Tyrese Haliburton

Kings Exercise Tyrese Haliburton’s 2022/23 Option

The Kings are picking up the third-year team option on Tyrese Haliburton‘s rookie scale contract for the 2022/23 season, a source tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). The team has confirmed the transaction in a press release.

The move is a formality, since there was never any chance Sacramento would decline a $4,215,120 option on a promising young player who was in the mix for the Rookie of the Year award last season. Haliburton is now officially locked up through 2022/23, and it’s a safe bet the Kings will pick up his ’23/24 option a year from now.

The No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 draft, Haliburton averaged 13.0 PPG, 5.3 APG, and 3.0 RPG on .472/.409/.857 shooting in 58 games (30.1 MPG) for the Kings in 2020/21. The 21-year-old will team up with De’Aaron Fox and Davion Mitchell this season to form what should be one of the most entertaining young backcourts in the NBA.

Haliburton is the only King with a third- or fourth-year rookie scale option for ’22/23, as our tracker shows.

Ben Simmons Takes Physical, Meets With Sixers’ Brass

After returning to Philadelphia on Monday, Sixers star Ben Simmons took his required physical and met with the team’s brass on Tuesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That meeting included president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, who says sources described it only as “brief.”

Both Pompey and Shelburne indicate that Simmons won’t be cleared to participate in any team-related activities until at least Friday, due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols. As Brian Windhorst observed during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (video link) on Wednesday, that timeline suggests Simmons may not yet be fully vaccinated, since the league requires fully vaccinated players to register just one negative PCR test in order to interact with other players. Players who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated require at least four negative tests upon reporting to the team, according to ESPN.

We don’t know yet whether Simmons actually intends to return to the court and play for the 76ers following his holdout, but for what it’s worth, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report says the 25-year-old’s physical showed no signs that he isn’t healthy. Simmons will be able to begin conducting individual workouts with the assistance of Sixers coaches on Wednesday, Fischer notes.

As we wait to see what the next steps are for the Sixers and Simmons, there’s no indication that the team is anywhere close to making a trade. Both Fischer and Sam Amick of The Athletic have heard that Philadelphia continues to hold out hope that a star like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal will become dissatisfied with his situation and ask for a trade, but that remains a long shot unless the Trail Blazers or Wizards get off to a really disastrous start this season.

According to Amick, Simmons’ camp hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a trade to the Nets, but sources with knowledge of the situation tell The Athletic that the Sixers have exhibited zero interest in pursuing a deal involving Kyrie Irving.

Fischer names the Cavaliers, Pistons, Rockets, Pacers, Timberwolves, Blazers, Kings, Spurs, and Raptors as the nine teams that have remained at least somewhat engaged with Philadelphia, and adds that a “mystery” 10th club has also had “substantive” discussions with the Sixers as of late. Not even Klutch Sports is certain of the identity of that 10th team, per Fischer, who cautions that the mystery suitor still hasn’t come close to meeting Morey’s asking price.

Here’s more on Simmons:

  • Sources tell Fischer that the Sixers have informed potential trade partners whose offers would be heavy on draft picks that their best bet would be a three-team structure in which Philadelphia lands at least one impact player, since Morey and his front office are interested in win-now pieces rather than future assets.
  • Although the Timberwolves still have interest in Simmons following their front office shake-up, new head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta isn’t believed to be pursuing the three-time All-Star as aggressively as Gersson Rosas did, according to Fischer.
  • The Kings remain unwilling to discuss either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential Simmons deal, while the Sixers appear unmoved by the idea of acquiring Dejounte Murray and/or Lonnie Walker from the Spurs, sources tell Bleacher Report. Fischer adds that there’s a belief the Pistons would entertain trading Jerami Grant in a deal for Simmons.
  • Improving the relationship between Simmons and head coach Doc Rivers is believed to be a priority for the Sixers if Simmons is going to stick around for a little while, according to Fischer, who says the two men never seemed to build a strong rapport last season. Sources tell Bleacher Report that during an offseason meeting at agent Rich Paul‘s home, when the Sixers confirmed they intended to fine Simmons for not complying with the terms of his deal, Rivers shouted, “It’s in your f–king contract” to report to training camp and play for the team.

Pacific Notes: Jordan, CP3, Haliburton, Warriors

When DeAndre Jordan signed with the Nets as a free agent in 2019, his friendships with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were key factors in his decision. Having departed Brooklyn this offseason, he made it clear that he remains close with Durant and Irving, but that the time was right for he and the Nets to move in different directions after he fell out of the team’s rotation at the end of last season.

“It was just both parties wanted to figure out something that was best for both of us,” Jordan said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “And I feel like they gave me that respect as a veteran player to be able to understand that I wanted to be able to compete. … It just worked better for both of us.”

