Tag: Sacramento Kings

Tristan Thompson

Who is left: The 10 best NBA free agents still on the board.


Unlike a year ago, the 2015 NBA free agency period was front loaded — starting with Anthony Davis in just minutes after midnight July 1, it seemed like everyone made a quick decision. Even if they later changed their mind and went another direction.

Now almost three weeks into free agency, who is left on the free agent board?

Most teams either have their roster set or are just looking to add one or two last players to round it out (and those are the guys at the end of the bench). Still, there are some interesting free agents available — a few of them tied to Cleveland.

Here’s our list of the 10 best.

1) Tristan Thompson — The Cavaliers and Thompson have yet to agree on a number. Reportedly Thompson (who has the same agent as LeBron James) wants Draymond Green money, which the Cavaliers are rightfully finding amusing. Thompson is a restricted free agent but the problem for him is only three teams — Philadelphia, Utah and Portland — have the cap space to give him the kind of offer he would want, and none of them are likely to do it. With no other good options (read: leverage) Thompson may have to take a number lower than he wants.

2) J.R. Smith — I wrote about him yesterday, he should have opted in for the $6.4 million he was owed, but he became a free agent and now is about to take a pay cut. The Cavaliers are deep into the luxury tax (especially once they make a deal with Thompson) and they want Smith to take a below-market, one-year deal. The problem for Smith is no other teams are stepping up, so he lacks leverage.

3) Jason Terry — In the wake of the Ty Lawson trade (where Houston sent out a few guards), expect the Rockets to reach a deal with Terry to provide depth off the bench. He did shoot 39 percent from three last year and he provides a some value.

4) Carlos Boozer — There are holes in his game, but Boozer still scored 11.8 points a game shooting nearly 50 percent last year. He has some value as a rotation big man. The Clippers, Spurs, Mavs, Pelicans, and Raptors reportedly have some level of interest.

5) Matthew Dellavedova — He’s one of the most popular Cavaliers on the roster, and Cleveland wants him to provide depth behind Kyrie Irving, it’s just a question of for how much money. Delly reportedly wants around $4 million a year, which would bring another $14 million in luxury taxes down on the Cavs, so they understandably want a lower number. He is a restricted free agent, but no other team has signed him to an offer sheet (most assume the Cavaliers would match, and they don’t want to pay Dellavedova what he’s asking either).

6) Dorell Wright — He’s one of the better floor-spacing shooters still out there — more than half his attempts came from three last season, and he hit 38 percent of them. Coming off hand surgery, there hasn’t been much of a market for him as of yet.

7) Kevin Seraphin — He wanted to find a place he could be a starter, but that ship has now sailed. There reportedly was interest with the Lakers and Mavericks, plus the Wizards still want to bring him back. The question is where can he get the most run and the most money? He’s not going to find as much of either of those as he hoped.

8) Darrell Arthur — Denver wants to bring him back, and reportedly the Clippers have some interest, too. Arthur is a solid defender who mostly plays a smart game. As a reserve at the four he makes a lot of sense.

9) Andre Miller — It’s a little surprising to see a quality, veteran point guard like Miller still on the market. The Kings had some discussions with him, but nothing has come to fruition. He’s not young, but he can still give a team quality minutes nightly.

10) Norris Cole — He’s a restricted free agent who played pretty well for the Pelicans at the end of last season. New Orleans wants to bring him back, but Cole is looking for more money. He reportedly has had talks with the Sixers.

Raptors coach Dwane Casey talks about shift to more defensive team in Toronto

DeMarre Carroll

It’s easy to forget because of the drama around the Rudy Gay trade and emergence of Kyle Lowry, but the Toronto Raptors were a top-10 defensive team in the 2013-14 season.

Last season, not so much. The Raptors finished 23rd in the NBA giving up 104.8 points per 100 possessions. They were 26th in opponent field goal percentage, 20th in opponent offensive rebounds allowed, and 19th in opponent assists allowed.

GM Massi Ujiri spent the summer trying to remake the Toronto roster into something better defensively — that started with landing free agent DeMarre Carroll, who gives them a quality perimeter defender (something Toronto lacked).

Raptors Coach Dwane Casey talked with John Schuhmann at NBA.com about the transition to more of a defensive-focused roster, starting with the pitch the team made to win Carroll over.

“We need you. You’re a defensive guy. We want to be a defensive team. We had been until last year. We moved from 30th [in defensive efficiency in 2010-11, the season before Casey was hired] to top 10, and then took a step back unwillingly. He’s a big part of us taking that next step. That was the pitch.”

How does Carroll change things?

“It’s going to help us, with the fact that DeMarre Carroll can guard his position. We’ve been getting by with Terrence Ross and DeMar DeRozan, who are really twos, playing the three and physically trying to go against bigger threes. Whether it’s been on the boards or guarding them, it’s been a challenge for those guys. I thought they did an admirable job two years ago, but it took a toll on us this past year, offensively and defensively. DeMarre gives us some size and physicality at that position.”

