Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets

Report: Sacramento interested in Shaun Livingston to be starting point guard


The Sacramento Kings have an Isaiah Thomas problem. They’d like to keep the diminutive but impressive (20.3 points a game) young point guard around, but he is a restricted free agent likely to draw offers this summer. The problem is with Rudy Gay opting in and accounting for the No. 8 pick the Kings are at $68.5 million in salary, that’s over the cap and less than $9 million from the luxury tax line (estimated to be around $77 million). The Kings could lose him.

How do they replace what he brings at point guard?

Maybe Shaun Livingston. The Kings are interested in the guy who had a solid season for the Nets, reports Sam Amick at the USA Today.

The Kings are on the lookout for a starting point guard, and one name to keep an eye on is the Brooklyn Nets’ Shaun Livingston. The 28-year-old free-agent-to-be whose career looked all but over in 2007 when he had a devastating leg injury while with the Los Angeles Clippers had his best season yet in 2014-15, helping the Nets turn their season around when he started in place of the injured Deron Williams and remaining a vital part of their program even after he returned.

Livingston also might come cheaper than Thomas.

All of this really comes down to how big an offer Thomas gets on the free agent market. If, because of his defensive liabilities, other teams offer him closer to a league average salary, the Kings likely match. However, if it gets up to $8 million or more the Kings may be forced to consider other options (and paying the luxury tax is not one of them, not for a roster that may well not make the playoffs).

Just something to watch when free agency opens up July 1.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.

As expected, Jimmy Butler says no issue between him, Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler
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Is the Derrick Rose/Jimmy Butler relationship nothing but puppy dogs and rainbows? No. There will be sparks between two intense competitors.

Have those sparks started a fire Bulls fans should be concerned about? A report on Wednesday said the core problem was Butler doesn’t respect Rose’s work ethic, which provided some kindling for that spark to catch.

However, as you would expect, Butler said this was all much ado about nothing, that he and Rose are all good. Via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

Spin this however you wish: Their relationship is fine and someone in the media is making this up; or their relationship has been rough, and this is all just leaking out now.

This is a Bulls team in a bit of a transition as Rose declines some and Butler has grown into a top-flight player. Clearly that dynamic has some people around the team — likely the people in one of one of the players’ camps doesn’t like the power struggle or where it leaves his buddy — talking out of school to the press.

But as Butler noted, winning cures all ills. If Chicago can get off to a fast start, nobody will be asking chemistry questions.

For now, however, tounges are wagging.