Kurt Helin

Report: Kings near deal to hire Pistons executive Ken Catanella as assistant GM

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Some awkward moves last summer had people around the league questioning just how much Vlade Divac knew about the NBA’s CBA and complex salary cap rules, or even if he understood how to conduct a trade (he got fleeced by the Sixers in a deal). Owner Vivek Ranadive trusts Divac and wants to keep him as the ultimate direction setter and decision maker, but wants a more experienced hand under him who knows the cap and just how the business end of the basketball side of the operation should work.

Enter Ken Catanella.

The assistant GM of the Detroit Pistons is deep in talks with the Kings, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Kings were drawn to Catanella’s versatile background in their search for a seasoned front office executive to work under vice president and general manager Vlade Divac.

Catanella joined the Pistons for the 2011-12 season as director of basketball operations and was promoted to assistant general manager in 2014-15. In his previous two stops, Catanella worked with a focus in analytics in the league office and with the Nets.

Sources say Mike Bratz will remain with the club as adviser to the GM and director of scouting. He has developed a strong rapport with Divac since Divac returned to the organization last ‎season.

The Kings had been rumored to be close to hiring David Morway, formerly with the Bucks and Pacers, for that role, but talks fell apart.

Catanella is respected around the league and would be a good fit. This is a guy who has a good balance of understanding both analytics and traditional scouting, plus he’s a guy with a good grasp of the cap and its ramifications. He would be a fantastic fit for the role the Kings are trying to fill.

Let’s just hope they listen to him.

 

New coach Brooks: Focus is on Wizards players, not Durant

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Wizards can’t promise hiring Scott Brooks as coach will lead to Kevin Durant signing as a free agent, but it doesn’t hurt.

The former Oklahoma City Thunder coach side-stepped the topic of bringing Durant to Washington when he was introduced Wednesday. General manager Ernie Grunfeld said Brooks is in Washington to coach the current players.

That includes All-Star point guard John Wall, who Brooks says has “another level” to his game. Even if the Durant doesn’t become a Wizard, Brooks’ relationship with Wall and his teammates will be crucial to his success after late-season issues with his predecessor, Randy Wittman.

Owner Ted Leonsis says Brooks is a “players’ coach in the new NBA.” As the Wizards seek to be a free agent destination, Brooks is another selling point.

Kobe Bryant goes on Ellen show, takes part in hidden camera prank

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Kobe Bryant showed off his sense of humor and his smile a lot more during his final farewell tour than he seemed to in his 19 NBA seasons prior to that.

That Kobe was on display as he swung by the Ellen Show, where the hoops star took part in a hidden camera prank on the esthetician, with Kobe telling the poor old lady he sweats. A lot.

If you want to see Kobe talking about Shaq, his final game, and his plans for the future, here’s the rest of his Ellen interview.

Report: James Harden to have role in picking new Rockets coach, Howard will not

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Wednesday night likely the end of the Houston Rockets’ season. It’s possible the pull the upset on Golden State just as Jason Terry has predicted, but that’s about as likely as Terry scoring 37 points to lead that charge.

With the season over, there will be significant changes in Houston. Dwight Howard is expected to opt out, and the Rockets will wave goodbye as he goes to test the free agent market. The Rockets also have to think about the coaching position —J.B. Bickerstaff was put in an impossible situation as the interim coach, but the Rockets are expected to conduct a broad search that will include current favorite Jeff Van Gundy.

Calvin Watkins details it for ESPN.

(Rockets’ owner Leslie) Alexander and (GM Daryl) Morey believe that Harden will play a role in helping to hire a coach and potentially sign free agents. Howard is not expected to have a role. It’s expected that he will become a free agent and seek a new team. Orlando, Milwaukee, Portland and Charlotte are the favorites.

Watkins talks about how Howard’s carefree personality that rubbed Kobe Bryant the wrong way a few years back rubbed James Harden the same way. Harden is not the leader that Kobe was, and Howard seemed to be frozen out of the offense and the locker room. Howard, for his part, was frustrated with the lack of respect he thought he deserved from Harden.

The team chemistry was bad from those two on down.

The Rockets have talent, this is not going to be a slow turnaround with the right coach and just a couple good free agent signings. Harden will have to lead both those recruiting efforts and those changes in play on the court — he has to prove he can lead.

What kind of money and how many years Dwight Howard can find on the open market remains one of the most interesting things to watch this summer in the NBA.

Sacramento Kings pay for fans to get tattoos of new logo

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While I like the Sacramento Kings’ new logos….

The Kings had a promotion on Wednesday paying for a limited number fans of the team to get free tattoos of the new logos at a handful of Sacramento area tattoo parlors. Let’s just say there was a fairly impressive turnout.

Some fans didn’t even care who was paying.

Either the Kings new direction will take hold and the fans can show off these tattoos proudly for years, or they have contributed to the economy by propping up laser tattoo removal businesses. Either way, the Sacrament economy wins.