Wizards Get Back On Track After Beating Kings

Written by Candace Buckner at Washington Post.com

For the second straight game, the Washington Wizards turned significant segments over to the bench and lived to tell about it.

Against the Sacramento Kings on Monday night, Mike Scott hit the bull’s eye on almost every shot attempt. Kelly Oubre Jr. found younger and less experienced players to bully, and like a wily veteran, he doled out lessons to the young bucks. And when it was entrusted with the game, the Wizards’ five-man bench played at a fast and unrelenting tempo, guiding Washington to a 110-92 win over Sacramento in front of an announced crowd of 14,660 at Capital One Arena.

John Wall did not miss a shot until the 6:31 mark of the third quarter, and Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter Jr. played competently while matching up against Sacramento’s starters, but these contributions amounted to nice details in the Wizards’ third straight win and eighth in 13 games. The bench powered this one, resetting the action after the first unit’s poor defensive start and flipping a seven-point deficit into a lasting lead.

“Just being unselfish,” Scott explained, then ticked off the winning formula: “Keeping the tempo up, playing fast and playing unselfish on both ends and getting the easy buckets. Moving the ball, and it’s been working.”

Oubre and Scott entered the Monday matchup as the high scorers on the bench and continued that trend against the Kings. Scott hit his first four shots and eclipsed his 8.0 scoring average by halftime. He finished with 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting. Oubre played a balanced game with 12 points, eight rebounds and two steals.

Wall made 8 of 9 from the field for 21 points and finished with nine assists, while Gortat scored 18 and pulled down seven rebounds — “might have been his best game of the season,” Coach Scott Brooks said.

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Knicks Hire King’s Perry For GM Job

Written by Adrian Wojnarowski and Ian Begley at ESPN.com

The New York Knicks have reached an agreement in principle on a deal with Scott Perry to make him the franchise’s new general manager, league sources told ESPN.

But consummation of the hiring is pending the Knicks and Sacramento Kings arriving at terms on compensation, league sources said. New York and Sacramento have been wrangling over a financial arrangement to allow Perry to accept a promotion with New York, according to the sources.

Perry is the Kings’ vice president of basketball operations. The Kings granted the Knicks permission to meet with Perry, and the two sides sat down in New York on Thursday, league sources said.

Perry would report to Steve Mills, who will be elevated to Knicks president, sources said. Phil Jackson was dismissed as president of basketball operations shortly before the free-agency period.

While Mills will hold ultimate authority in the front office, Perry will be afforded tremendous freedom to operate as he chooses, league sources said. He will be the day-to-day voice running the basketball side.

New York has been searching for a GM who won’t push for an overhaul of the front-office staff, league sources said, as well as an executive who can coexist with Mills, who will have ultimate authority.

Days after Perry was dismissed as the Orlando Magic’s assistant GM in April, the Kings hired him as the front office’s No. 2 to GM Vlade Divac. Perry played a part in selecting Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox with the No. 5 overall pick and making a draft-day trade to move back and draft twice more in the first round, selecting North Carolina’s Justin Jackson and Duke’s Harry Giles.

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Otto Porter Offered Max By Kings

Written by Chris Haynes and Marc J. Spears at ESPN.com

The Sacramento Kings have offered Washington Wizards restricted free agent Otto Porter Jr. a max contract during their meeting Sunday, league sources told ESPN.

It has been made abundantly clear by Porter’s representation that in order to have a legitimate shot at claiming the versatile small forward, a max offer sheet was required.

A max offer for Porter would be in the range of four years and approximately $106.5 million.

Porter has not made a decision yet, as he is meeting with two more teams before he’ll decide which offer sheet to sign, sources say.

The Wizards, according to sources, are adamant that they will match all offers to retain their starting wing. There is some thinking within league circles that the Wizards could ultimately be bluffing in an attempt to discourage potential suitors from presenting an offer sheet.

The third overall pick by the Wizards in 2013, Porter posted career-high averages of 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals, 51.6 percent shooting from the field and 43.4 percent 3-point shooting in 2016-17.

Porter became a serious 3-point threat, increasing his shooting from behind the arc from 36.7 percent the season before. He started 80 games and became a third scoring threat to complement John Wall and Bradley Beal.

After going scoreless in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Boston, Porter Jr. finished his season strong by bouncing back with 20 points and 10 rebounds in a Game 7 loss.

