Jordan Farmar

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Ty Lawson makes the Kings’ regular-season roster

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When it’s news your expected opening-night starting point just makes the team, you’re in a bad place.

But we already knew that about the Kings.

With Darren Collison suspended the season’s first eight games and Garrett Temple the only other point guard with a guarantee salary, Sacramento – despite his preseason problems – will turn to Ty Lawson.

Kings release:

The Sacramento Kings today waived guards Jordan Farmar and Isaiah Cousins, according to Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac.

That allows Sacramento to keep Lawson. Lawson was a good starting point guard until last season, when he struggled with the Rockets and Pacers. Can he re-find the groove he had with the Nuggets? If so, the Kings might be alright. If not, they’re in for a rough start. That Lawson had to settle for a make-good contract says plenty about expectations.

Farmar was Sacramento’s other swing at an experienced point guard. Losing this job to Lawson bodes poorly for his NBA future.

With Cousins, the No. 59 pick, the Kings become the third team to relinquish rights on a 2016 draft pick already. The Celtics waived No. 51 pick Ben Bentil, and the Jazz dropped No. 55 pick Marcus Paige.

Ty Lawson meets with Kings, returns to team practice

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Apparently, the Kings are sticking with Ty Lawson — and that likely means he will be with the team opening night.

Lawson had to meet with team officials to explain missing the Kings’ recent flight to Kentucky for an exhibition game, and being late to a shootaround in Las Vegas a few days before that. With Lawson’s history of personal issues, a lot of eyebrows went up at that news.

But Monday he was on the court practicing with the team, reports James Ham of CSNBayArea.com.

When the media doors opened to the Kings practice facility at the new Golden 1 Center Monday afternoon, point guard Ty Lawson was on the floor with his teammates. It’s been a rocky 72 hours for the 28-year-old after he missed a team flight to Kentucky, but he’s survived for the moment and will remain part of the Kings roster….

Known for his speed and quickness, the Kings have been optimistic throughout camp that Lawson can start in Collison’s absence and provide a major spark off the bench once (Darren) Collison returns.

Darren Collison will be the starter for the Kings at the one this season, but he is suspended for the first eight games following a plea deal in a domestic violence case. Lawson was in competition with Jordan Farmar and Isaiah Cousins for the backup point guard spot and to start those eight games (none of the three have a guaranteed contract). Lawson was considered the clear leader before this latest incident. He is shooting 64.3 percent (9-of-14, 1-of-2 from three) so far in the preseason and has been strong on the offensive end, and that has him likely to be a King on opening night.

Whatever reason he had for missing the flight appears to be acceptable (or, at least, forgivable) to the Kings front office.

Report: Ty Lawson to meet with Kings after missing flight, being late to shootaround

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Ty Lawson is trying to change his reputation in the NBA. This is a guy who brings a couple of DUIs in recent years and a reputation as a partier — including showing up to practice with alcohol on his breath. That hurt him in free agency, but Lawson has said that was untrue and didn’t reflect who he is as a person or player.

The Kings — an organization looking to change it’s reputation, too — gave him a shot, needing a backup for Darren Collison (who will miss the first eight games of the season, suspended for a domestic abuse plea deal). However, Lawson’s contract was not guaranteed. He can be let go and the Kings owe him nothing.

Now this, via Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sacramento Kings guard Ty Lawson will have to meet with team officials to explain himself after missing the Kings’ recent flight to Kentucky for an exhibition game, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Lawson was late to a Kings shootaround in Las Vegas earlier this week, then missed the team’s East-bound trip before Saturday night’s Sacramento/Washington preseason game at the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, which represented a homecoming of sorts for Kings star DeMarcus Cousins and Wizards counterpart John Wall.

The Kings attributed Lawson’s absence from the lineup in Lexington to “personal reasons.” He has since returned to Sacramento, sources said, and faces an uncertain future with his new team after the week’s events.

The Kings are an organization trying to turn the corner — both on the court and with their reputation off it. They may not be as lenient with a player who they see as setting back that effort, but it depends on the details of what happened (which we do not know).

Lawson, who struggled in stops in Indiana and Houston last season, has played well for the Kings this preseason, shooting 64.3 percent (9-of-14, 1-of-2 from three), and dishing out 13 assists to seven turnovers. For comparison with the other backup point guards, Jordan Farmar is shooting 47.1 percent overall but is 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from three, plus has 11 assists and eight turnovers; Isaiah Cousins has played less than those two and is just 0-of-1 from the field, looking less impressive in his limited minutes.

None of those three reserve guards has a guaranteed contract, and all could be carried into the season then released (the contracts do not become fully guaranteed until January).

Report: Bucks called Kings about Ben McLemore

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The Bucks are looking for a wing with Khris Middleton sidelined nearly the entire the season. They could surrender Michael Carter-Williams (who has been available) and/or Greg Monroe (who has been very available), which gives an idea of the caliber of fill-in they’re seeking.

Someone like Jeremy Lamb… or Ben McLemore.

Zach Lowe of ESPN on the Bucks:

they’ve called the Kings about the ghost of Ben McLemore and are open to moving either Greg Monroe or Michael Carter-Williams in the right deal, league sources say.

A deal centered on McLemore-for-Carter-Williams could make sense. Both have fallen out of favor (if McLemore ever gained favor).

Milwaukee is desperate for wing help without Middleton. Carter-Williams is stuck behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Matthew Dellavedova.

Sacramento needs a point guard with Darren Collison suspended, and the 24-year-old Carter-Williams offers upside at the position that Collison, Garrett Temple and Jordan Farmar don’t. Ty Lawson could reclaim his near-star production, but that will require sobriety, focus and a reversal of last year’s massive decline.

I’d prefer Carter-Williams to McLemore in a vacuum, so the Kings should probably include more. But that’s the framework of a logical trade.

Darren Collison gets off easy with eight-game suspension for domestic violence

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The Kings have caught a break. When the Hornets’ Jeff Taylor accepted a guilty plea for domestic violence several years ago, he got a 24 game suspension.

This summer Kings’ point guard Darren Collison accepted a plea deal in a domestic violence case (one misdemeanor charge) involving his wife that also included 20 days in jail (although he will not serve his time in a traditional jail) and three years probation.

However, Collison will only be suspended eight games to start the season (less than 1/10th of the season), something first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN and now confirmed by the league.

This is a suspension without pay that will cost Collison $380,000.

The Kings released this statement.

“Domestic violence is a serious issue and directly contradicts the values of the Sacramento Kings. Darren has taken responsibility for his actions and will work to raise awareness of this critical issue in the community. We support the NBA’s decision on this matter.”

The NBA does independent investigations of these cases and does consult with a panel of experts in the domestic violence field when coming up with these recommendations. Here is a portion of their press release on how they got to this number.

Based on this investigation, consultation, and a careful weighing of all the facts and circumstances, the NBA determined that an eight-game suspension was appropriate.  Among other factors, the NBA took into account the conduct and its result, the player’s acceptance of responsibility, his cooperation with both law enforcement and the NBA, and his voluntary participation in counseling in addition to the court-mandated program.  

I don’t doubt they put thought into this incident, and that it is different from the Taylor case. Collison is not the player you’d expect to be in this situation if you talk to him, and I think the Kings handled this well. Regardless of the circumstances around it, domestic violence is a serious issue nationally and in professional sports. It is unacceptable behavior, and this punishment from the league feels light.

 

The Kings have Ty Lawson, Isaiah Cousins, and Jordan Farmar at the point until Collison returns.