Dallas Mavericks v Sacramento Kings

Report: DeMarcus Cousins changes agents

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DeMarcus Cousins has made a mess for himself. He’s lashed out at opponents, coaches, announcers — pretty much everyone. He’s been fined, he’s been suspended. The Kings are tired of apologies. Cousins is sick of losing. And around and around we go.

No matter whose side you’re on, it’s safe to say that Cousins has painted himself into a corner with some immature actions. So who do you call to clean up the mess? The Winston Wolfe of NBA agents.

Cousins has looked outside for help, according to this from Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee:

Normally this wouldn’t be big news, but Dan Fegan has a bit of a reputation. When players want out, he’s the guy they bring in. Remember the “Dwightmare” saga with Dwight Howard in Orlando? Fegan engineered the trade, and made sure Howard landed in one of his preferred spots.

Maybe more relevant to Cousins’ situation with the Kings is Fegan’s relationship with Sacramento Kings GM Geoff Petrie. Here’s Tom Ziller of Sactown Royalty, recalling how former Kings guard Kevin Martin left town as soon as Martin signed with Fegan:

“Things could have gotten better, but then Martin signed with Fegan. And Martin-Tyreke Evans didn’t really work out. And Martin was getting his side out in the media, through Sam Amick (…) Things got really toxic.”

Ziller excerpts a piece from the aforementioned Sam Amick, who really sums up what Fegan is all about:

“Martin’s hiring of Fegan didn’t sit well with Petrie, as the agent is among the most influential in the game and known for putting serious pressure on teams if his guy doesn’t want to be in the current locale.”

If you recall, Martin eventually got his wish and was traded from Sacramento. It looks like that’s where we are with Cousins now. The chances Fegan is there to play nice with Petrie and negotiate Cousins’ next contract are slim-to-none. The chances Fegan is there to put pressure on Petrie to find Cousins a new home? Much, much more likely.

Someone will want to take a chance on the kid. Say what you will about Cousins  — he deserves plenty of criticism here — but it’s not as though Sacramento is the ideal environment for any young player. That organization and team is a full blown disaster, and it’s pretty clear that the relationship between the Kings and Cousins has reached a tipping point.

Fegan solves problems. It’s not always pretty, but he fixes things for his clients. It’s just a matter of time before he does the same for Cousins.

Report: Age minimum still on table in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations

NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 23:  The full draft board of the first 30 pics of the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft is seen at the Barclays Center on June 23, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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A new Collective Bargaining Agreement is expected to be finished soon, but with months until the current deal expires, both the owners and players can afford to take their time and get the details right.

Both sides reportedly agreed to keep the age minimum – which requires players to be 19 and one year removed from their high school class’ graduation – in place.

Or not?

David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Other issues, like the age limit for players entering the league, are still on the table. The league has long sought to increase the age limit from its current 19, and at least one year removed from one’s high school class, to at least 20 years of age. The union has talked about a “zero and two” setup, similar to that used by baseball — players can enter the Draft out of high school, but if they choose to go to college, they have to stay in college at least two years (in baseball, it’s three years) before declaring for the Draft.

The union wants to lower the age minimum. Adam Silver wants to raise it.

Most likely, the current one-and-done rule remains in place.

But a zero-or-two setup could be an interesting compromise. That would allow players certain they’re ready for the pros out of high school to declare for the NBA draft. In all other cases, Silver would get his wish.

Again, the status quo likely remains in tact. But it’s good both sides are discussing the issue to see whether there’s a better solution.

76ers increase Joel Embiid’s minute limit to 28

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, left, tries to get around Cleveland Cavaliers' DeAndre Liggins, center, and Kevin Love during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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Take comfort, chairs and staffers.

The 76ers have raised Joel Embiid‘s minute limit from 24 to 28.

Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly:

This was never a hard limit. Embiid played more than 24 minutes in five of his 12 games with a high of 27 in an overtime contest. Presumably, the new “limit” will also allow for Embiid to sometimes it.

Embiid’s numbers per 36 minutes are eye-popping: 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 3.8 blocks and 6.4 turnovers. A small workload likely factors into his per-minute dominance, and he’s still a long way from typical starter minutes. But I’m interested to see how his production translates over a larger sample.

The 76ers, in their mission to be less bad this season, will also appreciate a few more minutes of Embiid. They defend like the NBA’s second-best defense with him on the floor and the league’s second-worst defense without him. They also score a little better with him. Overall, they get outscored by just 2.2 points per 100 possessions with him and a whopping 14.2 points per 100 possessions without him.

This could give Philadelphia a couple extra wins over the rest of the season. At minimum, it’ll make the 76ers more enjoyable to watch for a few more minutes each game.

James Johnson dunks on Rudy Gobert in crunch time (video)

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Opponents shoot just 41.8% at the rim with Rudy Gobert defending it – which is now second to Hassan Whiteside among the 50 players who defend the most shots at the rim per game.

But James Johnson went up with no fear, scoring two of his 24 points in the Heat’s 111-110 win over the Jazz last night.

Nicolas Batum bounces assist through Dwight Powell’s legs (video)

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The Hornets didn’t just beat the Mavericks, 97-87, last night.

Nicolas Batum got Charlotte style points with this pass through Dwight Powell‘s legs, assisting Cody Zeller.