Kings Rumors

And-Ones: Clippers, Pistons, Cavs, Young

The Clippers hold the top spot in ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, which predicts the best and worst franchises over the next three seasons. While the team has one of the best one-two punches in the NBA with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Los Angeles’ inability to trade a first-rounder may come back to haunt the team, Bobby Marks suggests.

L.A. sent out several first-rounders in the George deal and had just one pick (2020 selection) that was eligible to be included in a trade this season — the franchise used it to acquire Marcus Morris at the deadline.

The Lakers, Warriors, Bucks, and Celtics round out the top-5 in the ESPN’s latest rankings. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Pistons and Cavaliers rank 29th and 30th, respectively, on that aforementioned ESPN’s list. Both franchises lack blue-chip prospects and each has expensive veterans clogging its cap space.
  • Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Thaddeus Young will find himself on the trade block this offseason. Young, who inked a deal the Bulls last summer, was the subject of trade rumors earlier in the season.
  • NBA agent Mark Bartelstein said he expected the season to get postponed after watching what was going on abroad in February and March, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic relays. Bartelstein has clients in the Chinese Basketball Association and other international leagues.

Kyle Guy Loses Grandfather To COVID-19

Alex Len Talks Hawks Experience, Confusion Over Being Traded

Alex Len, who inked a two-year deal with Hawks back in 2018, was traded to the Kings at this year’s deadline. Prior to getting dealt, Len expressed his interest in re-signing with Atlanta, telling Chris Kirschner of The Athletic this week that he cherished his time with the club.

“One-hundred percent — I wanted to stay,” Len told Kirschner. “I like the coaching staff. I liked my teammates. Everyone was cool. It really had a family feel to it. Last year, you could see the trajectory was going up…This season didn’t work out as planned, so they had to make changes. It’s a business, so I understood they had to do it.”

In the trade with the Kings, which also sent Jabari Parker to Sacramento, the Hawks received a pair of second-round picks and Dewayne Dedmon, who had left the team in free agency prior to the season. That, coupled with the team bringing in Clint Capela, left Len puzzled as to why Atlanta would trade him for another center.

“They didn’t want to pay [Dedmon] in the first place, so it didn’t make sense to me,” Len said. “If they wanted him, they could have just paid him. So they get him as a backup now and end up paying him anyway.”

Len admitted that he didn’t know what to expect when he was on his way to Sacramento. He called the experience of playing with the Kings this season a “pleasant surprise,” while adding that dynamics of the two franchises were different.

“There was a whole different mood and vibe around the team because we were going for the eighth spot,” Len said. “When I was (in Atlanta), it’s tough to play knowing you’re not making the playoffs. You go into the game, and guys are thinking about their points and themselves. (In Sacramento), it’s all about team and winning. Guys don’t care how many points they score; it’s all about winning. Everybody was playing a lot harder. We were playing all five guys on a string. It makes your job easier because everybody else is a lot better.”

Kings Suspend All Basketball Activities

With the news coming out about four Nets players testing positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, the Lakers decided to get tested on Wednesday morning, writes Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

According to the L.A. Times, the tests were not mandatory for the players and none of the Lakers’ coaches were tested. The players who were tested are hoping to get results by Friday.

The Lakers played the Nets last Tuesday at the Staples Center, which was the last game for both teams. Laker players reportedly just started a two-week quarantine.

Here’s more news out of the Pacific:

Hiatus Notes: NBA Draft Lottery, Combine, Silver

As the NBA waits to see if resuming regular-season play will be possible, the league is also considering the possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the next two events on its schedule: The NBA draft lottery and combine.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Tuesday that the lottery and combine could be next on the proverbial “chopping block.” The draft lottery is tentatively scheduled for May 19 in Chicago, while the combine is scheduled for May 21-24.

However, if the league doesn’t return to play for another two or three months, then both events would have to be canceled or pushed back. That being said, Berman writes that the NBA has not made any final decisions about the draft lottery or the combine.

On Tuesday, we looked at the potential lottery odds for the 14 teams in contention for the first overall draft pick.

