Tristan Thompson

Latest On Kings’ Pursuit Of Ben Simmons

After Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that Ben Simmons appears to be “front and center” in the Kings‘ trade deadline plans and said the team is open to acquiring Tobias Harris along with Simmons, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer has published a report with more details on Sacramento’s pursuit of the Sixers‘ star.

According to Pompey, sources have repeatedly stated the Sixers aren’t interested in a deal headlined by De’Aaron Fox, who would be one of the Kings’ best trade chips.

One source tells Pompey the Kings have considered offering Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, and two first-round picks in exchange for Simmons, Harris, and Matisse Thybulle. However, that source also said the Sixers aren’t interested in that package; a second source tells Pompey that Philadelphia has yet to receive a formal offer from Sacramento.

Pompey hears from that second source that the Kings and Sixers haven’t discussed Philadelphia’s younger players like Thybulle, whom the source classifies as borderline untouchable. However, sources tell Pompey that Sacramento has done background work on Thybulle, Isaiah Joe, and Paul Reed.

Even if the Kings were willing to put the aforementioned Haliburton/Hield/Barnes offer on the table, they’d need to either reroute Harris to a third team or add at least one more player – such as Tristan Thompson or Marvin Bagley III – to make the deal work financially.

The Kings and Sixers haven’t yet gained any “significant traction” on a deal, Pompey writes.

Here are a few more noteworthy tidbits from Pompey’s report:

  • The Sixers have denied that they’re shopping Harris or want to attach him to a Simmons trade, but multiple teams and sources have told Pompey that’s the case.
  • According to Pompey, before sending Cam Reddish to New York, the Hawks considered offering John Collins, Reddish, and a first-round pick for Simmons, but the Sixers brought Harris’ name into discussions, ending those talks.
  • Pompey confirmed there are league executives who believe the Sixers would be comfortable hanging onto Simmons for the rest of the season. He also confirmed that the three-time All-Star is prepared to sit out the remainder of the season in that scenario.
  • Sources tell Pompey that the 76ers are continuing to fine Simmons for the games he misses, but not for more minor infractions.

Kings Notes: Gentry, Christie, Fox, Ranadive, Thompson

Alvin Gentry wanted to avoid the “interim” tag after taking over head coaching duties when the Kings fired Luke Walton on Sunday, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Sources tell Amick that Gentry was unsuccessful because the front office believed it had another viable candidate in first-year assistant coach Doug Christie. Even though general manager Monte McNair, assistant GM Wes Wilcox and chief strategy officer Joe Dumars all supported Gentry, having Christie as an option gave the organization leverage in its negotiations with Gentry.

Gentry received a raise as part of his new duties, Amick adds, and he has a contract that runs through the end of next season. However, his future as the head coach in Sacramento will depend on how successful he is at turning the team around. Amick notes this is the fourth time in his career that Gentry has received this type of promotion, and he was able to earn long-term coaching stints with both the Pistons and Suns.

As the lead assistant, Gentry already had a huge influence on Sacramento’s offensive strategy, so other than possibly increasing its pace, the team won’t look much different with him in charge.

“This is not about making mass changes or changing philosophies or anything like this,” Gentry said. “I think we’ve got a good system in place. So I think what we have to do is we have to have our players perform better. I’ve got to be better. All the other coaches have to be better, and our players have to be better. I think it’s a group thing.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • The Kings’ next major decision should be determining whether they can build a contender around De’Aaron Fox, Amick adds. Fox has gotten off to a terrible start in the first season of his five-year, $163MM extension, shooting just 42.1% from the field and 24.% from three-point range. Three-guard lineups with Tyrese Haliburton and Davion Mitchell haven’t been effective, observes Amick, who wonders if a roster upheaval may happen before the February 10 trade deadline.
  • Gentry is the sixth coach in eight years for owner Vivek Ranadive, writes Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. Ranadive has a history of being impatient, Biderman adds, and his desire for change caused the organization to part with Michael Malone, who has become a perennial playoff coach in Denver.
  • Tristan Thompson, who was acquired over the summer to provide veteran leadership, said after Monday’s loss to the short-handed 76ers that it will take an organization-wide effort to recover from the poor start (video link). “I think everyone has to look in the mirror,” said Thompson, who also publicly expressed frustration with the team’s situation last week. “It’s not only just players. Yes, it’s a player’s league … but in terms of building a team, it takes a collective group. It takes everyone from the top to the bottom. From ownership to the trainers, to the equipment managers, to the players, to (the physical therapist), to the GM to the assistant GM. It’s all of us.”

