Kings: Big changes in the front office as Scott Perry joins the Knicks as GM

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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Scott Perry NYK Gen Mgr. Photo NBA.com

Just as everything appeared to be on the way to stability for the Sacramento Kings — BAM! — big changes have been announced in the front office operations for the team. Executive vice-president for basketball operations Scott Perry has been hired by the New York Knicks to be their new general manager. Reports have Perry receiving a five-year contract.

Perry joined the Kings front office on April 21. The Kings could have told Perry no because he was under contract and told the Knicks to go look elsewhere for a new GM. The fact the team did not block Perry from interviewing for the NYK job says a great deal about the organization’s respect for him as a person and as an executive.

There are some that are questioning the Kings decision to let Perry walk away from the team including two NBA executives that were quoted in the New York Post on Friday:

“It’s a little strange, getting fired in Orlando, then going to Sacramento and they’re willing to let him go so soon after a few months,’’ an NBA executive said.

The SacKings front office was the target of criticism

vlade and peja
Divac and Stojakovic

In 2016, the Kings could not get top lottery picks to come to Sacramento for tryouts and interviews. Agents viewed the organization as being in disarray and it was almost like if they avoided Sacramento their clients would not be drafted by the Kings.

There were also rumors that NBA executives were frustrated because they could not get call through or calls back from Kings executives in the front office. The lack of a traditional front office structure appeared to hurting the Kings ability to get things done operationally.

Sacramento had also been criticized for having the smallest scouting staff in the NBA. Experts felt the Kings needed to see more college talent to be successful in the draft.

Perry received much of the credit for the Kings draft and free agent signing success

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Analyst have given the Kings very positive reviews for the job they did in the 2017 draft. Virtually everyone loves the selection of point guard De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky with the number five overall pick. Most experts approve of the team taking SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina), PF Harry Giles (Duke) and PG Frank Mason III (Kansas) in the draft with their other picks. Some have said Mason might be one of the “value picks of the draft”.

“One of the top evaluators of talent in the NBA,” said one NBA executive who has worked with Perry. “The evidence is Sacramento’s free agency this year.” New York Post July 14, 2017

Sacramento then went to work signing three veteran free agents to play for a team stacked with young players. George Hill gives the Kings a veteran at point guard while Fox and Mason develop their skills at the NBA level. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter who played for Dave Joerger in Memphis were signed to play and mentor.

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Scott’s leadership was credited as being a major factor in why the Kings were able to pull things together so well in the all-important player acquisition period. The addition of analytics expert Luke Bornn along with the added experience of another year of working together for Vlade Divac and his staff also added to the success of draft and free agent signing period.

Perry is going to be trying to revive a franchise that is in shambles

NYK

One the major problems the New York Knicks have to overcome is their owner. James Dolan who has a history of making questionable decisions when it comes to his NBA team. On draft night in June, he was in Manhattan playing with his blues-rock band while Phil Jackson and his staff made the choices on who the future players for the Knicks would be.

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James Dolan NBA owner or rock star?

Of course just days later, Dolan and Jackson parted ways in a very public break up. If Dolan was planning on replacing Jackson, why did he wait until after the draft? The bottom line is that it is just another in a long line of bad decisions made by Dolan when it comes to his NBA franchise.

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Knick, Cavalier, Rocket?

The other major problem that Perry faces in his first days with the Knicks is what to do with Carmelo. Anthony has been making noises about being willing to accept a trade to another team like Houston or Cleveland. His salary and what the Knicks will want in return pose a real problem for the team to actually move Carmelo out and really begin a true rebuilding process.

Perry will work for the Knicks former general manager Steve Mills who will now be the team’s president.

Kings get cash and a future second-round draft pick but what about “Hamilton” tickets?

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The Kings will receive an undisclosed amount of cash and a future second-round draft pick as compensation for releasing Perry to sign with the Knicks. Cash? Overrated. Second-drafts picks can be helpful in closing trades.

But Vivek and Vlade, what everyone wants is tickets to “Hamilton” on Broadway. Think about the promotion your marketing team could have put together with a block of “Hamilton” tickets for the week the Kings play the Knicks and Nets in New York. Broadway and Basketball: it would have been a spectacular promotion.

If you do anymore deals with the Knicks or Nets, they must include tickets to “Hamilton”.

