Kings Rumors

Latest On Dave Joerger, Kings

Over the weekend, a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports suggested that Dave Joerger and the Kings‘ front office don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on the team’s priorities and direction, potentially putting Joerger’s job in jeopardy. General manager Vlade Divac swiftly issued a statement dismissing the report, suggesting that Joerger has the team’s “full support and confidence.”

Digging into the situation in Sacramento a little deeper today, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that Joerger is not in danger of being fired anytime soon. However, that doesn’t mean that Haynes’ report is “much ado about nothing,” according to Amick, who says there’s a genuine disagreement within the Kings’ ranks about player development.

Haynes wrote on Saturday that Joerger is focused on winning as many games as possible, while team management would like to prioritize the development of young prospects a little more, and Amick’s report seems to confirm that. Sources tell Amick that there’s concern within the organization about insufficient playing time for Marvin Bagley III and other young prospects.

Here’s more out of Sacramento:

  • Although Joerger has another year on his contract beyond the 2018/19 season, his assistants are in the final year of their respective deals, per Amick, who describes the situation as “a second-level sort of lame-duck status.”
  • Joerger has believed since last season that assistant GM Brandon Williams was in the market for a new coach to replace him, sources tell Amick.
  • Amick describes Williams as a “major backer” of Bagley. Conversley, Nemanja Bjelica – the veteran power forward who is currently starting ahead of the club’s No. 2 overall pick – was a “Divac-driven” acquisition during the offseason, per Amick.
  • Now that the Kings have lost three of four games and have failed to deal internally with the possible discord within the organization, Joerger will face an even tougher task as he looks to hold his young team together, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Kings Rallying Around Improved Culture, Chemistry This Season

  • The Kings‘ improving culture is a noteworthy change this season, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays. “Winning begins with culture and character matters,” general manager Vlade Divac said. Sacramento has started the 2018/19 season with an 8-8 record.

Pacific Notes: Joerger, Anthony, Clippers, Bradley

Kings coach Dave Joerger sidestepped questions about his job status following Saturday’s game, relays Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports. Joerger has Sacramento off to a surprising 8-8 start after last year’s 55-loss season, but a report last night suggested philosophical differences exist between the coach and front office regarding minutes for younger players.

“Well, usually, I would say, ‘I’d be happy to answer all your questions about tonight’s game,’ but in this case, I’m going to tell you that my focus is with our team,” Joerger said. “And coaching our team and getting better every single night. And we’ve got young guys, and they’re mixed with older guys, and go in there and rally them up.”

Joerger turned away follow-up questions about his job, saying, “I’m not going to get into that stuff.” He has a 67-113 record with the Kings and is signed through the end of next season.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have been rumored as a possible next stop for Carmelo Anthony, but LeBron James is refusing to comment on the possibility of adding one of his closest friends, writes Liam Blackburn of The Sporting News. “I have no idea, to be honest,” he said when asked about the chance to acquire Anthony. “We don’t even have a roster spot open right now, so that’s not a question for myself.”
  • After missing the playoffs last season, the Clippers are making a strong statement with a 10-5 start and will be in position to get even better next summer, notes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. The team is 5-1 since inserting rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into the starting lineup and ranks first in the league in opponents’ effective field goal percentage. With only five players signed beyond this season, L.A. could have up to $63MM in cap space in July, enough to offer two max contracts. However, Ziller states that the Clippers’ ultimate plan is to attract Kawhi Leonard, re-sign Tobias Harris and add a few complementary players around them.
  • The Clippers are expected to add another key piece tomorrow when Avery Bradley returns from an ankle injury, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times“I still don’t feel like I’ve been able to get a consistent offensive flow here in this game and what I can bring to the team,” said Bradley, who has missed the past six games. “I still think there’s an area of shot-making that I can contribute to this team.”

Kings Considering A Coaching Change?

The Kings‘ surprising start may not be enough for head coach Dave Joerger to keep his job, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Joerger is locked in a philosophical battle with the front office over minutes for some of the team’s younger players, Haynes explains. Management sees this as a development year for the organization, while Joerger is focused on winning as many games as possible.

Of particular concern is the way  Joerger is treating Marvin Bagley III, the second player taken in this year’s draft, who is playing just 22.3 minutes per night. The 19-year-old is putting up decent numbers despite the limited playing time, with per-36-minute averages of 18.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG.

The front office wants to build around a core of Bagley, point guard De’Aaron Fox and young forwards Harry Giles and Skal Labissiere. Joerger has preferred to rely on veterans, including 30-year-old Nemanja Bjelica, who has started every game this season.

While management recognizes Joerger’s contributions to an 8-7 start, there are concerns that may lead to a coaching change. Several voices in the organization are calling for more playing time for Bagley, who many in the front office projected as a starter before the season began. Bagley is still seeing much more action than Giles, who is averaging 10 minutes per night, and Labissiere, who is at a career-low 5.6 minutes and has gotten into just five games.

The discontent in the front office, coupled with frustration from players over lack of consistency in their roles, could prove too much for Joerger, even though his contract runs through next season.

