The Sacramento Kings will retain a key piece into the foreseeable future as they look to build upon two straight trips to the NBA's play-in tournament.

Deft scoring guard Malik Monk agreed to remain with the Kings on a four-year, $78million contract, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Thursday night.

The last year of the deal reportedly carries a player option.

Monk set career highs last season by averaging 15.4 points and 5.1 assists while finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year award voting.

Monk, a seven-year veteran out of Kentucky, was due to be an unrestricted free agent on June 30.

Monk had been linked to several teams searching for an infusion of perimeter scoring in free agency, including the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic, but those clubs will now need to look elsewhere.

Monk has averaged 11.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 458 career NBA games.

While the Kings have yet to win a play-off series since 2004, Sacramento have strung together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2004-06. In 2023, the club ended a 16-year post-season drought and forced the defending champion Golden State Warriors to a Game 7 in their first-round play-off series loss.

The Sacramento Kings will retain a key piece into the foreseeable future as they look to build upon two straight trips to the NBA’s play-in tournament.

Deft scoring guard Malik Monk agreed to remain with the Kings on a four-year, $78million contract, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Thursday night.

The last year of the deal reportedly carries a player option.

Monk set career highs last season by averaging 15.4 points and 5.1 assists while finishing second in Sixth Man of the Year award voting.

Monk, a seven-year veteran out of Kentucky, was due to be an unrestricted free agent on June 30.

Monk had been linked to several teams searching for an infusion of perimeter scoring in free agency, including the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic, but those clubs will now need to look elsewhere.

Monk has averaged 11.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 458 career NBA games.

While the Kings have yet to win a play-off series since 2004, Sacramento have strung together back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2004-06. In 2023, the club ended a 16-year post-season drought and forced the defending champion Golden State Warriors to a Game 7 in their first-round play-off series loss.

Oklahoma City and Chicago have swapped guards, with the Thunder acquiring Alex Caruso from the Bulls in exchange for Josh Giddey on Thursday.

ESPN was the first to report the trade, which cannot become official until July 6.

The 30-year-old Caruso is considered one of the NBA's top defenders, having been named to a pair of All-Defensive teams.

He is also viewed as an important role player for a potential championship contender after helping the Los Angeles Lakers win the 2019-20 title.

The Thunder finished with the Western Conference's best record this past season, but were knocked out of the play-offs in the semi-final round by the Dallas Mavericks.

 

A seven-year NBA veteran, Caruso averaged career highs of 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds this past season, along with 3.5 assists and 1.69 steals while starting 57 of 71 games.

Giddey, the sixth overall pick of the 2021 draft, started 80 games for the Thunder this past season, but saw his numbers drop from 2022-23.

After averaging 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists in his second season, the 21-year-old Giddey averaged 12.3 points, 6.4 boards and 4.8 assists in 2023-24. He is a career 46.4 per cent shooter from 3-point range.

He was investigated for having an improper relationship with an underage girl, but the NBA and police were "unable to corroborate any criminal activity."

The NBA dropped its investigation.

The Los Angeles Lakers will hire JJ Redick as their next head coach, handing him the job despite the former NBA guard having no coaching experience whatsoever.

Redick was not the Lakers’ first choice after they were recently turned down by Dan Hurley, who led the University of Connecticut to its second straight NCAA Tournament title this past season.

Los Angeles will instead have the 39-year-old Redick – and LeBron James’ podcast partner - on the sidelines next season after the former Duke University star spent the last few years with ESPN following his retirement from the NBA in September 2021.

Redick and James started a podcast called “Mind the Game” in March, and Los Angeles hopes that relationship convinces James to exercise his $51.4million contract option this month and not become a free agent.

Redick takes over for Darvin Ham, who was fired in May after the Lakers went 47-35 before losing to the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.

Ham guided Los Angeles to the Western Conference finals in his first season as head coach in 2022-23. The Lakers were swept by the eventual NBA champion Nuggets.

The Orlando Magic selected Redick with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, and he went on to play 15 seasons in the league.

He is 20th all-time in NBA history with 1,950 made 3-pointers and ranks 15th in league history with a 41.5 shooting percentage from 3-point range.

Though the 2024 NBA playoffs saw its share of surprising outcomes, in the end the best team reigned supreme.

And the Boston Celtics left no doubt of their superiority by seizing the franchise's record 18th Larry O'Brien Trophy with one of the most successful post-season stretches of the NBA's modern era, maintaining the level of dominance they displayed while winning a league-best 64 games during the regular season.

