Tag: Rajon Rondo

Report: Kings signing Eric Moreland

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The Kings waived Eric Moreland in late July rather than guaranteeing his full salary.

They haven’t signed anyone since.

So – after Moreland explored contracts with the Pistons and Lakers – Sacramento will bring him back.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

The Kings still have the $2,814,000 room exception available, so it’s possible they’ll pay him more than they would have simply by guaranteeing his previous contract. But – unless they went overboard on this new deal – the flexibility provided by having him off the books for a month would justify the deal. Even though they didn’t sign anybody else, process trumps results (a test Sacramento has too often failed lately).

Moreland, an intriguing shot-blocker and rebounder, will likely compete with point guard David Stockton (unguaranteed) for the final roster spot behind the 14 Kings with guaranteed salaries. Moreland’s guarantee, ability and position give him the edge.

Sacramento doesn’t exactly need another big man behind DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein. But Rajon Rondo, Darren Collison and Seth Curry seem to have point guard covered.

The Kings can always bring more players to training camp, but at this point, Moreland appears likely to make the regular-season roster.

Kosta Koufos pumped to play for George Karl in Sacramento

Portland Trail Blazers v Memphis Grizzlies - Game One

Well, there’s one.

We’ll see how the relationship between DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl plays out this season, now that they’ve smoked the peace pipe (or whatever they did when they met). We’ll see how the relationship between George Karl and Rajon Rondo goes as well. Or if the Kings’ players all bond together over their hatred of Karl and that unifies them. Whatever works.

But at least one Sacramento King is pumped to be playing for George Karl: Kosta Koufos. The big man was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and talked about coming to the Kings.

It will be interesting to see how Karl balances the minutes between the veteran but slower Koufos and the raw but athletic Willie Cauley-Stein, and how that balance evolves over the course of the season.

As for the Kings, Karl himself called them “combustible.” I think that’s perfect. Combustible mixtures can become jet fuel, or they can blow up. If feels like the Kings could do either.

Sneaky good summer move: Spurs trade for Ray McCallum

Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Lakers

If you didn’t see the 30 games Ray McCallum played as a starter for the Sacramento Kings to close out last season, I can’t blame you. By the time they got around to hiring George Karl things had gone sideways in the California capital and this team was not headed to the playoffs.

But the second-year point guard looked pretty good. The son of a coach who plays a high IQ game and does a lot of the little things right, he averaged 11.2 points a game as a starter, shot 34 percent from three at that time, and dished out 4.3 assists a night. He’s a solid defender (but not a stopper, as he had been billed). He’s got good handles and uses that skill to weave through a defense to create havoc and open up angles. While his shot and shot selection could still use some work, this is an improving young player entering just his third season who can be a solid part of the point guard rotation on any team.

The Spurs snatched him up for a second round pick.

It was one of the quieter moves of a busy summer, but it was about the most Spurs thing ever. They pick up a solid player making less than $1 million a year for next to nothing. (You can see why the Kings made the move, they have Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison, McCallum would be buried on their bench.)

The Spurs are high on him as someone they trust to step in and guide the offense, something mentioned in Buck Harvey’s feature on McCallum in the Express-News.

While they don’t think McCallum will be the defender Cory Joseph is, they see him as someone who can run a team. If Tony Parker suffers injuries again, McCallum could be a key to the season.

McCallum is not Parker — if the French guard suffers an injury again it’s a big blow to the Spurs. And they can’t afford those kinds of setbacks with the quality of teams at the top of the Western Conference.

But mixed with Patty Mills, McCallum will play a significant role for the Spurs getting Parker time on the bench in games, plus nights off. McCallum will step right in and do Spurs-like things, making smart plays and focusing on doing what he does well, not trying to do too much.

I expect McCallum will thrive this season. And we’ll all look back at the McCallum trade and say “it’s the Spurs doing Spurs things again.”

Omri Casspi says Kings going in right direction, can make playoffs in West

Los Angeles Lakers v Sacramento Kings

On paper, and with a little luck, the Kings look like a pretty good team — Rajon Rondo running the point, Rudy Gay on the wing, and DeMarcus Cousins in the paint anchoring it all. Add a coach who gets teams to rack up wins in George Karl and some solid veteran role players (Kosta K0ufos, Caron Butler, Marco Belinelli, etc.) and there is some potential.

In reality, this is what even Karl called a “combustible” mix. There are players with a lot of different styles and big egos that have to come together on this team — maybe they can bond over a hatred of Karl? — and the organization, to put it kindly, has not been a model of stability. This team can go a lot of different directions next season.

Omri Casspi, who chose to re-sign with the Kings this summer, thinks the Kings are a playoff team. He believes this is a team on the rise with a shot at the playoffs, he told James Herbert of CBSSports.com.

I like Sacramento. I felt like I had a really good connection with the coach last year. I feel like the direction of the team is going, it’s finally moving and getting some speed in the right direction. I feel like we have a good team. I felt I want to be a part of something that’s growing and competing for the playoffs next year and being in the playoffs, putting ourselves in a position to win championships. And I didn’t want to leave. I trust our organization, I trust our coaches. We have the best center in the league. Obviously we’re going in the right direction.

I’m not sure I’d go with the word “obvious,” but people around the Kings believe it. We’ll see if they can prove it once the games start — making the playoffs in the West is a lofty goal for a team that was 16 games out of the eight seed a year ago. It’s a brutal conference where teams like Dallas, Utah, and Phoenix could all be in the mix for one final playoff spot. Sacramento fancies itself in that group.

Casspi also talked about his connection with DeMarcus Cousins (who traveled with Casspi back to Israel this summer for an NBA Cares event and some bonding).

Me and DeMarcus met, it was my second year and it was his first. We had a good connection, you know? It’s like with your family; you can tell them everything. They trust you and you trust them in the same way. If you do something wrong, they’ll tell you and vice versa. He came all the way from the United States to see my family and meet my family. Seeing him having dinner and talking to my mom and dad and my sister … we have a special bond and I love him. So he’s my brother.


Report: Kings hire Roland Beech as head of analytics

Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings
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A season full of turnover continues for the Kings. A few weeks ago, they parted ways with analytics director Dean Oliver. It was just the latest move in a controversial offseason that has seen Vlade Divac take over control of basketball operations, lots of roster turnover (including signing Rajon Rondo), a bizarre salary-dumping trade with the Sixers that also saw them give up several picks, and never-ending rumors of a rift between George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins. Whether fair or not, letting go of Oliver (one of the godfathers of basketball analytics) seemed to be the marker of a dysfunctional franchise. But ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that they have a replacement now, and it’s a very solid choice: Mavericks vice president of basketball operations Roland Beech.

Before working for the Mavs, Beech was the founder of the highly influential site 82games.com, which was a pioneer in tracking five-man lineups and shot-clock usage data, among other things. He’s a veteran in the basketball analytics game who is very well-regarded around the league. This is an excellent hire for the Kings.