Tag:Sacramento Kings
Posted on: December 20, 2011 2:00 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 2:00 pm

Kings in the lead for Dalembert?

Posted by Royce Young

Samuel Dalembert is maybe the top free agent prize left on the market, especially in terms of big men. And there are two teams in desperate need of a center -- the Rockets and the Kings.

The Rockets saw Yao retire, their trade for Pau Gasol fall apart at the feet of David Stern and their offer to Marc Gasol get matched. The Kings had to void the contract of their new center Chuck Hayes because of a heart issue. That leaves them both in need of a big man, but right now, Sacramento might have the leg up.

Kings general manager Geoff Petrie was asked about re-signing Dalembert and he told the Sac Bee, "We've stayed in touch with him periodically along the way. We'll see what develops here in the next few days and go from there."

The Kings have money to spare as they're about $13 million under the cap after the deal for Hayes fell through. Dalembert is going to require more than the Hayes deal did however. And it seemed like Sacramento was content on letting Dalembert walk before Hayes failed his physical.

What about the Rockets? Aren't they about to offer Dalembert? NBA.com reports that the Rockets are "taking a pass" on Dalembert for the moment, which leaves the door open for a return to Sacramento. The other teams in the running have been the Heat and maybe the Timberwolves, but it's looking unlikely that either of those would really be in the mix.

With the market being so thin but two teams in desperate need of Dalembert's rebounding and shot blocking, the prize is being driven up and down at the same time. Dalembert was one of the more overpaid players last season, but could certainly be a major impact player for whoever he signs for.

The Rockets saying they're moving on means that they haven't been able to get Dalembert to their number and are hoping that he'll see how thin the market is and come back to accept their offer. At least that's how I'd guess this is going down.

As for the Kings, they need a center as well, but like the Rockets, are looking for a value get. Going to be tough landing that in Dalembert but right now, they're options are limited.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 4:58 pm

Peja Stojakovic retires after 13 seasons

Posted by Royce Young

Peja Stojakovic is going out on top.

One of the greatest shooters in NBA history, Stojakovic, 34, announced he will retire after 13 seasons in the NBA which finished with him winning his first ever championship with the Mavericks last season.

"When you start competing against your body more than you're preparing for the actual game," Stojakovic said, "it's a wakeup call."

Stojakovic said he was battling through neck and back issues and because of the physical demand of an NBA season, he just saw it as time to hang it up.

“I feel so blessed to have been given the athletic gifts to play professional basketball," Stojakovic said in a release. "I have always loved the game, and have great respect for it, and I know the time is right to step away. I promised myself a long time ago, if it came to the point where my heart and body were not 100% committed, I would step away. I have reached that point and I know the time is right to retire.”

Stojakovic, a three-time All-Star, played for the Kings, Pacers, Hornets and Mavericks. He averaged 17 points per game for his career, 40 percent from 3-point range and fourth all-time with 1,760 3-pointers made.

So with Stojakovic being one of the greatest shooters ever, it has to be asked: Is he Hall of Fame material?

He will be, at least in terms of the international Hall of Fame committee. He was a star in Greece for a number of years and was a major part of the Serbian national team winning the 2001 Eurobasket tournament and the 2002 World Championship. As for NBA Hall of Famer, probably not.

Though Peja did have some incredible years in Sacramento. Look at his run from 2000-2005. He averaged better than 20 ppg on 48 percent shooting and 40 percent shooting from 3. His 2003-04 season was outstanding: 24.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 48 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from 3. That's incredible.

After he finished in Sacramento, he had difficulty staying healthy, missing about 30 games on average every season after that.

He's an all-time great shooter and after multiple years of being so close in Sacramento, Stojakovic got his title in Dallas last season. Always a good way to go out.
Posted on: December 19, 2011 3:25 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 3:34 pm

Chuck Hayes fails physical; Kings void contract

Posted by Ben Golliverchuck-hayes-kings

Sacramento Kings president Geoff Petrie announced in a brief statement on Monday that free agent center Chuck Hayes, signed last week to a contract worth a reported $21 million over four years, will not join the team this season for medical reasons.

"This morning, in one of the most heartbreaking moments of my professional or personal life, Chuck Hayes was notified that he failed his physical exam with the Sacramento Kings," Petrie's statement read. "Subsequent to that, the contract signed on December 9th has been voided. At Chuck’s request, we will have no further comment at this time."

The Sacramento Bee reported earlier this week that Hayes was undergoing tests on his heart after a stress test revealed an undisclosed abnormality.

Hayes, 28, is a 6-year NBA veteran who spent his entire career, until this offseason, playing for the Houston Rockets. An undersized center with a major motor, Hayes has posted career averages of 4.4 points and 5.8 rebounds in 424 NBA games. He was expected to get major minutes in Sacramento as part of a frontline that also includes DeMarcus Cousins, J.J. Hickson, Jason Thompson and Travis Outlaw.

