Basketball Insiders talks to Jimmer Fredette at the Las Vegas Summer League.
Garrett Temple on the Sacramento Kings, Free Agency and More
After years of playing on minimum contracts, being waived and bouncing around from team to team, Garrett Temple finally has some job security and a lucrative NBA contract. The 30-year-old recently signed a three-year, $24 million deal with the Sacramento Kings.
Temple’s contract will pay him $8,000,000 each season (with a player option for the final year), which is more than double what he earned over his first six years in the NBA combined.
When fans think of the NBA lifestyle, they typically imagine enormous mansions, ridiculous cars and full bank accounts. This is understandable, especially at a time like this when NBA teams are handing out some of the largest contracts in league history. While some players live a luxurious lifestyle and most are very comfortable (if they manage their money well), there are plenty of players who make significantly less than you would expect.
In the NBA D-League last season, salaries ranged from $13,000 to $25,000. And the $25,000 base salary is for the star players – many individuals earn significantly less.
Even if a player gets called up on a 10-day contract, their financial concerns don’t suddenly vanish. A 10-day contract pays 170th of a player’s designated minimum contract (based on their years of NBA experience). So, for example, an undrafted rookie on a 10-day contract will earn $31,969. While that’s obviously a lot of money for “10 days of work,” the player actually spent the entire year making sacrifices and working to get that opportunity.
This is why many players simply choose to go overseas and sign a seven-figure contract with an international team. Yes, they have to give up their NBA dream, but it’s much easier to support themselves (and their family) and comes with far more certainty.
Which brings us back to Temple, who is finally being rewarded after years of enduring the stress that comes with chasing an NBA dream. Temple had to grind extremely hard to get to where he is today.
After going undrafted in 2009, he started his professional basketball career in the D-League. Then, Temple proceeded to play for many different teams. Over the last six years, he had regular-season stints with six different NBA franchises (Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee, Charlotte and Washington) and three different D-League teams (Rio Grande Valley, Erie and Reno). He also spent a season in Italy back in 2011. This doesn’t even include the teams he tried out for and didn’t make, like when he was the final training-camp cut by Miami in 2012.
He knows all too well that professional basketball is a business and has faced rejection many times, but he never gave up on making it in the league.
Finally, in recent years, Temple stuck with the Wizards and became a key player for them. In mid-December of last year, Temple became a starter when Bradley Beal was injured. He took full advantage of the opportunity, leading Washington to three straight victories over the Charlotte Hornets, Sacramento Kings and Memphis Grizzlies. He totaled 64 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists and four steals in the three contests while shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from three.
Temple averaged 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one steal on the season, and got 43 starts under his belt. Still, he was on a minimum contract and his future was up in the air due to his looming unrestricted free agency.
However, this time around, not having a contract was great for Temple because NBA talent evaluators were noticing his production and how positive things typically happened when he was on the court. They saw that he hustled extremely hard, did the dirty work, made smart plays and defended the perimeter very well.
It’s no coincidence that the Wizards’ best plus-minus lineup from the 2015-16 season featured Temple, as did the two highest-scoring lineups they rolled out last year. Also, Temple led the Wizards in Defensive Rating (allowing 101 points per 100 possessions) and the team’s defense was noticeably worse when he was off the court (allowing 106.1 points per 100 possessions).
Temple ranked 11th among all shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus, which estimates a player’s on-court defensive impact. The metric Real Plus-Minus Wins estimates how many victories a player contributed to their team’s win total, and Temple’s RPM Wins for last season was 3.54 (tying him with Andrew Wiggins and putting him ahead of All-Star Dwyane Wade among others).
Suddenly, Temple was highly coveted. After being passed over time and time again throughout his career, he received interest from nearly a third of the NBA after free agency got underway on July 1. In addition to the Kings and Wizards, the Boston Celtics, New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Brooklyn Nets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Memphis Grizzlies and Denver Nuggets also expressed some level of interest in Temple’s services.
And not only is he popular among executives these days, Temple is respected by his peers.
“Garrett was a great teammate and a good friend in Washington,” said Houston Rockets big man Nene, who played with Temple in Washington. “He worked extremely hard every day and he was always a positive influence on all of us. I’m very happy to see how much he has accomplished. He deserves everything that is happening for him and he is the perfect example of hard work paying off.”
“Garrett is someone who has improved every year he has been in the league and is quietly one of the best perimeter defenders whom no one talks about,” Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford said. “This could be a true breakout year for him.”
The Kings are hoping that’s the case, banking on the belief that Temple’s best basketball is still ahead of him and he just needs an opportunity to showcase his complete skill set.
Basketball Insiders recently caught up with Temple to discuss his free agency decision, why he decided to join the Kings, how Sacramento is trying to change their culture and much more.
