Kings Rumors

Injury Notes: Embiid, Nets, Lyles, Fultz, LeVert

Sixers center Joel Embiid will be sidelined for Wednesday’s game in Minnesota due to left hip soreness, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Embiid has been frequently impacted by injuries over the course of his career, there’s no indication at this point that his hip issue is a cause for any real concern. Wednesday’s contest is the second night of a back-to-back set and it will be the first game that the reigning MVP has missed this season. He played 41 minutes in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Cleveland.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Nets guard Ben Simmons (back nerve impingement) is making progress in his recovery and has begun “light individual court work,” but he’ll be sidelined for at least seven-to-10 more days, the team announced today in a press release. Brooklyn offered a more positive update on Cam Thomas, who has made “significant improvement” in his recovery from a left ankle sprain and has been cleared for increased on-court work. He’s expected to be integrated into team activities next week, according to the club. Guard Dennis Smith Jr., meanwhile, is day to day with a lower back sprain.
  • Kings forward Trey Lyles, who has yet to play this season due to a left calf strain, appears to be on the verge of his season debut. According to Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee, Lyles is expected to be active on Wednesday vs. New Orleans, while Keegan Murray (lower back soreness) will likely be ruled out. Both players were listed as questionable in the NBA’s most recent injury report.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz is unavailable for a seventh straight game on Wednesday vs. Denver due to left knee tendinitis, tweets Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel.
  • In addition to missing Donovan Mitchell for the past three games, the Cavaliers have also been without Caris LeVert, who is dealing with knee soreness, for their past two contests, tweets Chris Fedor of The Cavs haven’t missed a beat without the two guards, however, and are currently riding a four-game winning streak.

Pacers, Lakers First Teams To Clinch Tournament Quarterfinal Spots

The first two quarterfinalists for the NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament were determined on Tuesday, as the Pacers‘ win over Atlanta and the Lakers‘ blowout of Utah ensured that both clubs will advance to the knockout round of the tournament.

Indiana, the winner of East Group A, is 3-0 in round robin play and holds the tiebreaker over the 2-1 Cavaliers due to their head-to-head record. Cleveland remains in the hunt for the East’s wild card spot.

As for the Lakers, they’ve played their full round robin slate in West Group A and won all four games, with a +74 point differential. The club has secured home court advantage for the quarterfinals and is in strong position to claim the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed.

Only two other undefeated teams are left in the West and those two clubs – the Kings and Timberwolves – will have to face each other this Friday. If either Sacramento or Minnesota finishes with a 4-0 record in group play, point differential would be the tiebreaker to determine seeding — the two clubs are only +16 and +10, respectively, through two games and would probably need a pair of blowout victories to pass the Lakers.

By making the quarterfinals, the Pacers and Lakers have clinched per-player bonuses worth at least $50K. The value of those bonuses would increase to $100K if they advance to the semifinals, $200K if they make the final, and $500K if they win the entire tournament. The Lakers haven’t been shy about referring to that prize money as a motivating factor, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN notes.

“It’s not a run-of-the-mill regular-season game,” Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said after Tuesday’s win. “They’re well aware. That purse is pretty attractive. … Guys like money. … Not like it, they love it. That incentive right there — it’s huge.”

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton and head coach Rick Carlisle said this week that they appreciate the fact that the in-season tournament has given a young club – which hasn’t made the playoffs since 2020 – a chance to compete in meaningful games.

The Pistons, Wizards, Trail Blazers, Grizzlies, and Spurs have been eliminated from quarterfinal contention, but every other team technically remains alive. The full in-season tournament standings can be found here.

Shams: Kings Will Aggressively Pursue Star

The Kings will aggressively pursue a trade for a star, The Athletic’s Shams Charania stated on FanDuel’s Run It Back (hat tip to NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin).

“This is the first time in a really long time — maybe when Chris Webber was with the Kings — that you can look at the Kings as a trade destination,” Charania said. “They’re going to be involved in every star player: Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, maybe Zach LaVine. Whatever stars become available because [Kings’ GM] Monte McNair, that organization, they’ve done a good job at keeping their assets. They have tradable contracts. So they’re going to be a player for stars coming up for sure.”

The Kings control all of their future first-round picks except their 2024 selection, which is owed to Atlanta (with lottery protection).

Kings’ Fox, Knicks’ Brunson Named Players Of The Week

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox and Knicks guard Jalen Brunson have been named the NBA’s players of the week, the league announced on Monday (via Twitter). Fox won the weekly award for the Western Conference, while Brunson won for the East.

Fox had missed five straight games with a sprained ankle, but he returned last week to lead the Kings to a perfect 4-0 record, including three victories on the road. He put up stellar stats, averaging 32.2 points, 6.3 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals per night on .523/.444/.719 shooting for Sacramento, which is currently 8-4, the No. 4 seed in the West.

