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Buddy Hield reportedly willing to take slightly less than max, but will Kings offer it?


What is this player worth: 20.7 points per game, with just less than half his shot attempts coming from three, where he hit 42.7 percent, an elite shooter with a 58.7 true shooting percentage, a 17.5 PER, with the second-highest win shares and value over replacement player on the team. And at 26 he is just entering his prime?

Max? A little less than max?

Those are Buddy Hield‘s numbers, and right now the Kings and Hield’s agent are talking possible contract extension. The teams have until Oct. 21 to get a deal done or Hield becomes a restricted free agent next summer.

If the Kings thought Hield was a max player the contract would already be in front of him to sign. Hield would accept a little less than the max, sources told Jason Jones of The Athletic.

A league source said Hield is willing to accept less than the max he’s eligible for but doesn’t want an offer that would be an “insult.”

The max for a rookie-scale extension is five-years, $170 million, so far only Ben Simmons (Philadelphia) and Jamal Murray (Denver) have gotten those. Caris LeVert signed a slightly under-market three-year, $52.2 million contract. That’s been it for rookie extensions out of this class. The No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram is not getting one with his new team in New Orleans (especially after his blood clot health scare last season) and the Celtics and No. 3 pick Jaylen Brown are not near a deal. (The No. 4 pick, Dragan Bender, is out of the league already.)

Hield’s shooting is critical to the Kings’ offense, with the slashing De'Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III trying to get to the rim. Both of those guys will be looking for a max extension in the coming years, don’t forget, and the Kings signed Harrison Barnes for four-years, $85 million. That’s a lot of committed salary, and Sacramento has Bogdan Bogdanovic who could fill in at the two for Hield if needed.

So what will the Kings offer? Whatever the number is, it will be less than the max, but will it be enough for Hield to jump at it?

If Hield doesn’t like it he can play this season — hopefully once again show he’s one of the top shooters in the game — then enter next summer as a restricted free agent. With a down free-agent class, a team with cap space could step up, make a max offer, and try to poach Hield.

Most likely no deal is reached and Hield is shooting for his contract this season, but it’s something to watch the next nine days.

Knicks reportedly promote assistant Mike Miller to head coach

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David Fizdale is out as the Knicks head coach after an ugly 4-18 start to the season.

Who will coach the Knicks next season depends on the answer to another question: Are team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry safe, or are they on their way out, too?

In the short term, New York will promote Mike Miller into the big chair, and bring up Keith Bogans from the G-League coaching staff to round out the roster, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Miller spent four years as the head coach of the Westchester Knicks, the franchise’s G-League affiliate, and was the G-League Coach of the Year for the 2017-18 season. He was eventually promoted to the Knicks bench.

Don’t expect a major shake-up in the Knicks’ offensive and defensive systems, or with the rotations, at least in the short term. There just are not a lot of practice days built into the NBA schedule to allow a mid-season replacement to overhaul everything. Plus, with this roster, there’s only so much a human being can do.


As was expected, Stephen Curry reportedly has second wrist surgery to remove pins

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This was both expected and right on schedule.

Stephen Curry said almost a month ago that he was going to need a second surgery to remove pins that were inserted during the first procedure back on Nov. 1. Curry suffered a fractured hand back on Oct. 30 when Suns’ center Aron Baynes fell on him, and in the first surgery pins were inserted to stabilize the bone through the healing process.

That second surgery has taken place, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Curry has said he fully expects to play this season, although it wouldn’t be until the end of what is a lost cause campaign for Golden State. For now, Curry is focused on recovery.

“[Managing the]swelling is something that’s going to be of the utmost priority early in the rehab process to get me a chance to come back and get my range of motion back pretty quickly,” Curry said last time he spoke to the media.

Without Curry or Klay Thompson yet this season (plus, of course, Kevin Durant on crutches in Brooklyn), and D'Angelo Russell missing a chunk of time as well due to injury, the Warriors have struggled to a 4-19 record with a bottom-five offense and defense.

The hope for the Warriors is to get Curry and Thompson back by next summer and working out, they get a high draft pick, make a couple other moves around the edges, get Draymond Green healthy, and this team is a threat again. This season it’s more like the Warriors are taking a season off to find themselves and travel the world.

Report: Knicks fire David Fizdale


The Knicks started 2-8.

Then, it got worse.

Knicks owner James Dolan ordered president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry to address the media after a loss. Mills and Perry spoke before coach David Fizdale, a break in decorum that ignited speculation about Fizdale getting fired.

Then, it got worse.

New York lost six straight.

Then, it got worse.

After a 44-point loss to the Bucks, Fizdale said the Knicks entered the game not believing they even could win. They followed that with a 37-point home loss to the Nuggets yesterday that Fizdale called “sickening.”

Finally, with New York 4-18 and on an eight-game losing streak, the Knicks are making a major change.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This was inevitable. Mills wanted Fizdale gone and knows how to navigate Madison Square Garden politics.

The season was already a lost cause, and it’s likely to remain a mess. Keith Smart, who previously coached the Warriors and Kings, was the only other member of the staff with NBA non-interim head-coaching experience.

The big question: Will Mills and Perry survive?

They gave Fizdale a lacking roster and outsized expectations. Nearly any coach would have been doomed to fail in this situation.

To be fair, Fizdale provided no evidence he deserved to be an exception. The Knicks lacked identity under his guidance, and development of younger players was uneven.

But the problems go way above Fizdale, starting with Dolan.

At least we’ll always have this Fizdale quote comparing the Knicks to slipping in ice, dog poop and pee.

The best song you’ll hear about Jimmy Butler bullying Andrew Wiggins into being good (video)

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Jimmy Butler was hard on Andrew Wiggins. That appeared to be the way then-Timberwolves president-coach Tom Thibodeau wanted it. Wiggins had the talent. He just needed a more productive mindset.

Thibodeau got fired. Butler is with the Heat.

But Wiggins is still in Minnesota and playing better than ever – specifically citing wanting to shut up the critics.

Do Butler and Thibodeau deserve any credit?

Wordsplayed explored that in rap form on “Off The Dribble.” He also dropped bars on the 76ers’ ceiling, James Harden‘s scoring and Carmelo Anthony‘s resurgence with the Trail Blazers.