Kings set sights on at least one of Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis, Wes Matthews

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The Sacramento Kings made their trade to clear out cap space.

Now the Kings want to put that money to use — they want Monta Ellis. Or Rajon Rondo. Or Wesley Matthews.

The Kings, for all their dysfunction of late, are trying to be players in free agency, according to multiple reports, including Marc Stein at ESPN.

While Sacramento probably doesn’t have enough cap space to sign two of them, it is getting closer after striking a deal with Philadelphia…

The trade should allow the Kings to outbid Indiana for Ellis if they can convince the Dallas Mavericks’ leading scorer from last season to stay in the Western Conference.

The Kings are not the kind of franchise free agents are necessarily drawn to right now, not with DeMarcus Cousins calling coach George Karl a “snake in the grass” on Twitter (using emojis). If the Kings are going to land any of these guys they likely have to overpay, the extra tax of getting them to Sacramento.

The Pacers have emerged as the front-runners to land Ellis, but the Kings are looking for playmakers and Ellis showed in Dallas he was more adept than previously thought at that skill. Ellis worked well in Dallas with shooters around him on the court, the Kings don’t have the same kind of floor spacers, but if they can offer more cash than Indiana they will get Ellis’ attention.

Matthews can space the floor as a shooter, and he has told teams he is not taking a discount coming off Achilles surgery — the price to land him likely starts at $15 million a year. Dallas is considered the front-runner to land Matthews.

Rondo is the oddest case of all — does pairing Cousins, Karl and Rondo seem wise? On the court, Rondo doesn’t have the kind of jump shot that strike fear in the heart of opposing defenders, which can mess with floor spacing. Of late, Rondo’s opponents go under picks and wait for the mistakes. His defense isn’t as good as its reputation. There are not a bunch of teams bidding on Rondo after his disastrous half season in Dallas, the Kings can add him at a fair price. He reportedly still wants $10 million a season, there is no reason to pay that much.

The Kings want to be players, we’ll see if they can land he guys they want.

Report: Kyrie Irving picked Nets over Knicks because of Knicks management

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Kyrie Irving wanted to play at home. But the NBA has two teams near New Jersey, where Irving grew up.

Why did he pick the Nets over the Knicks?

Frank Isola of The Athletic:

“When it came down to the Nets and Knicks he was concerned about the management of the Knicks,” said a person familiar with Irving’s thinking. “It’s really as simple as that.”

Irving is not alone. Many NBA players distrust Knicks management.

Right now, it’s easy to see why. The lousy roster and finger-pointing are indicators of even bigger problems. It starts at the top with owner James Dolan.

Until Dolan sells the team (good luck with that) or hires an executive capable enough to overcome Dolan (i.e., not Steve Mills, Phil Jackson or Steve Mills), the Knicks will be fighting an uphill battle.

Are these the new Mavericks alternate jerseys?

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The Mavericks want you to take them seriously. They traded up for Luka Doncic, traded for Kristaps Porzingis then signed a bunch of solid role players. Dallas became a good team through brute force.

Then these make the rounds…

Though the Mavericks haven’t announced anything, that would be an elaborate fake of a new alternate jersey.

These are pretty ridiculous. Dallas has the added misfortunate of using a graffiti-influenced font just after the Nets and Clippers did – only the Mavericks’ is more cartoonish.

But I’m absolutely certain, in several years, there will be major nostalgia for these as throwbacks.

Gordon Hawyard admits he’s frustrated by latest injury

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Following a gruesome leg injury that robbed him of a couple of years of his career, Gordon Hayward was finally starting to look and feel like himself — like the All-Star from Utah the Celtics thought they were signing. Hayward averaged 18.9 points per game, shot 43.3 percent from three, pulled down 7.1 rebounds, and dished out 4.1 assists per game. He was a playmaker Brad Stevens could lean on.

Then Hayward fractured the fourth metacarpal bone in his left hand on a fluke play. Hayward had surgery to repair it and will be out for six weeks.

Of course Hayward is frustrated. Via NBC Sports Boston:

“Like I said, happy that it shouldn’t be that long. Obviously frustrated — it sucks watching and not being able to go out there and play, especially with the start that we’ve had. I think this time around, I’ll be able to run around, use my legs still, maintain my conditioning, which I’m very thrilled about and then be around the team, too. And kinda stay involved, which is good…

“I think we’ll take it, as cliche as it sounds, we’ll take it day by day and week by week and it’s one of those things that, once the bone is healed, then it’s kind of how much can you tolerate and how well does my body handle with the swelling, kind of how well it takes ramping up activities and doing different basketball things,” said Hayward. “Honestly, looking at the plan that we set up today and just kind of attacking each day. Hopefully, I’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

The 9-1 Celtics can afford to be patient bringing him back. No need to rush it. They are a deep and talented team, but they need Hayward at his playmaking and scoring best to be a real playoff threat. Hayward should be back around New Year’s Day, why risk his hand issues becoming chronic so he can play in games in December?

Hayward, a competitor, is not going to want to be patient. After everything he’s been through with injuries, hard to blame him.

 

Russell Westbrook on Patrick Beverley: ‘He don’t guard nobody, man. He just running around doing nothing’

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Russell Westbrook and Patrick Beverley have a history.

After his Rockets beat Beverley’s Clippers last night, Westbrook fanned the flames.

Mark Berman of FOX 26:

Westbrook ripping someone else for phony defensive effort? That’s rich. Westbrook is the king of that style.

Beverley is one of the NBA’s best defensive guards. Sure, he has antics. But there’s an underlying effectiveness behind all his bark.

James Harden scoring 47 points hardly disproves Beverley’s defensive ability. Harden’s output by defender:

  • Beverley: 4 points on 1-of-9 shooting
  • Other: 43 points on 11-of-17 shooting