Matt George: The Sacramento Kings have over $36M of expiring contracts to move with another $4M of team options to potentially add to that number. They will have flexibility to possibly absorb another big contract if they trade the #4 pick.
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James Ham: According to a league source, Anjali Ranadivé will report directly to Stockton Kings GM Paul Johnson and assist in all aspects of basketball ops.
Shams Charania: Alvin Gentry has joined the Sacramento Kings in a full-time front office role as Vice President, Basketball Engagement, sources tell me and @Sam Amick. Gentry finished season as interim Kings coach and joined GM Monte McNair and front office at the NBA Draft Combine this week.
Though Brown signed a four-year deal, sources say Kings GM Monte McNair is entering the final season of his contract and there have been no talks about a possible extension. No matter how you look at it, that means there’s significant pressure on McNair as the Kings try — yet again — to break the league-long playoff drought that has become the bane of their existence.
Sources say McNair’s status was a focal point for many of the coaching candidates during the process, with some having concerns about the lack of contractual commitment to the front office and what it might mean for their (would-be) partnership. McNair, who was a Houston Rockets assistant GM previously, was hired to replace the departed Vlade Divac in mid-September 2020.
Joe Dumars’ contract was expiring, and I’m told he wanted more direct control over the front office if he was going to return. In Dumars’ desired structure, Monte McNair would have reported to him rather than Ranadivé. Ranadivé didn’t share an interest in that sort of setup, and now Dumars has opted for this prominent role with the league. Considering the bizarre way the Kings’ GM search unfolded nearly two years ago, when Dumars showed strong signs of wanting the job he would later play a pivotal part in filling, none of this should come as a surprise. A source with knowledge of the situation said it does not appear Dumars’ role will be filled.
Today, the Sacramento Kings announced plans to unveil a refurbished court, in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, at Sacramento Central YMCA. This project is part of the NBA’s initiative to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the league by creating more than 50 new live, learn or play centers. The Sacramento Kings and Kaiser Permanente will celebrate with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the YMCA on Saturday, April 30. “As we reflect on 75 years of the NBA, we celebrate the game’s positive impact on communities and its ability to bring people together,” said Sacramento Kings President of Business Operations John Rinehart. “We are thrilled to continue to partner with Kaiser Permanente to prioritize wellness and enhance Sacramento Central YMCA’s resources for our community.”
Sean Cunningham: Monte McNair is restructuring the Sacramento Kings basketball ops department. Asst. GM Ken Catanella will not be back, sources tell me. His contract was coming to an end & will not be renewed after 6 seasons with the team. He is a valuable resource with a ton of experience
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Kings and Alvin Gentry are discussing a front-office role and a resolution is expected sometime this week, sources tell ESPN. Gentry has a year left on his contract.
Sean Cunningham: Kings GM Monte McNair on relieving Alvin Gentry of his head coaching duties: “The entire Kings organization is grateful for the leadership of Alvin Gentry, who stepped up when he got the call mid-season. We appreciate his leadership on and off the court.”
The source said Vivek Ranadive and Brandon Williams were driving forces behind the decision to draft Marvin Bagley III over Luka Doncic in 2018, but there was consensus within the organization because Bagley was a “modern-day big who could run the floor with De’Aaron Fox.” The source said the Kings nearly acquired Jordan Clarkson from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a trade involving Yogi Ferrell, but they didn’t act fast enough due to Ranadive’s involvement. Instead, the Cavaliers traded Clarkson to the Utah Jazz, where he would become the NBA Sixth Man of the Year, in exchange for Dante Exum and two future second-round draft picks.
Multiple sources told The Bee there is a sense that the dynamic has changed in Sacramento since the Kings hired current general manager Monte McNair to replace Divac in September 2020. One of the team’s minority owners said he believes McNair is calling the shots without interference. “I’ve looked people in the eye and said, ‘We know this has been a problem. Is it a problem today?’ They’re telling me it’s not,” he said. “Does Vivek have the right to approve trades or give his input? Yeah, but I don’t believe Vivek is micromanaging Monte. I believe Monte is in charge and has total control.”