The Boston Celtics announced last weekend that forward Jeff Green did not pass his physical and will undergo open heart surgery that will force him to miss the entire 2011-2012 season.
Posted on: December 16, 2011 3:26 pm

Pop Quiz: Who takes the 7 & 8 spots in the West?

Posted by Royce Young

Fall is here, hear the yell, back to school, ring the bell ... Wait, we're almost to winter. What happened? Who cares, there's a season! The NBA season is right around the corner, and NBA training camp starts in just a couple weeks. To get you ready for the season, we've put together some pop quizzes. Pencils ready? We continue our Pop Quizzes with this question...

Who gets the last two seeds in the West?

The Western Conference is wide, wide open. And I don't just mean at the top. There are a pretty set top six teams in the West -- Oklahoma City, Memphis, Dallas, San Antonio, the Clippers and the Lakers. Nobody's really going to argue too much with that.

But my question is, what is going to happen with spots seven and eight? Here are the remaining teams: Minnesota, Denver, Phoenix, Portland, Utah, New Orleans, Houston, Golden State and Sacramento. Two of those have to go to the playoffs (assuming of course the top six go as planned). Who, I mean who, has the edge there?

The Veterans

Let's start with teams that were there last postseason. That includes Portland, New Orleans and Denver. Obviously you can cross the Hornets right off, but of those nine teams vying for the two spots, you'd have to think Denver and Portland have the best shot. The Blazers took a massive hit with Brandon Roy's retirement, but that team made the playoffs pretty much without him anyway last year. And with Jamal Crawford coming in, Craig Smith beefing them up a little inside, Ray Felton running the show (as long as he's not 300 pounds), Gerald Wallace doing all the little things and a legit star in LaMarcus Aldridge, I'd say Portland will probably punch one of those spots.

The Nuggets? That's iffy. Bringing back Nene to go team with Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson gives Denver a solid core, but this team was ravaged by the lockout. J.R. Smith -- gone. Wilson Chandler -- gone. Kenyon Martin -- gone. It wasn't a guarantee those guys were coming back anyway, but Rudy Fernandez and Corey Brewer aren't really ideal replacements. Plus, this team is breaking in a lot of new stuff and with just 66 games, there's not a lot of time to get it sorted out. But among the contenders for No. 8, Denver will definitely be in the mix.

The Middle Class

The teams that are consistently solid, have a star or at least a quality roster and can compete with pretty much anyone on a night-to-night basis. I'd put Phoenix, Houston and Golden State in this group. Steve Nash gives Phoenix a chance every night, Houston went 43-39 last season and if the Rockets can add a big man -- granted, only Samuel Dalembert is really left -- they could be a solid seven or eight-seed and Golden State has too much offense to ignore.

It's a question with the Suns whether or not Nash can hold up in this schedule, if the Rockets will in fact get that big body they need and if the Warriors will just be themselevs and only play on one side of the floor. But any of these three could make a run one of those two spots and it wouldn't surprise me.

The Bottom

The Hornets are intentionally lowering their bar, despite getting a decent haul of talent from the Clippers. Really, Jarrett Jack, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Emeka Okafor and Chris Kaman isn't a horrible core. But not being horrible doesn't mean you won't still struggle against the depth of the West. Because the Hornets currently have six or seven D-Leaguers on the roster, all with a pretty good shot at the final team. That's not good.

The Jazz just aren't there yet either. They need a scorer badly. Al Jefferson, Paul Millsap and Derrick Favors give them a nice frontcourt, but Devin Harris, C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward aren't really going to light it up.

I like what the Jazz are doing, but they are built entirely around four frontcourt players. They need to dump Mehmet Okur and maybe even Millsap or Jefferson to get a scorer (Danny Granger?) unless they aren't sold on their lottery pick Enes Kanter. It's a rebuild post-Sloan and post-Deron and they're likely to be a whipping boy this season.

The Sleepers

By process of elimination, you can figure out who are leftover and I'm even scaring myself with this. But the Kings and Timberwolves could both be set up for a quiet playoff push this year.

Start with the Kings. Tyreke Evans is finally healthy. He's finally in a real position playing shooting guard. Who knows what Jimmer will bring, but if all that fails, Evans can take over handling duties and bring Marcus Thornton in, who is instant offense. DeMarcus Cousins could be dominant if he keeps his head straight, Chuck Hayes is a classic scrapper, Jason Thompson and J.J. Hickson give them some depth. Who knows, in a 66-game schedule where crazy things happen, maybe the Kings start hot taking advantage of teams that didn't get a full camp together and use their youth to stay fresh through the crammed season. I could see it happening.