Alex Kennedy: What was it like going through free agency? You received a lot of interest from teams. I know some players like free agency and some hate it. What did you think of the process?
Garrett Temple: “Well this was my first time going through the process and having more than one or two teams actually interested, so that was different. I had a new agent this time – this is my first year with [Mark] Bartelstein. All of those things made it a little… I don’t want to say nerve-wracking, but I was anxious. It’s not like I didn’t know if I would be in the NBA or not, it was just a matter of figuring out the numbers and what team. It was just a very anxious time for me, I had nerves, but I was very excited as well. I soaked it all in.”
Kennedy: What’s it like going from being a guy who has bounced around the NBA and faced a lot of rejection to having a ton of teams call you and being highly coveted? How nice is it knowing that you have some stability now?
Temple: “Yeah, it’s definitely nice to know that! Even in Washington, my first year was obviously a non-guaranteed deal until January. Then, I signed a one-year deal, so I was basically playing for a new contract again. Then, I signed a two-year deal, which was good. But I’ve been on 10-day contracts here and 10-day contracts there, not knowing where I’d be next. It was really fulfilling to have teams call me on the first night of free agency. And that was part of the reason why I chose Sacramento. One or two other teams actually called, but the Kings had all of the brass call that first night: Vlade [Divac], Ken Catanella, Coach [Dave] Joerger. I got the chance to talk to all of them on the first night and they explained to me how I’d fit with their team and what they saw me doing. It feels great to have some job security, and I’ve been playing for the minimum for my whole career so to get paid a little more is obviously a plus as well.”
Kennedy: What role did they describe to you? How do they envision you fitting in?
Temple: “First and foremost, Coach Joerger just told me how much he likes my versatility and how important that is in today’s NBA since [teams want] guys that can guard multiple positions. I feel like I can guard one through three, for sure, and I can even guard some fours with the way the league is these days. That’s valuable. He also said he enjoyed what I was able to do in terms of improving on the offensive end this year. It probably helped that I had 20 points against Memphis [and Coach Joerger] and 23 points against Sacramento this past year (laughs). They want me to play the one, two and three. They like my leadership abilities. He said, ‘I’ve seen you play and from what I’m hearing, you’re a great locker room guy too – one of the best in the league.’ Obviously the culture here is something that needs to be put back on the right track. You see the guys that we’ve signed: Arron Afflalo, good veteran guy; Matt Barnes, good veteran guy; Anthony Tolliver, good veteran guy. We’re guys who are going to try to come in here and help. We all approach the game a certain way and hopefully we can teach that to the young guys. They were adamant that they envision me being an integral part of the team and that was obviously great to hear, especially with my background. Being valued as a guy who can produce and will be relied on every night is something that I’ve been waiting for a long time.”
Kennedy: That was my next question for you. You’ve shown what you can do when given minutes and now it seems like your role is about to significantly expand. Do you expect this to be a breakout, career-year for you?
Temple: “I think so. I think the opportunity is there. Like I said, Coach Joerger believes in my abilities and that I can produce, so I’ll be on the court a good amount this year. I really plan on working on my game this summer, working on the aspects of my game that need to improve. I’ll be playing some point guard this year, and obviously playing the two and the three as well. But I’m working on my decision-making coming off of ball screens. People don’t realize that I’m a pretty good decision-maker and that I played point guard a lot growing up. I played point guard my whole high school career and a lot in college. The last couple of years I’ve been playing on the wing more, but I’m going to show people that I’m a versatile guy that can play the one, two and three.”
Kennedy: You played in Sacramento earlier in your career. Fair or not, there’s this perception that the Kings are dysfunctional and that players don’t want to be there. You chose to go back there and, like you said, they are trying to bring in veterans to change the culture. But what do you make of that perception? Is it overstated that players don’t want to be in Sacramento?
Temple: “Actually, my first year here was my rookie year and I was on a 10-day contract. I had come here from Houston. They offered me a contract so instead of going back to the D-League, I would go to Sacramento. Of course [I said yes]. Then, I had a choice between Sacramento and San Antonio, and I decided to leave to go to San Antonio. Because, obviously, San Antonio was San Antonio. It was 2010. But honestly, the [Kings] franchise wasn’t in a great place. The new ownership, the new front office and obviously Coach Joerger are understanding what it’s going to take to build a team and they know it starts with the culture of the team first. You have to have the right culture, from the equipment manager all the way up to the owner. From the things they’ve told me, they’re on board and willing to make this a culture where people want to come play and want to come win. And I’m very happy to be a part of the start of that.”
Kennedy: Let’s talk about the expectations for this team. DeMarcus Cousins is one of the best centers in the NBA, if not the best, and…
Temple: “He’s the best center in the NBA.”
Kennedy: Alright, well let’s start there. How excited are you to play with DeMarcus?
