- A former Kings executive has agreed to plead guilty for funneling $13.4MM from two of the team’s sponsors and spending it on beachfront homes in Southern California, Sam Stanton of the Sacramento Bee reports. Jeffrey David, the team’s former chief revenue officer, agreed to a deal in which all of the money diverted from the Golden 1 Credit Union and Kaiser Permanente will be recouped. Prosecutors plan to argue for a sentence of 8 1/2 years, while his attorneys are expected to argue that he should serve no more than two years. David held a similar position with the Heat when the scheme was uncovered. The funds that were diverted came from advertising contracts the companies signed with the team.
Over the course of the 2018/19 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.
The Warriors have been one of the NBA’s least active teams in terms of in-season trades over the last several seasons, but the other four Pacific teams all look like good candidates to be active over the next couple months. The Kings may be buyers, the Suns are in the market for a point guard, and the Lakers and Clippers will seek upgrades that don’t compromise their 2019 cap space.
Here’s our latest look at a few possible trade candidates from the Pacific…
Milos Teodosic, G
Los Angeles Clippers
$6.3MM cap hit; restricted free agent in 2019
Last month, in the midst of a 14-game stretch in which he appeared in four games and played less than 24 total minutes, Teodosic expressed some frustration with how his time in the NBA is going, suggesting he’d likely return to the EuroLeague in 2019 — perhaps even before the end of the NBA season.
With Lou Williams on the shelf due to a hamstring injury, Teodosic has had the opportunity to play a bigger role over the Clippers‘ last two games, and he should continue to get regular minutes for at least a couple weeks. However, if he falls out of the rotation again before the trade deadline, Teodosic could become a trade candidate.
The Clippers have no shortage of backcourt options and teams like the Suns or Magic could really benefit from having a veteran point guard setting up their young players for easy baskets. Those clubs would also have an easier time carving out a clear-cut role for the former EuroLeague star.
Zach Randolph, C
$11.69MM cap hit; unrestricted free agent in 2019
A starter last season for the Kings, Randolph hasn’t played a single minute this season and looks like a buyout candidate. Before they consider negotiating a buyout though, the Kings figure to thoroughly explore the trade market to see if Randolph’s $11.69MM expiring contract might be a useful trade chip.
Combined with Sacramento’s $11MM in cap room, Randolph’s expiring deal could give the club some intriguing options on the trade market. For instance, since the Kings reportedly have interest in Otto Porter, let’s say the Wizards make Porter available for cap relief and draft picks.
Sacramento could attach a future pick to Randolph ($11.69MM) and Ben McLemore ($5.46MM), who is also in the final year of his contract. If both teams were over the cap, those two players wouldn’t be enough to match Porter’s $26MM+ salary, but the under-the-cap Kings aren’t subject to those salary-matching rules and could make it work. The Wizards, meanwhile, would get out of tax territory, pick up a future asset, and significantly increase their 2019 cap flexibility.
There’s no indication that that specific scenario is on the table, but it’s an example of how the Kings could leverage expiring contracts like Randolph’s and their cap room in order to make a major move.
Dragan Bender, F/C
$4.66MM cap hit; UFA in 2019
Typically, a 4-24 team like the Suns would be able to find plenty of minutes for a big man who is just two-and-a-half years removed from being drafted fourth overall. However, Bender’s days in Phoenix appear to be nearing an end. The team declined his 2019/20 option in October and has played him in just 10 games (8.6 MPG) so far this season.
If even the Suns can’t find a role for Bender, perhaps his days in the NBA are numbered too. But the seven-footer knocked down 36.6% of his three-pointers last season and he’s still just 21 years old. If another club wants to roll the dice on Bender’s upside, it seems like Phoenix would be open to making a move.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Pelicans, Pistons, and Kings have been among the most active teams calling around in search of potential upgrades to their respective rosters, league executives tell ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. As Windhorst notes, those three clubs are expected to be among the NBA’s buyers leading up to this season’s trade deadline.
New Orleans and Detroit are both in win-now mode, and have shown a willingness in recent years to move first-round picks for immediate upgrades. Anthony Davis‘ uncertain future will motivate the Pelicans to be one of the most aggressive teams on this season’s trade market, and Pistons owner Tom Gores badly wants to see his team back in the postseason, as Windhorst explains.
As for the Kings, this is the second time this week that Windhorst has talked about them being potential buyers. Sacramento, which has traded away its 2019 first-round pick and has no incentive to tank, has exceeded expectations this year and is currently in the hunt for a playoff spot. Plus, the Kings are the only NBA team currently under the cap, and their $11MM in room could open up additional trade opportunities.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Cavaliers remain the NBA’s most noteworthy seller on the trade market, according to Windhorst. Even after moving Kyle Korver and George Hill, Cleveland may continue to be active — J.R. Smith is a prime trade candidate, and even Rodney Hood and Alec Burks could be on the block, Windhorst adds.
Although Hood and Burks are both in contract years, there would be some complications if the Cavs want to move either of them. Hood doesn’t become trade-eligible until January 15 and has the ability to veto any deal, while Burks can’t be aggregated with any other players until January 29.