However, GM Vlade Divac responded to the report with a statement of support for Joerger, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Dave has our full support and confidence,” Divac said. “We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/16/18

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

  • The Pistons have assigned third-year forward Henry Ellenson and rookie guards Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown to the Grand Rapids Drive, Keith Langlois of the team’s website tweets. That will allow the trio to play in two Drive home games this weekend, Langlois notes. The Pistons are in the midst of a rare four-day layoff and there’s no need for any of them to remain with the NBA club during that stretch.
  • The Celtics have recalled center Rob Williams, forward Guerschon Yabusele and guard Brad Wanamaker from the Maine Red Claws, the team’s PR department tweets. All three started in the Red Claws’ loss to Raptors 905 on Thursday, combining for 52 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists.
  • The Magic have assigned guards Isaiah Briscoe and Melvin Frazier Jr. to Lakeland, allowing them to get some game action against Greensboro on Friday, the Magic’s PR department tweets. Briscoe, an undrafted point guard, has played five games with Orlando this season. Frazier, a second-round pick in June, has seen action in two NBA games.
  • The Grizzles recalled rookie guard Jevon Carter for the team’s morning shootaround, re-assigned him to the Memphis Hustle for afternoon practice, then recalled him once again in time for the team’s game against the Kings on Friday, the team’s PR department tweets. Carter, an early second-rounder, is still looking to make his NBA debut.

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Pacific Division

Over the course of the 2018/19 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

There aren’t many Pacific players who have been the subject of reported trade rumors yet, but there are several veteran wings in the division on expiring contracts who could become available over the course of the season — particularly if their roles decline or if things go south for their respective teams.

Here’s our early-season look at a few possible trade candidates from the Pacific…

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, G
Los Angeles Lakers
$12MM cap hit; unrestricted free agent in 2019

After averaging 33.2 minutes per game last season in what was ostensibly a rebuilding year for the Lakers, Caldwell-Pope has seen his playing time dip to 18.5 MPG in 2018/19. That’s a worrying trend for a veteran, particularly since the Lakers actually have playoff expectations this time around.

Caldwell-Pope, no longer in the starting lineup, has struggled to be effective in his limited minutes so far, posting just 6.9 PPG with a .326 3PT% in 14 games. With Josh Hart playing the Caldwell-Pope role better than KCP himself, the veteran could become expendable.

Moving Caldwell-Pope would be tricky, however. His $12MM expiring contract is still something of an asset for the Lakers, who project to have a chunk of cap room in 2019 and won’t want to compromise their flexibility by taking on a multiyear deal in return. Caldwell-Pope also shares an agent with LeBron James, so the franchise will want to do right by him. Plus, he has the ability to veto a trade this season, though perhaps if his role remains limited, he’d welcome a change of scenery.

While a trade sometime after December 15 is possible, and the Sixers are said to have him on their radar, it’s probably in the Lakers’ best interest to focus on figuring out how to get the most of Caldwell-Pope on the court.

Trevor Ariza, F
Phoenix Suns
$15MM cap hit; unrestricted free agent in 2019

The Suns threw a one-year, $15MM contract at Ariza over the summer in the hopes that the three-and-D wing could help stabilize a young team and play a part in Phoenix push for a playoff spot. It doesn’t look like that’ll happen in a competitive Western Conference — the Suns’ 3-11 record puts them at least 2.5 games back of every other team in the West.

There have been some positive signs so far for the Suns, and they won’t throw in the towel yet, but if they remain firmly entrenched in the lottery in another month or two, Ariza should emerge as a prime candidate. There will be no shortage of playoff teams that could use a battle-tested veteran like him down the stretch.

While it’s fun to imagine a scenario in which the Rockets, in need of another three-and-D player, re-acquire Ariza, Houston’s best salary-matching piece – Brandon Knight – can’t be sent back to Phoenix this season.

Iman Shumpert, G/F
Sacramento Kings
$11.01MM cap hit; unrestricted free agent in 2019

The Kings have a number of veterans on expiring contracts, but Zach Randolph, Kosta Koufos, and Ben McLemore look more like candidates for buyouts than trades. Shumpert is the exception — the 28-year-old is a fixture in Sacramento’s starting lineup and has looked like his old self, averaging 8.8 PPG with a shooting line (.411/.368/.833) that eclipses his career rates.

At the moment, the 8-6 Kings are hanging onto a playoff spot in the West, so they won’t be looking to sell off key rotation players. Still, the Rockets, Jazz, Spurs, and Pelicans are all just one game back of Sacramento, so it remains to be seen how long the upstart Kings can hold a top-eight spot in the conference.

If Sacramento falls off and Shumpert continues to play well, he should appeal to a team that wants to add some immediate help to its rotation without sacrificing its offseason cap flexibility. He probably wouldn’t net the Kings much of a return unless they’re willing to take on some unwanted money, but if they can get even a second-round pick for him, it’d be a win, given how low his stock was at the end of last season.


Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Gregg Popovich Praises Kings For Changing Culture

  • The Kings received praise from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich this week, with Popovich lauding the organization for improving its culture. “I was really impressed, their culture is changing — it’s changed drastically,” Popovich said, according to James Ham of NBC Sports. “Guys are committed, guys are physical, taking some pride in defense. I think Vlade [Divac] and the team have made some good moves, and I think Dave [Joerger]’s done a great job of bringing that group together. They look really good. It’s impressive.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/12/18

Here are Monday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Grizzlies recalled rookie point guard Jevon Carter from the Memphis Hustle, per a tweet from Grizzlies’ PR.
  • The Kings recalled rookie big man Harry Giles to their G League affiliate in Stockton, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports California.
  • The Thunder announced in an email that they have recalled Abdel Nader from the Oklahoma City Blue.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/11/18

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

Troy Williams Making Strong Bid For Roster Spot

  • Kings forward Troy Williams is making a strong bid to land a full-time roster spot with the team, James Ham of NBC Sports contends. Williams signed a two-way contract with the team in October, holding per-game averages of 8.3 points and three rebounds in four contests. “It’s what they ask of me – just to be versatile, just to be athletic, just to defend multiple people,” Williams said. “What I focus on is how I can help this team defensively before anything else.”