Temple: “I’m excited. I’m excited, man. I’m excited for him to be on my side instead of having to game-plan against him. He’s a guy who is just so talented and he’s been able to add the three-point shot to his arsenal as well.
“As far as expectations, I envision us playing a more up-tempo game with the pieces that we have, and I see us being able to win a lot more games than people think. Our division has obviously gotten competitive with a certain move (laughs, referring to the Warriors signing Kevin Durant to Golden State), but I envision us being able to win games with the veterans we’ve brought in plus the guys already on the team like DeMarcus, Rudy [Gay], D.C. [Darren Collison] and Kosta Koufos, who is a great post player who can score and do a lot of things. I think we have a chance to push for a playoff spot, man. That’s definitely going to be the goal.”
New Orleans Pelicans and Cliff Alexander Agree To Deal
The New Orleans Pelicans and free agent forward Cliff Alexander have agreed to a one-year, non-guaranteed deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders.
The addition of Alexander will give New Orleans 20 players heading into training camp.
Alexander spent last season playing 40 combined games with the Erie Bayhawks and Long Island Nets in the G-League, where he averaged 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds in 27.3 minutes per game. Alexander also shot 52 percent from the field and blocked one shot per game.
The 21-year-old forward was a McDonald’s All-American and won MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic in 2014 before attending Kansas University. Alexander played 28 games as a Jayhawk and averaged 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks in 17.6 minutes per game before declaring for the draft.
After going undrafted, Alexander played in eight games for Portland during the 2015-16 season and received a 10-day contract from the Brooklyn Nets in April.
For more information on the salary cap and roster situation for the New Orleans Pelicans, click here.
New Orleans Pelicans and free agent forward Cliff Alexander have agreed to a 1-year, non-guaranteed deal, league source told @BBallInsiders.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) September 24, 2017
Atlanta Hawks and John Jenkins Agree To Deal
The Atlanta Hawks and free agent guard John Jenkins have agreed to a training camp deal, a league source told Basketball Insiders.
The addition of Jenkins will give Atlanta 20 players heading into training camp.
Jenkins drew interest from several other teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks.
The 26-year-old guard began his career in Atlanta after the Hawks selected him 23rd overall out of Vanderbilt in the 2012 draft. For his career, Jenkins has averaged 5.1 points in 12.8 minutes per game while shooting 45 percent from the field overall and 36 percent from beyond the arc.
For more information on Atlanta’s salary cap and roster situation, click here.
Atlanta Hawks and free agent guard John Jenkins have agreed to a training camp deal, a league source told @BBallInsiders.
— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) September 24, 2017
Golden State Warriors 2017-18 Season Preview
The Golden State Warriors remain the cream of the NBA crop, even after several franchises went all in this offseason. Can anyone really beat the Warriors in a seven-game series? We look at the Warriors in this final NBA season preview.
After losing to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2015-16 NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors were highly favored to win the 2016-17 championship with the offseason addition of Kevin Durant. In the Warriors’ third straight Finals match up with Cavaliers, Golden State, with plenty of help from Durant, over-matched Cleveland in last season’s NBA Finals. This year, with Durant taking a pay cut, the team did a masterful job of bringing back just about all of the key players from last year’s championship run. Now the team is primed to wreak havoc on the league once again.
FIVE GUYS THINK…
It’s almost comical at this point how the best team in basketball keeps getting better.
After adding Kevin Durant last summer, and then completely decimating the entire NBA, including LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, all the Golden State Warriors did was go out and add two players in Omri Casspi and Nick Young who almost perfectly fit their brand of “you’re not out-shooting us” basketball.
The powers of the NBA all shuffled around their rosters this season in hopes of trying to assemble some type of “anti-Warriors” remedy, and when it’s all said and done, those moves will be all for naught. Expect Golden State to ride their legendary roster to another NBA title.
1st place – Pacific Division
– Dennis Chambers
What do you need me to say about the Warriors that you don’t already know? Two of the best five players in the league are on the roster, as well as arguably the top defensive player in the league and a cast of reserves that fit perfectly with the superstars running the show. Even JaVale McGee is shooting three pointers now. The Warriors are unstoppable and in some ways even better than the team that won a championship a few months ago. It’s going to be a long season for every other team in the league. They’re all playing for second place.
1st Place – Pacific Division
– Joel Brigham
The road to the NBA Finals obviously goes through Oakland, especially after the club managed to re-sign JaVale McGee, Zaza Pachulia, Andre Iguodala, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. Nick Young will give the team some additional firepower, but they probably don’t even need it.
So long as these guys stay healthy, they’ll probably find their way to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals, and with the Clippers having lost Chris Paul, the Warriors should have a relatively easy time winning the Pacific Division for the fourth straight year.
I’m usually longer-winded than that, but I’m not sure much else needs to be said about the Warriors.