Tristan Thompson Expresses Frustration After Kings’ Latest Loss

The Kings lost for the fifth time in six games on Wednesday night, dropping to 6-9 on the season and 1-3 on a road trip that included games in San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Detroit, and Minnesota. After the game, veteran center Tristan Thompson expressed frustration with the results of Wednesday’s contest and the road trip as a whole, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays.

“The reality is this road trip should have been a 4-0,” Thompson said. “I was going on this road trip planning on going 4-0. The teams that we played against — OKC, they don’t want to win games. They want to rebuild. Everyone f—ing knows that. The Spurs, they have all young guys. They’re trying to figure it out. They have damn near eight guys that all play the same position. They’re trying to figure it out.

“… The Timberwolves, they’ve got names, but are they trying to win? Roll the dice, see what happens, figure out their roster. Detroit, they do not want to win. They want another top-three or top-five pick, and that’s no disrespect to the players on their team. They’re going to play hard and give it everything they’ve got, but at the end of the day, I know how this league works and I know how the front office works. … These are the games you have to win if you’re trying to be in the playoffs, or be in the play-in game, these are the wins you have to capitalize on.”

A report earlier this week indicated that head coach Luke Walton is facing increasing pressure and that his job will likely be in jeopardy if the Kings’ slump continues. However, speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Thompson dismissed the idea that it should be Walton’s responsibility to motivate Sacramento’s players.

“I think no man in this world should rely on another man to inspire them, point blank, period,” Thompson said, per Anderson.” You can put that in all capitals. Me personally, no one should ever need a coach to inspire you. If you don’t get inspired in a game, then you shouldn’t be on the court.

“Losing teams, losing players, you need to get inspiration from your coach, and I’m not with that s–t. My teammates aren’t with it because I know guys want to win and they want to win badly, so it’s not about Coach Walton inspiring you. This is not no freaking ‘Glory Road’ s—. … I don’t need no f—ing coach to inspire me. Never that. Never have. Never will. The day I need a coach to inspire me is the day I’m f—ing retiring. I’m going to go play with my kids in the park.”

Thompson ranks just 10th on the Kings in minutes per game and he has been a DNP-CD in a handful of games this season. However, the 30-year-old has a championship ring and is one of the veteran leaders on a team whose key players – including De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and Davion Mitchell – are relatively young.

Thompson made it clear on Wednesday that he believes in his teammates and that his frustration stems from a belief that the Kings have enough talent to be better than they’ve been so far. The big man said that everyone’s “heart is in the right place” and that they badly want to win, but they need to cut down on mistakes to make it happen.

“We’ve just got to come together and we’ve just got to really learn from those mistakes and really make sure we make it a priority,” Thompson said. “And it’s all of us. Me, too. … We’re all at fault here. From the top to the bottom, we’re all at fault. We’re in this together.

“… I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that we keep pushing. No one’s going to feel sorry for you. This is the NBA. No one’s going to feel sorry for you. C-Webb (Chris Webber) and (Mike) Bibby ain’t coming through that door, so you’ve got to keep pushing each and every day, keep getting better in practice, keep watching the film, learn from the mistakes. If we all can just get 1% better each and every day, then we’ll get our fair share of wins.”