Monday's clinical 106-88 victory over the over-matched Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 of the Finals was the fitting conclusion to a stellar play-off run in which the Celtics went 16-3. That winning percentage of .842 is the second-best by an NBA champion since the league moved to a best-of-seven format for all four rounds in 2003, bettered only by the 2017 Golden State Warriors super-team that lost just once during that year's play-offs.

Detractors will be quick to point out Boston's relatively easy path to glory, as they didn't have to face any of the Western Conference's top four seeds in the Finals and also avoided the East's second and third-best teams, the New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks, in earlier rounds. 

The numbers suggest it may not have mattered.

Boston finished the regular season with the league's best offensive rating (120.2) and ranked third in defensive rating (109.0), and their 11.2 net rating (the difference between offensive and defensive rating) was the highest by any team since the aforementioned 2016–17 Warriors posted a 12.1 mark en route to capturing their second of three NBA titles within a four-year span.

And the Celtics cruised through the play-offs despite Kristaps Porzingis, one of the team's three 20-point-per-game scorers, missing 12 total games with a leg injury that rendered him to a reduced supporting role for much of the Finals.

So, what were the main factors behind Boston's season-long run of brilliance, one this budding dynasty appears to be fully capable of extending beyond 2024? Here's a closer look:

Three-point markmanship

Head coach Joe Mazzulla's offence is built around the 3-point shot, as the Celtics hoisted up a league-high 3,482 trey attempts during the regular season - 240 more than the next highest team -  and had a staggering 47.1 per cent of their total shots taken from beyond the arc.

If you're taking that many long-distance shots, you better have guys that can make them. And Boston certainly did.

The 2023-24 Celtics became the first team in NBA history with seven players that shot 37 per cent or better from beyond the 3-point line while having 250 or more attempts in a season, and their overall 3-point percentage of .388 ranked second in the league behind only Western Conference regular-season champion Oklahoma City's .389.

And when Boston was hitting its threes, it was virtually unbeatable. The Celtics were 36-1 in the regular season when shooting over 40 per cent from 3-point range, and 8-0 in the post-season when that number was higher than 37.5 per cent.

Disruptive defence

The Celtics also had the NBA's best net rating in 2022-23, a season which memorably ended with a stunning seven-game loss to the eighth-seeded Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Miami pulled off the upset by beating Boston at its own game, as it shot a scorching 43.4 per cent from 3-point range for the series while the Celtics struggled to a 30.3 per cent success rate.

Dallas, which had the second-highest rate of 3-point shots attempted per total field goal attempts during the regular season at 44.1 per cent, was determined to follow the Heat's blueprint in the Finals, but this Celtics team would have none of it.

The Mavericks made good on over 40 per cent of their shots from beyond the arc in their Game 4 blowout win, but were held under 30 per cent in three of their losses and under 32 per cent overall for the series as Boston's perimeter disruptors - led by six-time All-Defensive Team member Jrue Holiday and Finals MVP Jaylen Brown - put the clamps on Dallas' sensational backcourt duo of Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving.

Doncic made just 11 of 45 (24.4 per cent) of his 3-point tries for the series, and the ex-Celtic Irving wasn't much better at 27.6 per cent. The Mavericks shot 29.7 per cent as a team from long distance when Holiday was on the court and 29.9 per cent when Brown was in the game.

Dynamic depth

Boston was able to navigate Porzingis' lengthy absence, as well as the shooting struggles of top scorer Jayson Tatum for sizeable portions of the Finals, with relative ease due to strong contribtions from a few of its role players, most notably Al Horford and Sam Hauser.

The 38-year-old Horford stepped into a starting role with Porzingis either unavailable or limited for much of the post-season and handled it with aplomb, especially on the defensive end where the Celtics were a stingier outfit with the grizzled veteran on the court.

Hauser, an undrafted 3-point specialist whose role off the bench steadily increased during the season, made his presence felt as well by going 11 of 23 (47.8 per cent) from beyond the arc for the Dallas series. The Celtics were a plus-17 with him on the court over the five games.

A dynasty brewing?

Under a steady sequence of shrewd moves from former coach turned president of basketball operations Brad Stevens and predecessor Danny Ainge, the Celtics have assembled the NBA's most complete roster and one that has the capability of potentially wreaking havoc for years to come. With Horford hinting at his intentions to return for an 18th NBA season, Boston will have all of its main players back for next season with its core of Tatum, Brown and Porzingis still in their primes. 