Brunson, meanwhile, guided the Knicks to a 3-1 week, with all of those games coming on the road. He averaged 28.5 points, 6.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds on .476/.543/.882 shooting in those four appearances. New York has won six of its past seven games and is currently 8-5, tied for the fourth-best record in the East.

According to the NBA (Twitter links), the other nominees in the West were Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, LeBron James, Domantas Sabonis and Karl-Anthony Towns, while Giannis Antetokounmpo, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Tyrese Haliburton, Evan Mobley, Kristaps Porzingis, Jayson Tatum and Julius Randle were nominated in the East.

Pacific Notes: Myers, Curry, Davis, Huerter

First-year general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. had an eventful offseason, adding veterans and young players who aided the Warriors in jumping out to a 6-2 start. But Dunleavy is now experiencing his first batch of bumps in the road as GM, with Golden State losing six straight amid a Draymond Green suspension and minor Stephen Curry injury.

Former Warriors head of basketball operations Bob Myers is all too familiar with the ups and downs of holding that prestigious position, having accumulated four titles with a couple retooling years in between. Myers spoke to The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami for an in-depth conversation about the Warriors and what Myers has been up to.

If that’s me, I’m saying (to Green), ‘That’s it, you’ve made your mistake in Game 10, so now you can’t make any more,‘” Myers said on Kawakami’s podcast (Apple Podcasts link). “I would assume he’d look me in the eye and say, ‘Yeah, OK.’ Kind of used up your mulligan early. So now we’ve gotta get through the rest of the 18 holes. And I think he would agree, he would say, ‘You’re right, it’s not good for the team, it’s not good for [me].’ I don’t think he’d push back on that.

The best thing about Draymond and the thing people may not know, at least my relationship with Draymond, he will listen. He does listen. If I ever felt like he wasn’t listening, I wouldn’t waste my time. But he will listen. I think that’s the misconception with Draymond — [that] he doesn’t listen to what anybody says, just does what he wants. I think he listens, but he still makes mistakes.

Myers went on to talk about more of the Warriors’ struggles this season, relating to the need to push through a difficult stretch.

This is a tough moment — Curry’s hurt, Draymond’s suspended,” Myers said. “You’re going to go through that stuff. We went through that every year. I’m trying to think of a year, ’14/15 we probably didn’t have any, which is crazy to say, that first championship. And then ’16/17, [Kevin] Durant’s first year. Those years out of 12 for me were the only ones where it felt like a smooth ride without any bumps. It’s normal to have adversity, so it’s here. Now this adversity could’ve come 20 games into the season, it could’ve come 40, it could’ve come 60, but it’s coming for every team. So to fans, I would say, this is the moment.

I highly recommend checking out the conversation in full if you have a subscription to The Athletic or the time to listen to the podcast episode. Myers goes on to talk about a plethora of topics, including his television appearances, the people he misses the most, his relationship with Curry and the future of head coach Steve Kerr, whom he expects will agree to an extension with the club.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Curry also spoke about the Warriors‘ recent losing streak, stressing it’s important to reverse the recent trend, Anthony Slater of The Athletic writes. “There’s urgency, for sure,” Curry said. “Any time you’re at this many in a row, it’s a problem you gotta fix. You don’t want to develop a losing mentality at any stretch of the season. That’s a stink in the locker room you don’t want to have.
  • Lakers star center Anthony Davis is hampered by a lingering hip injury, but that isn’t stopping him from anchoring L.A.’s defense, Khobi Price of The Orange County Register writes. “I’m all right,” Davis said. “Unfortunately this thing, it’s still bothering me but I’m going to try to go out there and compete. Obviously not being who I am offensively. My shot’s not falling and the leaping abilities and all that stuff just [aren’t] back to where it was, but I try to just make up for it on the defensive end and try to impact the game other than scoring.
  • Kings guard Kevin Huerter missed his first game of the season on Sunday, The Kings Beat’s James Ham tweets. He suffered the injury on Friday but told The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson the injury shouldn’t be “bothersome long term.” Chris Duarte, who averaged 4.5 points in 11 games entering Sunday, earned the start in Huerter’s place.

Injury Notes: Alvarado, Lyles, Mitchell, Beal, Hornets

Pelicans guard Jose Alvarado is getting “really close” to making his season debut, head coach Willie Green said on Friday, per Christian Clark of (Twitter link). Alvarado, who has been sidelined for the first few weeks of the season due to a right ankle sprain, missed Friday’s in-season tournament game against Denver but has been upgraded to questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. Minnesota, per the team (Twitter link).