The NBA fined Sacramento Kings assistant general manager Wes Wilcox $15,000 and the team $50,000 on Thursday for violating league rules prohibiting team owners and executives from interacting with scorer’s table personnel during game play.
Jason Anderson: “As far as those guys who haven’t been playing, now that we’re officially out, I’ll sit down and talk to the trainers and the front office and see where we’re at.” — Kings coach Luke Walton on De’Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III
Team officials’ hope is to make steady improvement next season, clean up the cap and hit their stride within the next two to three years, as Fox and Haliburton hit their early primes. They’ll have a chance to add another significant prospect in the July draft, where they’re currently positioned for a top 10 pick.
Sean Cunningham: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive surrounded by Kings GM’s, as he’s seated next to Monte McNair and chatting up his former GM Vlade Divac pic.twitter.com/2AQB8rVspm
Howard Beck on Kings: Ownership there, Vivek Ranadive has been a meddler in the past, but everything I’ve been told is that this new front office has full autonomy to do whatever they need to do. If that’s trade, some of these players like Harrison Barnes and Buddy Hield and start to retool around Fox and Haliburton, they’ve got the freedom to do that.
Sam Amick: With Kings owner Vivek Ranadive known to be extremely involved as always, and with the increasing influence of his son, Aneel, McNair finds himself facing similar forces of past Kings GMs. There are questions already arising about whether Ranadive is truly empowering McNair.
Michelle Dapper: “It’s been a blast and I wouldn’t change a thing, I wouldn’t change a thing.” Jerry Reynolds calls it a career after 35 years @SacramentoKings @reynolds_show @kcranews
Adrian Wojnarowski: New Kings GM Monte McNair is reshaping his front office, hiring former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox as assistant GM, Philadelphia’s Phil Jabour as VP of Player Personnel and OKC’s Paul Johnson as Director of Basketball Operations, sources tell ESPN.
Sean Cunningham: The Sacramento Kings eliminated several notable positions yesterday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to several sources. Stockton Kings GM Anthony McClish was among them. He played an important role in the scouting of the team dating back to the Michael Malone days.
Sean Cunningham: Despite the recent cuts made by the Sacramento Kings, league sources say that essential basketball operation functions in the front office, analytics & scouting, working on preparations for the offseason & draft, were not affected.
The Sacramento Kings won’t renew the contract of Stockton Kings general manager Anthony McClish, league sources told HoopsHype. McClish spent seven seasons with the Kings in various roles, including salary cap management and scouting.
McClish spent the last three seasons as general manager of Sacramento’s G League affiliate and had several players receive two-way contracts, including Gabe Vincent, Wenyen Gabriel and DaQuan Jeffries. Under McClish’s reign, Kalin Lucas, Aaron Harrison, Reggie Hearn, David Stockton, Cody Demps, Cameron Reynolds and Eric Mika also received call-ups to the NBA.
The Sacramento Kings are hiring Houston Rockets assistant general manager Monte McNair as their head of basketball operations, sources told The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick on Wednesday.
Sacramento owner Vivek Ranadivé, his son Aneel and interim executive VP Joe Dumars held in-person interviews with their three finalists in San Francisco: Minnesota’s Sachin Gupta on Sunday and McNair and former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox on Monday. Both Gupta and Wilcox had strong interviews. Interim head of basketball ops Joe Dumars joined owner in the in-person interviews and is expected to remain with the franchise as an advisor, sources said.
Shams Charania: The Sacramento Kings are hiring Houston Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair as new head of basketball operations, sources tell me and @Sam Amick.
McNair has spent nearly 13 years with the Rockets, including the last two as assistant GM after spending nearly three years as vice president of basketball operations. A Princeton graduate, he has an extensive analytics background and has appeared at the MIT Sports and Analytics Conference.