Add in a coach in Mazzulla who's still not 36 years old with still room to further perfect his craft, and it's not hard to envision yet another banner or two hanging from the rafters of TD Garden in the near future.

 

 

 

The up-and-coming Indiana Pacers have retained a core member for next season and beyond, as ESPN reported Wednesday the team has agreed to a four-year, $189.5 million maximum extension with forward Pascal Siakam.

Siakam, a major contributor to Indiana's surprise run to this year's Eastern Conference finals, will officially sign the new deal when the NBA's moratorium on free agents expires on July 6.

The Pacers acquired Siakam on Jan. 17 in a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Raptors in which Indiana gave up three players, including valued guard Bruce Brown, and three first-round picks. The two-time All-Star proved to be an excellent fit, as he averaged 21.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 41 games following the trade and shot 38.6 per cent from 3-point range.

Siakam then averaged 21.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 17 play-off games to help the sixth-seeded Pacers eliminate two higher-ranked teams, the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks, and advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2014. 

The 30-year native of Cameroon was also an integral part of the Raptors' 2018-19 NBA championship team and was named the league's Most Improved Player that season.

Siakam has averaged at least 21 points and seven rebounds per game in five consecutive seasons and has received All-NBA honours twice during that period.

In 551 regular-season games over eight NBA seasons, Siakam has averaged 17.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists. He entered the league as a first-round pick (27th overall) of the Raptors in 2016.

With Siakam's new deal now agreed to, the Pacers will have their top five scorers from last season currently under contract. Indiana re-signed All-Star point guard Tyrese Haliburton to a five-year, $260 million max contract last summer and reached a two-year extension with standout center Myles Turner in January 2023.

The Detroit Pistons fired head coach Monty Williams on Wednesday after going an NBA-worst 14-68 in his first season on the sidelines.

Detroit gave Williams a six-year, $78.5million contract last June after he was fired by the Phoenix Suns following the 2022-23 season.

At the time, the deal was the richest ever for an NBA head coach.

Detroit, though, finished with the worst record in franchise history and set an NBA single-season record along the way when it lost 28 straight games after opening 2-1.

It’s been an eventful off-season for the Pistons, who hired New Orleans Pelicans general manager Trajan Langdon as president of basketball operations and fired general manager Troy Weaver.

Detroit also had no luck in the NBA Draft lottery after being tied with the Washington Wizards for the best odds to secure the No. 1 overall pick at 14 per cent.

The Atlanta Hawks won the lottery despite having just a three per cent chance to win, and the Pistons fell back to the No. 5 selection.

Pep Guardiola's advice helped the Boston Celtics win the NBA Finals, so says Joe Mazzulla.

The Celtics clinched the NBA title with a 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in Game 5 on Monday.

That sealed a 4-1 series win for Boston, who won their 18th Championship, and first since 2008.

And head coach Mazzulla revealed that Manchester City manager Guardiola, who was in attendance for Game 1 of the Finals, played a part in his team's success.

"Dallas has one of the smartest defenses," Mazzulla said.

"We had to be creative to counter them."

"Pep helped me in transitions and how to move guys."

Perhaps when he does eventually leave City, Guardiola might just try his hand in the NBA?

Jeff Van Gundy will finally make his NBA coaching return next season after reportedly agreeing to become Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue’s top assistant.

The 62-year-old Van Gundy spent this season as a senior consultant for the Boston Celtics, who won their 18th NBA title by beating the Dallas Mavericks 106-88 in Game 5 of the Finals on Monday.

Prior to working with the Celtics, Van Gundy was a television analyst for ESPN for 16 years after being the head coach of the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets.

Van Gundy took over the Knicks in March 1996 and resigned 19 games into the 2001-02 season, a stretch that saw New York reach the NBA Finals in the lockout shortened 1998-99 campaign.

Houston hired Van Gundy in June 2003 and fired him after a first-round playoff exit in 2007.

Van Gundy owns a career coaching record of 430-318 in the regular season and 44-44 in the playoffs.

The Clippers went 51-31 this season and won the Pacific Division title for the first time since 2013-14, but they were eliminated by the Mavericks in six games in the first round of the playoffs.

Los Angeles signed Lue, who coached the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA title in 2016, to a five-year, $70million extension last month.

