Tag: Sacramento Kings

Austin Toros v Texas Legends

It’s official: Kings hire Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman as assistant coach

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It’s an impressive resume for an NBA assistant coach: Two years as the head coach of the D-League’s Texas Legends making the playoff the second year, then becoming general manager of that team. Before that she was a two-time college champion and an Olympian as a player. That is somebody with the background to understand and coach the game.

Nancy Lieberman’s credentials should not be in question — she’s in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for a reason.

The Kings made it official, announcing that she has been hired Friday as a member of George Karl’s coaching staff in Sacramento.

Sam Amick of the USA Today got a short quote out of her on the topic.

In a late-night text message to USA TODAY Sports, Lieberman called Thursday, “a crazy, wonderful day.” For at least the past year, Lieberman had been interested in joining an NBA team as a coach and has worked at high-profile camps last summer instructing NBA players.

Lieberman becomes the second full-time female assistant coach in the NBA, behind the Spurs Becky Hammon.  What’s impressive is that Lieberman was one of the real pioneers of women working in the NBA, and she helped open the door for Hammon. Now Lieberman herself is walking through that same door.

The Kings — with Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and Karl coaching them — have a lot of strong-willed people in the same room. It’s potentially combustible. If Lieberman can navigate that locker room and win the players over, she will be able to do it anywhere.


Mark Cuban says trading for Rajon Rondo was tough call, “came down to a coin flip”

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks

The Rajon Rondo trade didn’t end well for Dallas or Rondo last season.

Rondo averaged 9.3 points and 6.5 assists per game in Dallas, with a true shooting percentage of 46 percent (numbers close to what he had done recently in Boston). But Rondo never meshed well with coach Rick Carlisle and the Dallas offense, which up until his arrival had been one of the NBA’s best. It was a clash of styles. Rondo’s lack of a jump shot had teams sagging off him, he dominated the ball at times, and the result was the Mavericks’ offense lost its spacing. Bottom line, the Dallas offense was 5 points per 100 possessions worse when Rondo was on the court. He improved the Dallas defense by 1.7 points per 100 possessions, but that was not enough to make up for the offensive issues. Everything deteriorated, and midway through their playoff series with Houston, Dallas ended the Rondo experiment.

Getting Rondo may not have worked out, but it was the kind of gamble owner Mark Cuban is known for. That said, he told Zach Lowe of Grantland during a recent Lowe Post Podcast that the decision to get Rondo was not unanimous in the front office, instead it was more of a coin flip (hat tip to Tim MacMahon for the transcription).

“Everybody went back and forth 100 times. There was no 100 percent, yeah, let’s all go do it. Everybody changed their mind 50 times. At the end, it really came down to a coin flip more than anything else. And the coin flip was as much about, is there going to be anything else that we could do? Because we knew we had to do something. But that’s the way it all worked out, and what’s done is done. No hard feelings. He has his approach to basketball. Look, where I give him credit, he came as a 29 percent free throw shooter and left as a 77 percent free throw shooter because he put the work in. I would bet every penny I had to bet against him shooting 3s, and by the end, working with our guys, he ended up shooting 35 percent I think from 3s and actually was somewhat consistent at the end. There were other reasons why it didn’t work, but one of the reasons it almost could have worked is because he was a hard worker. He really did put in the time to make it work.”

Cuban is right, Dallas was strong on offense early in the season but clearly was a team not on the elite tiers of the West with the Warriors, Spurs, Clippers or Rockets. Getting Rondo was a gamble that didn’t pay off, but the end result of a first-round playoff exit was where Dallas was heading without him. Nothing much changed, it was simply the hopes of Mavericks fans that spiked and fell.

However, just because this didn’t work out, don’t expect Cuban and the Mavericks to be gun shy the next time there’s a risk to take.

Both sides have moved on, with Rondo landing in an interesting situation in Sacramento. Cuban and the Mavs will be looking to roll the dice again.

Report: Veteran point guard Andre Miller reaches one-year deal with Timberwolves

Shabazz Napier, Andre Miller

Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns are about to be finishing alley-oops from the best lob passer in the game — this is going to be fun to watch.

They already had Kevin Garnett, now the Timberwolves are about to add another veteran to their locker room, a guy who can help guide a talented but young core.

Minnesota has reached a deal with veteran point guard Andre Miller, something first reported by Shams Charania of Real GM and confirmed by Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

Former Brooklyn Nets assistant GM Bobby Marks notes this is not much of a cap hit for the Timberwolves, as the NBA pitches in on all veteran minimum deals.

This is a smart pickup for the Timberwolves. Miller split time between the Wizards and Kings last season (the fact that the Kings didn’t retain him should be a sign George Karl doesn’t have sway over personnel decisions). Even at age 39 Miller provides some good play on the court (with the Kings under Karl he averaged 5.7 points and 4.7 assists per game). His game is the definition of crafty.