Jordan isn’t necessarily as close with anyone on his new team (the Lakers) as he was with Durant and Irving, but he said on Thursday that he’s looking forward to getting the opportunity to team up with several veterans that he has matched up against frequently over the years.

“Just to be able to be with a team like this with guys that you respect and guys that you’ve competed against for the past — going into my 14th season has been great in seeing, ‘I wonder what it would be like to play with this guy,'” Jordan said. “And you always think about that, whether you tell people or not.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • Suns point guard Chris Paul called it an “easy decision” to return to Phoenix as a free agent this offseason, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. “Not only did I love the basketball aspect, I’m close to family (in Los Angeles) and Phoenix is a family, too,” Paul said. “I’m excited to be back there.”
  • Tyrese Haliburton‘s name has popped up in trade speculation this offseason, though multiple reports have stated the Kings don’t intend to include him in any offer for Ben Simmons. For his part, Haliburton laughed off those trade rumors, as James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area relays. “I kind of just laugh about it,” Haliburton said during an appearance on J.J. Redick‘s The Old Man and the Three podcast. “I don’t really think it’s that realistic. I don’t see it happening.”
  • Seth Cooper, who had been a player development coach in Golden State, will be the head coach of the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G League this season, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Kris Weems, who was the head coach in Santa Cruz, will join the NBA team as a player development coach, Slater adds.

Kings Aren’t Active In Ben Simmons Trade Talks

The Kings haven’t talked to the Sixers about a possible deal for Ben Simmons for several weeks, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic.

During their initial conversation, Sacramento made it clear that De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton wouldn’t be made available, which has also been reported by other outlets. A source tells Amick that the Kings will stick to that position and consider their roster virtually set heading into training camp.

There are no ongoing trade talks involving the two teams, Amick adds, and Sacramento shouldn’t be considered a realistic possibility for Simmons unless Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey lowers his asking price.

If a deal is eventually reached with the Kings, it’s more likely to involve Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley, according to Amick.

Trade rumors involving Simmons have heated up again after a report on Tuesday that he plans to hold out of training camp if the Sixers don’t ship him elsewhere. The Kings, Timberwolves, Clippers and Warriors have been the most frequently-mentioned possibilities.

Ben Simmons Rumors: Embiid, Kings, Warriors, More

Within a Tuesday column on the SixersBen Simmons dilemma, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today cited a person with knowledge of the situation who said there’s a rift between Simmons and star center Joel Embiid that had been “escalating” leading up to this summer. However, in a tweet published on Wednesday, Embiid pushed back on that claim.

Stop using my name to push people’s agendas,” Embiid wrote. “I love and hate drama. I love playing with Ben. Stats don’t lie. He’s an amazing player and we all didn’t get the job done. It’s on me personally. I hope everyone is back cuz we know we’re good enough to win.”

In the wake of Tuesday’s report that Simmons has told the Sixers he wants to be traded and doesn’t plan to report to training camp, we’ve got several more Simmons-related items to pass along today. Let’s dive in…

  • A trade sending Simmons to the Kings might be a long shot, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee, who hears that the Sixers would only be willing to consider a package that includes either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton. As we detailed on Tuesday, Sacramento is unlikely to part with either player.
  • Any interest the Warriors might have in Simmons is “conditional,” according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area, who suggests Golden State is hesitant to pair the three-time All-Star with Draymond Green, another strong defender who isn’t much of a scorer. Sources tell Poole that the Warriors are “divided” on the Simmons/Green fit, and that some people in the organization see potential in the pairing, while others believe having two non-shooters on the court would hamstring the offense too significantly. It’s also extremely unlikely that the team would move Green in a Simmons deal, Poole adds.
  • Unlike other teams that have traded star players in recent years, such as the Pelicans with Anthony Davis or the Rockets with James Harden, the Sixers have no intention of landing in the lottery after trading Simmons, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic, noting that Philadelphia finds itself in an unusual spot. New Orleans and Houston were willing to wait out ugly situations for months before trading their respective stars, and it will be interesting to see if the 76ers are willing to do the same with Simmons, who isn’t quite at the same level as a Davis or a Harden, Bodner observes.
  • The time for “mutually beneficial maneuvering” seems to have passed for the Sixers and Simmons, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice, who says it’s now just a matter of seeing which side wins the stare-down.

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Kings, Rondo, Lakers’ Big Men

The Kings still need to re-balance their roster, writes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area, and the Sixers still need to find a graceful exit from the debacle they find themselves in with Ben Simmons.

While it’s unlikely the Kings have what Sixers president Daryl Morey might consider the Godfather offer he’s been waiting for, Ham writes that Sacramento has been all in on Simmons since he became potentially available, and the three-time All-Star could represent the franchise-changing move GM Monte McNair has been looking for.