Knicks sneak past the Kings 103-100

by Charlie O. Mallonee

New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings
Cousins shoots against the Knicks photo: NBA.com

Sacramento – The Kings trailed the New York Knicks 103-100 with 2.6-seconds remaining in the game. New York had to inbound the ball in the frontcourt after calling a timeout. The inbound pass came to Carmelo Anthony who was immediately fouled by Rudy Gay before any time could come off the clock. The only problem with the plan was the fact that Anthony was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line in game up to that point.

Incredibly, Anthony stepped up to the line and promptly missed the first first free throw and the sellout crowd began to buzz. Anthony shot the second free throw and unbelievably missed again.

DeMarcus Cousins grabbed the rebound and ran as close to midcourt as he dared. The giant of a man then heaved a what was estimated to be a 52-foot desperation shot at his basket that hit the rim and then rolled out. For a few micro-seconds the thousands of Kings fans in attendance thought they were going to witness a miracle, then reality hit and the big crowd began to exit the Golden 1 Center knowing their team had lost the game.

Each team was missing a key player in the game

The Kings played the game without Matt Barnes who was held out of the game for what was called “rest”. Barnes of course has been at the center of a controversial story about a fight that allegedly took place in a New York City night club early last Monday morning. Rumors have been swirling that Barnes would be arrested by NYPD for his involvement in the incident. Barnes has also been named in a lawsuit that has been filed by two of the alleged victims of the brawl.

In his postgame press conference, Kings head coach Dave Joerger indicated that he believed Barnes would be available to play against the Jazz in Utah on Saturday night. Barnes was on the bench in street clothes for the game Friday night.

The Knicks were without Derrick Rose who is suffering from lower back pain. Rose had to miss the game on Wednesday night in New York City versus the Cavaliers due to the same problem.

NYK head coach Jeff Hornacek said before the game he was hopeful Rose would be available for the game on Sunday when his team faces the Lakers in Los Angeles.

Sacramento struggles shooting again against the Knicks

The Kings (8-13) shot much better in the first half against the Knicks on Friday night than did last Sunday in the Garden when they shot under 30-percent. However, the Kings shot under 40-percent in both the third and fourth quarters of this game which helped lead to their demise.

Sacramento shot 40.2-percent (35-for-87) from the floor and were a dismal 7-of-28 (25-percent) from 3-point range. The Kings went 23-for-27 (85.2-percent) from the free throw line.

Cousins led the way for the Kings

  • Cousins scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to post the double-double. He also struggled shooting going 9-for-25 from the field and 0-for-6 for 3-point opportunities. Cousins did dish out six assists in the contest
  • Darren Collison had a strong game against the Knicks. He scored 14 points shooting 5-for-11 in the game. He also had three assists and two steals
  • Rudy Gay recorded 15 points, five rebounds and a steal. He also had a tough night shooting going 4-for-15 from the floor and 0-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line
  • Omri Casspi keeps taking advantage of every playing opportunity he is given by Dave Joerger. Casspi put 12 points up on the board hitting 4-of-5 shots from the floor including one 3-pointer. He was a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe and he had two steals in the game
  • Ben McLemore started his second consecutive game and scored 10 points. He hit 2-of-2 from long range
  • Other Kings scorers: Anthony Tolliver 10, Garrett Temple 5, Kosta Koufos 4, Ty Lawson 4
New York Knicks v Sacramento Kings
Rudy Gay drives on the basket against the Knicks photo: NBA.com

Kings Dave Joerger on problems at the end of quarters in the game

“That was definitely a good basketball game. A couple of things came back and bit us. We gave up eight points at the end of the first, second and third quarter on last possession plays. In a close game, those things add up. We struggled to struggled to score the basketball tonight. We turned them over 17 times and scored 25 points off of that but outside of that we just didn’t make a lot of shots. Especially from the perimeter, we did not gain a lot of shots from the perimeter so it may jam up the paint on us. Good basketball game.”

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Dave Joerger faces the press photo: SRS.com

Surprising stat of the night

The Kings are not a team that is outrebounded by their opponents on a regular basis. If the other team does record more rebounds, the difference is usually not dramatic.

On Friday night, the Knicks outrebounded the Kings 54-39. Kings head Dave Joerger felt their length and the fact the Kings played “small” much of the game is what allowed New York to establish such a margin.

NYK did not have a great shooting night but lived in “Melo’s” world

The Knicks shot just 42.9-percent (36-for-84) on Friday against the Kings. They shot slightly better from long range hitting on 10-of-29 (34.5-percent) of their 3-point shots.

