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How bad are Kings? They let lowly Hawks post biggest win in franchise history

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ATLANTA (AP) — Dewayne Dedmon scored a career-high 20 points and had 14 rebounds, and the Atlanta Hawks rode a dominant first half to the most lopsided win in franchise history, 126-80 over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

The Hawks’ 46-point margin of victory was two points better than their previous best. Atlanta beat the Pistons, 141-97, Feb. 7, 1994, and the St. Louis Hawks beat the Baltimore Bullets, 144-100, Feb. 12, 1965.

The Hawks (3-12) have now passed the Bulls (2-10) for 14th of 15 teams in the Eastern Conference.

Dennis Schroder had 21 points and eight assists for hot-shooting Atlanta, which snapped a four-game losing streak and won for the first time at home.

The Kings completed a 0-3 trip while falling to 1-8 away from home. They’re now 3-11 overall, ahead of only the Mavericks in the Western Conference.

Atlanta pulled away with two 12-0 runs in the second quarter and took a 64-35 lead into halftime. The Hawks made six 3-pointers in the quarter.

Zach Randolph led the Kings with 16 points. George Hill had 12 and was Sacramento’s only other scorer in double figures.

Atlanta made its first eight shots and 50 of 79 (63.3 percent) for the game. The Hawks made 16 of their 32 3-point attempts.

The rout continued in the final period as back-to-back 3s by Taurean Price pushed the lead to 108-65.

Prince and rookie John Collins each had 14 points. Isaiah Taylor had 12 points, and Marco Belinelli and Malcolm Delaney each had 10 as the Hawks had eight scorers in double figures.

Hawks forward Luke Babbitt had 13 points in the first half, while making three of four 3-pointers. He sat out the second half with lower back spasms.

Dedmon’s 14 rebounds set a season high.

TIP-INS

Kings: G-F Vince Carter (kidney stone) was inactive for the fourth straight game. … Sacramento won its first road game at Dallas and has since lost eight straight away from home. … The Kings were outrebounded 53-29 and had no player with more than four rebounds.

Hawks: Ersan Ilyasova had one point and seven rebounds in 13 minutes in his return after missing eight games with a bone bruise in his left knee. … F-C Miles Plumlee (strained right quad) could be nearing his season debut. Atlanta assigned Plumlee and G-F Nicolas Brussino to their Erie G League team.

UP NEXT

Kings: Host Portland on Friday night before visiting the Trail Blazers on Saturday.

Hawks: Host Boston for the second time this season on Saturday night. The Celtics beat the Hawks 110-107 on Nov. 6.

Montrezl Harrell reportedly reaches deal to return to Clippers

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The Clippers liked Montrezl Harrell last season (he came from Houston in the Chris Paul trade), he averaged 11 points a game for the team with a very efficient PER of 24.7.

He was one restricted agent some around the league thought another team would try to poach, but in a tight market nobody was making an offer because the Clippers were just expected to match. So the Clippers and Harrell (and his agent) sat down and figured out something that worked for both sides, as reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The big question here, which is not yet clear, is how the second year of that deal is structured (player option, not fully guaranteed, fully guaranteed, etc.). The Clippers are poised to have a lot of cap space next summer and want to maximize that to chase elite players. It would make sense — maybe for both sides — to have a second year where Harrell could get back on the market. However, at this price it could work better for both sides to keep him around.

The Clippers are now just $500 below the luxury tax. They also have 16 contracts, which is bad news for C.J. Wilson and his non-guaranteed deal. (Technically Patrick Beverley has a non-guaranteed contract as well, but if healthy he will be back.)

For this season, it’s a good fit. Harrell will bring some athleticism and bounce to a frontcourt rotation that already includes Tobias Harris, Luc Mbah a Moute, Marcin Gortat, and Boban Marjanovic. The Clippers are a pretty good team, the problem is in the West pretty good could be the 10 or 11 seed. The conference is that deep and brutal.

Would Dwyane Wade take a big payday in China? Would Jahlil Okafor?

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Dwayne Wade is making a tough decision: Does he want to go through the physical grind to get his body ready for one more season of NBA basketball in Miami? Or, is it time to retire?

For some of the greats — most recently Kobe Bryant talked openly about this — they still love the game and the camaraderie, but they get to a point they no longer have the same passion for putting in the increasing work on their bodies to get it in NBA-level condition to perform at the level they expect. Wade is struggling with that debate right now.

Or, he could just go to China.

From Sportando:

Dwyane Wade is still a free agent after his season with Cavaliers and Heat. Wade has not decided yet whether to play one more season or retire. But D-Wade is wanted in China. Xinjiang Flying Tigers are ready to offer him a monster deal, as reported by Zhang Duo.

It’s hard to imagine Wade jumping on that, but not impossible. The salary is not going to be the motivator — he has made just shy of $180 million in salary alone in his career, and much more with endorsements — but rather the move would be about building his brand and his new lifetime shoe deal with Li-Ning, a China-based shoe manufacturer. Business-wise, it could be good for Wade to spend a season in China.

Of course, family and other considerations have to be at the forefront of his mind, which is why this still feels unlikely. Just never say never.

One guy who could go there and rehab his reputation is free-agent Jahlil Okafor. Also from Sportando:

Okafor is practicing in Miami but the Heat are unlikely to sign him but in China there are several teams interested in signing the former Duke center, as reported by Zhang Duo.

Okafor has worked out for NBA teams but has no offers (or, at least none he’s taken) and it’s increasingly unlikely he would get a fully guaranteed contract for this season. He, understandably, is clearly still working toward that goal.

In China, Okafor could put up big numbers, show he is healthy and moving well, get a good payday, and be back in the USA in time to get picked up by a team for a playoff run (the Chinese season ends in February or March, depending on how deep a team goes in the playoffs). It’s a big cultural adjustment and not for everyone, but Okafor has to be considering all his options at this point.

Jazz ending sponsorship deal with Papa John’s

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz are ending their sponsorship agreement with Papa John’s Pizza after the company’s founder and spokesman used a racial slur.

A person with knowledge of the team’s decision confirmed the move Friday and said it was because of the controversy. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because the organization will not make a formal announcement.

A number of professional and college teams have cut ties to the company over Papa John’s founder John Schnatter’s comment during a company conference call in May. Among them are the Orlando Magic, Seattle Seahawks, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, University of Louisville,  and numerous others.

Schnatter apologized and stepped down as chairman but remains on the company’s board. He’s since said his decision to step down was a “mistake.”

The company says it’s also investigating allegations reported in Forbes that Schnatter oversaw a work culture where women were subject to sexist behavior.

 

Report: Nemanja Bjelica agrees to three-year contract with Kings

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Nemanja Bjelica wanted some stability. That got pulled out from under him when  Tom Thibodeau and the Timberwolves rescinded his qualifying offer. He quickly agreed to a one-year, $4.4 million offer, with Philadelphia, but then came to regret it because he wanted more security than that single season. Bjelica was considering Europe.

Then the Sacramento Kings stepped in. Friday night, the two sides reached a deal.

The Kings have signed both players who backed out of verbal agreements with teams this summer, Bjelica with the Sixers and Yogi Ferrell with the Mavericks.

Bjelica is a floor-spacing big man who should fit in well with the Kings’ frontcourt rotation that includes Marvin Bagley III, Harry Giles, Willie Caulie-Stein, and others. Bjelica provides shooting — he hit 41.5 percent from three last season (where he took nearly half his shots). Bjelica has a solid all-around game that a lot of teams could have used. Including Minnesota and Philly.