The Wolves? It's time for them to show some sign of improvement. It has to happen. Rick Adelman is a major addition because he's going to get these young players at least focused on a system and structure. David Kahn has built a mess of a roster but give him credit for one thing: It's got talent. There's a big if in Ricky Rubio and how much of a contributor Derrick Williams will be, but Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph, Wesley Johnson, Michael Beasley -- I can't believe I'm saying it, but I don't completely hate this roster.

It's all about Adelman though. I'm really believing that he makes a difference in figuring out how the pieces fit. Because if not, the Wolves could win 15 games. But if things click a bit and Rubio and Luke Ridnour run the Adelman offense well, could this team win 30 games? And with the back end of the West looking so iffy, could it be enough to sneak in? I'm not saying I believe it, but I could see it.
Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 1:54 am

2011-12 NBA Season: Pacific Division Preview

By Matt Moore

We're less than two weeks away from the start of the 2011-2012 NBA season. After an interminable lockout and a rushed free agency period, here's a first look division-by-division preview at how the league is shaping up. We begin with the Pacific Division.

2011 Standings:

Los Angeles Lakers, 57-25, lost 4-0 to Dallas Mavericks in 2nd round of Western Conference Playoffs
Phoenix Suns, 42-42, NBA Draft lottery
Golden State Warriors,36-46, NBA Draft lottery
Los Angeles Clippers, 32-50, NBA Draft lottery
Sacramento Kings, 24-58, NBA Draft lottery

Best team: Well, see, the thing is... Chris Paul (UPDATE: TIE- LOS ANGELES LAKERS AND LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS)

Chris Paul was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers Tuesday night. Even with the Lakers unable to obtain Paul, the combination of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum is probably enough to take the honors here. But with Paul joining Blake Griffin, even without Eric Gordon, the additions of Caron Butler, Chauncey Billups and re-signing DeAndre Jordan make as tough of a team to face as any. Griffin's impact next to Chris Paul is nearly incalculable.

The Lakers may still have the edge, but after the loss of Odom, everything is up in the air as far as who runs Staples now. The reality is that Paul landing in the city of L.A. will shift the division in one direction or another for the next half-decade at least.

Worst team: Sacramento Kings

The Kings are tricky. They have a convoluted backcourt. Tyreke Evans took a step back last season and it remains to be seen if it was all injury-related or not. There's no telling how Jimmer Fredette will adjust to the pro level. Marcus Thornton will struggle for minutes despite his all-around ability. John Salmons is floating around. There were huge chemistry questions last season and the players struggled against coach Paul Westphal at times.

If things don't improve, if DeMarcus Cousins doesn't mature, if Chuck Hayes can't protect the rim enough with his diminutive stature, things could get bad. And yet...

Biggest surprise: Sacramento Kings

There's so much firepower in that backcourt. Untangling it is complicated but they have everything. Shooting, athleticism, size, range, explosiveness, savvy, handle, everything. They have too much ability to not be effective in some ways. Cousins was a beast last season and even a small amount of maturity and development means he could be a near-All-Star (in the East, the West is too stacked). They have young talented bigs and Hayes who provides savvy and veteran knowledge.

The pieces are there. They're going to be exciting, even if they're struggling with an identity.

Three Best Players: Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Chris Paul

Update: With Paul joining the division, he instantly becomes one of the three best players. The best pure point guard in the league, with excellent shooting touch, terrific defense, and a supreme will to win? He leap-frogs both Pau and Nash. 

Kobe Bryant needs no explanation, even at his age. The end.

Blake Griffin is the most explosive player in the league and the first player in a few years for people to say he could legitimately be the best player in the league at one point. His explosiveness and rebounding is unmatched, his mid-range jumper isn't lightyears away and his defense will get there. Already, Griffin is a force to be reckoned with. What happens when he gets better?

Gasol vs. Nash? Gasol was an early season MVP candidate. He is arguably the most skilled big man in the league (as opposed to Dwight Howard, the most dominant and most talented). And yet his collapse in the 2011 playoffs is the stuff of legend. It was such a complete failure at both ends, when the Lakers needed him most, it's damning. Gasol could very well be the second best player in this division this year. He could also slide back with age.

Nash? Ho-hum, another 50-40-90 season (got to round up for once, but still). His weighted assists, factoring three-pointers assisted on, left him at 13, which means combined with his 15 points per game, he contributed 41 points per game to the Suns. That's absurd. It's also not the highest in the league for a point guard, but it's still an example of how good Nash is. He's flat-out old in relative terms of the league, and yet is in the best shape he possibly could be thanks to conditioning. Nash is still elite, an therefore neither he nor Gasol can be exempted.

Biggest Question: Can Golden State change its stripes?

