Report: Kings’ new owner working fast to reshape basketball operations

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You know when you first buy a new toy — an iPad, a new flat screen television, a new drill — you just have to play with it. You spend an inordinate amount of time with it, getting used to it and setting it up like you want.

That is Vivek Ranadive and the Sacramento Kings.

Ranadive just had his purchase of the Kings approved and he is moving fast to change the basketball side of the operations around, reports Sam Amick at the USA Today. Which is smart because after the Maloofs were done with it there was a whole lot of cleaning up to do on that side.

According to two people with knowledge of the talks, the owner who formally took control of the team on Tuesday has already interviewed Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk and Memphis general manager Chris Wallace for the Kings’ general manager position….

Even though no formal announcement has been made about current coach Keith Smart, two people with knowledge of the situation said Ranadive is targeting Golden State assistant Michael Malone above all others and indicated that – if Malone agrees to come – his hiring could very well precede the hiring of a general manager.

It’s Ranadive’s toy, but he may want to slow down a little bit. You can hire a coach before a GM and it can work, but it tends not to. Also, while Malone is a qualified candidate no doubt, so would be a host of other guys such as Brian Shaw or Kelvin Sampson. You don’t think Shaw and his handful of rings as a player and a coach could get your guys attention?

Still, after the last few years of what passed for the Maloof ownership and Geoff Petrie steering the ship, it’s good to see someone taking charge and plotting a new direction. The Sacramento fans deserve that.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.

Orlando Magic will no longer host summer league

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — The Orlando Magic has decided to end their annual summer league.

Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said Sunday the trend of NBA teams playing in the Las Vegas Summer League led to the decision end Orlando Pro Summer League. Orlando’s Summer League, which showcased rookies and young players, began in 2002.

Las Vegas will host all 30 teams for the summer league beginning in the summer of 2018. The Orlando Pro Summer League began as a 10-team tournament but there were just eight participating teams this past summer.

The summer league in Orlando, which is played in the Magic’s practice gym, was the only one of three summer leagues that did not allow fans to come in to watch.

Kevin Durant misses game vs. Nets with sprained ankle, status vs. Thunder in doubt

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Not that the Warriors needed him with Stephen Curry going off again, but Golden State was without Kevin Durant on Sunday in Brooklyn due to a sprained ankle.

Durant is officially day-to-day, but that brings up the question of whether he will be ready to go Wednesday night when the Warriors travel to Oklahoma City to take on his former team. Chris Haynes of ESPN asked Durant about it.

While some blowhards will talk about him dodging the Thunder, the Warriors course here is obvious — they do not want to rush him back for any game in November. Even one against Russell Westbrook. Ankles with stretched ligaments are easy to re-injure if not fully healed, and the Warriors don’t want this to be chronic and last through more of the season.

Durant is averaging 24.9 points per game, 7 rebounds, and 4.7 assists, and — with all due respect to fellow former MVP Curry — he is the best player on the Warriors. Maybe the best player in the world right now, period. Durant can score at will, and he had become a key part of the Warriors’ fifth-ranked defense blocking 2.2 shots per game (their offense is No. 1 in the league).