Salman Ali: Monte McNair becomes the 6th person from the Rockets front office to land a head of basketball operations job. Some others: Daryl Morey Sam Hinkie Dennis Lindsey Gersson Rosas Arturas Karnisovas
Jason Anderson: Increasing talk in NBA circles the Sacramento Kings will hire Sachin Gupta from the Minnesota Timberwolves to head basketball operations, but source says no decisions have been made. Pairing Gupta with Monte McNair is possible but other options may exist. https://t.co/7e7b7NCR2z
Carmichael Dave: Hearing strong movement towards a front office setup with Sachin Gupta as Head of Ops and Monte McNair as GM/2nd in command for the Sacramento Kings. Interviews continue today. Fluid situation of course……
Carmichael Dave: More on the Kings front: Hearing in person interviews yesterday and today consist of Vivek Ranadive, Joe Dumars, and Aneel Ranadive (Vivek’s son)…... Assumption being interviews are both phone/online and now in person as follow up, so two dynamics.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Minnesota EVP Sachin Gupta, Houston assistant GM Monte McNair and former Atlanta GM Wes Wilcox are among those advancing to a second-round of interviews in Sacramento’s search for new top basketball decision-maker. All three will travel to Sacramento.
Jason Anderson: Can confirm per league source Miami Heat assistant GM Adam Simon is pulling out of Sacramento Kings general manager search, as first reported by Shams Charania. One other candidate is likely out as well.
Why he makes sense: It’s no secret Ranadive is a fan of former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie, best known for “The Process,” which involved losing as many games as possible with the hope of landing generational talents in the draft. If Ranadive cannot hire Hinkie, why not hire someone who worked closely with Hinkie in Gupta, who was second in command?
Will Guillory: Sources tell @TheAthletic that Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon has informed the Sacramento Kings he will not be involved in their search for a new head of basketball operations. Langdon, one of the hottest names on the market, is heading into his second season with New Orleans.
The Sacramento Kings have formally begun their search for the next head of basketball operations. The Kings have requested permission to interview the following candidates, sources have told The Athletic: Timberwolves executive vice president Sachin Gupta, Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon, Nuggets GM Calvin Booth, Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon, Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair and former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox.
The Kings haven’t reached the playoffs since 2006, the longest active streak in the NBA and one short of matching the Clippers franchise for most consecutive seasons missing the playoffs. Of course, this wasn’t just about the struggles on the court. Webber’s teammate, Vlade Divac resigned as general manager. Peja Stojakovic, another former teammate, resigned as assistant general manager. So it’s deeper than what most fans might feel about the situation. “They’re going to have to work hard,” Webber said. “It’s been frustrating to watch. I think everyone tried their best and I’m very happy that at least in the interim — Joe Dumars is a great leader and I think he’s consulting the team right now. So for me, as a Kings fan, it makes you feel a little bit better but you feel bad knowing that Vlade gave his all.”
Still, this is personal for Webber, whose No. 4 has been retired by the franchise. He is no ordinary fan. “Of course I played there and I was a big part of it so anything I say will be taken out of context so I don’t want to speak in any way that could,” Webber said. “I feel sorry for Vlade, they have the best fans, the city’s going to be resilient, they are going to make the playoffs, they are going to get in the right direction and I just wish the best for the organization. It’s kind of hard to be professional when you’re asking a question about an organization I care so much about, so I’ll shut up.”
Several sources across the league Tuesday believed there may have been a difference in mindsets among Kings officials and Dumars on the next course of action, with some wondering if the Kings weren’t setting themselves up for yet another power struggle just days after the one that led to Divac’s departure. But Kings sources insist that synergy in this process has been achieved. And despite so many questions about Dumars’ strategy here, with so many rival executives wondering if he was pushing to secure the top front office position rather than help fill it.
The new GM will answer to Kings owner Vivek Ranadive — and not to Dumars. This is key for any executive who wants to know that he has full control of the roster, with the owner’s voice and influence omnipresent as always.
