Report: Kings probing John Calipari about his interest in coaching and running the team’s front office


The Sacramento Kings are a complete mess at the moment, and it all stems from constant meddling from ownership, who simply cannot seem to pick a steady course of action.

Let’s start in the front office, where GM Pete D’Alessandro left for Denver after the balance of decision-making power was shifted to Vlade Divac. Down on the sidelines, George Karl became the team’s third head coach of the season, after Michael Malone was senselessly fired, and after Tyrone Corbin was signed to an interim deal for the remainder of the season.

Karl wants franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins traded, and owner Vivek Ranadive gave the agent for Cousins permission to pursue those options. Divac has remained steadfast in wanting to keep both Karl and Cousins in place, and begin building around them for the future.

Even in the face of all of this, Ranadive evidently won’t stop tinkering with those running the basketball operations.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The Sacramento Kings are probing University of Kentucky coach John Calipari about his interest in taking over the franchise’s front-office and coaching jobs, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Calipari has been communicating with owner Vivek Ranadive and other members of the Kings’ ownership group in recent weeks, league sources said. Calipari has listened to scenarios with which the Kings could offer him complete control of the franchise’s fledgling basketball operations to go along with coaching, league sources said. …

Sacramento ownership, dismayed over Karl’s fractured relationship with Cousins, has had lawyers studying Karl’s contract, trying to determine if there’s a way to terminate him for “cause,” and free themselves of the three years and nearly $10 million left guaranteed on his deal, league sources told Yahoo Sports. If the Kings cannot convince Calipari to come to Sacramento – or never make a formal offer – Karl could simply remain as coach.

This is a complete disaster.

Consistently creating turnover at the key leadership positions is the exact opposite of how a successful organization is built. There needs to be a singular vision for the long-term direction of the franchise, and decisions need to be made with a plan in mind, and one that doesn’t change constantly depending on an owner’s whims.

The bright side to all of this might be the fact that Calipari coached Cousins at Kentucky (along with Sacramento’s first round pick in this year’s draft, Willie Cauley-Stein), and may be able to save a relationship in Sacramento that appears to be completely fractured. But the idea that he’d leave a perfect situation at the college level in order to take on the job of cleaning up the biggest mess at the professional level seems far-fetched at best, especially when considering what a wild card Ranadive has proven to be in his brief time owning an NBA franchise.

Calipari took to Twitter to attempt to shoot down the rumors as quickly as possible.

Luke Ridnour traded for the fourth time this summer


Luke Ridnour began this offseason as a member of the Orlando Magic.

But after being traded four times in the past week, it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll be playing by the time next season rolls around.

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

The Thunder has traded the contract of Luke Ridnour to Toronto along with cash to create a $2.85 million trade exception.

To complete the trade, the Raptors sent the draft rights of Tomislav Zubcic to the Thunder.

And he may not be done moving.

John Schuhmann of

Ridnour’s contract doesn’t become guaranteed until July 11, so he has a chance to be traded again after the moratorium (which ends 7/9).

To recap:

The Magic traded Ridnour to the Grizzlies.

The Grizzlies traded Ridnour to the Hornets.

The Hornets traded Ridnour to the Thunder.

As teams continue to make financial moves to create salary cap space in pursuit of free agents, contracts like Ridnour’s become desirable to obtain before they’re fully guaranteed — which means this may not be the last trade involving Ridnour we end up seeing this summer.

Ridnour has played 12 NBA seasons, most recently for the Magic. He averaged four points and two assists in 14.5 minutes per contest in Orlando last season.

Gregg Popovich won’t be recruiting free agents at midnight, doesn’t want them if that factors into their decision


As Tuesday night becomes Wednesday morning once the clock strikes midnight, NBA teams will be lining up, both by telephone and in person, to make their free agent pitches.

The San Antonio Spurs are expected to be a strong contender to land LaMarcus Aldridge, but while they would love to add the talented All-Star big man to the roster, Gregg Popovich won’t be around personally to do any late-night recruiting.

From Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News:

Tonight, an hour before midnight, the Spurs will begin calling free agents. Gregg Popovich, however, says he won’t join in.

“I’m not calling anyone at midnight,” he said. “I’ll be in bed. And if that’s the difference in someone coming or not coming, then I don’t want them.”

That’s Popovich, mixing gruff humor with the truth. That’s also the only sales pitch that can work with LaMarcus Aldridge.

The free-agent prize from Texas, after all, has other options that include more money and more glamour and less pressure.

Aldridge has to want exactly what Popovich has to offer.

The Spurs, more than any other franchise, have a program in place that’s bigger than any of their star players. Popovich has gotten superstars like Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili to buy in selflessly over the years, and he isn’t about to change his ways to accommodate a new addition to the roster.

Aldridge is scheduled to meet with seven teams in total, with the Lakers and Rockets expected to be up first. The Spurs will get their chance, too, but not until Popovich has had a good night’s rest.

Report: Hawks ‘in the mix’ for Monta Ellis


Monta Ellis was the leading scorer for the Mavericks last season, but that doesn’t mean the team is exactly eager to have him back.

After opting out of the final year of a contract that would have paid him $8.72 million next season, Dallas reportedly won’t offer him an increase to return. And, his moodiness both on and off the court contributed to chemistry issues that were a contributing factor in the Mavericks failing to reach their potential last season.

There are scenarios where Ellis returning to the Mavericks may make sense for both sides. But for now, he’ll shop around a bit in free agency, and Atlanta is reportedly a team that may have some interest.

From Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas:

Hearing that the Hawks are expected to be in the mix for Monta Ellis.

The Hawks are interesting, mainly because of the fact that the team that won 60 games during the regular season before stumbling to the Eastern Conference finals is facing so much uncertainty with its roster.

Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll are both unrestricted free agents, and it’s unclear if Atlanta will commit the dollars to both players that they’ll be able to earn by testing the market. Kyle Korver is recovering from multiple injuries which required surgery, and reserve Pero Antic is already gone.

The Hawks were world-beaters the first half of the season, but teams caught up with them as the year progressed. They could use some additional shot creation on the offensive end of the floor, which Ellis is certainly capable of providing. But it probably depends on what the rest of the team looks like before Atlanta considers the move, because it would be a fairly drastic change to what worked so well for the bulk of the previous season.

LaMarcus Aldridge to meet with seven teams in free agency; Lakers and Rockets are up first


Depending on who you believe, LaMarcus Aldridge may be leaning toward signing with the Lakers in free agency this summer.

Or, perhaps the Spurs are the frontrunners to retain his services.

All we know at this point is that it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that Aldridge re-ups with the Blazers, at any price. The fact that he has free agent meetings scheduled with seven teams in total — none of which are Portland — should help to hammer that point home.

From Ramona Shelburne of

The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets will get the first opportunities to meet with LaMarcus Aldridge shortly after the free-agency period officially begins at 9:01 p.m. PT Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Aldridge also will meet with the San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors on Wednesday and with the New York Knicks on Thursday, league sources told

According to one source, the chance of Aldridge staying with the Portland Trail Blazers is “very unlikely.”

The Suns and the Raptors are the interesting teams, here, mainly because neither franchise has historically been seen as a desirable destination for marquee free agents to choose.

If the Lakers and the Spurs come calling with max money offers, however, they have to be considered the favorites among the teams on Aldridge’s somewhat long list.