More Kings fallout: Shareef Abdur-Rahim reportedly quit after draft-night argument, Chris Jent out, Chris Mullin in?

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By firing Michael Malone, the Kings opened Pandora’s box.

Is Sacramento crazy enough to fire a coach exceeding expectations, to let its franchise player find out on Twitter, to let the owner dictate in-game strategy based on his experience coaching a youth team?

Yes, yes and yes.

Now, everyone is turning over stones looking for more wonkiness from Vivek Ranadivé and co.

Let’s start with this doozy about Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who worked in the Kings’ front office with general manager Pete D’Alessandro and Advisor to the Owner Chris Mullin.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Abdur-Rahim expressed disagreement with D’Alessandro, Mullin, and Mitch Richmond during the draft process, and left the team shortly after an argument on draft night, per several league sources.

Maybe Abdur-Rahim was in the wrong, but in light of everything that has happened since, he’ll sure get the benefit of the doubt. I mean, just look at this behind-the-scenes video of the Kings’ war room on the night they drafted Nik Stauskas at No. 8:

I don’t know whether that was embellished for the cameras, but if not, that’s a whole lot of Stauskas/Elfrid Payton debate while on the clock. Well-run teams probably aren’t having that discussion at that point, especially with man who writes the checks speaking most.

That said, there might be more than meet’s the eye here. Abdur-Rahim was hired as an assistant general manager before Ranadivé bought the team, and he left as Director, Player Personnel/Reno Bighorns GM. That sounds like a demotion.

Moving onto people still in the organization, Mullin could become the Kings’ next coach if he wants, according to an anonymous general manager. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports adds context:

Owner Vivek Ranadive is giving serious consideration to hiring Chris Mullin to coach the Sacramento Kings, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

In the wake of Michael Malone’s firing on Sunday night, Ranadive has been soliciting counsel on Mullin’s candidacy and has grown increasingly intrigued with the kind of acumen and star power Mullin, an ownership adviser for the Kings, could bring to the franchise, sources said.

Mullin hasn’t come close to committing to the coaching idea, but there’s support in ownership and in the front office for him to give it significant thought, sources said.

It seems Ranadivé – who previously owned a share of the Warriors – is trying too hard to find the next Steve Kerr. Maybe that’s Mullin, but there are a lot of superficial similarities. I’m unconvinced Ranadivé has found additional meaningful reasons to make Mullin coach.

For now, Tyrone Corbin will coach the team. That’s because the Kings struck out on Alvin Gentry as lead assistant before he took a job with the Warriors.

Lowe:

Malone was absolutely threatened by the team’s move over the summer to hire a lead assistant from a pool that included Alvin Gentry, per several sources familiar with the matter. (Three league sources say Gentry was uncomfortable with the possibility that the Kings were setting him up to succeed Malone, and ended up taking an assistant job under Steve Kerr in Golden State. The Kings deny they had any such plans.)

Corbin might have been a comprise hire, a former head coach but not as threatening as Gentry and more highly regarded than Chris Gent. By the way, Gent is out, too.

Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee:

Kings return to Staples Center, beat Clippers for second time in a month

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kent Bazemore scored a season-high 23 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 20 and the Sacramento Kings beat the Los Angeles Clippers on the road for the second time in less than a month, winning 112-103 on Saturday.

De’Aaron Fox had 20 points and eight assists for the surging Kings. They have won two straight out of the All-Star break and eight of 12 overall.

Sacramento blew a 14-point lead in the second half to a Clippers lineup missing injured stars Paul George and Patrick Beverley. But the Kings then shut out Kawhi Leonard and the Clips for more than five straight minutes down the stretch, making a decisive 10-0 run capped by Harry Giles’ percussive dunk with 58 seconds left.

Leonard scored 31 points in his return from his MVP performance in Chicago, but the Clippers returned from the All-Star break with their first three-game losing streak of the season. Lou Williams added 24 points, and Montrezl Harrell had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Sacramento had a big lead late in the third quarter, but the Clippers took their first lead of the day on Harrell’s leap-and-lean bucket with 8:30 to play.

The Kings reclaimed the lead on Harry Giles’ putback score with 4:17 left, and Bogdanovic hit a clutch 3-pointer two minutes later.

