Jason Anderson: Kings coach Luke Walton says he has no interest in the Arizona job. “I have a job,” Walton said. “I have a job I love and I have a group I love working with, so I’m very committed to being here in Sacramento.”
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But sources with knowledge of the Kings’ plans say Walton is not in any imminent trouble and — barring a complete nose-dive in the second half — is likely to last at least through this season. There is a strong sense in coaching circles that Kings associate head coach Alvin Gentry would likely take over if Walton were eventually dismissed, but that time does not appear to be coming anytime soon. Sources say Walton, who was hired by former general manager Vlade Divac in mid-April of 2019, is owed a combined $11.5 million in the next two seasons of his four-year guaranteed deal.
Jason Anderson: League sources tell me a four-year deal between coach Luke Walton and the @Sacramento Kings has been finalized after a face-to-face meeting today in Sacramento, but at this point it’s unclear when a formal announcement will be made.
Buddy Hield: 👀
Luke knew the Kings job was out there. If his Lakers exit wasn’t mutual, it certainly should have been. People had quietly been telling him for weeks that if the Lakers put him on ice, Sactown would be a potential landing spot. Dave Joerger did a nice job there, winning 39 games and keeping Sacramento in the playoff hunt for most of the season, but he was out of step with the front office. Players had reportedly soured on his leadership. Joeger was fired Thursday.
Brad Turner: Just landed in SF and was told that Vlade Divac has contacted Luke Walton about Sacramento Kings job and is trying to set up meeting with the former Lakers coach, per source
Brad Turner: Was told Vlade Divac was glad to hear Luke Walton and Lakers had mutually agreed to part ways today, per source
Jason Anderson: I can confirm that @Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac has already reached out to Luke Walton in the first hour after he was fired by the @Los Angeles Lakers. Unclear if a meeting has been scheduled at this point.
Marc Stein: The Kings have formally requested an interview with Luke Walton, as @Sam Amick just tweeted, and also intend to request permission from the Spurs to interview San Antonio assistant coach Ettore Messina, according to league sources
Sam Amick: Monty Williams is held in high regard by the Kings as well and is a candidate, but source confirms that he’ll now have a very real crack at the Lakers job as well. Monty coached Kings assistant GM Peja Stojakovic in New Orleans.
Brad Turner: Lakers announce they and Luke Walton have mutually agreed to part ways. Look for Walton to become a top candidate for Sacramento Kings head coaching job.
Sam Amick: As expected, source tells @TheAthletic that Kings GM Vlade Divac will now reach out to Luke Walton to schedule an interview now that his Lakers days are done. As I reported yesterday, Walton is Divac’s first choice for this job.
Today, Sacramento Kings General Manager Vlade Divac announced that Dave Joerger has been relieved of his duties as head coach of the team.
“After evaluating the season, I determined that we need to move in a different direction in order to take us to the next level,” said Kings General Manager Vlade Divac. “On behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to thank Dave for his contributions to our team and I wish him all the best.”
Tension between management and Joerger on playing time for certain young players and relationship strains impacted Divac’s decision, sources said. Still, most around the NBA believed the team’s rapid improvement under Joerger and significant overperformance based on preseason expectations would have forced the organization to consider a contract extension.
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April 19, 2021 | 8:10 am EDT Update
Chema de Lucas: Mike James will play with the Brooklyn Nets until the end of the season. Immediate incorporation. Nets interest in the CSKA Moscow player was first reported by @Eurohoopsnet.
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source. James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. UPDATE: He will join the Nets, according to Chema de Lucas.
The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward Yuta Watanabe (YOU-tuh wah-tuh-NAH-bay) to a standard NBA contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Watanabe, 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, is averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.4 minutes in 39 games (one start) as a two-way player with the Raptors this season. He is shooting .448 (56-125) from the field, including .400 (24-40) from three-point range, and has scored in double figures six times. Watanabe recorded a career-high 21 points Apr. 16 vs. Orlando.
Hasheem Thabeet is looking to make an NBA comeback, his agent Jerry Dianis told me on Saturday. The 7’3″ big-man just won MVP honors while playing in Taiwan for the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. “Bottom line Hasheem Thabeet was given a opportunity, and he killed it,” Dianis told me. “MVP performance with career highs in points, rebounds, minutes played, assists and steals. Thabeet averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
To gauge who are the top international players, HoopsHype polled 15 NBA talent evaluators, including 10executives and five scouts. Each talent evaluator was asked to list his top five international players. The criteria included any player pro player not in the NBA right now. Some of the talent evaluators prioritized former NBA players and older veterans who are having an immediate impact on their team overseas. Others placed a higher value on younger prospects who are likely to come to the NBA in upcoming drafts. 1. Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona): The 30-year-old forward is shooting an astounding 59.7 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 15.9 points per game. “He’s the guy that’s been most productive in the NBA, and someone you can put in an NBA game right now if you had to,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype.
2. Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers): “He has great size and excellent court vision,” an NBAexecutive told HoopsHype. “He sees the floor so well, and he’s probably too unselfish at times. His shooting will need a lot of work. He needs to become a consistent threat from three and he needs to improve at the line, but he’s playing in a tough league at a young age and he’s having success.”
3. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes): The 6-foot-5 Serbian guard has his draft rights retained currently by the Thunder. While some have speculated he could make the jump to the NBA, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, denied having talks with any clubs for next season at this time. Still, Micic has drawn the attention of NBA teams with his play. “He’s almost an elite passer,” one NBAscout told HoopsHype. “He’s a good shooter, both on and off the dribble. He’s not athletic but has enough strength after his first step to get at the rim once he gets a runway. He’s very smart. His basketball IQ is off the charts.”