Here’s more on what’s happening with the NBA:

  • Marc Stein of the New York Times explains why the NBA wants to resume the season instead of moving onto next season. As Stein writes, the desire to crown a champion and avoid more substantial revenue losses are among the league’s concerns.
  • At least three teams (the Kings, Bucks, and Warriors) wanted the NBA to take a hiatus before last Wednesday’s games were played, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. In his story, Zillgitt also details NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s thought process behind shutting down the league. 
  • ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the NBA is planning to raise its credit line to $1.2 billion to help with the extended shutdown due to the coronavirus. Wojnarowski adds that the league’s credit line was previously $650MM.

Where Traded Draft Picks Would Land If Season Doesn’t Resume

Earlier today, we explored what the lottery odds for the 2020 NBA draft would look like if the regular season doesn’t resume. We’re now applying that hypothetical to another aspect of the draft and examining which traded 2020 picks would and wouldn’t change hands based on the current standings.

Our projections below assume that the NBA will sort its standings by winning percentage in scenarios where teams haven’t played the same number of games this season. Again, this is just a hypothetical exercise — if the season resumes, the order below would likely change.

With that in mind and with the help of our reverse standings, let’s take a closer look at where this year’s traded draft picks would land if the NBA has played its last regular season game of 2019/20.


First round:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Nets)
  2. Boston Celtics (from Grizzlies)
  3. Brooklyn Nets (from Sixers)
    • Note: Could be No. 20 depending on random tiebreaker.
  4. Milwaukee Bucks (from Pacers)
    • Note: Could be No. 19 depending on random tiebreaker.
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Thunder)
    • Note: Could be No. 22 depending on random tiebreaker.
  6. Denver Nuggets (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 21 depending on random tiebreaker.
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Nuggets)
  8. New York Knicks (from Clippers)
  9. Boston Celtics (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Golden State Warriors (to Nets; top-20 protected)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (to Pelicans; top-20 protected)
  • Utah Jazz (to Grizzlies; top-7 and 15-30 protected)

Notes:

  • The Thunder pick would be the one worth watching closest if the season does resume. It’s top-20 protected, so OKC would keep it if it were to move up a spot or two, sending the Sixers second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 instead.

Second round:

  1. Dallas Mavericks (from Warriors)
  2. Charlotte Hornets (from Cavaliers)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (from Hawks)
  4. Sacramento Kings (from Pistons)
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Knicks)
  6. Washington Wizards (from Bulls)
  7. New York Knicks (from Hornets)
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Wizards)
  9. Memphis Grizzlies (from Suns)
  10. Boston Celtics (from Nets)
  11. Chicago Bulls (from Grizzlies)
  12. Golden State Warriors (from Mavericks)
  13. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 51 depending on random tiebreaker.
  14. Sacramento Kings (from Heat)
  15. Golden State Warriors (from Jazz)
  16. Brooklyn Nets (from Nuggets)
  17. Charlotte Hornets (from Celtics)
  18. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers)
  19. New Orleans Pelicans (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Indiana Pacers (to Nets; 45-60 protected)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (to Nets; top-55 protected)

Notes:

  • The Hawks will receive the more favorable of Houston’s and Miami’s second-round picks, while the Kings will receive the less favorable of those two picks. Those two picks could end up right next to one another, since the Rockets (40-24) and Heat (41-24) have nearly identical records.
  • The Celtics’ pick looks like it will be one of the rare second-rounders with heavy protection that will actually change hands. Boston would have kept it if it had fallen in the top 53.

What 2020 Lottery Odds Would Look Like If Season Doesn’t Resume

While the NBA hopes that resuming the 2019/20 season will be possible, there are scenarios in which the league could proceed directly to the postseason or has to cancel the rest of the ’19/20 campaign entirely. If such measures are necessary, it would mean that the NBA’s current standings will be its final standings.

It’s tricky to say exactly what that would mean for an event like the 2020 NBA draft, which hinges in large part on the previous season’s standings. After all, some teams have played as few as 64 games, while others have played as many as 67.