We have more news from around the Pacific Division:

  • In a similar vein, Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes that sports betting site MyBookie.ag recently gave the Kings the best odds at landing Simmons of any team (+275). Anderson doesn’t believes that the Kings are fully “all-in” on Simmons though, adding that Sacramento is unlikely to include either De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton in a potential trade.
  • Rajon Rondo isn’t worried about the Lakers’ age as a team, writes Royce Young of ESPN. In fact, he considers it an advantage. “Wisdom is definitely key to winning a championship,” Rondo said after officially rejoining the club. “We have a lot of that, obviously, with the age and experience on the court. I’m most excited about not being the oldest guy on the team anymore.” Rondo adds that it’s tough to last to the age many of the Lakers’ players have without discipline, which will be key for the team in its title hunt.
  • While not naming DeAndre Jordan specifically, Marc Stein confirms that – according to his league sources – the Lakers have been exploring the center market, despite Marc Gasol having one more year on his deal.

Kings Unlikely To Include De’Aaron Fox In A Ben Simmons Offer

The Kings are among the “known suitors” who would like to get Ben Simmons from the Sixers, but they aren’t likely to part with De’Aaron Fox, sources tell Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Numerous reports have stated that Philadelphia is putting a high asking price on Simmons and is hoping to get an All-Star player in return. Fox hasn’t been an All-Star yet, but he has been extremely productive in his first four NBA seasons and is part of the young foundation in Sacramento. He averaged 25.2 points, 3.5 rebounds and 7.2 assists in 58 games this year while shooting 47.7% from the field and 32.2% from three-point range. He’s also under contract for the next five years.

Anderson states that the Kings are more likely to offer a package that includes shooting guard Buddy Hield, power forward Marvin Bagley III, and multiple future first-round picks. A league source told Anderson that Sacramento would have to give up at least three first-rounders to make the deal work, while another source said the Sixers wouldn’t have any interest unless Fox or rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton is part of the offer.

Hield would fill a need for the Sixers, who ranked 23rd in the league in made three-pointers this season, Anderson notes. He’s a career 40.6% shooter from beyond the arc and holds the league record for most three-pointers made in his first five seasons.

Bagley is a talented young player who so far is best known for being selected ahead of Luka Doncic and Trae Young in the 2018 draft. He has missed a combined 108 games due to injury in first three NBA seasons and has been part of public disputes with the Kings about playing time and his future with the organization.

Kings Notes: Haliburton, Draft Workouts, Wagner

Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton is enjoying his experience with the U.S. Select Team, which is giving him a chance to test his skills against some of the NBA’s best players, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Haliburton had previous experience in the international format as part of the USA under-19 National Team while at Iowa State.

Haliburton has fully recovered from the hyperextended left knee that brought an early end to his first NBA season. Although he played just 58 games, he was an All-Rookie First Team selection and finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting. He has been working out in Sacramento for the past month and now gets to see how his expanded game fares against elite competition.

“For me to get out and use that stuff against other guys and see it work against them in live action, it helps a lot,” Haliburton said. “And just kind of seeing what other guys are working on at the same time, how other guys are improving. Just taking bits and pieces of that, putting that into my training and things like that.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

Pacific Notes: Simmons, Wiseman, Green, Kerr

It’s unlikely the Kings could put together a trade package that would allow them to acquire Ben Simmons from the Sixers, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Philadelphia is seeking an All-Star caliber player for Simmons and Sacramento is unlikely to make Tyrese Haliburton or De’Aaron Fox available.

Ham speculates the Kings could try to package Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley and the No. 9 overall pick or Harrison Barnes, Bagley and the same pick and see if Philadelphia would be interested.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors can take their cue from the Suns in order to get the most out of James Wiseman, Kendra Andrews of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. Deandre Ayton is a major reason why Phoenix advanced to the Finals, mainly due to the fact he’s become a prolific rebounder while getting fewer touches on offense. The Warriors need their bigs to thrive near the rim and help them get extra possessions, and that should be Wiseman’s main focus, Andrews adds.
  • Suns assistant Willie Green is reportedly a candidate for all three remaining head coaching jobs around the league and Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic takes a closer look at how Green would fit in with the Wizards, Pelicans and Magic. Green isn’t in a rush to get a head coaching job. “It’s definitely a goal, but I don’t feel like a need to chase that goal,” he said.
  • With Draymond Green playing for Team USA and Steve Kerr on the coaching staff, the Warriors could reap long-term benefits by building relationships with star players that could eventually land in Golden State, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area speculates. The Olympics present a low-key method for franchises to recruit players, Poole adds.

Roster Announced For U.S. Select Team

The roster has been released for the U.S. Select Team, which will help Team USA prepare for the Olympics, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Select Team, which will practice with and scrimmage against the national team during the upcoming training camp in Las Vegas, is made up mostly of first- and second-year NBA players. It will be coached by Erik Spoelstra of the Heat.

Making up the roster are: