Omri Casspi

Omri Casspi not having fun, may want away from Kings

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Omri Casspi is not having fun sitting on the bench watching the Kings lose. (Well, not the last week or so when they have been winning, but you get the idea.) With Marcus Thornton and Francisco Garcia starting on the wings and Donte Green getting time in front of him off the bench, Casspi was given a DNP-CD on Sunday. He’s had a few of those in recent weeks.

And like the Maloof brothers, it has him thinking of getting out of Sacramento. Although, in Casspi’s case it’s thinking about getting away from the Kings.

That’s what he told the website One back in his native Israel, translation via News 10 in Sacramento.

“It’s not easy for me to sit on the bench, which has happened to me quite a bit in Sacramento’s last few games,” Casspi wrote. “I’m a player who lives the game. And as soon as you take away the thing I love the most in the world, playing basketball, it is hard for me.

“The situation in Sacramento is not like it used to be in the past. Coach Paul Westphal is experimenting and trying different things and I’m certainly not in his plans. We have six more games until the end of the season, and although I won’t say that I’m counting the seconds, it is clear to me that I will have to make some decisions at the end of the year….

“I know that there are many teams, including some playoff teams, that want me ahead of next season.” Casspi wrote. “I hope to find myself in a team that appreciates me as a player and a person, a team that plays like a team.

“I still don’t know if I will definitely not be continuing with the Kings. I’ve got a contract and love the fans, the city, the owner and the general manager. But things haven’t worked out and that is legitimate.”

Casspi is in only the second year of his rookie deal, making $1.3 million. The Kings have a guaranteed next year followed by a team option for the year after that, plus rights to keep him beyond that time. So, basically, if they don’t want to trade him they don’t have to. He has little leverage to force a trade.

The good news for Casspi  is situation with the Kings could be very different next year.

With the seemingly certain move to Anaheim is rumored to come big changes in terms of coach (and up the front office chain). That would mean a new system and a chance for Casspi to earn more court time. Plus there will be lifestyle changes. Honestly, Orange County could change his mind. Players will leave near the beach in Newport Beach or nearby areas and the atmosphere will be different than Sacramento. Better or worse is a matter of taste (I’m an L.A. guy, a Long Beach guy really, I wouldn’t want to live in the OC, but some people love it. And I’ll admit there are cool parts.)

One way or another, Casspi may get his changes.

Monty Williams is back coaching with Team USA, ready to get back on NBA sidelines

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 18:  Draymond Green #14 of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team drives against assistant coach Monty Williams of the 2016 USA Basketball Men's National Team during a practice session at the Mendenhall Center on July 18, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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Watching Monty Williams back on the court at the USA basketball camp/practices in Las Vegas, you could see he was at home. He’s easily the best 44-year-old defender on the planet — he went toe-to-toe with Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, and the rest, was physical, and made them work for buckets. Then he’d instruct. He’s just a natural.

Back in February, Williams’ wife was killed in an auto accident. It devastated the devout family man, in ways it’s hard for us to understand who have never experienced it. He walked away from coaching the rest of the NBA season with the Thunder, and nobody questioned it for a second.

Now, after getting his feet wet with Team USA (where he is an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski), he told Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman he is ready to get back on the sidelines.

“I wouldn’t even think that if I didn’t know, one, my wife would want me to; my kids talk about it all the time. And there have been some things that have happened in my life lately that have allowed me to get that back. I’m so juiced up and ready to get back into it again.”

He is one of the better respected assistant coaches in the league, and a guy who will get another shot at a top spot someday. Soon. Can’t wait to see him back on the sidelines.

Ben Simmons says he plans to work on shooting, handles, getting stronger before camp

Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons cheers from the bunch during the first half of the team's NBA summer league basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Thursday, July 14, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
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The leap from college — even high-level college programs — to the NBA can be hard to describe. Now everybody is bigger, longer, and far more athletic — the guy at the end of the bench barely getting any burn was one of the best players on his college team.

Players get their first taste of that at Summer League. The Sixers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons looked pretty good when he got that taste, but you can see the development that needs to go on as well.

He’s spending the time between now and the start of training camp working on his shooting and getting stronger, among other things, he told Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I think just getting in the gym and making sure I’m getting reps up, shooting-wise, dribbling,” Simmons said earlier this week after an appearance at Sixers Camp in Wayne, Pennsylvania. “The weight room as well, making sure I get my strength back and my weight up.”

All good things. Handles and shooting in particular — he’s about to start seeing much better defenders nightly. It’s going to take time, and we’ll see how far he can go, but Simmons unquestionably brings a lot of skill and potential to the table. That he’s putting in the work is a good sign — that was one of the concerns about him heading into the draft.

New GM Bryan Colangelo is going to benefit from Sam Hinkie’s process. So long as he doesn’t screw it up.

Report: Warriors sign JaVale McGee to make-good training camp contract

JaVale McGee
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JaVale McGee is getting another shot in the NBA.

He played just 34 games off the bench for Dallas last season. He played 23 games the season before that due to injury.

But the Golden State Warriors are thin up front — Zaza Pachulia will get the bulk of the minutes at the five (when the Warriors use a traditional center), and there is the often-injured Anderson Varejao behind him. The Warriors could use another big. So they are giving McGee a look, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

This is a low-risk move by the Warriors, and it’s worth the gamble. Vintage McGee, for all his Shaqtin’ a Fool flaws, is far more athletic and a better rim protector than any of the guys the Warriors now have at the five. If it doesn’t work out — and the odds are it will not — they cut him, if it does they pay him a minimum deal.

I hope he makes it, just because the league is more fun when McGee is in it.

Russell Westbrook laughs off question about Kevin Durant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 21:  Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Kevin Durant #35 discuss play during the first half against the Los Angeles ClipperLos Angeles Kingsat Staples Center on December 21, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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At some point, Russell Westbrook will sit down with members of the media and discuss Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder, how he felt about the move, and how it impacted him both personally and professionally.

But not right now. He remains silent.

This Vine making its way around, where Westbrook laughs — probably at the question, although read into that whatever you want — when asked about Durant sums up where we are.

https://platform.vine.co/static/scripts/embed.js

In the full Facebook clip, Westbrook walks away, too. It’s his right. He can talk about it on his schedule.