Pacific Notes: Mann, Leonard, McGee, Thompson

Clippers guard Terance Mann is seeking more growth in his role with the team this season, Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times writes. Mann is entering his third NBA season, coming off a campaign where he averaged seven points and 18.9 minutes in 67 games.

“Just watching him play the last few weeks, the maturity that he brings to the table, the hard work that he brings to the table, how he has improved his shot,” head coach Tyronn Lue said. “So, he’s been putting the work in, and it’s paid off. So, we’ve just got to let him continue keep developing.”

Los Angeles will need production from the 24-year-old this season with Kawhi Leonard still rehabbing a partially torn ACL. The Clippers drafted Mann, a Florida State product, No. 48 overall back in 2019.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Speaking of Leonard, the two-time NBA champion is ahead of schedule in his rehab, Farbod Esnaashari of Sports Illustrated reports. Leonard underwent surgery in July to repair the injury, but no concrete timetable has been offered by the Clippers. He was averaging 30.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game in the postseason before getting injured.
  • Suns center JaVale McGee brings valued championship experience to a team that reached the NBA Finals last season, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic writes. “To me, he’s a breath of fresh air,” head coach Monty Williams said. “He’s just a good dude and I’ve told him that. I think he had some assumptions about me. So I think his first couple of days, he was trying to do what he thought would allow for him to fit in with me and I had to tell him like, hey man, we don’t do that. Be yourself. We’re just about respect.”
  • Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee examines what Tristan Thompson could bring to the Kings this season. Thompson, a 10-year NBA veteran, was acquired by Sacramento in a three-team trade this past summer.

Pacific Notes: Hield, Holmes, Shamet, Bradley, Iguodala

Few players who returned to their teams for the 2021/22 season came closer to being traded over the summer than Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield. However, speaking to reporters at the start of training camp this week, Hield sounded happy to still be in Sacramento and unbothered by seeing his name pop up in offseason trade rumors, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee relays.

“Yeah, I saw (the trade rumors), but I can’t control none of that and this is the business we live in,” Hield said. “My job is to come in and work my butt off every day and produce, and try to produce wins, and I can’t get mad at that. I get paid lots and lots of money to do this, so I’m blessed each and every day to come in here and compete. I love being around my guys. I love the team camaraderie we share and all that. The coaching staff has been great. It’s been fun, so I love it. Whatever happens, happens.”

Kings forward/center Marvin Bagley III, who was also the subject of trade speculation during the offseason, downplayed those rumors too, telling reporters that he’s “right where God wants me to be,” per Anderson. Head coach Luke Walton expressed enthusiasm about getting both players back, suggesting that Bagley was having a career year last season before breaking his hand and calling Hield “one of the most elite shooters” in the NBA.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Veteran center Richaun Holmes told reporters on Tuesday that he never got the feeling during free agency that he wouldn’t be back with the Kings, who “came out of the gate and showed (him) love from the beginning” (Twitter link via Sean Cunningham of ABC10). Holmes also lauded the team’s offseason additions of Davion Mitchell and Tristan Thompson. You add guys like Davion and Tristan Thompson, and a certain attitude comes,” Holmes said of his new teammates (Twitter link via James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area). “They bring a certain attitude, a certain swagger and that’s something we’re going to need.”
  • Suns head coach Monty Williams said on Tuesday that Phoenix had been trying to acquire Landry Shamet for two years (Twitter link via Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). Shamet was traded during the 2020 offseason from the Clippers to the Nets, who flipped him to Phoenix last month.
  • Warriors camp invitee Avery Bradley, who said on Tuesday that he believes he “might be the best on-ball defender in the NBA,” has a viable case for a regular season roster spot, according to Kendra Andrews of NBC Bay Area, who writes that Golden State could use Bradley’s presence on defense — even if he may be overstating his own talents.
  • The Warriors are already feeling the effects of Andre Iguodala‘s leadership, says Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody both spoke this week about looking forward to learning from the veteran swingman. “He’s a guy that’s been through it all in the NBA,” Moody said. “So, especially a guy if a guy of his stature is in the perfect position to teach me as a young guy whatever I need, whatever I need to know.”

