Willie Cauley-Stein

Report: Kings signing Eric Moreland

Leave a comment

The Kings waived Eric Moreland in late July rather than guaranteeing his full salary.

They haven’t signed anyone since.

So – after Moreland explored contracts with the Pistons and Lakers – Sacramento will bring him back.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

The Kings still have the $2,814,000 room exception available, so it’s possible they’ll pay him more than they would have simply by guaranteeing his previous contract. But – unless they went overboard on this new deal – the flexibility provided by having him off the books for a month would justify the deal. Even though they didn’t sign anybody else, process trumps results (a test Sacramento has too often failed lately).

Moreland, an intriguing shot-blocker and rebounder, will likely compete with point guard David Stockton (unguaranteed) for the final roster spot behind the 14 Kings with guaranteed salaries. Moreland’s guarantee, ability and position give him the edge.

Sacramento doesn’t exactly need another big man behind DeMarcus Cousins, Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein. But Rajon Rondo, Darren Collison and Seth Curry seem to have point guard covered.

The Kings can always bring more players to training camp, but at this point, Moreland appears likely to make the regular-season roster.

Justise Winslow reportedly aced pre-draft interviews. So why did he fall?

11 Comments

Our own Scott Dargis described Justise Winslow’s draft range as the Knicks at No. 4 through the Heat at No. 10, but it’s difficult  to find others who thought there was even a chance Winslow would fall all the way to Miami.

Here’s how a few rated the Duke forward:

Most seemed to agree he was a clear tier above the players below him on those lists, too.

But Winslow slipped to the Heat at No. 10.

What did NBA teams see that so many of us didn’t?

Whatever it was, it apparently didn’t come out during pre-draft interviews.

Zach Lowe of Grantland:

Twenty-nine teams rolled their eyes in June when Justise Winslow fell to Miami at no. 10 in the draft. Winslow may never become a star, but he has a chance at it, and he blew away executives during the draft interview process.

Lowe is plugged in enough to know how teams perceived Winslow’s interviews. I believe, if there were a major red flag, it didn’t pop up there.

My working theory: The NBA consensus on Winslow was about as high as perceived – and if not quite, within the reasonable margin for error – but the teams picking before the Heat just happened not to like him as much.

Taking Winslow No. 4 would have been too high, and the Knicks made a better call with Kristaps Porzingis. I wasn’t as high on Hezonja as most, but few complained about the Magic taking him at No. 5. Admittedly, his upside is incredible. If a team has an appetite for risk, Hezonja made sense over the safer Winslow.

With respect to Winslow, it really got interesting at No. 6.

The Kings, who picked Willie Cauley-Stein at No. 6, deserve little benefit of the doubt for their drafting acumen. I rated Emmanuel Mudiay higher than Winslow, so I don’t knock Denver for picking the point guard at No. 7. The Pistons took Stanley Johnson over Winslow at No. 8, but that could just be a minority opinion. The Hornets are clearly in win-now mode, so polished senior Frank Kaminsky appealed to them at No. 9. Plus, Michael Jordan is hardly a reputable drafter.

So, a few teams didn’t like Winslow. It doesn’t mean the NBA as a whole thought less of him than it appeared.

If the Celtics were drafting before Miami, they would have taken him – and they offered a boatload of draft picks for that opportunity. I suspect many other teams would have drafted him sooner if positioned to do so.

Maybe something will emerge about why Winslow fell, but it darn sure wasn’t how he played at Duke, and it apparently wasn’t his pre-draft interviews. We’re running out of possibilities.

Kosta Koufos pumped to play for George Karl in Sacramento

8 Comments

Well, there’s one.

We’ll see how the relationship between DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl plays out this season, now that they’ve smoked the peace pipe (or whatever they did when they met). We’ll see how the relationship between George Karl and Rajon Rondo goes as well. Or if the Kings’ players all bond together over their hatred of Karl and that unifies them. Whatever works.

But at least one Sacramento King is pumped to be playing for George Karl: Kosta Koufos. The big man was on SiriusXM NBA Radio and talked about coming to the Kings.

It will be interesting to see how Karl balances the minutes between the veteran but slower Koufos and the raw but athletic Willie Cauley-Stein, and how that balance evolves over the course of the season.

As for the Kings, Karl himself called them “combustible.” I think that’s perfect. Combustible mixtures can become jet fuel, or they can blow up. If feels like the Kings could do either.

Report: Eric Moreland leaning toward Pistons contract; Lakers, Kings still in mix

Leave a comment

Eric Moreland played all of two minutes total across three games for the Kings’ last season before suffering a labral tear in his shoulder that ended his season (he did get paid his full $507,336 salary because of that, though). Then this summer, with a pretty full roster, the Kings waived the undrafted 6’10” forward rather than guarantee his deal.

So where does he land now? Maybe Detroit, reports Shams Charania of RealGM.

Free agent Eric Moreland has multiple deals to compete for a roster spot in NBA training camp, with the Detroit Pistons as frontrunners, league sources told RealGM. The Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings are strong under consideration for Moreland, sources said, and their front offices expect the 6-foot-10 forward to settle upon a destination once the final offers are presented.

This would be a camp invite, make-good contract with maybe a little guarantee. Could he make the roster in any of those places? That’s an uphill climb.

Detroit has 17 guaranteed contracts and already is going to have to cut a couple of them. They also have a front line with Ersan Ilyasova and Anthony Tolliver at the four, then three centers in Andre Drummond, Aron Baynes, and Joel Anthony. Not sure where Moreland fits in there.

The Lakers have 12 guaranteed deals but a pretty stacked frontcourt, Mooreland would need to beat out someone like Tarik Black (whom the Lakers like). The Kings have 14 guaranteed contracts and already waived him this summer so he wouldn’t be a guaranteed deal on their books, plus they have Willie Cauley-Stein in his young, shot blocker role.

Mooreland likely chooses whoever gives him the biggest guarantee. It’s about the money.

Report: Ryan Hollins receiving interest from Kings, Wizards, Clippers

1 Comment

Two seasons ago, Ryan Hollins played a limited role as a backup center for the Clippers, and when Doc Rivers got the chance to upgrade to Glen Davis he jumped at it and gave Big Baby more minutes. Last season, Hollins was an end of the bench center for the Sacramento Kings, a team that went out this summer and added Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein to the front line. Hollins didn’t play 500 minutes total for either team the last two years.

He’s an end-of-the-bench big in the NBA, but this is the time of year teams round out the end of the bench. So there is some interest, reports Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports.

As noted, the Kings are now relatively deep up front, especially with new coach George Karl wanting to go smaller at times with Rudy Gay at the four. The Clippers have a pretty stocked front line as well (and 14 guys under contract) but they are apparently still thinking about a big as they have talked to Big Baby’s people as well. The Wizards may be looking for depth after Kevin Seraphin left, but they also will likely play smaller this year with Otto Porter and Jared Dudley getting time at the four behind Nene.

Hollins certainly can work as a backup NBA center, but he has limitations. He has no range outside three feet. He sets a good screen but all he can do is roll, he’s not a threat any other way. There’s not a great post up game, nor is he a good rebounder for a big, and he’s not a great rim protector at the NBA level.

Still, a team will give him a shot. If not one of these three, someone likely will pick him up by early in the season.