Ricky Rubio will be the starter opening night at the point for Minnesota, but behind him are two talented but young players — Zach LaVine and Tyus Jones (the latter of which looked pretty good at Summer League). Miller can both provide some stability in that rotation and be a mentor to the younger players.

Report: Kings waiving Eric Moreland

Sacramento Kings v Utah Jazz

The Kings signed undrafted Eric Moreland last summer, and he got his salary guaranteed because he suffered a season-ending injury.

Now faced again with whether or not to pay him – Moreland has an Aug. 1 guarantee date – Sacramento is cutting him loose.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

The Kings will have 15 players – the regular-season limit – including David Stockton, whose deal is unguaranteed with no guarantee date. Everyone else – including recently signed James Anderson, Quincy Acy, Seth Curry and Duje Dukan – have fully guaranteed salaries for next season.

I’m a bit surprised Sacramento didn’t keep Moreland with the intention of waiving Stockton later. But the Kings still have the $2,814,000 room exception, and they had to act on Moreland now. If they sign another veteran, they might wind up waiving both Moreland and Stockton.

Sacramento’s big-man rotation just became too crowded with DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos and Willie-Cauley Stein ahead of Moreland.

Moreland – a good shot-blocker and rebounder – could benefit from this move. Because he’s on a minimum contract, any team can claim him on waivers (preference given to the worst team last season among claimants). Presumably, that team would offer a clearer path to playing time for Moreland, who has another unguaranteed year on his contract after this one.

Who is still out there: Top 10 free agents still on the market

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

At this point in what has been a fast-moving summer, most teams are just rounding out the final couple spots on their rosters. The guys at the end of the bench who may not see much playing time once the season tips off. Yet, there are still a few interesting free agent targets still on the market — a couple at the top of the list who could play significant roles for the Cavaliers next season. But even farther down are solid, veteran reserves still trying to find a chair for next season before the music stops.

Here’s our updated list of the top 10 guys still on the market.

1) Tristan Thompson — The Cavaliers and Thompson are still haggling, but a deal will get done — because LeBron James wants a deal to get done. Thompson is a restricted free agent but neither of the teams with a lot of cap space — Philadelphia and Utah — will use it to make him a big offer. He doesn’t have a ton of leverage. Plus the Cavs are deep into the luxury tax now, so every dollar spent on Thompson comes with an additional price. Kevin Love got maxed out and Thompson saw what Draymond Green got, but he’s going to have to take less than those guys to get a deal done.

2) J.R. Smith — He likely regrets opting out of the $6.4 million in the final year of his deal because he is going to take a pay cut (and very likely be on a one-year deal). He is still expected to re-sign with the Cavaliers, with whom he met last week, in part because there is not a strong market for the classic volume scorer (those Lakers rumors that popped up online Tuesday were pure fantasy, LA is not interested).

3) Jason Terry — In the wake of the Ty Lawson trade it has been expected around the league Terry would reach a deal as a reserve in Houston, but that has yet to be finalized. In fact, the Rockets renounced their rights to him (he can still sign with Houston, the Rockets cannot offer more than any other team now, however). He may not defend much anymore, but he did shoot 39 percent from three last season.

4) Carlos Boozer — He’s much maligned by fans for his shortcomings (particularly on defense), but he still averaged 11.8 points a game shooting nearly 50 percent last season for the Lakers. As a scoring big off the bench who can run the pick-and-pop Boozer has value. The Mavericks, Knicks, and Rockets are reportedly interested.

5) Kevin Seraphin — A solid, traditional, backup big who thought there was a healthy market for him outside Washington where he played behind Marcin Gortat. Turns out not really. The Knicks, Lakers, and Wizards are reportedly still interested on some level.

6) Darrell Arthur — Denver is expected to re-sign him this week. He averaged 6.6 points a game last season for the Nuggets, plus he is a solid defender who plays a smart game. As a reserve at the four he makes a lot of sense.

7) Dorell Wright — The small forward shot 38 percent from three last season for Portland, but he played a limited role for that team. Coming off hand surgery, there hasn’t been much of a market for him.

8) Andre Miller — He had some early talks with the Sacramento Kings, but it seems unlikely he goes back to his friend George Karl after the Kings picked up Seth Curry. Miller is a high IQ, veteran reserve point guard that some team will eventually pick up, but the league is deep at that position, and there aren’t many openings.

9) Norris Cole — He’s a restricted free agent who may end up playing in New Orleans next season on the qualifying offer, and then will test the market again next summer. He played pretty well for the Pelicans at the end of last season (9.9 points a game, shot 38 percent from three) and would back up Jrue Holiday. There have been talks with the Sixers, but are they going to make an offer large enough that the Pelicans will not match it? Not likely.

10) JaVale McGee — Dallas reportedly has shown interest, and other teams may as well, but only if he can pass a physical and prove he’s healthy. His contract was bought out by the Sixers, so he’s getting paid anyway, will he be motivated?