Shams Charania: The Kings are expected to hire Mike Forde of Sportsology as their national search firm for general manager position, sources tell me and @Sam Amick.
A number of potential candidates have emerged in the early stages of the Kings’ search for a new general manager. League sources expect the Kings to hire an executive search firm to help them fill the position that was vacated when Vlade Divac resigned on Friday, but several names have already come up in conversations with people around the league.
The preliminary list of candidates in Sacramento could include San Antonio Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry; Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster; New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry; Boston Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren; Miami Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon; and Los Angeles Clippers assistant general manager Trent Redden.
Joe Dumars, who joined the Kings organization as an adviser last summer, will serve as interim general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations. The team said it will work with Dumars to establish a long-term strategy for the organization’s basketball operations structure, including the search for a permanent general manager.
“My role as interim Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations is to immediately assume General Manager duties during this transition period and assist Vivek in developing a long-term strategy for the basketball operations department,” Dumars said in a written statement provided to The Bee. “As part of that process, I will support a thorough national search for a permanent General Manager over the coming months. The search will be run by an outside firm and Vivek will have the final decision-making authority.”
Jason Jones: Amid rising speculation within industry about his candidacy for Kings executive job, agent Bill Duffy tells @Shams Charania and me: “There’s no truth to me joining an NBA organization. I’m fully committed to my clients and their success.”
Jason Anderson: League sources tell me potential candidates are already positioning themselves for the Sacramento Kings GM job two days after Vlade Divac stepped down.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity of being a GM,” he said. Does he feel bitter? “I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus,” he said. “You never know if another opportunity will come up for me but I’m not going to chase it. What’s far more important than having a goal is the way you act on the way to your goal. My satisfaction will come when the Kings start winning.”
Sean Cunningham: Peja Stojakovic has stepped down as Sacramento Kings assistant GM
Divac’s phone rang on Friday and Kings primary owner Vivek Ranadivé told Divac that he was passing the management authority to former Detroit Pistons GM Joe Dumars. Divac knew his time was up. “It’s a part of life. You have to make tough decisions,” he said. “I didn’t expect it but then I wasn’t surprised either. We didn’t accomplish what we expected this season. That’s the bottom line…That’s my responsibility.” Divac said his immediate plan is to stay in Sacramento. He said he will always support the Kings. “I like this place,” he said. “Down the road who knows? But for some time I’m gonna be here.”
Starting this weekend, the Mavericks are in the NBA playoffs. The Kings are making news for another dismissal. Was this draft pick a major issue between him and Ranadivé? “Yeah,” Divac said. “That was my decision,” he said. “I still believe Marvin has big upside. But I needed more time to prove it. I’m sure Marvin is going to prove everybody wrong. But in this league, you need to produce right now. People don’t have patience but I’m OK with that.”
Shams Charania: Kings assistant GM Peja Stojakovic is expected to step down from his role, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Knicks GM Scott Perry has been floated as a possibility for the newly opened Sacramento job following Vlade Divac’s firing Friday. Sacramento consultant Joe Dumars, Perry’s boss in Detroit, is running the GM search. According to a source, Bill Duffy, RJ Barrett’s agent, may be considered.
Dumars will be part of the process to name a day-to-day general manager, sources told Yahoo Sports, but he isn’t expected to operate quickly. He could take next season to evaluate the executives around the league and determine who’s the best fit to work with the franchise — a move that seems prudent given where the Kings are and not wanting a quick fix alteration to assuage the fan base.
It’s a different league in the executive rooms, and Dumars wants to work his way through the league to learn, to listen and then strike when the time is right. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him tap a young executive and guide him through the nuances, similar to his own road when he took over as a 37-year-old, not far from retirement.
It ended in a way he wouldn’t have liked, not meshing with new owner Tom Gores after a simpatico partnership with late Pistons owner William Davidson. It didn’t mean he became stupid overnight, or lost his basketball acumen. It merely meant it was time to move on after 29 years with one franchise in one city, and he needed to recharge his batteries, take a step back and re-evaluate an evolving league.