With the Clippers comfortably in third place in the Western Conference, George and Beverley are both getting extra time off to rest persistent injuries.

Reggie Jackson scored eight points in his Clippers debut two days after the Pistons bought him out, while Marcus Morris had six points and five turnovers in 32 minutes in his home debut nearly two weeks after the Clippers acquired him in a three-way trade.

With George and Beverley sidelined, Clippers coach Doc Rivers used his 28th starting lineup in 56 games, putting newcomers Morris and Jackson in the mix. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these unfamiliar Clippers returned from eight days off and missed 13 of their first 14 shots on their way to a 4-for-24 first quarter with five turnovers.

Sacramento wasn’t much better, but Bazemore scored 15 points in the first half. Los Angeles had more turnovers than field goals until late in the half, but Jackson’s first basket for the Clippers was a 3-pointer in the final second before halftime.

Tonight Miami retires Dwyane Wade’s number, time to watch some career highlights

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Next stop: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

But first, the Miami Heat will retire Dwyane Wade’s No. 3 jersey tonight, the highlight of a weekend-long celebration.

That seems like a good reason to sit back and watch some vintage Wade highlights. His best play from every one of his NBA seasons is above.

Or, here are the top 35 plays of his career.

Also, just a reminder that Wade’s influence in Miami goes well beyond the court.

Miami’s No. 3 deserves every bit of love he will get from the Miami crowd.

No tanking for Wolves, Karl-Anthony Towns wants to return to court this season

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Karl-Anthony Towns will be sidelined a couple of weeks, at least, with a fractured left wrist. When he returns, there will be 15-17 games left in the season, at most (and the Timberwolves are not headed to the playoffs).

Time to shut him down and tank for a lottery spot?

Not in Minnesota. Towns wants back on the court when healthy,  sources told Jon Krawczynski at The Athletic, plus it’s the right move for the franchise.

“When he’s healthy enough, we’ll be able to make those decisions, but make no mistake, we’re a group that is competing,” coach Ryan Saunders said before a 127-117 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday night. “You get better and you grow by doing the right things. That’s by, (no matter what) your record is, you’re not looking at the record.”

The translation: The Wolves don’t plan to let their place in the standings dictate their decision with Towns. League sources told The Athletic that Towns desperately wants to return to the court this season to play with Russell, Malik Beasley and the rest of a completely revamped Wolves roster.

There are a few reasons this is the right move for Minnesota.

• It has been a frustrating season for Towns, he is the franchise player, he wants to play, it’s best to keep him happy (and not dreaming of greener pastures elsewhere).

This is not a draft with elite talent at the top of it, so what exactly are the Timberwolves tanking for?

• Towns and Russell could use the time on the court to become more accustomed to each other’s games.

• The coaching staff and front office could use the time to evaluate the fit of players they have around Towns and Russell.

There are times that tanking makes sense, although the viability of that as a strategy has decreased some with the flattened out lottery odds. However, considering this draft and the value of having Towns and Russell on the court together, it doesn’t make sense for Minnesota.

Kemba Walker has knee drained, could get rest in run-up to playoffs

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Kemba Walker is not a guy who misses games. In the last four seasons he has never missed more than three games.

After playing nearly 30 minutes in the All-Star Game last weekend, Walker had his knee drained of fluid this week, is on a course of anti-inflammatories, sat Friday night’s Boston win over the Timberwolves, and could be out a week or two as they try to get him healthy and rested headed into the playoffs.

The idea of getting a little rest heading into the playoffs if foreign to Walker. That didn’t happen in Charlotte, mostly because the Hornets couldn’t afford to sit him and still win. Boston is a much deeper roster.

Walker is trying to get used to the idea.

Walker is averaging 21.8 points and five assists a game for Boston this season, and the Celtics are 8.4 points per 100 possessions better on offense when he is on the court, they shoot much better as a team, and the offense has a smoother flow.

If Boston is going to be the team in the East that is a threat to Milwaukee in the postseason, they will need every bit of Walkers’ skills. The smart move then is to get him healthy and do some load management down the stretch to make sure he is right.

Walker is just going to have to get used to it.