Teams like the Hawks (20-47) and Cavaliers (19-46) are an equal number of games back of the clubs ahead of them the standings, but Atlanta has the better winning percentage. Presumably, that would mean Cleveland moves ahead of the Hawks in the projected draft order and for lottery odds purposes. Based on winning percentage, the Cavs would also have better lottery positioning than the Timberwolves (19-45), despite having the same number of wins.

With that in mind, we’re looking today at what the lottery odds would be if the NBA’s regular season doesn’t resume and the league ranks its teams by winning percentage. It’s a hypothetical exercise, but one which could become increasingly relevant the longer the league’s hiatus extends.

For a full breakdown of how the NBA draft lottery works, be sure to check out our glossary entry on the subject. The standard odds chart for the new draft lottery format is included in our glossary entry, but the numbers in that chart don’t quite match up with 2020’s lottery, since the Kings and Pelicans currently have identical records. That tie would impact the odds for this year’s lottery.

With the help of our reverse standings and data from Tankathon.com – which is worth bookmarking for all sorts of draft-related info – we’ve listed the new, hypothetical odds for 2020 in the chart below.

The numbers in the chart indicate percentages, so the Warriors, for example, have a 14% chance of landing the No. 1 pick and a 47.9% chance of ending up at No. 5. If a team’s odds are listed as >0, that percentage is below 0.1%.

Here’s the full chart:

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
GSW 14 13.4 12.7 12 47.9
CLE 14 13.4 12.7 12 27.8 20
MIN 14 13.4 12.7 12 14.8 26 7.1
ATL 12.5 12.2 11.9 11.5 7.2 25.7 16.8 2.2
DET 10.5 10.5 10.6 10.5 2.2 19.6 26.7 8.8 0.6
NYK 9 9.2 9.4 9.6 8.6 29.6 20.6 3.8 0.2
CHI 7.5 7.8 8.1 8.5 19.7 34.1 12.9 1.3 >0
CHA 6 6.3 6.7 7.2 34.5 32.1 6.7 0.4 >0
WSH 4.5 4.8 5.2 5.7 50.7 25.9 3 0.1 >0
PHX 3 3.3 3.6 4 65.9 18.9 1.2 >0 >0
SAS 2 2.2 2.4 2.8 77.6 12.6 0.4 >0
SAC* 1.3 1.4 1.6 1.8 86.1 7.6 0.1
NOP* 1.2 1.3 1.5 1.7 92.0 2.3
POR 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.7 97.6

* The Kings and Pelicans have matching 28-36 records and would be subject to a random tiebreaker to determine which team gets the No. 12 slot and which gets No. 13. Their spots in this list (and their odds) could be flipped.

Hiatus Notes: Revenue, G League, Warriors, Kings

The league could lose nearly $500MM in ticket revenue if the remainder of the season is not played out, Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports Philadelphia estimates. Using an unnamed high-ranking league official as a source, Haberstroh relays that the NBA makes an average of $1.2MM in gate revenue per regular season game and $2MM for each playoff game. There were 259 regular-season games remaining, a loss of approximately $300MM in ticket revenue. With 83 postseason games played on average, the league would lose $166MM in postseason revenue.

The loss of basketball-related income could actually total near the $500MM for the regular season alone, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. That would directly affect the salary cap and luxury tax for next season. However, a resumption of the season with fans in attendance could mitigate and eliminate those potential financial losses, Marks adds.

We have more regarding the suspension of NBA games:

  • G League players will be paid as contracted and receive benefits, league expert Adam Johnson tweets. The remainder of the NBAGL season has already been suspended, with Johnson suggesting it may be canceled entirely. The G League’s regular season had been scheduled to end on March 28, with the postseason to follow.
  • Warriors staffers will work from home for at least the next two weeks, Nick Friedell of ESPN tweets. Their players will be allowed to work out individually inside the team’s facility but it’s not a requirement.
  • The Kings have suspended all team activities through Monday, according to a team press release. The players will remain in the Sacramento area but will not participate in group workouts or practices. No Kings players have experienced symptoms of COVID-19.

