Associated Press

Sacramento adds Joe Dumars as advisor go GM Vlade Divac

1 Comment

Joe Dumars got a bad wrap as the GM of the Detroit Pistons. He certainly made some mistakes at the end (hello Darko Milicic) but he also built a roster that went to six straight Eastern Conference Finals and won the title in 2004.

The Sacramento Kings — a young team with promise entering a few critical years in their development — are bringing Dumars in as an advisor to GM Vlade Divac. Sam Amick of The Athletic first reported the story, and Friday the Kings confirmed it.

“Joe and I played together in the league and is a legend in our sport,” Divac said in a statement. “As an experienced and talented basketball executive, I’m excited to have him serve as a special advisor and expert resource for our incredible front office team.”

“I’ve known Vlade for decades, and I’m thrilled to work with him and the Sacramento Kings at such an exciting time for the franchise,” Dumars said.

This has the potential to be a good thing — in the best front offices it’s not a dictatorship and more of a collaboration. The Warriors are famed for debating everything internally and letting everyone have a voice. The Clippers poached Jerry West from Golden State to be part of their brain trust that includes future GMs such as Michael Winger and Trent Redden, Doc Rivers, and Steve Ballmer encouraging the discussion. David Griffin got hired in New Orleans and instantly brought in people such as Trajan Langdon to build a smart front office. Those are just three examples of an NBA that is moving more toward a collaborative front office model.

Dumars knows the game and has an eye for talent. Adding his voice to Divac, assistant GM Peja Stojakovic, now coach Luke Walton and others has the potential to be a good thing. Plus, Dumars may be able to talk to owner Vivek Ranadive in a way others cannot (in Los Angeles, West can be the Ballmer whisperer).

The Kings won 39 games last season as De'Aaron Fox exploded on the scene, Marvin Bagley impressed as a rookie, Buddy Hield knocked down shots, and players like Harrison Barnes and Bogdan Bodanovic found a comfort level. The Kings found an identity in pace and became one of the most entertaining teams in the league.

But the next steps in development, and adding the right players to the mix, will be tricky. The Kings want to work out a long-term deal with Barnes (who just opted out as a free agent) and bring in some free agents that fit their mix. How to spend that money will be an interesting decision for the Kings.

Having another bright basketball mind in the mix to discuss it makes a lot of sense.

Watch Lance Stephenson get into flopping battle in China

1 Comment

You can take the flopper out of the NBA but you can’t take the flopping out of his game.

Unable to land an NBA contract this season, Lance Stephenson signed with the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. He has taken his flopping skills to China.

However, he may have met his match with one Chinese player, who tried to sell a non-contact, off-the-ball, sniper-in-the-grassy-knoll level flop that even legendary flopper Vlade Divac would have called extreme. The Chinese referees saw through that and awarded a technical to Stephenson’s team.

Then Stephenson drew another foul later in the game with a flop as he tried to grab the ball away from a player after the play. That drew a foul on the opposing player, who complained and then got his own technical.

It’s all just Lance being Lance.

Kyrie Irving out Saturday vs. Bulls due to shoulder injury

Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images
1 Comment

Already without Caris LeVert for a couple of weeks due to thumb surgery, the Nets just lost their primary playmaker for at least one game.

Kyrie Irving is out Saturday night for Brooklyn’s game in Chicago.

Irving has been battling this pain for some time. This is the kind of injury often seen in swimmers where, due to usage, the bones in the shoulder impinge on the tendons or bursa (the sac of fluid in the joint that makes movement smooth and painless).

The treatment for this is generally rest and time off, it would not be surprising if Irving missed more time to get his shoulder healthy and right (a specialist told the New York Post exactly this). Call it load management or whatever you want, better to get Irving healthy now rather than have this be a chronic thing all season long.

Irving is leading the Nets averaging 28.5 points and 7.2 assists a game, hitting 34.1 percent of his threes, and he’s the guy with the ball in his hands being asked to make plays. The Nets offense is 10.4 points per 100 possessions better when Irving is on the court this season.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who has struggled some with his shooting and efficiency to start the season, now will be asked to step up and carry the load. With the Nets off to a 4-7 start, they don’t want to give up a lot more ground in the East playoff chase (the Nets are currently in a four-way tie for the nine-seed, just half a game out of the playoffs).

Kings’ Dwayne Dedmon snags french fry from Lakers’ fan during game (VIDEO)

3 Comments

The french fries at Staples Center are pretty good. Better than the popcorn.

Kings’ center Dwayne Dedmon was on the bench at one point Saturday night during the Kings’ loss to the Lakers, looked at the dude sitting next to him in fan seats (and look at that guy, he’s a “dude”), and asks if he can have a french fry.

No ketchup or sauce, but the fries seem to get Dedmon’s seal of approval.

A player like Dedmon burns a lot of calories during a game, you got to keep that energy level up with a few carbs. Plus, french fries are awesome. Can’t blame the guy.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo on Malcolm Brogdon: ‘Definitely wish he was still here’

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Malcolm Brogdon is thriving with the Pacers.

The Bucks are doing just fine without him.

But with Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s super-max decision rapidly approaching, Milwaukee’s controversial decision to sign-and-trade Brogdon during restricted free agency last summer looms over the entire NBA.

The Bucks visit Indiana tomorrow. So, it’s an opportunity to take Antetokounmpo’s temperature on the move.

Jack Maloney of CBS Sports:

“Wish he was still here” because that’s a nice thing to say about a friend? Or “wish he was still here” because Antetokounmpo wanted the Bucks to handle last offseason differently?

The difference means everything to Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo has consistently said he wants to stay with the Bucks as long as they prioritize winning. Though there were also basketball reasons to move Brogdon, losing him also kept Milwaukee out of the luxury tax. That financial motivation is impossible to overlook.

If the Bucks wanted to keep Brogdon, they could have. They wouldn’t have a first-rounder and two second-rounders incoming from Indiana. They might not have lured Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver in free agency. They’d likely be in the luxury tax. But they would have had Brogdon.

As Antetokounmpo pointed out, Brogdon was complicit in his own exit. Brogdon wanted to play point guard, wanted to have a bigger role. That wasn’t happening in Milwaukee with Eric Bledsoe at point guard and Antetokounmpo as focal point. So, one some level, Antetokounmpo might appreciate the Bucks helping Brogdon get to a more desirable situation rather than leveraging restricted rights over him.

But, at the end of the playoffs, how will Antetokounmpo feel about Brogdon not being at his side for the postseason run? That’s the big question that will determine everything. For now, we’re getting only clues.