Zach Randolph leads Kings past Pelicans in OT

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins looked like he was going to haunt his former team again. But the other main piece in the trade that brought Cousins to New Orleans ended up making the biggest play on Friday night.

Buddy Hield scored eight points down the stretch, including a 3-pointer with 34 seconds left that forced overtime, and the Sacramento Kings beat the Pelicans 116-109.

Zach Randolph made two of his career-high five 3-pointers to start overtime and finished with a season-high 35 points. He also had 13 rebounds.

“When you’re hot, you’re hot,” Kings guard De'Aaron Fox said. “(Randolph) hit corner 3s, off balance, getting fouled. They were going in. He just had one of those games.”

Hield finished with 18 points off the bench, Fox added 14 points and Frank Mason III scored 12 for the Kings, who won for just the fourth time in 15 road games this season.

Cousins led New Orleans with 38 points and 11 rebounds, but in the fourth quarter and overtime he had just five points, making 2 of 12 shots and missing all five 3-point attempts. Cousins had 41 points and 23 rebounds in a victory over the Kings in Sacramento in October.

“I don’t think we had a sense of urgency the entire night,” Cousins said. “We just kind of coasted through this game and we gave this team life. We had plenty of opportunities to put the game away and we just wouldn’t put our foot on the pedal full-throttle.”

Anthony Davis, returning from a three-game absence with an adductor strain, had 18 points. Ian Clark had a season-high 15 points in his first start, and Jrue Holiday scored 14.

Randolph made two 3-pointers to help give Sacramento a 110-105 lead with 3:13 left in overtime. The second 3-pointer came with the shot clock winding down and Randolph fading out of bounds while shooting over Jameer Nelson, who’s nine inches shorter than Randolph.

“I just saw the clock going down and tried to get my feet set,” Randolph said. “Jameer’s strong, but kind of short, so I was able to shoot over him.”

Holiday made a jumper, but Fox made two free throws and Mason scored on a drive for a seven-point lead with 58 seconds left.

“They outplayed us in every phase of the game,” New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said. “They outplayed us. They just kept playing and they played for the forty-eight minutes. They got it into overtime and they outplayed us.”

Cousins scored 15 points in the second quarter, and the Pelicans led by six at the half. Randolph scored 10 points as the Kings pulled even at 77 late in the third quarter.

The Pelicans went ahead by 10 early in the fourth as Clark and Darius Miller scored the first two baskets and Dante Cunningham added a 3-pointer.

Sacramento cut the lead to five midway through the quarter, but Davis answered with four consecutive points.

The Kings pulled within 100-99 on Randolph’s drive with 1:07 left.

Cousins got free for a dunk and a three-point lead with 49 seconds left before Hield tied it with his 3-pointer.

“I made some shots,” Hield said. “We all did our part. (Randolph) made plays. (Mason) made plays in the overtime. It was a great team effort.”

 

It may be moot, but Kawhi Leonard now eligible for super-max contract with Spurs

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Early on in the Kawhi Leonard saga with the Spurs, there was a sense in some (even many) quarters of the NBA world that the two sides would work things out. Why? Because the Spurs can offer Leonard way more money than anybody else — $221 million. That’s thanks to the “Kevin Durant rule” added to the most recent CBA that allows the team that drafted a player who meets the criteria (twice All-NBA, MVP, etc.) to get 35 percent of the salary cap at a younger age.

Money did not solve this problem — Leonard and the Spurs are farther apart than ever.

That said, Leonard did just become eligible on Sunday for that massive payday. From Bobby Marks of ESPN.

Kawhi Leonard is now super max eligible (third year anniversary of the contract signed on July 16, 2015) to receive a five-year $221 million extension from the Spurs. If Leonard is traded, the most he could receive in an extension (six months after the trade) would be $108 million over four-years (starting in 2019-20). Leonard would be eligible to sign a five-year $190 million contract as a free agent with the team acquiring him or four-years $141 million with a team that has cap space. Leonard would not be super max eligible as a free agent with the new team acquiring him even if he earned All-NBA honors in 2018-19.

Leonard is still trying to force a trade, and that remains at a standstill.

Where do things stand? Everyone involved is waiting for someone else to blink

San Antonio is waiting for the L.A. Lakers or Philadelphia (or anyone else, such as Toronto) to make what they see as an acceptable offer. Those other teams are holding out their best trade pieces — the Lakers with both Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, the Sixers with Markelle Fultz, etc. — waiting for the Spurs to accept less, closer to what recent big name player trades (DeMarcus Cousins, Paul George) went for. Complicating it all is Leonard’s inexperienced management team, which does not have long-standing relationships with teams, has communicated different things at times, and teams just do not know if they can trust them.

There are conflicting reports and I’ve heard conflicting things from sources, down to the most fundamental issues: Does Leonard want to be a Laker, or does he not want to play with LeBron? Whatever the answer, every day this drags out the Spurs lose leverage.

Even so, this could drag out into training camp. Or longer.

Grizzlies sign second-round pick Jevon Carter to multiyear contract

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies have signed second-round pick Jevon Carter to a multiyear deal.

Terms of the contract announced Sunday were not disclosed, but Carter himself confirmed the deal.

Carter has impressed at NBA Summer League in Las Vegas and in Utah. His dogged, aggressive defense has slowed players — Trae Young had some of his worst games against Carter — and on offense his game has improved, including him dropping 26 points on the Jazz recently.

Carter was taken with the No. 32 pick after winning the Naismith defensive player of the year last season at West Virginia. The point guard was second in the nation with 3.03 steals per game and is the Mountaineers’ career leader in that category.

“Ray Allen from long distance” with chip shot to save par at American Century Classic

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“Ray Allen from long distance, how many times have we said that?”

Ray Allen had a good weekend at the American Century Championships, the former NBA sharpshooter and future Hall of Famer finished third in the celebrity golf event. One of the reasons he was there, this chip shot on 13 Sunday.

Former Cowboy’s quarterback Tony Romo won the event, with former MLB pitcher Mark Mulder was second.

LeBron James sits courtside for Lakers’ Summer League win

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There are two, maybe three guys playing for the Lakers in Summer League likely to be sharing a locker room with LeBron James next season — Isaac Bonga and Josh Hart, with maybe Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and/or Alex Caruso. Only Hart could see the court much.

LeBron was still courtside on Sunday for a quarterfinal game at Summer League, showing his support and being a good teammate. He gave Hart a hug on the court. Brandon Ingram stopped by and talked with LeBron for a bit.

LeBron watched the Lakers continue their strong run through the Summer League, racking up a 101-78 win. LeBron was into it, when Mykhailiuk took a shot midway through the first quarter LeBron yelled, ‘cash only!”  The shot was nothing but net.

The Lakers are on to the Summer League semifinals. Los Angeles won the Vegas Summer League last year.