Mark Jackson has to completely turn what the Warriors know as their identity inside out. They have to commit to defensive principles. David Lee, Monta Ellis, Stephen Curry, these players are not known for this, at all. It's going to take a miracle. If Jackson can get them to buy in and if his system is good enough, the Warriors could make a jump. Kwame Brown helps down low (don't laugh, he's become a quality defender). But there's so much to be done in terms of changing this team's indentity, the Warriors could be in for rocky seas.

2012 Projected Standings:
1. Los Angeles Lakers
2. Los Angeles Clippers
3. Golden State Warriors
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings
Posted on: November 25, 2011 10:47 am
Edited on: November 25, 2011 10:54 am

Tyreke Evans signs in Italy

By Matt Moore 

Tyreke Evans had been slow to commit to an overseas team. He's been recovering from multiple injuries which put a damper on his sophomore season, and playing in a variety of exhibitions. But he's gone ahead and committed to a team and will play in Europe for the duration of the lockout. From Sportando: 
Virtus Roma agreed to terms with Tyreke Evans for the season 2011-12 with an NBA out to exercise by the player when lockout ends. The contract, as announced by Acea Roma, will be signed in the night.
via Virtus Roma officially announces Tyreke Evans | Serie A | Italy | Sportando.

The Italian league Virtus Roma is in, from what I understand, featues a mid-level collection of talent so it should provide enough competition to keep Evans honest while allowing him to work on different facets of his game, though they do not compete in Euroleague. Evans still struggles with finding a traditional position to play, as he's too much of a scorer to play point guard, despite his handle and size advantage, and yet has too much ability to be limited to a shooting guard. His time with Virtus Roma, who famously pursued Kobe Bryant this summer, should allow Evans to work on all areas of his game.

The timing of the deal, along with that of Lamar Odom's committment to Besiktas, reveals the confidence players and agents have that the NBA talks will reach a conclusion this weekend.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 5:12 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 9:07 pm

Jimmer Fredette wins a dance contest video

Posted by Ben Golliver

Basketball's Tim Tebow just wins.

It doesn't matter if we're talking about accruing a 114-27 record at BYU, landing a cheerleader fiance or jerking his way to victory in a dance-off at something called the "Goon Squad Classic," Sacramento Kings rookie guard Jimmer Fredette just wins.

Over the weekend, Kings forward Donte Greene threw a charity game at UC Davis. As is mandatory at such lockout events, the Kings' rookies had to face off in a dance contest. That meant Fredette went head to head and hip to hip with fellow rookie Isaiah Thomas, a second round draft pick out of Washington. Fredette jerked while Thomas did the Dougie, but a little embarrassment took over during Thomas's set, rendering Fredette, who bobbed and weaved without a care in the world, the victor. 

The crowd loves Fredette, and that was the whole idea when the broke Kings drafted him with the No. 10 pick (acquired from the Milwaukee Bucks). What he lacks in lateral quickness and defensive instincts, Fredette makes up for in wholesome charm and starpower. As with Tebow and the Denver Broncos, there aren't championship expectations for the Kings and Fredette. Getting out of the basement and having some fun along the way would be a great start.

Here's the video of Jimmer Fredette winning a dance-off via YouTube user blakeellington.

Hat tip: The Basketball Jones
Posted on: November 14, 2011 11:34 pm
Edited on: November 15, 2011 12:26 am

Report: Omri Casspi signs with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Posted by Ben Golliveromri-casspi-2

A national treasure is headed home.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Omri Casspi, the first Israeli to play in the NBA, has signed to play for Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer. The paper reports that he will join up with his new team "in several weeks" and that the signing has been confirmed by his agency, Creative Arts Agency.

The decision comes less than 24 hours after the National Basketball Players Association chose to issue a disclaimer of interest, a move that will likely take the ongoing labor impasse to court.

Earlier this week, Casspi had expressed frustration about the interminable NBA lockout on his Twitter account. Cleveland.com notes that one of Casspi's messages included a desire for the players union to decertify.

A first round pick in 2009, Casspi, a hard-nosed small forward, played two years with the Sacramento Kings before he was traded to the Cavaliers for J.J. Hickson on June 30, the day before the NBA's lockout went into effect. Casspi had been pushing for the basement-dwelling Kings to trade him for months. 

Prior to his arrival in the NBA, Casspi played for Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2005-2006 and from 2007-2009. He made his Israeli professional debut at the age of 17. 

Maccabi Tel Aviv is Israel's most prestigious basketball club and is currently participating in Euroleague play. New Jersey Nets guard Jordan Farmar, former D-League big man Richard Hendrix, former Duke guard Jon Scheyer and former Gonzaga guard Jeremy Pargo are all currently on the roster

Casspi, 23, posted career averages of 9.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in 148 appearances for the Kings. He was set to make $1.3 million for the 2011-2012 season in the third year of his rookie contract.
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