Iguodala says he seriously considered Kings but they put him on deadline

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It was one of the stranger moves of the off-season — Sacramento made a very nice four-year, $52 million offer to Andre Iguodala then a few days later yanked the offer.

It all worked out, Iguodala took a little less money ($48 million over four years) to land in Golden State.

Now he’s telling his side of the story — he said he was seriously considering the Kings but wanted time to look at a number of teams, and the Kings wanted an answer fast and gave him a deadline. Iggy spoke to Scott Howard-Cooper about the entire process.

Iguodala just didn’t want to be put on the clock. He was, he said, strongly considering the Kings, but was not ready to make a decision. The Kings wanted him to be ready and gave a quick deadline, soon followed by pulling the offer when they had at least a day and maybe longer before actually needing an answer….

“When you’re dealing with deadlines as a player, it’s not really a positive thing to say, ‘All right, they’re giving me a deadline,’ ” Iguodala said. “You don’t want to really get into deadlines. We had really good conversations and I was close. After the first day, they were in the top three teams, top two teams. I think with (new owner) Vivek (Ranadive) coming from (the Warriors) ownership group and going out on his own and getting a team, he has a really good vision of what he wants to build in Sacramento. That vision was really attractive. I was almost close to going there.”

Almost close.

The Kings have still had a nice offseason (they got Carl Landry, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Greivis Vasquez) as they start to rebuild what the Maloofs had done to the place before leaving. But Iggy would have been a big splash, a big sign of how serious they were.

The Kings thought if Iggy was really serious about them the decision would have been nearly instant. He wanted to be more deliberate. It may not have worked out, but would it have killed the Kings to be a little more patient here?

Josh Jackson’s first pitch is… just a bit outside

Associated Press
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Josh Jackson is not going Bo Jackson on us and playing baseball in the offseason.

The highly-rated forward out of Kansas who was the No. 4 pick of the Phoenix Suns was invited to throw out the first pitch before Friday night’s Diamondbacks game.

To quote Bob Uecker, he was just a bit outside. He tried the corner and missed.

Lonzo Ball was able to make his first pitch, ergo, he will turn out to be a much better NBA player. Obviously, these skills correlate.

Report: Re-signing Nerlens Noel Mavericks’ top off-season priority

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This is a Mark Cuban owned team, you don’t think the Mavericks are going to make a serious run at a free agent come July 1? Pelicans’ point guard Jrue Holiday has long been known to be a target, but there will be others.

But keeping their new core together, including restricted free agent Nerlens Noel, is the top priority, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Rumors like this are out there in part from Dallas to hope to chill the market for Noel. While he could be a defensive force who provides some scoring around the rim, with Noel’s injury history they may be able to get him at less than max money — because if he’s at the max the Mavericks are flirting with the luxury tax (and Cuban isn’t going to want to pay the tax for a borderline playoff team at best).

What Dallas fears is what Brooklyn did last season to Allen Crabbe in Portland and Tyler Johnson in Miami — some team to come in with a max or near-max offer sheet that drives up the price. Dallas will match, they will keep the young core together, it just gets more expensive.

Next season in Dallas will be a deserved big farewell to Dirk Nowitzki. He will be the focus, but behind him Dallas will try to be building for the future. They made the trade deadline move to make sure Noel is a part of that, the only question now is how much it costs them.

Magic Johnson on drafting Lonzo Ball: “what I needed was a leader”

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Nobody, not even his critics with the Lakers, question that D'Angelo Russell had talent. What they questioned from the start was his work ethic and maturity. I was told by sources with the team he often was the last one to team meetings, often one of the first out of the gym, and the whole Nick Young thing spoke to the maturity question. Byron Scott took a lot of heat as Lakers’ coach for benching him, and Scott’s communication skills were lacking, but he had reasons. Russell also just 21 and maybe he finds his way, but the Lakers weren’t willing to wait anymore.

Which is why the Lakers were willing to move him to Brooklyn in the Brook Lopez trade, and why the Lakers went after Lonzo Ball in the draft, Magic Johnson said, via Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

Is Lonzo Ball a leader? Only time will tell, he has the potential.

Will players want to play with him? Yes, if the passing skills he showed in college transfer to the NBA. If guys know they will get the rock if they run/cut, then they will do just that. It’s some simple B. F. Skinner stuff here — if players are rewarded they will keep doing it. Get them the rock in transition and they will get out there every time.

Ball has flaws in his game, there are certainly questions about his defense, and how that awkward shot translates remains to be seen (it goes in but his time to get it off will decrease at the NBA level)? Will he be a scoring threat in the half-court? He’s got work to do. But answer those questions and the Lakers may have the key piece to help anchor a franchise he’s been looking for.

Sacramento Kings waive guard Arron Afflalo

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento Kings have waived guard Arron Afflalo one year after signing him as a free agent.

The Kings cut ties with Afflalo on Friday before his entire $12.5 million contract for 2017-18 would become guaranteed. Afflalo will get $1.5 million instead.

Afflalo averaged 8.4 points and 2 rebounds in 61 games this past season for Sacramento. He has averaged 11.3 points per game in his 10-year career.