Kyrie Irving is confident the Dallas Mavericks can be regular championship contenders after their NBA Finals loss to the Boston Celtics came as a "bitter" ending to a "really positive journey".

Jayson Tatum delivered a magnificent performance in Game 5 with 31 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists, as the Celtics capped a dominant season by cruising to a 106-88 victory over the Mavericks on Monday to capture their first league championship since 2008.

It was a difficult night for Irving at TD Garden. Boston's All-Star forward and Finals MVP Jaylen Brown compiled 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists and played lock-down defence on the Mavericks star, who was held to under 39 per cent shooting in three of Dallas' four losses.

Irving, who spent two seasons with Boston before signing with the Brooklyn Nets in 2019, went just 5 of 16 from the field while managing 15 points, the third time in the series he produced 16 points or fewer.

But Irving was looking at the positives despite the 4-1 series loss and hopes Dallas will be back to go one better in the years ahead.

"We answered a lot of questions this year on what we were capable of doing and now it is just about being consistent," Irving said, per ESPN.

"I said that I wanted to be remembered as one of the best teams of this era and our last few champions have been a new one each and every year.

"So, I see an opportunity for us to really build our future in a positive manner where this is almost like a regular thing for us, and we are competing for championships. 

"From a spiritual standpoint, I think I enjoyed this journey more than any other season, just because of the redemption arc and being able to learn as much as I did about myself and my teammates and the organization and the people that I'm around."

After Dallas substituted its starters in the closing stages, Irving and Doncic exchanged an embrace and a few words on the sideline as the final seconds of the Celtics' victory ticked away.

"We said, 'We'll fight together next season, and we are just going to believe'," revealed Doncic.

Doncic battled injuries during the postseason and it remains uncertain if he will be able to represent Slovenia at the Olympic Games.

"I don't want to talk about what's next, man," Doncic said. "I have some decisions to make. I'm just trying to get a little bit healthier.

"It doesn't matter if I was hurt, how much was I hurt. I was out there. I tried to play but I didn't do enough."

With Doncic on the team, Mavericks coach Jason Kidd is optimistic there will be more NBA Finals appearances to come for Dallas.

He said: "For [Doncic] at the age of 25 to get to the Finals, to be playing his basketball at the level that he's playing...

"Now it's just being consistent. When you have one of the best players in the world, you should be always fighting for a championship."

Jayson Tatum says the Boston Celtics' 18th NBA title is a "night I will remember for the rest of my life".

The Celtics capped a dominant season by cruising to a 106-88 victory over the Mavericks in Game 5 of the NBA finals on Monday, capturing their first league championship since 2008.

After recording the league's best regular-season record at 64-18, Boston continued that fine form in the post-season, going 16-3 to earn their record-breaking 18th title, moving them above the Los Angeles Lakers.

After losing Game 4 on the road, the Celtics responded in style, with Tatum the standout performer, getting 31 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists.

"I mean, this is going to be a night that I will remember for the rest of my life, from the game, the celebration, these moments," Tatum said.

"Over the last couple years, we had some tough losses at home in the playoffs. We've lost the NBA championship at home in front of our fans. We had a chance to beat Miami in Game 6 a few years ago and lost that one.

"So, to have a big win - the biggest win that you could have in front of your home crowd - I felt like that was really important to go out there and do everything in my power to make sure we won this game tonight."

"It means the world," Tatum said on stage. "It's been a long time. And I'm grateful."

Kristaps Porzingis missed Games 3 and 4 with a leg injury but managed 16 minutes off the bench to help his team to victory in the decider.

He confirmed after the game that he would need surgery on the injury but did not want to miss out on the occasion.

"I think something could have happened, for sure, especially compensating now on the other leg now, which I just came back from," Porzingis told ESPN.

"There was definitely some added risk, but I didn't care. I was like, 'I want to give everything I can and then fix it after if I need to.'"

"Since last game, I've been thinking ... 'How can I get my body ready for next game?'. Like, no matter how it is. And today I was like, 'I'm going to try everything possible to get out there.'

"And, man, it feels great to be a champion."

Jayson Tatum delivered a magnificent performance in Game 5 of the NBA Finals with 31 points, eight rebounds and 11 assists, and the Boston Celtics capped a dominant season by cruising to a 106-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday to capture their first league championship since 2008.

Returning home off a 38-point Game 4 loss that extended the series, the Celtics bounced back with authority by leading the clincher from start-to-finish to put the finishing touches on an unquestionably title-worthy 2023-24 campaign.