Porter was ranked No. 8 on the list of top available free agents compiled this offseason by ESPN’s Kevin Pelton.

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Bogdan Bogdanović (Not Bojan, of the Wizards) Signs Largest Rookie Deal In NBA History

Written by Chris Barnewall at CBS Sports.com

The Sacramento Kings have made sweeping changes to their roster and ideology since last season. They traded away star DeMarcus Cousins to kick off a youth movement, with the majority of their veterans waived or traded.

The Kings took another step toward handing the future of their franchise over to their younger players by making Bogdan Bogdanovic the highest paid rookie ever. Sacramento signed him to a 3-year, $36 million contract out of Europe. He’s fresh off a title with his Turkish club, Fenerbahçe, and a Silver medal in the Olympics with Serbia.

The Kings clearly believe in Bogdanovic’s ability to give him such an expensive contract before he’s even played a single NBA game, but then they double down. Sacramento had the ability to extend a qualifying offer to former top-10 pick Ben McLemore but chose to pass and make him an unrestricted free agent.

McLemore never panned out to be the guard Sacramento wanted him to be. He had a disappointing rookie season and never quite lived up to the potential he displayed entering the draft. At one point he was considered the No. 1 overall pick, but he’s shown himself to be a role player with the Kings. Still, it’s surprising to see a franchise give up on a player they drafted so high.

Perhaps that decision was to make sure Bogdanovic had an open spot on the roster. With McLemore gone there’s nobody to get in his way from minutes or a starting position. Now he gets to come to the NBA with a practically guaranteed starting position and plenty of money. Few players have it as well as that.

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Kings Trade DeMarcus Cousins To Pelicans

Written by Matt Moore at CBS Sports.com

In a shocking turn of events Sunday night, Yahoo Sports reports that Sacramento Kings All-Star DeMarcus Cousins has been traded to the New Orleans Pelicans.

Cousins now unites with fellow former Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis in New Orleans to form a combination of two of the top five big men in the NBA. This is an absolute fleecing, as the picks are likely to vanish in value with Cousins and the Brow together. The Pelicans did not have to surrender star guard Jrue Holiday, any of their big men or talented wings like E’Twuan Moore. The Kings have gone from being sure of re-signing Cousins to a $200 million extension next summer to getting Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans’ expiring contract, Langston Galloway and a pick.

Let’s grade the trade.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS 

RECEIVE: DeMarcus Cousins (C), Omri Casspi (F)

SURRENDER: Buddy Hield (G), Tyreke Evans (G), Langston Galloway (G/F), 1st-round pick (protection unclear), 2nd round pick

GRADE: A+

Are you kidding me? Did Dell Demps take Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac to Bourbon Street to complete this deal? How did they pull this off? Dell Demps was considered to be at least on a mild hot seat. The Pelicans were scrambling trying just to get over .500 and failing to do so, and everyone was saying they were a crime against basketball for failing to get Davis help with his incredible production.

Well, he got him help.

Keep in mind what the Pels didn’t give up here: Davis, Jrue Holiday, multiple first-round picks, E’Twaun Moore, Solomon Hill, Tim Frazier, Donatas Motiejunas. At the very least, Holiday should have headlined this trade, but because he didn’t, New Orleans has a talented two-way point guard to get the ball to his bigs. They add an MVP-caliber player who can dominate the game next to their MVP-caliber player who can dominate the game. They have the No. 3 and No. 6 big men in Win Shares this season. And they didn’t have to give up multiple picks.

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DeMarcus Cousins Suspended and Fined For Separate Incidents

Written by AJ Neuharth-Keusch at USAToday.com

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has been suspended one game without pay and fined $25,000 for two separate incidents that took place this past week, the NBA announced Tuesday.

The suspension is the result of Cousins receiving his 16th technical foul of the season — grounds for an automatic one-game suspension, per NBA rules — during the Kings’ 112-107 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Monday night.

Cousins picked up two technicals during the game — one for an altercation involving Bulls assistant coach Jim Boylen and another for his reaction after he thought he was fouled on a three-point attempt in the final seconds.

He will serve his suspension on Feb. 8 when the Kings host the Boston Celtics. For every two additional technical fouls Cousins receives throughout the remainder of the season, he will be automatically suspended for an additional game, per NBA rules.

The fine was issued to Cousins for “making an inappropriate statement and (middle finger) gesture” after the Kings’ 109-106 overtime win over the Golden State Warriorson Feb. 4.

