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.

If Nets want Chris Chiozza for playoffs it could cost Theo Pinson a roster spot

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If the NBA season is able to resume, and the Brooklyn Nets want Chris Chiozza to be a part of their playoff rotation, they’ve got a decision to make. According to the New York Post that decision could cost Theo Pinson his roster spot.

Chiozza is currently signed to a Two-Way contract with the Nets. Two-Way players are ineligible for the NBA Playoffs. In order for Chiozza to be on Brooklyn’s playoff roster, they’d have to create a roster spot for him.

That’s where Pinson comes in. Pinson is in his second year with the Nets, but hasn’t been a part of the rotation for the majority of the season. Brooklyn holds a team option for Pinson at $1.7 million for 2020-21, but could waive him to create a spot for Chiozza.

At the beginning of March, Chiozza became the Nets backup point guard behind Spencer Dinwiddie. With Kyrie Irving out for the season following shoulder surgery, Dinwiddie and Chiozza are the only available pure point guards on the team. In five March games, Chiozza played 19.1 minutes per game and averaged 10 points. He shot 55.9% from the field overall and 52.6% from behind the arc over that period as well.

Part of the consideration with keeping Pinson would be for trade purposes this summer. Brooklyn is reportedly looking to add a third star player via trade to add alongside Irving and Kevin Durant. Pinson’s $1.7 million salary could help towards matching purposes in a trade.

French point guard Theo Maledon declares for NBA draft

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French point guard Theo Maledon has declared for the 2020 NBA Draft:

The six-foot-five Maledon is declaring as an Early Entry candidate from the international ranks. International players who do not turn 22 in the calendar year of the draft can declare as Early Entry players.

At 18 years old, Maledon was a part-time starter for ASVEL Basket in France in the French Pro A League. ASVEL Basket is owned in part by former NBA player Tony Park, who also serves as the club’s president. Maleon started in 23 of the 46 games he played for ASVEL Basket this season.

In 46 games with ASVEL, Maledon averaged 7.3 points per game. He shot 42.1% from the floor, including 33.3% on three-pointers. He also averaged 2.7 assists per game. In mid-January, against former NBA player Shane Larkin and Turkish club Anadolu Efes, Maledon started and dished out 10 assists, while scoring five points and grabbing six rebounds.

In part due to his size for the point guard position, and his excellent play on the youth level, ESPN has Maledon ranked 15th in their top-100 prospects. He’s widely expected to be in the mix to be a lottery pick.

Players have until Sunday, April 26 to declare as Early Entry candidates. The deadline to withdraw as an Early Entry candidate is Monday, June 15. The 2020 NBA Draft is currently scheduled to be held on Thursday, June 25.

Report: Pacers GM Chad Buchanan turns down interview with Bulls

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Indiana Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan has reportedly declined an opportunity to interview for a front office job with the Chicago Bulls.

Buchanan joined the Pacers in 2017 as their general manager under President of Basketball Operations Kevin Pritchard. Prior to moving to Indiana, Buchanan was the assistant general manager with the Charlotte Hornets.

In turning down the Bulls opportunity, Buchanan cited how well he and his family have been treated in Indiana. Buchanan had previously worked with Pritchard when both were members of the Portland Trail Blazers front office.

Chicago is replacing John Paxson and Gar Forman at the top of their front office structure. Paxson and Forman have led the Bulls basketball operations together since 2009. Chicago’s search will now reportedly focus on Arturas Karnisovas of the Denver Nuggets, Adam Simon of the Miami Heat and Bobby Webster of the Toronto Raptors.

This Day in NBA History: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar becomes NBA’s all-time scoring leader

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It was fitting he did it with a skyhook.

On April 5, 1984, in a game against the Utah Jazz (played in a sold-out Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took a pass from Magic Johnson, swung left, and drained a hook shot that gave him career point No. 31,420, moving him past Wilt Chamberlain to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

The game stopped as the celebration ensued as Kareem’s teammates swarmed the captain. He was taken out of the game at that point, done for the night.

Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t done scoring, however. H retired five seasons later with 38,387 points, a record that stands to this day.