Knicks fans are about to freak out at this statement, but it’s true: Andrea Bargnani played okay for them down the stretch last season. By the time he returned to the court from injury last February, the Knicks were out of out of the playoff picture, but he put up 14.8 points per game and shot 36.6 percent from three. He had a PER of 16.6, above the league average. He’s never going to live up to the hype of being drafted No. 1, and he’s not going to help a team out defensively, but if his role is limited and off the bench he could help a team.
The Sacramento Kings need more shooting, and they are about to land him.
From Marc Stein of ESPN.
Bargnani was not worth the $11.5 million the Knicks paid him last season, but if the Kings can get him for the minimum or a couple million, it’s not a bad deal.
Sacramento has guys who are going to get a lot of run that teams are going to dare to shoot the jumper — Rajon Rondo at the point, rookie Willie Cauley Stein — and they needed some guys who can space the floor. This is not a game changer for the Kings, but it wouldn’t be a terrible signing, either.
There have been two hard-to-believe story lines this free agency.
First, the DeAndre Jordan change of heart that made the Clippers contenders and left Dallas in the mud.
Second, the saga of the Sacramento Kings. There’s friction between coach George Karl and star DeMarcus Cousins. There’s an unpredictable owner. There’s an inexperienced GM in Vlade Divac who has upgraded the talent on the roster but made a baffling trade. Then they inject Rajon Rondo right into that mix.
In this latest podcast, we break down both of those topics with special guest Bill Herenda, the Kings’ insider for CSNBayArea.com, PBT’s Kurt Helin and NBCSports’ Dominic Ridgard. (Note: This was recorded just before news of the Caron Butler signing broke.)
Listen to the podcast below or you can listen and subscribe via iTunes.
On a team that wants to play up-tempo for George Karl and has DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Kosta Koufos up front, plus Rajon Rondo as the point guard, you would think the goal with the cap space the Kings have left would be to add shooters.
Or, Josh Smith.
Smith, a career 28 percent shooter from three who improved all the way up to a barely passable 33 percent with the Rockets last year, is high on Kings wish list, reports Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.
Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports adds one reason the Kings may look at Smith.
The Kings do have some floor spacing shooters in Ben McLemore, Rudy Gay and Marco Belinelli, but they could use more. Opposing teams would be more than happy to let Smith fire away from the midrange or three (he hit 38 percent from three in the playoffs, but opposing teams are not going to believe that is the new normal yet).
Another question: In a locker room where there are already chemistry questions — Cousins and Karl having tension (something even GM Vlade Divac admitted Thursday), plus the injection of Rondo into the mix after his Dallas experience — is the strong personality of Josh Smith the right fit?
That said, Smith can still get points, get rebounds and defend at a quality level. He would bring some real depth and versatility to the Kings front line. With a lot of free agents off the board, the Kings may not have a better option.
But it comes with risks.
Wesley Matthews agreed to sign with the Mavericks.
But so did DeAndre Jordan, and we’ve seen where that has gone.
Has Jordan’s likely defection back to the Clippers affected Matthews?
Jason Quick of The Oregonian:
Wesley Matthews says he will sign with the Dallas Mavericks regardless if center DeAndre Jordan changes his mind and returns to the Los Angeles Clippers, sources close to the player told The Oregonian/Oregonlive.
Matthews could always change his mind. As everyone knows by know, commitments made during the moratorium aren’t binding.
But Matthews sticking with Dallas makes sense for several reasons:
1. Players rarely renege on deals agreed upon during the moratorium. Jordan doesn’t change that norm.
2. Matthews agreed to sign before Jordan “committed” in the first place.
3. Matthews might not have a better offer waiting elsewhere. The Kings were the other known interested team, and they’ve spent their cap room on Rajon Rondo, Kosta Koufos and Marco Belinelli.
4. Matthews will probably make more now that the Mavericks don’t have to pay Jordan. He was slated to get $57 million over four years, according NBA.com’s David Aldridge, who implied that number was reduced to fit Jordan.
The Kings have their franchise cornerstone center, and whether or not his coach wants him DeMarcus Cousins isn’t going anywhere. Probably. The ground seems to shift under the Kings a lot, but the owner loves Cousins so he likely stays.
However, Cousins needs some help along the frontline and the Kings made a nice pickup on the Fourth of July by prying Kosta Koufos out of Memphis. Marc Stein of ESPN broke the story.
Koufos played 16.6 minutes a game behind the deep front line of the Grizzlies last season, scoring 5.2 points and grabbing 5.3 rebounds a game. He is one of the better backup big men in the league, and a number of teams had interest. Good on the Kings to grab him at a fair price.
It’s going to be interesting to see how George Karl fits all these pieces together. There had been talk about him wanting to go smaller with Rudy Gay at the four, but then there’s not a lot of minutes up front for Cousins, Koufos, and just-drafted Willie Cauley-Stein if the Kings go that way. Remember the Kings also have picked up Rajon Rondo and Marco Belinelli this summer. The Kings should be interesting this coming season.