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Wade Turns Back Time, Bulls Hold Off Kings Late

Written by Nick Friedell at ESPN.com

Dwyane Wade still loves the big stage and enjoys the moments it provides. At 35 years old, Wade knows he can’t take over games all the time the way he did earlier in his career, but he can still show flashes of brilliance liked he did late in Monday’s 112-107 win against the Sacramento Kings.

With his team on the verge of blowing a 27-point third-quarter lead, and playing without Jimmy Butler for the second consecutive game, it was Wade who swooped in to save the day. He drained a 20 foot jumper over Kings small forward Matt Barnes to give the Bulls a 109-107 lead with 13 seconds left. On the next play, he stole an inbounds pass and stuffed it home to give the Bulls a four point lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

“I love it, man,” Wade admitted after the game. “You want to come through every time for your team. It’s a lot of different reasons, you got some guys who grew up watching you do it and you want to show them you still can do it. You got guys like Taj [Gibson] who are always calling me a closer every time it’s late in the game. I can see the excitement in him to have me on his side. And then, too, it’s just what I love. I love to be able to come through in the clutch.”

The Bulls tried hard to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory late Monday, but Wade, who finished with 31 points and was 12-for-18 from the field, helped right the ship for the a young Chicago Bulls team that was about to give the game away.

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Kings Believe Rudy Gay Tore His Left Achilles Tendon

Written by AJ Perez at USAToday.com

Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay drove the baseline Wednesday night and suffered what is thought to be the kind of injury that has ended the careers of many NBA players: a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Gay was preliminarily diagnosed with the torn left Achilles after he had to be carried off the court in in the third quarter of the 106-100 loss to the Indianapolis Pacers in Sacramento. The Kings announced that an MRI was scheduled for Thursday, where the team expects to the original diagnosis of their second-leading scorer to be confirmed.

“This injury almost always happens in basketball (as opposed to other sports) and he’s 30,” Houston-based orthopedic surgeon Michael George told USA TODAY Sports. “These injuries are most common in players in the 30-40 age group.”

Researchers at Drexel University studied 18 NBA players who suffered ruptured Achilles from 1988-2011 and found 39% never played another NBA game, according to the study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine in 2013. Those who did return saw a significant decline in playing time.

“It’s the lift off. It’s the jumping,” said George, a sports injury specialist at the KSF Orthopaedic Center. “Real athletic jumpers have trouble. Guys who are spot shooters, like Wes Matthews, can get back a lot more easily.”

Matthews, a shooting guard, was a member of the Portland Trail Blazers when he tore his Achilles in March 2015. He signed with the Dallas Mavericks that offseason and his stats over the last two seasons are comparable to his pre-injury numbers.

Those who suffer a ruptured Achilles usually have surgery within days of the injury, George said.

“When it ruptures, (the tendon) pulls apart, right in half,” George said. “You open it up and sew It back together.”

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Cousins Goes Off for 55, Calls Out Refs Postgame

Written by Eduardo Gonzalez at LA Times.com

You can be the judge on this one.

Late in the fourth quarter on Tuesday during the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazersgame, Kings center DeMarcus Cousins was ejected for picking up his second technical foul of the game after apparently spitting his mouthguard at the Trail Blazers bench.

In an unusual turn of events, however, the officials reversed the call and allowed Cousins return to the game.

Cousins had been fouled by Trail Blazers center Mason Plumlee as he scored to put the Kings up with 35 seconds left in the game. Cousins then turned toward the Trail Blazers bench and appeared to say something, and his mouthguard flew out.

He had sprinted into the locker room after being ejected, but officials reversed their call and he ran back out to the court to complete the three-point play.

After the game, he told CSN California that his mouthguard had accidentally come out and the ejection call was “ridiculous.”

“It’s ridiculous. It’s obvious what’s being done out here. It’s on a nightly basis. I hope the world can see now what’s really going on out here ’cause it’s getting ridiculous. It’s really ridiculous,” he said.

Cousins finished the game with 55 points, which was one point shy of his career high, and 13 rebounds to help the Kings rally from a 12-point deficit after the first half to beat the Trail Blazers, 126-121.

Before the game, he was fined by the Kings for his profane tirade toward a reporter after a game last week.

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NBA Starting Lineups Ranked


Written at CBSSports.com

As free agency all but dries up after a summer of unprecedented spending, we can start looking ahead to the 2016-17 season. And what better way to start than to begin analyzing the best and worst starting lineups in the league?