Antetokounmpo, Griffin, Williamson To Help Arena Workers

Bucks forward and reigning Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family are donating $100K to Fiserv Forum staff members to help them weather the financial storm during the league’s suspension of play, according to his Twitter account.

Antetokounmpo is following the lead of the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love, who pledged a similar amount to arena employees in Cleveland. The Pistons’ Blake Griffin is making the same donation to workers at Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena, according to the Detroit News’ Rod Beard.

Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson is pledging to cover the salaries for all of their arena staff workers for the next 30 days, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Numerous teams have come forward to say that they’ll keep their employees on the payroll during the stoppage as well as compensate full-time and part-time staff who work their games. However, many other workers in these arenas, such as security guards and concession workers, are often employed by other companies. The players donations would presumably provide assistance to those workers.

The Pistons added their name to the list of teams that will compensate workers on Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Wizards did the same, Candace Bucker of the Washington Post tweets. The Kings have also stepped forward, according to James Ham of NBC Sports, The Trail Blazers are formulating a plan to pay their part-time arena employees for the team’s nine remaining home games and will reassess the program in 30 days, Jason Quick of The Athletic tweets.

Rockets CEO Tad Brown vowed to make sure their employees would “take care of our part-time employees as well as all of our employees,” Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle relays.

The Mavericks, Hawks, Cavaliers, and Nets have already stated their intentions to provide financial support to employees and arena workers.

League Office “Slammed” With Questions About Next Steps

After announcing that the 2019/20 season has been suspended indefinitely, the NBA’s league office has been “slammed” with procedural and “bigger-picture” questions from team owners and executives, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski reports, the NBA has told its teams to be patient and sit tight for now — more guidance will be provided soon, likely as early as Thursday. In the meantime, despite the fact that clubs are reportedly still permitted to hold practices, many teams around the league plan to close their facilities today and give players a couple days away, Woj notes.

The Jazz, whose starting center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, have been among the teams most significantly affected by the crisis. As ESPN’s Royce Young details, Utah’s players and staff had to remain at Oklahoma City’s Chesapeake Energy Arena for hours after the postponement of last night’s game vs. the Thunder, undergoing tests for coronavirus. The results of those tests should be known soon, which will help the NBA determine how to move forward, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com.

After finally leaving the arena late last night, the Jazz spent the night in the OKC area, exploring the possibility of chartering buses to get back to Salt Lake City, since there were “issues” with putting everyone on a Delta charter flight, per ESPN. According to Young (Twitter link), the organization is expected to finalize travel plans after getting the results of their tests. It’s possible they’ll fly back to Utah on two separate charter flights — one for those who tested positive and one for those who didn’t.

Here are more updates on the situation as the first day of the league’s hiatus begins:

  • Sources tell Shams Charania and Tony Jones of The Athletic that Gobert has been around people who recently traveled to the U.S. from France, but there’s “no clear determination” on how he contracted COVID-19.
  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps break down what we do and don’t know about the NBA’s suspension of play, including whether players will be paid during the stoppage and how it may affect the salary cap going forward. Meanwhile, Brian Lewis of The New York Post provides six questions the league must answer.
  • By suspending its season, the NBA made the only decision it could, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com, who writes that the league shouldn’t consider a return until the virus has been “contained nationally.”
  • The Pelicans/Kings game on Wednesday night was initially expected to be played even after the NBA’s suspension announcement, but it was eventually postponed due to concerns related to referee Courtney Kirkland, who worked Utah’s game on Monday. Sam Amick, Will Guillory, and Jason Jones of The Athletic share some behind-the-scenes details on a surreal night in Sacramento.
  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who said on Wednesday night that the franchise would develop a plan to help arena employees with lost income during the hiatus, said that the situation “isn’t about basketball,” as Tim MacMahon of ESPN relays. “This isn’t about when do we start, do we start? Or how do we start? This is a pandemic, a global pandemic where people’s lives are at stake,” Cuban said. “I’m a lot more worried about my kids and my mom who is 82 years old — in talking to her and telling her to stay in the house — than when we play in our next game.”