Sources say Divac had a phone conversation with Kings owner Vivek Ranadive about the future of the front office, and a major shift to their agreed-upon structure was proposed: What if, Ranadive told Divac, Kings adviser and former Detroit Pistons player and executive Joe Dumars assumed a larger role in which he would have the final say on the roster and the two of them would work side by side? Divac, sources say, had zero interest.
So this notion of giving up personnel power, in Divac’s eyes, was a nonstarter. Divac and Ranadive then decided to take a break from the discussion and circle back, sources say. Divac, who had told Ranadive he would not accept the proposal, informed Ranadive that he would conduct exit interviews with his players in Sacramento and that they could speak again afterward.
Sources say Divac will be paid the remainder of his contract, which runs through the 2022-23 season. As for a possible ripple effect on coach Luke Walton, who was hand-picked by Divac in April 2019 and given a contract that also runs through the 2022-23 campaign, sources say he’s safe.
Divac’s inexperience with the inner workings of the general manager position would be problematic, with agents and opposing team executives complaining about having to deal with the Kings. Divac not adding to the front office was criticized throughout his tenure. Divac was determined to do things his way. The confusion, and what league executives saw as a sign of Divac’s inexperience, resulted in the Kings having a limited number of in-person draft workouts, even when picking in the lottery. Divac had not been an NBA executive and had assistant general manager Mike Bratz as his second in command.
The end mirrored the beginning in some ways. Divac took the job with no experience and no knowledge of the salary cap, and it showed. He was almost immediately clowned by Philadelphia in a trade that cost it a lottery pick and merely allowed the Kings to overpay veteran players they didn’t need in free agency.
Overall, however, the impression the Kings left was that they were too reactive, too heavily staffed with Divac’s Serbian cronies and too lightly staffed everywhere else. While the Kings made a decent-sized investment in analytics, you never got the sense it seeped very far into their basketball operations or coaching decisions.
Sources told The Sacramento Bee discussions about parting ways with Divac intensified as the Kings concluded their season with a 31-41 record, the franchise’s 14th consecutive losing season. One line of thinking within the organization was that the team had no choice but to stay the course after a season plagued by injuries and enormous financial losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Others felt a change was necessary.
A respected league executive said earlier Friday that Divac sealed his fate with a series of bad decisions over the past five years, pointing specifically to the decision pass on Luke Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft. “When you pass on generational players, you can’t win in this league,” he said. “You just can’t.” The source predicted Dumars would take on a larger role within the organization, saying “that would help, but they need to get somebody younger in there.”
Marc J. Spears: Won’t be surprised if Kings reach out to the new regime Knicks for permission to talk to GM Scott Perry about opening. Perry played a key role in the Kings drafting De’Aaron Fox and signing vets like George Hill & Vince Carter in short stint. Also worked for Dumars with Pistons.
Marc Berman: Hearing Sacramento could have some interest in Bill Duffy, RJ Barrett’s agent. Duffy lives in that region. Sac could try the Leon Rose/Rob Pelinka/Bob Myers thing. Scott Perry’s name already been floated. Perry left Kings after five minutes to join Steve Mills’ Knicks.
The Sacramento Kings announced today that Vlade Divac has stepped down as General Manager. In the interim, Joe Dumars has been named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and will immediately assume General Manager duties. “This was a difficult decision, but we believe it is the best path ahead as we work to build a winning team that our loyal fans deserve,” said Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “We are thankful for Vlade’s leadership, commitment and hard work both on and off the court. He will always be a part of our Kings family.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the General Manager for the Kings,” said Vlade Divac. “I want to thank Vivek for the opportunity and recognize all of the incredible colleagues who I had the great pleasure of working with during my tenure. Sacramento and the Kings will always hold a special place in my heart and I wish them all the best moving forward.”