While Alvarado has a chance to return on Saturday, forward Zion Williamson will be getting the night off on the second night of a back-to-back set, according to the Pelicans. Williamson’s designation is “rest,” so it sounds like there’s no new injury there — it’s just a matter of the team being cautious.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Kings forward Trey Lyles tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee that he expects to make his season debut at some point during the team’s current road trip, which continues on Sunday in Dallas and wraps up next Friday in Minnesota. Lyles has been unavailable so far this fall due to a calf injury, but has progressed to 3-on-3 work and says he feels “great,” adding that he’s mostly focused now on improving his conditioning.
  • While it doesn’t appear to be a cause for any significant concern at this point, Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell missed a second game on Friday due to a right hamstring issue. Mitchell also sat out on October 28 due to right hamstring soreness, notes Chris Fedor of
  • Suns guard Bradley Beal was listed as probable to play on Wednesday before being downgraded to out and then ruled out for at least three weeks due to a low back strain. Head coach Frank Vogel explained on Friday that Beal turned out not to be back to 100% when he made his season debut and playing in games was impeding his recovery process. “We want to put this thing behind him,” Vogel said, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link). “Playing in the games was slowing down his progress for really trying to put this behind him. We don’t want to do the ‘play a game, be out a game, play a game, be out a game.'”
  • The Hornets continue to be beset by injuries, as big man Nick Richards left Friday’s game due to concussion-like symptoms and has now been placed in the concussion protocol and ruled out for Saturday’s contest, per the team (Twitter link). In other Hornets injury news, Terry Rozier, who is sidelined due to a left groin issue, has yet to resume practicing, notes Rod Boone of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link).

Latest On Bulls, Zach LaVine

The Bulls explored Zach LaVine trades over the offseason, but they had a very high asking price — the fact that they’re open to moving him isn’t new. However, LaVine had always remained loyal to Chicago, and he’s now open to a trade himself — something he didn’t deny when asked about it this week.

According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, LaVine doesn’t think the Bulls will be able to turn into a contender in the East after being mired in mediocrity ever since Lonzo Ball injured his knee in January 2022. Multiple sources tell Fischer that LaVine would prefer to play under a new head coach as well, which aligns with recent reporting that the two-time All-Star may not be the biggest fan of Billy Donovan.

As Fischer observes, while LaVine is one of the most talented scorers in the league, there are reasons why other players on the roster could have more trade value. He’s not known for his defense, he’s in the second season of a five-year, maximum-salary contract, and he’s had multiple knee injuries in the past.

Still, there are plenty of teams interested in LaVine, according to Fischer, who says rival executives view the shooting guard as more of a complementary piece rather than a player to build around. A potential deal isn’t expected to come together in the near future, which is typical considering many players around the league aren’t eligible to be traded but will be in a month or two.

Sources tell Fischer that LaVine would like to play for a “winning franchise” and he has interest in the Lakers, Heat and Sixers, who were all previously identified as potential suitors. But there are questions about whether any of those teams will ultimately pursue him for various reasons, particularly Philadelphia, which prefers to add more of a two-way player.

That list is far from comprehensive, however. They aren’t a winner at the moment, but LaVine is interested in joining the Spurs and No. 1 overall pick Victor Wembanyama — as Fischer writes, LaVine played under Gregg Popovich on Team USA in the 2020 Olympics, winning a gold medal with the Hall of Fame coach.

Sources tell Fischer that LaVine has interest in several other teams as well, including the Kings. LaVine signed an offer sheet with Sacramento as a restricted free agent back in 2018, though that was under a different front office regime, Fischer notes.

While recent reports have indicated that the 4-9 Bulls are unlikely to entertain a rebuild even if they continue to struggle, Fischer hears ownership has recently changed its stance and would be open to dealing additional veterans beyond LaVine. That could include DeMar DeRozan, who is on an expiring $28.6MM contract, and All-Defensive guard Alex Caruso.

If Caruso does become available, his market would be robust, according to Fischer, who writes that the Bulls have asked for multiple first-round picks in exchange for the 29-year-old in the past. Due to Caruso’s favorable contract (he’s owed $19.4MM over the next two seasons) and the winning plays he makes on the court, Fischer believes Chicago could indeed get a couple first-rounders for him.

Kings’ Alex Len Out 6-8 Weeks With High Ankle Sprain

Kings reserve center Alex Len will miss about six-to-eight weeks after sustaining a “moderate but stable” high right ankle sprain on Monday, the team announced (Twitter link via James Ham of

It’s unfortunate news for Len, who was out of Sacramento’s rotation for the first six games but then started receiving minutes over JaVale McGee after impressing head coach Mike Brown in garbage time during a blowout loss to Houston on November 6. McGee received spot minutes after Len was injured on Monday and then again on Wednesday against the Lakers, but the Kings have mostly gone with a shortened rotation that emphasizes pace and shooting during their past couple games.