New York (13-10) rode the hot hand of Carmelo Anthony in the first half and then relied on efforts of Kristaps Porzingis and their bench in the second half.

  • Melo put 33 points in the book on Friday night. He shot 9-for-22 from field, 3-for-10 from long distance and was an impressive 10-of-12 from the free throw line. Anthony scored 23 points in the first half
  • Porzingis scored 17 after shooting a pitiful 1-for-9 in the first half. He did wind up with a double-double by hauling in 10 rebounds
  • Brandon Jennings did a nice job filling in for Rose on the point scoring 13 points and distributing seven assists
  • Kyle O’Quinn had a nice game off the bench for the Knicks scoring eight points, pulling down 11 rebounds, dishing five assists and blocking two shots in 20-minutes of playing time
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Melo fires away versus the Kings photo: NBA.com

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek had nothing but praise but praise for Carmelo

“He had a great game. When he’s scoring, he’s getting the ball in a good position from our guys where he can drive it. We put him in some trouble later on in the game, giving him the with like four seconds to go, not a good thing to do. We talked about having to get to the offense a little bit quicker. Late in the game, we kind of walked to our spots. Carmelo, when we go to him, he can pump fake, he can drive, he’s making passes. He’s playing an all-around game, like a star does.”

Up next for the teams

The Kings go right back into action on Saturday night as they play the back end of a back-to-back set on the road in Utah against the Jazz.

The Knicks are off until Sunday when they will play game two of their five-game road trip in Los Angeles versus the Lakers.

Knicks vs Kings: Round Two tonight in Sacramento

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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The Sacramento Kings (8-13) have the opportunity to take revenge on the New York Knicks (12-10) for the 106-98 beating they took in the Garden last Sunday night. The Kings shot just 32-percent (31-for-97) in the game and still managed come within two points of the lead with 4:34 to go in the contest before falling back and losing by eight points.

DeMarcus Cousins was the Kings leading scorer with 36 points and he made it a double-double by adding in 13 rebounds. The Knicks scoring was led by Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose who each scored 20 points against Sacramento. The New York bench outscored the Kings bench 44-22.

Knicks are not a great road team

New York  is just 3-6 on the road this season. The game tonight with the Kings begins a five-game road trip for the Knicks that will take them to Sac, Los Angeles (Lakers), Phoenix, Golden State and Denver. They have no back-to-back games on the road trip.

Knicks are coming off a big loss at home

New York was run out of the Garden on Wednesday night by the Cleveland Cavaliers 126-94. Kyrie Irving led the Cleveland scoring attack with 28 points while LeBron James added 25 points to go with seven assists. Kevin Love scored 21 for the Cavs.

Brandon Jennings started for the Knicks in place of the injured Derrick Rose (sore lower back) and was the leading scorer for NYK with 16 points and three assists. Courtney Lee added 15 points and Kristaps Porzingis recorded 12 points in the loss.

Interesting side note from the Cavs – NYK game, with that many points scored you expect there to have been at least one double-double posted but there were none achieved in that game.

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Kings are coming off a road win

Sacramento beat the Mavericks in Dallas 120-89 on Wednesday night in Dallas. The Mavs were without Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Juan Barea, Andrew Bogut and Seth Curry due to injuries. So with that depleted Mavericks lineup, the Kings should have run away with the game.

 

Cousins was once again the man with 24 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists. Rudy Gay and Darren Collison scored 19 points each. Garrett Temple put up 17 points on the board going a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range.

Sacramento shot 56-percent (47-for-84) from the field and 45.5-percent (10-for-22) from 3-point land. The Kings were right on target with a perfect 2-to-1 assists-to-turnover ratio of 28 to 14.

The Dallas win allowed the Kings to finish the road trip with a 2-3 record.

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Photo: Beaumont Enterprise

NYK injury status 

Derrick Rose is nursing a sore back. He is listed as questionable for tonight’s game which means there is a 50-percent chance of him playing.

The Kings are reporting no injuries at this time.

Keys to a Kings victory

The main ingredient for a Sacramento victory is a decent shooting percentage. The Kings shot under 40-percent in New York City and still kept the game close. Tonight they must come out and shoot well right from the opening tip-off in order to avoid an embarrassment on their home court.