Sam Amick: Source also tells @The Athletic that Kings coach Luke Walton is safe. While the two were on the same contractual timeline (through 2022-23), and Vlade hand-picked Luke, there won’t be another domino falling here.
James Ham: According to a team source, the Kings will allow the new GM to make a decision on the fate of the staff, including Peja Stojakovic, Ken Catanella and coach Luke Walton.
Marc Spears. It is possible Dumars could be considered for the Kings GM job if he is interested, a source said.
Marc Spears: The Kings are hopeful that the interim structure provides stability through the draft and free agency, a source said.
Sam Amick: Kings GM Vlade Divac is stepping down, source tells @The Athletic. Joe Dumars (advisor previously) will be interim executive VP of basketball ops and immediately assumes GM duties. Dumars will be involved in the search for a new GM.
Sean Cunningham: Several sources confirm Vlade Divac stepping down to allow the organization search for a new GM. Joe Dumars to oversee in the interim, as @Sam Amick reports. Dumars has been assisting the Kings front office over the past year – not once has spoken publicly to the media.
Sean Cunningham: Sacramento Kings Asst. GM Ken Catanella worked under Joe Dumars during their time in Detroit. Dumars had also employed Scott Perry.
The future of Vlade Divac as general manager is front and center for the frustrated fanbase and some local media, in large part, because of a comment he made in Feb. 2017 about his willingness to resign if the DeMarcus Cousins trade didn’t pan out. But as I reported back in late April, sources still say there’s no indication Divac (or Walton, for that matter) is going anywhere anytime soon.
As is the case with so many teams, the financial pain felt by this pandemic is sure to make any owner think twice about paying anyone to go away after suffering these kinds of losses. The Kings have suffered major losses tied to the real estate they control surrounding the Golden 1 Center, sources say, while having layoffs on the business side as well. There’s just no way that reality doesn’t come into play with any decision of consequence.
Rival executives have highlighted the increased influence of Kings advisor Joe Dumars as a sign of trouble for Divac, as sources say he has become a valued voice for owner Vivek Ranadive after being added to their group in June of 2019. The two were together in Orlando to watch the early Kings’ action from the outside-the-bubble seats, but sources close to the situation insist there is synergy and trust between Divac and Dumars here. That being said, Dumars — who lives in Los Angeles — is expected to have an increased role going forward.
Divac and Walton are both in the first year of four-year contracts. Firing them now would mean paying them for three more years — and paying their replacements — something the organization would have been reluctant to do even before the coronavirus pandemic caused tens of millions of dollars in revenue losses. The Kings have underachieved this season, but ownership will want to see what Walton, their 10th coach in the past 14 seasons, can do with a healthy roster before changing course yet again. Divac will get at least one more season as well, although his ultimate fate might have been sealed when he passed on Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft.
All that improvement, it appears, lowered the temperature on the hot seats of both Walton and general manager Vlade Divac. As we reported on Feb. 12, owner Vivek Ranadive had made his frustrations known with both the front office and coaching staff during the Kings’ 15-29 start. Questions arose about whether he might be compelled to make changes in the offseason, but sources say Divac and Walton appear very likely to remain (their contracts run through the 2022-23 season).
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the pairing of head coach Luke Walton and Vlade Divac is likely to continue into the 2020-21 season, at a minimum. “Owner Vivek Ranadive had made his frustrations known with both the front office and coaching staff during the Kings’ 15-29 start,” Amick writes. “Questions arose about whether he might be compelled to make changes in the offseason, but sources say Divac and Walton appear very likely to remain (their contracts run through the 2022-23 season).”
Frustration has been mounting among Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and others within the ownership group over the franchise’s front office and coaching, multiple sources tell The Athletic. Sources say Ranadive has shared his frustration with both front office and coaching decisions in a variety of unfiltered ways, including private conversations with business associates and in text messages during a season-long group chat with Divac, coach Luke Walton, assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic and Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. The complaints, sources say, have been focused on the team’s underachievement and the part they all played in it.