California Notes: Kings, Carmelo, Lakers

The Kings have had a relatively quiet 2021 offseason thus far, Zach Harper of The Athletic observes in a thorough recap of Sacramento’s transactions across every position. Sacramento shored up their big man depth behind Richaun Holmes, whom they re-signed to a reasonable four-year, $46.5MM deal. Sacramento also added Tristan Thompson via trade and brought back old friend Alex Len on a two-year agreement.

Harper notes that the Kings appear to have also improved on the lead guard front, having drafted Summer League co-MVP Davion Mitchell with the ninth selection out of Baylor. However, Harper opines that, thanks to the strength of several clubs at the top of the Western Conference, the Kings will be once again struggling to make the play-in tournament for the 2022 postseason.

Another item of interest is the long-term future of maximum-salaried Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox with the team, in the wake of 2021 All-Rookie first team guard Tyrese Haliburton and now Mitchell both flashing significant promise.

There’s more out of California:

  • New Lakers forward Carmelo Anthony, a 10-time All-Star, reflected on his first official workout for Los Angeles, held at the UCLA Health Training Center. “That purple and gold is different, it always has been and it always will be,” Anthony said, per Spectrum SportsNet (Twitter video link). “I’m just happy to be a part of it. I wish my fans could see me here working, but just know that I’m in here working.” Anthony, 37, proved his mettle as a valuable offensive role player for two playoff-bound Trail Blazers teams during the 2019/20 and 2020/21 seasons. Last year, Anthony averaged 13.4 PPG, 3.1 RPG, and 1.5 APG, while posting a solid shooting line of .421/.409/.890.
  • The veteran-heavy Lakers added a lot of familiar faces, including five who have played for the team before. Dave McMenamin of ESPN details how the five once-and-future Lakers made their way back to Los Angeles, and what the team and fans should reasonably anticipate from their on-court output. Three of those former Lakers have won titles with the club. Point guard Rajon Rondo (previously with the Lakers from 2018-20) and center Dwight Howard (a Laker for the 2012/13 and the 2019/20 seasons) were both members of a championship-winning 2019/20 L.A. squad. Forward Trevor Ariza was a key two-way player for the 2008/09 champions.
  • In case you missed it, former NBA point guard Darren Collison scrimmaged with the Warriors this week ahead of a potential comeback. Collison, a California native, was most recently the starting point guard for a playoff-bound Pacers club during the 2018/19 season.

Kings Acquire Tristan Thompson In Three-Way Deal

AUGUST 7: The three-team trade is now official, the Kings, Celtics, and Hawks all announced today in press releases.

The 2023 second-round pick that the Hawks are sending to Boston originally belonged to the Trail Blazers and was shipped to Atlanta by the Clippers in the Lou Williams trade in March, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link).


JULY 30: The Celtics are trading veteran big man Tristan Thompson to the Hawks for guard Kris Dunn, forward Bruno Fernando and a 2023 second-rounder, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

However, Thompson isn’t staying with the Hawks. He’s being forwarded to the Kings, with guard Delon Wright going to Atlanta.

All the players in the three-way deal have expiring contracts. Thompson will make $9.7MM next season, while Dunn will secure just over $5MM and Fernando will collect $1.8MM. Wright will make approximately $8.5MM next season.

The move pushes the Celtics another $3MM below the luxury tax threshold, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Dunn had a player option on his contract and opted in earlier this week, which made the trade viable.

After nine seasons in Cleveland, Thompson played in 54 regular-season games with the Celtics, including 43 starts. He averaged 7.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG.

Dunn’s lone season in Atlanta was a washout due to an ankle injury.  He only appeared in four regular-season games, but does give the Celtics another option for their backcourt rotation with Kemba Walker getting traded this offseason.

Fernando, an early second-round pick in 2019, appeared in 89 regular-season games during his first two years in the league.