For entertainment purposes only

FiveThirtyEight.com gives the Kings a 64-percent chance to win tonight’s game with the Knicks. They say take the Kings minus 3.5 points.

FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO system projects the Knicks will finish with a record of 39-43 and in the much weaker Eastern Conference that gives NYC a 55-percent chance of making the playoffs.

The “desert-dwellers” are making the Kings the favorites minus 2.5 – 4.5 points and all are setting the over/under at 210.

The Kings shoot poorly and lose to the Knicks 106-98

by Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento Kings v New York Knicks
Cousins drives on Noah at the Garden photo: NBAE

“48” – that is the most import number the Sacramento Kings have to drill into their minds right now. They need to learn that a NBA basketball last for 48 minutes and that means as a team the Kings need to play hard for 48 minutes.

The Kings did not play hard for all 48 minutes in the game at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday night and Sacramento lost to the Knicks 106-98. This was an unusual game in the sense it was lost in the first half and almost redeemed in the second half, but that is exactly how so many games in the NBA are lost.

Shots would not fall for the Kings in the first half

The Kings shot just 28.6-percent (14-49) in the first half. The term is often used that “the basket had a lid on it”. Well in the first of the game on Sunday for Sacramento, the basket had a lid on it. The Kings were not taking bad shots . The Knicks were not playing great defense. Literally, the ball would not fall through the hoop. The Kings went 9-for-26 in the paint.

The Knicks did not shoot the lights out of the Garden. They shot 42.3-percent (22-for-52) in the first half of the game. New York shot just 36.7-percent in the first quarter.

As the teams headed to the locker rooms at the half, the Kings were lucky to trailing by just 14 points, 55-41.

The Kings came alive in the third quarter

Sacramento Kings v New York Knicks
Carmelo Anthony and Rudy Gay photo: NBAE

The third quarter began like the second quarter ended. The Knicks kept pouring it on behind the scoring of Porzingis and Anthony and opened up a 20-point lead with 7:59 left to play in the period. At that point, the Kings began to turn the game around.

Starting with a  Rudy Gay 25-foot 3-point basket at the 7:02 mark, the Kings began to cut into the Knicks lead. Led by Cousins’ 11 points and Gay’s 10 points the Kings cut the New York lead to one point with 48-seconds remaining in the quarter. At the end of three quarters, New York led the game 81-77.

The Kings came close in the fourth quarter but could not close the deal

The Knicks behind the play of Prozingis opened the lead back up to eight points. Cousins kept the Kings close and Sacramento cut the New York lead down to two points with help of strong play from Gay, Collison and Cauley-Stein.

Carmelo Anthony and Brandon Jennings took over from there adding to the Knicks lead and the Kings were unable to respond. Sacramento had spent so much energy working their way back into the game – they did not have enough left in the tank to fight back overcome the Knicks lead.

The Knicks won the game 106-98.

Cousins was the star of the game again for Sacramento (7-13)

  • The big center recorded his 10th double-double with 36 points and 12 rebounds. He also had four assists and three blocked shots. Cousins was 9-for-30 shooting from the field
  • Rudy Gay scored 22 points shooting 7-for-18 and grabbing nine rebounds
  • Darren Collison put up 13 points and dished out six assists
  • Kosta Koufos scored only two points but he pulled down 11 rebounds that included five offensive rebounds
  • Willie Cauley-Stein played 23 minutes scoring nine points and hauling in four rebounds. Coach Dave Joerger said Cauley-Stein’s length on defense matched up well against Prozingis
  • The Kings shot just 32.3-percent (31-96) as team for the game
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Willie Cauley-Stein at the Garden photo: NBAE

The usual suspects came through for the Knicks (11-9)

  • The Knicks had four players score in double figures while shooting 44.3-percent (39-for-88) from the floor. NYK also shot 37.9-percent (11-for-29) from 3-point range
  • Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose each scored 20 points in the game. Rose continues to look more like the Rose of old all the time
  • Brandon Jennings put up 19 points with 4-of-5 his scores being 3-point baskets. He was also a perfect  7-for-7 from the free throw line
  • Kristaps Porzingis started the game slowly but finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds

Up next on the schedule

The Kings wrap up their five game road trip on Wednesday night in Dallas with what has become a must win game over the terrible Mavericks. A win would let the Kings finish the road trip 2-3.

The Knicks also hit the road and visit South Beach to take on the Heat on Tuesday night.