The Raptors, after a couple good regular seasons the last two years, have gotten slapped around in the playoffs. Carroll and the other roster changes — letting Lou Williams go, adding Bismack Biyombo — is an effort to put together a team that is better built for the playoffs.

Carroll is at the heart of that.

At the end of games, the trend is to go smaller. Threes are fours, fours are fives, and your roster has to fit that. Adding DeMarre gives us that flexibility. He can play some at the four, with Luis Scola or Patrick Patterson at the five. We’re better equipped to play that way now than we were a year ago.

The Raptors are going to win the Atlantic Division again, although looking at the roster it can bit a bit of a hollow victory. To take a significant step forward when it matters the Raptors will need a lot out of Lowry, and a lot more out of Jonas Valanciunas and the bench. Casey is a smart coach, with a season to figure it all out.

Charles Barkley: “LeBron should call it Trainwreck 2, because the finals was Trainwreck 1.

2015 March Madness Music Festival - Day 3

Charles Barkley is being Charles Barkley.

He’s at the annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship Tournament in Lake Tahoe, where he is showing off an improved golf swing and speaking to the media. That included an interview on CSNBayArea.com, the home of the Golden State Warriors. You remember them, the jump shooting team that won the NBA championship last season.

CSNBayArea’s Jim Kozimor asked Barkley why he hates the Warriors. Barkley gave the Warriors just a little credit but mostly said the Cavaliers were too banged up to take advantage — then threw in a great line tied to “Trainwreck,” the new Amy Schumer movie where LeBron has a supporting role.

I still think if Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving had’ve been healthy, they would have won that series. LeBron flat out ran out of gas. But you put two more All-Stars on that team, the Warriors still might have won but I would have picked the Cavs if everyone was healthy.

LeBron should call it Trainwreck 2, because the finals was Trainwreck 1.

Barkley softened his stance when on in the Bay Area, but in other interviews (he did a series of them) he would not give the Warriors credit for winning with small ball in the interview, even when it made him look bad.

Studies have shown that we as humans do not let go of our beliefs even when we are shown evidence and proof that they are wrong — in fact, we tend to become more entrenched. Barkley believes that you need to play inside out with a more traditional big man to win, which was fairly true when he played. However, the change in defense rules allowing zones changed that — back-to-the-basket big men in the post see earlier and harder doubles under the new rules than was allowed before. You can overload their side of the court and take away a big’s advantage. It’s not that Dwight Howard or DeMarcus Cousins can’t have success, they can, but teams don’t need that guy to win.

But Barkley is going to be Barkley.

Report: Lakers, Rockets, Pistons interested in trading for Ty Lawson

Denver Nuggets v Portland Trail Blazers

Ty Lawson’s trade value — already not very high, Denver has been trying to move him since the draft to no avail — plummeted this week when he was arrested for his second DUI this year.

But it is not dead.

At least three teams are still interested in potentially dealing for Lawson — the Lakers, Rockets, and Pistons, reports Chris Mannix at Sports Illustrated.

While Lawson’s off-court problems have raised red flags, teams remain intrigued by his talent. Last season, Lawson averaged 15.2 points per game in 75 games with the Nuggets. His 9.6 assists per game was good for third in the NBA—the second straight season he finished in the top three in the category. And with this summer’s exploding salaries—five years, $80 million for Detroit’s Reggie Jackson; four-years, $70 million for Dallas’s Wesley Matthews—the two years, $25 million Lawson has left on his contract is a reasonable number.

As Mannix notes, do not leave Sacramento off the list of potential Lawson suitors. Kings coach Goerge Karl was a huge fan of Lawson and coached him in Denver, he might want him back (although with Rajon Rondo and Darren Collison why they would add Lawson is beyond me… or logic).

Any team that brings him in needs to be concerned about the potential locker room distraction, and what punishments he could face for the multiple DUIs. Maybe a fresh setting can change things for Lawson (especially if there is a potential playoff berth and something worth playing for on the line), but if he has an addiction issue a move alone will not be enough. There’s a lot for teams to assess.

There is not much interest in Lawson, but it is more than zero.

Kings void Luc Richard Mbah Moute contract after he fails physical

Philadelphia 76ers v Cleveland Cavaliers

This was unexpected — the Sacramento Kings have voided their one-year contract with forward Luc Mbah Moute after he failed a physical.

This was going to be just a one-year, veteran minimum deal. The Kings are deep at the three — Rudy Gay, Caron Butler and Omri Casspi — but Mbah a Moute likely would have played more at the four backing up Willie Cauley-Stein. Now the Kings need more depth behind the rookie, but with Casspi going into the room exception the Kings do not have much money to use, just minimum deals.

It’s not known right now why Mbah a Moute failed the physical, and if it is something that will prevent another team from signing him.

Mbah a Moute may have averaged 9.9 points a game last season in Philly, his career best numbers, although that was more due to the rest of the roster and it’s lack of other, better offensive options. He’s a career 6.8 points per game guy.