Thompson gives the Kings some frontcourt insurance with Richaun Holmes entering free agency.

Wright averaged 10.0 PPG and 3.6 APG in 27 games with Sacramento after being acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline. Wright can play either guard spot and will likely slide into a backup role with Atlanta.

Celtics Rumors: Richardson Trade, Fournier, Thompson, Parker

The Celtics may have been quiet on draft night, but they’re making noise now. After agreeing to trade Tristan Thompson for the Hawks’ Kris Dunn and Bruno Fernando and sending Moses Brown to the Mavericks for Josh Richardson, the Celtics have given themselves some extra flexibility from both a financial and roster perspective, writes The Athletic’s Jared Weiss.

Evan Fournier‘s market seems to be in the range of $12-$20MM per year, according to Weiss, who points out that dealing for Richardson affords the Celtics the option of walking away if the bidding war gets too rich for them. It sounds like that’s a very realistic possibility, as Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald hears from a source that Boston is unwilling to meet Fournier’s asking price of $80MM over four years.

“It’s not looking good,” Murphy’s source said of the Celtics’ negotiations with Fournier.

Meanwhile, there’s no guarantee that the Celtics will hang onto Dunn, according to Weiss, who says the former lottery pick  could be flipped again. Weiss suggests that two viable options for dealing Dunn could be to the Cavaliers – along with one of the Celtics’ young players – in a deal for Larry Nance Jr., or to the Pelicans – with Marcus Smart – in a Lonzo Ball sign-and-trade.

We have more rumors on the Celtics:

  • According to Weiss, while Thompson was beloved by teammates, he butted heads with the coaching staff and the organization throughout the year and was widely expected to be moved this offseason.
  • In the same piece, Weiss cites The Athletic’s Danny Leroux, who explains that the Celtics now project to be about $4.36MM below the tax line if Jabari Parker (who has a non-guaranteed contract) is waived.
  • The Celtics wanted to send more guaranteed money to the Mavericks in the Josh Richardson deal, but Dallas initially didn’t want to take any money back, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Moses Brown was the compromise found, given the low guarantee on his deal ($500K).
  • Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated tweets that the Celtics’ front office, especially Brad Stevens, has long been a fan of Richardson, who will be looking to get back on track in Boston after a down year in Dallas.

Olympic Notes: Lillard, Green, Canada, Serbia, Italy

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and Warriors forward/center Draymond Green are among the first players to commit to Team USA ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, sources tell Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Team USA figures to bring more than a dozen players to its initial camp this summer before paring down the roster to 12 for Tokyo, so Lillard’s and Green’s commitments don’t guarantee that they’ll be part of the final Olympic roster. However, it seems safe to assume that spots on the 12-man squad will be reserved for the two stars as long as they remain healthy and committed.

Green won a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, while Lillard has yet to play for Team USA in a major international tournament. Green and Lillard are two of the 57 names listed as part of USA Basketball’s initial player pool in March, though as we noted last week, many of the players on that list seem unlikely to participate for a variety of reasons, including injuries.

Here are a few more updates from around the international basketball world:

  • Team Canada’s preliminary roster for the Olympic qualifying tournament later this month included 14 current NBA players. However, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic and Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter links), at least three of those NBA players – Pacers forward Oshae Brissett, Grizzlies forward Dillon Brooks, and Celtics center Tristan Thompson – now aren’t expected to participate.
  • The Serbian national team is preparing for the possibility of being without several key players for this month’s qualifying tournament, according to a MozzartSport report (hat tip to Sportando). Hawks swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic and reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets are among the players considered unlikely to be available for the OQT in Belgrade.
  • Longtime NBA shooting guard Marco Belinelli announced that he won’t be part of the Italian team attempting to earn an Olympic berth at this month’s qualifying tournament in Belgrade, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Belinelli, who is now playing for Virtus Bologna, wants to rest to make sure he’s 100% healthy for next season.

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.