Despite Rally, Depleted Dubs Downed by Desperate Knicks

By Matthew Harrington

With Oakland native MC Hammer sitting courtside at Oracle Arena, it was the visiting New York Knicks who brought the hammer down on the shorthanded Golden State Warriors 89-84 Sunday night. New York used a big second quarter to grab the lead before its play down the stretch in holding off a Warriors comeback bid echoed Hammer’s hit “Can’t Touch this”.

Warriors All-Star Stephen Curry continued his strong play against the Knicks, collecting his third 30-plus point performance against the Gothamites in two seasons. Curry went 10-for-21 from the field, including hitting half of his 12 three-point attempts, for 32 points in 40 minutes of play. Andre Iguodala (12) and Klay Thompson (15) also finished in double-digits in scoring, but the absence of David Lee and Andrew Bogut from the frontcourt doomed the Dubs.

Guard J.R. Smith topped the Knicks with 21 points while Carmelo Anthony went 7-of-21 from the field for 19. Amare Stoudemire reeled in a game-high 13 rebounds for the desperate Knicks (31-43) who entered Sunday sitting a game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the last spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Warriors (45-28) appeared to have the game in hand after a dominant 32-22 first quarter but the visitors fired back with a dominant second 12 minutes to take the 56- 44 halftime lead. New York stifled its host to only 12 second-quarter points while exploding for 34 of its own.

The Dubs cut the lead by four after the third frame, scoring 22 points to New York’s 18 then continued its run to nearly force a tie early in the quarter at 74-72. The Knicks would add breathing room before a Warriors 6-0 run capped by a Curry trey knotted the game at 81-81 with 2:48 left in regulation. The Knicks held the Warriors to only one basket, a three out of the hands of Thompson, down the stretch while Anthony netted four of New York’s eight points over final three minutes to hang on for the win.

Golden State hopes to have Lee back for Tuesday’s pivotal contest in Dallas with Western Conference playoff implications. The Mavericks currently sit in ninth place, outside the playoffs looking in, and are two games behind the Warriors who sit in sixth place. Bogut is not expected to play Tuesday or Wednesday night as Golden State heads to San Antonio Spurs.

Curry Composes Triple-Double Masterpiece in 126-103 Upstaging of Knicks

By Matthew Harrington

On the biggest stage of the basketball world in the city the boasts the bright lights of Broadway Stephen Curry hogged the spotlight in another part of Manhattan. The Golden State Warriors point guard pieced together a virtuoso performance in a 126-103 blowout over the New York Knicks Friday night on the hallowed court of Madison Square Garden. Curry’s command performance included 27 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds, a triple-double for the maestro out of mid-major Davidson College.

A year and a day removed from Curry’s opening act, a 54-point explosion at MSG in another Warriors victory, the Warriors All-Star composed his Friday Evening encore on 9 of 19 from the field. Klay Thompson played the perfect accompanist to Curry, falling a basket shy of matching Curry’s 27 points with 25 of his own.

Forward David Lee made his first start, and second appearance, since missing time due to the flu. He pitched in 10 points in 24 minutes of play. Jermaine O’Neal continued his superb support of Lee and the banged-up Bogut, posting 15 points in 20 reliable minutes of play of the bench.

Carmelo Anthony hogged the spotlight for the Knicks (21-38), collecting 23 points on 7-of-26 shooting. He converted the double-double on 16 rebounds, a game-high. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 22 points while J.R. Smith added 17 of his own. The Knicks shooters were held in check by the Warriors defense, with the New Yorkers connecting on a 37.9 shooting percentage.

The Warriors (36-23) spent only a minute of game time trailing the Knicks in total, trading leads six times over the first two minutes. The Warriors would go on a 10-0 lead to stake themselves to a 15-6 lead 4:30 into the first. From there, the Warriors were able to maintain the pace, finishing the quarter with 23 points to 21 Knicks tallies. The second quarter was a repeat performance of the first, with the Warriors outpacing New York 35-25 for a 73-52 edge at the half. The hosts would outscore their visitors 28-26 in the third, but the road team closed out the game with 27 fourth quarter points to 23 from the home squad for the final 126-103 mark.

On tap for the Dubs, winners of five of their last six, is a trip north of the border for a Sunday showdown with the Toronto Raptors before stops in Indiana and Boston. A win for the Warriors at any of the three stops would guarantee a .500 winning percentage on their current six-game road trip, the second longest stint away from home this season.