After recording the league's best regular-season record at 64-18, Boston went 16-3 in the post-season to earn the 18th NBA title in franchise history, breaking a tie with the Lakers for the most by any team.

Jaylen Brown compiled 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists in Game 5 and was named Finals MVP. The All-Star forward averaged 20.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and five assists per game for the series in addition to playing lock-down defence on Mavericks star Kyrie Irving, who was held under 39 per cent shooting in three of Dallas' four losses.

 

Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks will "believe until the end" after they kept their NBA title hopes alive with a Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics headed to Dallas on Friday with the chance to clinch a first NBA Championship since 2008, up 3-0 in the series and looking to get the job done on the road.

However, Dallas dominated on their home court, cruising to a 122-84 blowout victory that means Boston will have to wait until at least Monday to seal a record-breaking 18th NBA title.

No team has ever come from 3-0 down in an NBA playoff series, but Doncic says his Mavericks team will not let that deflate their hopes of pulling off a hugely unlikely comeback.

"Like I said at the beginning of the series, it's first to four," Doncic told reporters. "We're going to believe until the end.

"So we've just got to keep going. I have big belief in this team that we can do it."

Doncic was facing criticism heading into Game 4 after fouling out in the latter stages of the previous contest, but he led the way with 29 points on Friday to help his team ease to victory.

Kyrie Irving believes Doncic proved the doubters wrong with his Game 4 showing, saying: "I think he made a few people eat their words in a healthy way.

"I think what you're seeing is him just taking accountability as best he can at this point in his life. He's a young person, still trying to figure it out. I give him that grace. 

"I think it's just lessons being learned. When he is locked in like that, not paying attention to the refs, he's a huge, impactful player for us and a great leader for us. We want him to stay consistent on that and not be too hard on himself either."

The Boston Celtics must "reassemble" after missing the chance to clinch the NBA Championship on Friday, says Jaylen Brown.

The Celtics headed into Game 4 on the road at the Dallas Mavericks looking to complete the sweep and seal their first title since 2008.

However, they were outplayed by their hosts, slumping to a 122-84 blowout loss to end their 10-match playoff winning run and leave them with work to do if they are to get over the finishing line.

The Celtics now head home with the opportunity to get the job done on Monday, and Brown has called upon his team-mates to bounce back from Friday's 38-point defeat.

"These are the moments that can make you or break you," Brown told reporters.

"We have to reassemble. We have to look at it and learn from it, and then we've got to embrace it and attack it.

"It's going to be hard to do what we're trying to do. We didn't expect anything to be easy, but it's no reason to lose our head."

Dallas dominated from start to finish in Game 3, holding an 11-point lead just nine minutes into the contest and never looking back as they stamped out any hopes of a Boston comeback.

Brown praised the Mavericks for their response to losing the first three games of the series, saying: "Give credit to Dallas.

"I think they played hard physically, and then they dominated the glass. I think that was the key that put a lot of pressure on us.

"And then we didn't make shots tonight, and I think that's where, you know, we allowed them to play free, once we get them multiple opportunities to make shots, and then also we didn't hit shots on the other end.

"We're going to look at the film and see where we can get better, and then go from there."

Luka Dončić scored 25 of his 29 points in a dominant first half and the Dallas Mavericks rolled to a 122-84 rout of the Boston Celtics to avoid a sweep in Game 4 of the NBA Finals on Friday night.

Kyrie Irving added 21 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. scored all 15 of his in the fourth quarter for the Mavericks, who forced the series back to Boston for Game 5 on Monday night.

Dallas opened a 13-point lead after one quarter, were up 26 at halftime and led by as many as 38 in the third before both sides emptied their benches.

Dereck Lively had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavs, and connected on the first 3-pointer of his NBA career midway through the first quarter.

The 38-point final margin was the third-biggest ever in an NBA Finals game, behind only Chicago beating Utah 96-54 in 1998 and the Celtics beating the Lakers 131-92 in 2008.

Jayson Tatum scored 15 points and Sam Hauser had 14 for Boston, which had its franchise-record, 10-game postseason winning streak snapped.

The Celtics shot 36.3 percent (29 for 80) from the field and were outrebounded 52-31.

The 35 points in the first half represented their lowest-scoring total in a half in Joe Mazzulla’s two seasons as coach. The 26-point deficit at halftime was Boston’s largest ever in an NBA Finals game.

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