While there are still plenty of starting positions to be won or lost by opening night, our writers have collaborated on the five-man unit we believe will make up each team’s starting lineup, and by way of a composite score, have come up with the following rankings for the best — or worst, however you choose to look at it — starting lineups in the NBA.

30. Philadelphia 76ers

PROJECTED LINEUP: Sergio Rodriguez, Gerald Henderson, Robert Covington, Ben Simmons, Jahlil Okafor

This likely won’t be Philadelphia’s starting lineup for the entire season, but no matter how many changes they make the Sixers will indeed be the Sixers for yet another season. In other words, not very good.

They will compete, Ben Simmons should be a stud, and the addition of Gerald Henderson provides a veteran, calming presence. Sergio Rodriguez, who may or may not hold off Jerryd Bayless for the starting spot, is another solid veteran player as the 30-year-old had a productive career overseas. In the end, Simmons and Jahlil Okafor will go through several growing pains and this will be another transitional year for the Sixers.

29. Brooklyn Nets

PROJECTED LINEUP: Jeremy Lin, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Luis Scola, Brook Lopez

Everyone wants a sequel to Linsanity, and Lin is a better all-around player than he was when he broke out in 2012 with the Knicks. The problem is that he doesn’t have a killer pick-and-roll partner, nor does he have a bunch of dead-eye shooters on the perimeter. Two of our panelists ranked the Nets dead last, and none had them better than 28th.

28. Los Angeles Lakers

PROJECTED LINEUP: D’Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson, Luol Deng, Julius Randle, Timofey Mozgov

We think D’Angelo Russell will be given the keys but are we sure that’s a good thing? Best-case scenario for Luke Walton is Brandon Ingram is so good right away that they move Julius Randle to the bench. Also, they have to hope the corpse of Timofey Mozgov didn’t make the journey from Cleveland and they actually signed that living guy from 2014-15. There is talent here, though it likely won’t lead to winning many actual NBA games for a while.

27. Sacramento Kings

PROJECTED LINEUP: Darren Collison, Arron Afflalo, Rudy Gay, Willie Cauley-Stein, DeMarcus Cousins

It was surprising that Sacramento promoted Collison rather than signing another point guard, and it’s weird that Gay is still on the roster after all the trade rumors. It feels like the Kings should be trying to make another move or two, as Cousins is once again going to be dealing with double-teams and watching teammates miss open jumpers. New coach Dave Joerger has a lot of stuff to figure out here.

26. Phoenix Suns

PROJECTED LINEUP: Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe, Jared Dudley, Alex Len, Tyson Chandler

The problem here is we’re not entirely sure the Suns are done with this double point guard lineup with Knight and Bledsoe. You’d love to see one of them moved to the bench and Devin Booker starting. We’re also not sure about the Alex Len-Tyson Chandler pairing inside. Ultimately, is Knight truly an impact player at the most dominant position in the league? Is Bledsoe ever going to be healthy? Can we just get a full-time youth movement so at least we have a lot of fun here?

This lineup, like the Suns, is pretty uninspiring.

25. Orlando Magic

PROJECTED LINEUP: Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Serge Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic

24. New Orleans Pelicans

PROJECTED LINEUP: Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Solomon Hill, Anthony Davis, Omer Asik

With Alvin Gentry taking over and Anthony Davis being a burgeoning superstar, the Pelicans were supposed to be noticeably improved last year. Yet injuries happened and New Orleans hasn’t done much to change their core pieces.

Davis, of course, is still there and will have to shoulder a heavy burden once again, but other than him, the Pelicans’ starters remain pretty meh. Jrue Holiday back in the starting lineup should be solid, and new signing Solomon Hill brings some good things, but believing in Tyreke Evans and Omer Asik can only get you so far.

23. Milwaukee Bucks

PROJECTED LINEUP: Matthew Dellavedova, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe

Offensively (minus Delly, of course), this unit showed some real promise over the back half of the season. Defensively, they were a nightmare, especially in transition. The roles on this lineup are also a mess. Antetokounmpo is point-center-forward, Dellavedova is most often a set-up or spot-up player, Middleton fills the gaps, and Parker is… some sort of weird combination of skills and abilities, while Monroe provides no rim protection. This is a really talented group, but we have to see it make sense on both ends of the floor before that talent earns a higher ranking.

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