As it stands, however, sources say there is no indication that a change to the front office or coaching staff will be made anytime soon. But the tension that has returned to the Kings’ environment begs the question: Will Ranadive stay the course, prioritizing stability in the front office after all these years of turnover, or perhaps look to make a change in the summer?
Ranadive, sources say, ramped up his interest in learning all about his team’s scouting process earlier this season and sought more insight about their collective network, with the belief that it was a reaction to previous draft events and the looming questions about why Doncic wasn’t selected.
Throughout the Kings’ pre-draft process in 2018, the Kings scouted Doncic heavily, including a dinner with the young prodigy led by Ranadive that also included Vivek’s son, Aneel, and Divac; the gathering was shared on Aneel’s social media. There was ownership support for the drafting of Doncic at No. 2 overall, but Divac, along with then-assistant general manager Brandon Williams and Stojakovic had concerns about his upside compared to Bagley’s, sources said. As The Athletic reported last month, the belief that Doncic’s ball-dominance would limit Fox’s ability to grow and that they were better suited pairing him with a talented big like Bagley were driving forces behind the decision.
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October 1, 2022 | 6:40 am EDT Update
Klay Thompson will not play in either of the Golden State Warriors’ preseason games in Japan, coach Steve Kerr announced. Kerr said the decision was made out of an abundance of caution as the Warriors go through a condensed training camp. “Just feel more comfortable giving him a little more of a ramp up,” Kerr said ahead of the Warriors’ 96-87 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday. “He’s just not quite ready to play at this point just based on where, you know, we’re so early in camp. We just want to be safe and make sure he gets a good ramp up before he plays in games.”
“Just coming off the two years with the injuries, this is really unique to play a game after 3½ practices so we’re just being cautious and trying to do the smart thing,” Kerr said. Thompson was under a strict game restriction last season — starting under a minute restriction and never playing in back-to-back games — after missing two consecutive seasons with leg injuries.
Anthony Slater: Klay Thompson didn’t play pickup this summer. Called it a “mental block” he will eventually get over because of torn Achilles in summer ball. But that’s slowed his preseason ramp up. Called next week a “big week” as he revs back up for regular season. Here he is explaining it pic.twitter.com/0ZCCmWYFO1
James was asked after practice Friday how many preseason games he wants to participate in. “More than I played last year,” James said. “How many did I play last year? More than I played last year.” Last season, James played in three of the Lakers’ six preseason games. With a new coach in Darvin Ham, a new system and just six players returning from last season’s team, the plan for James playing preseason games is being worked out.
Ham said that they will “figure all of that out” in the coming days. “Obviously we have those type of things on our board and on our laundry list of things to get done,” Ham said. “But our focus has totally been on trying to establish a style of play on both sides of the ball, establish our principles and make sure we’re executing the basic foundation of who we are and what our identity will be. But definitely my coaching staff and I, we have had light discussions about what that’s going to look like, how many preseason games, how many minutes.”
Ham noted Nunn’s ability to score at all three levels, from three, to the mid-range, and at the rim, while praising his work defensively as well, showing that he can squeeze through pick and rolls, avoid screens and contest shots on the perimeter. It takes time for some players to learn how to play alongside a defensive magnet like LeBron, but that process has begun. “You deal with it by getting on the floor, getting in the game, logging minutes,” said LeBron. “You start to get more and more into the game, watching more and more film, more and more practices and it starts to come with time. I think that will continue to happen with the new guys we have this year.”
Cam Thomas had a promising rookie season in 2021-22, but his playing time evaporated when the Nets added Seth Curry and then Goran Dragic. If Thomas found minutes hard to come by down the stretch last season, he’s going to be facing an even more uphill climb to start his sophomore campaign. “We’ll see how it goes after training camp. But he clearly is on a veteran team with a lot of guys who can play, have had a lot of success,” Nets coach Steve Nash admitted. “We know Cam’s talented, and just trying to continue to develop him and see if he can keep pushing and getting better at certain things that’ll help him get minutes.