gone to Payne. Not surprisingly, Phoenix has lost both contests but Payne has posted respectable numbers, averaging 17 PPG, 6.5 APG and 2.5 SPG in 30 MPG. The 2015 lottery pick struggled to find an NBA home until he signed with the Suns for their games in the Orlando bubble. Payne has found his niche as a second-unit point guard and if the Suns don’t re-sign him, some other team will take him for that same role.

Alex Caruso, Lakers, 27, SG (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $5MM deal in 2019

Caruso doesn’t make a big dent in the stat sheet but he’s a pesky defender and energetic spark plug off the bench. He averaged 6.5 PPG, 2.8 APG, 2.3 RPG and 1.1 SPG in 24.3 MPG during the Lakers’ run to the championship last season. He’s averaging 21 MPG through their first three playoff games this season against the Suns. Caruso seems like a nice fit on the Lakers, dutifully playing his role while knocking down the occasional 3-pointer and looking to advantage of opportunities when his defender cheats off him. The unrestricted free agent will likely get a nice bump in salary.

Hassan Whiteside, Kings, 31, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $2.3MM deal in 2020

Whiteside was valued so much by the Heat in 2016 he was signed to a four-year, $98.4MM deal. Few teams will covet Whiteside’s services when he reaches free agency again this summer. He had to settle for the veteran’s minimum last offseason and his one season with the Kings was rather forgettable. He was relegated to backup duty, averaging 15.2 MPG in the 36 games that coach Luke Walton used him. Whiteside didn’t play after April 21, supposedly due to lower back tightness. He can still be useful as a rebounder and shot blocker in a reserve role but he’ll have to settle for the veteran’s minimum once again.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bobby Jackson Named Kings' G League Coach

  • Bobby Jackson has been named head coach of the Kings’ NBA G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings, according to a press release from the G League team. Jackson has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach/player development coach for the Kings under head coach Luke Walton.
  • The Kings announced staff changes within their basketball operations department via press release. Paul Johnson has been promoted to VP of player development, in addition to his current role as the Stockton Kings’ GM. Jonah Herscu has been named an assistant coach on Sacramento’s staff, while Penny Chatzis is the new director of team player development. Robbie Lemons has been named director of basketball operations.

14 NBA Players On Canada’s Preliminary Olympic Qualifying Roster

Team Canada has yet to secure a place in the men’s basketball event at the Tokyo Olympics, but the club should have a loaded roster as it looks to lock up a spot in a qualifying tournament next month.

Canada Basketball issued a press release today announcing its 21-player preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifier, and the group includes 14 players who finished the season on NBA contracts. Here’s the full list:

Of the seven players who didn’t play in the NBA this season, one (Bennett) is a former first overall pick, another (Nicholson) was also a first-round selection, and a third (Alexander) has NBA experience. Bell-Haynes has played in the G League, while Doornekamp, Ejim, and Nembhard all have extensive experience representing Canada in past international competitions.

Still, a few noteworthy names are missing from the list. Nuggets guard Jamal Murray is recovering from a torn ACL and won’t be able to participate. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is also dealing with an injury, announcing on Instagram that rehabbing the plantar fasciitis in his right foot will prevent him from representing Team Canada.

Raptors big man Chris Boucher is a third notable omission. According to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link), Boucher is focused on rehabbing a knee sprain and wants to make sure he’s 100% healthy heading into 2021/22. He also has a somewhat uncertain contract situation — his $7MM salary for next season is non-guaranteed, though I’d be shocked if he’s not retained.

Even without Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander, and Boucher, Canada Basketball is in position to run out a roster stacked with NBA talent and led by former NBA Coach of the Year Nick Nurse.

While the final roster will depend in part on which players are available, none of the 21 players on the preliminary are on teams expected to still be alive for the conference finals. However, a club like Powell’s Mavericks or Barrett’s Knicks could surprise.

Team Canada will compete against Greece, China, Uruguay, Turkey, and the Czech Republic in a qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia between June 29 and July 4. If the club wins that six-team qualifier, it will be part of the 12-team field in Tokyo and would be a legit contender for a medal.