A former lottery pick (fifth overall in 2013), Len has never really lived up to his lofty draft status, but he’s in his 11th NBA season, so he has carved out a long career as a journeyman role player. The Ukrainian big man re-signed with the Kings as a free agent this offseason, inking a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.

Len, 30, averaged 2.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 0.8 BPG in 6.8 MPG during his six appearances in 2023/24. He holds career averages of 7.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 0.9 BPG over 610 regular season contests.

Pacific Notes: K. Murray, Petrusev, Clippers, Payton

Kings forward Keegan Murray has been tasked with a handful of challenging defensive assignments so far this season and has responded well, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Head coach Mike Brown praised Murray for his work against Cavaliers star Donovan Mitchell earlier in the week, then named him Sacramento’s defensive player of the game on Wednesday for his play vs. the Lakers (Twitter link via Anderson).

“I love it,” Murray said of being asked to do more defensively. “When I was in college and even last year, I really wasn’t known as a defender and I just tried to figure it out on my own, and obviously ask the coaches and the coaches helped me, too. But it’s just a lot of figuring out what guys do and their tendencies, just trying to be the aggressor on defense because, I mean, I feel like over the offseason, I kind of got more athletic and stronger, and that’s helped a lot.”

Murray’s offensive numbers are down to open this season, as he’s made just 38.7% of his shots from the field, including 29.6% of his three-pointers. However, he showed during an All-Rookie season in 2022/23 that he’s capable of being an offensive weapon — evolving into a legitimate two-way threat would further increase Murray’s value as a cornerstone piece for the Kings.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Greek team Olympiacos is showing interest in Kings big man Filip Petrusev, according to reports from and Sportando. Although Petrusev is on a two-year contract with Sacramento, only about $560K of his 2023/24 salary is fully guaranteed, so his roster spot for the rest of the season isn’t necessarily assured. Stavros Barbarousis of suggests that while it has been a frustrating start to Petrusev’s career – he has already been on three different rosters this season – he’s still focused for now on earning his place in the NBA.
  • While the Clippers have more top-end talent following the James Harden trade, they sent out four wings and forwards in that deal, leaving their roster somewhat thin at other spots, Terance Mann observed this week. “We don’t have much depth, I guess at a certain position,” Mann said, per Janis Carr of The Orange County Register. “It’s just a whole different scheme, you know. Now we have James Harden. So, you know … different.” Mann is expected to move into the starting lineup on Friday after Russell Westbrook volunteered to come off the bench.
  • Warriors guard Gary Payton II was diagnosed with a sprain after turning his left ankle in the second quarter of Thursday’s loss and was wearing a boot on the injured foot after the game, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN (Twitter links). However, head coach Steve Kerr said X-rays on the ankle were negative and wasn’t prepared to rule him out for Saturday’s contest yet, so it remains to be seen how much time – if any – Payton might miss.

And-Ones: F. Jackson, G. Davis, W. Bynum, Cooks, More

French team ASVEL confirmed that it has parted ways with former NBA guard Frank Jackson, terminating his contract with the club (Twitter link).

The expectation is that Jackson will move from France to China, according to Dario Skerletic of Sportando, who hears that the 25-year-old will sign a lucrative contract with a team in the Chinese Basketball Association. Jackson appeared in 214 total NBA games for New Orleans, Detroit, and Utah from 2018-23.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA players Glen Davis and Will Bynum are the latest to be convicted in relation to a scheme to defraud the league’s health insurance plan, according to a report from The Associated Press. While their sentences likely won’t be as lengthy as that of Terrence Williams, who was deemed the ringleader of the plot and given 10 years in prison, Davis and Bynum will “probably” face some jail time, says Michael McCann of Sportico (subscription required).
  • Sam Vecenie of The Athletic takes a look at which NBA draft prospects were most impressive at this year’s NCAA Champions Classic, identifying three Kentucky players – freshmen Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham and sophomore Adou Thiero – as a few of the youngsters who have improved their stock at the start of the college season.
  • Former Wizards forward Xavier Cooks received multiple two-way contract offers before deciding to sign with a Japanese team, sources tell Olgun Uluc of According to Uluc, the belief is that Cooks prioritized “significant” guaranteed money overseas rather than trying to work his way up the NBA ladder.
  • Within the same ESPN story, Uluc says that the Cavaliers, Pistons, Jazz, Kings, Clippers, and Wizards are among the teams who have had representatives in Australia this fall to scout the draft prospects in the country’s National Basketball League.