- In a podcast discussion about the Kings, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst suggested that Sacramento could actually be buyers, rather than sellers, at the trade deadline, since the team has exceeded expectations and doesn’t have its own first-round pick this year. “Sacramento is not incentivized to lose,” Windhorst said, per Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net. “If anything, Sacramento will be gunning to think they have a chance to make the playoffs. Sacramento is actually one of the teams I’ve heard is out there on the trade market looking to improve itself because they have no incentive to tank.”
Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we turn our attention to the Pacific Division:
Jonas Jerebko, Warriors, PF, 31 (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $2.18MM deal in 2018
Jerebko has bounced around the league the last few seasons but he always stays within his role and provides solid contributions wherever he lands. He’s averaging 7.2 PPG while shooting a career-high 48.9% from the field in 19.8 MPG. He’s also helped on the boards (5.5 RPG). An above-average 3-point shooter, Jerebko shouldn’t have too much trouble finding another contender to sign him as their backup stretch four next summer. It could be Golden State if he’s willing to settle for the veteran’s minimum again.
Tobias Harris, Clippers, 26, PF (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $64MM deal in 2015
When news leaked over the summer that Harris turned down an $80MM extension offer from the Clippers, many people wondered what Harris was thinking. He was willing to bet on himself that he could do even better as an unrestricted free agent and thus far, the odds have increased in his favor. Harris is posting career highs in several major categories, including scoring (21.0 PPG), shooting (50.8%) and rebounding (8.5 RPG) for one of the league’s surprise teams. When the superstars come off the board, Harris will be next in line for a big payday.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Lakers, 25, SG (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $12MM deal in 2018
The previous Pistons regime declined to give Caldwell-Pope a multi-year extension. He wound up signing a pair of generous one-year contracts with the Lakers but he’s been reduced to backup duty. Most of the shots he’s taken have come from beyond the arc and he’s not particularly good at it (33% this season, 34.4% for his career). Caldwell-Pope doesn’t appear to have a future with the Lakers beyond this season and will have to take a pay cut to find work elsewhere.
Dragan Bender, Suns, 21, PF (Down) — Signed to a three-year, $13.4MM deal in 2016
When the Suns drafted Bender No. 4 overall in 2016, then traded with Sacramento for No. 8 selection Marquese Chriss, they seemingly resolved their power forward spot for years to come. Instead, they wound up with two of the biggest busts in that draft. Chriss was traded away to Houston during training camp while Bender is barely seeing the court in Phoenix. He’s appeared in eight games while averaging just 5.5 MPG. Bender needs a change of scenery but he’ll have to settle for a modest deal next year until he proves he’s a genuine NBA player.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Kings, 25, PF (Up)– Signed to a four-year, $15.35MM deal in 2015
The Kings have a lot of young bigs but Cauley-Stein has been a fixture in the lineup. He’s posting career highs at 14.3 PPG and 8.2 RPG while generally playing the same amount of minutes as last season. Cauley-Stein came into the league with a reputation of being a quality defender and he’s posted positive Defensive Box Plus/Minus ratings each season, according to Basketball-Reference. He’ll be a restricted free agent but might be one of the few who gets a substantial offer sheet, considering Sacramento will like choose to make Marvin Bagley III their main man in the middle.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
- The issues between Kings coach Dave Joerger and assistant GM Brandon Williams is par for the course in a dysfunctional organization, Jason Jones of The Athletic notes. Details of Joerger’s increasingly uncomfortable situation became public last week. With the perception of a divided front office, it wouldn’t be a shock if Joerger seeks another coaching job, Jones adds.
- The Kings intend to use the same development plan with Marvin Bagley lll that they used with De’Aaron Fox, James Ham of NBC Sports writes. Sacramento drafted Fox fifth overall back in 2017, then used its No. 2 overall pick in June’s draft to select Bagley lll. “I feel like I’m getting better and better,” Bagley said. “It’s coming along. I just can’t wait to develop some more things to add to my game and one day be one of those guys in this league that people know and people look up to and want to be like.”
Sacramento has long been fond of Porter, pursuing him when he reached restricted free agency in 2017. Although the Kings made Porter a maximum-salary contract offer at that point, he ultimately decided to sign a similar offer sheet with the Nets, which was subsequently matched by Washington.
Now, with the Wizards reportedly willing to listen to inquiries on any of their players and the Kings still seeking a long-term answer at small forward, the time might be right for Sacramento to go after the 25-year-old once again.
Porter’s contract, which features a $26MM cap hit for 2018/19 and is worth $55.7MM over the following two seasons, is considered onerous, but the Kings’ books are clear of significant long-term commitments. They’re about $11MM under the cap right now, and project to have a ton of cap room in 2019. With Sacramento not viewed as a realistic player for 2019’s star free agents, it makes sense that the team would be open to the idea of sacrificing some of that potential cap space by acquiring a possible core piece in a trade.
It remains to be seen what approach the Wizards will take to in-season trade negotiations, since they’re still very much in the mix for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, despite their slow start. If they do decide to shake things up, Porter appears to be the likeliest trade candidate of the Wizards’ “Big Three.” He’d have more trade value than John Wall, and Washington would be more inclined to move him than Bradley Beal.