1st place – Pacific Division
– Moke Hamilton
At this point, what’s really left to say? The Warriors had arguably the best basketball team ever assembled last season, and that was while dealing with minor role concerns and dealing with Kevin Durant’s midseason injury. Then they went out and improved this offseason, adding the likes of Omri Casspi and Nick Young as perfect end-of-roster pieces. Combine that with what most would expect will be even better fit and chemistry across the roster this season, and the Warriors stand head and shoulders above the rest of the league even with several squads making big power moves to try and bridge the gap. Anything but a third title in four years will fail to do justice to the incredible, historical talent on this roster.
1st Place – Pacific Division
– Ben Dowsett
The best team in the NBA went out and retained key players and signed Omri Casspi and Nick Young to round out the roster. As has been the case for several years now, the Warriors enter the upcoming season with the most overall talent, improved chemistry, good health and every ingredient necessary to win an NBA championship. Several other contenders pulled off some impressive moves to try and bridge the gap between themselves and the Warriors, but Golden State still holds the advantage against every other team in the league. So long as the Warriors are playing up to their potential, or anywhere near it, the other contenders are out of luck. Unless the Warriors face some serious injuries this upcoming season or some internal discord, we should expect them to win their third championship in four seasons.
1st Place – Pacific Division
– Jesse Blancarte
TOP OF THE LIST
Top Offensive Player: Stephen Curry/Kevin Durant
Don’t knock me for not clearly choosing a single player here. The individual excellence of both Stephen Curry and Durant cannot be stated enough. While Curry’s statistics did take a bit of a step back from the year prior, he still led the way for the Warriors last season. Last year, Curry led the team in points per game (by a slim margin), three-pointers made, assists and usage percentage. Keep in mind, Durant was excellent but Curry still commanded the offense for the most part. However, Durant was right on Curry’s heels and in the playoffs actually slightly surpassed Curry in points per game. In addition, Durant remains as tough to cover one-on-one as anyone in the league. Regardless, both players are unbelievable individual talents and would easily be the top offensive player on just about any other team.
Top Defensive Player: Draymond Green
For the foreseeable future, Draymond Green has this category on lockdown for the Warriors. Green uses a combination of length, strength, timing and sneaky athleticism to smother his opponents. Green’s versatility allows him to guard a range of positions in the post and switch to guard guards and forwards on the wing effectively as well. His versatility is the lynchpin of the Warrior’s vaunted death line up that uses Green at center and brings Iguodala off the bench to close games. Last year’s Defensive Player of the Year race came down to Green and Utah center Rudy Gobert. In the end, Green’s versatility as well as his ability to guard the rim effectively made him the top choice in voters’ minds. Expect Green to be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year this upcoming season as well.
Top Playmaker: Stephen Curry
When the Warriors added Durant to the roster, many wondered, even for a team as unselfish as the Warriors, how would Stephen Curry and Durant manage to share the ball? That question was answered when Curry took a step back and allowed Durant’s individual offensive brilliance to shine. Curry’s points per game dropped (30.1 to 25.3) as did his usage percentage (32.0 to 29.2). Curry’s individual excellence continued regardless as he remained the Warriors’ top distributor (followed closely by Draymond Green). In addition, Curry garners so much attention that his simple presence on the court creates more room for teammates to operate. Curry’s ability to pull up from virtually anywhere on the court and willingness to make the extra pass to teammates makes him a nightmare to cover and the Warriors’ top playmaker.
Top Clutch Player: Kevin Durant/Stephen Curry
Once again, you could give this award to either of the Warrior’s two best offensive players. Curry dominates most of the advanced statistics when breaking down clutch play, defined as the last minutes of a game within 5 point or less, per nba.com. However, based on Durant’s size, length and ability to get off a shot in isolation, he makes for an excellent clutch player in just about any situation. Either is an extraordinary option and their play in crunch time continues to be critical to their championship fortunes.
The Unheralded Player: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson is a phenomenal talent who does a number of things well. He’s an unbelievable three-point shooter and defends elite point guards to alleviate the pressure on Curry. For a team with two elite offensive players, having Thompson as your third option on offense is just unfair to the rest of the league. Thompson lights up the league with his ability to hit outside shots without needing to dominate the ball. Don’t just count on Thompson to score as he takes pride in his defense and his ability to lockdown on defense.
Best New Addition: Omri Casspi
Overall, the Warriors have had an unbelievable stretch of luck when it comes to injuries, which will hopefully rub off on Omri Casspi this season. With his length, versatility and the ability to stretch the floor, he can slide into either forward spot. His addition strengthens the team’s ability to survive the grind of the regular season and lessen the minutes of the starters. Casspi fills a lot of needs for several teams that are looking to challenge the Warriors, so simply keeping him away from those teams is an added benefit to his signing.
– James Blancarte
WHO WE LIKE
1. Steve Kerr
Steve Kerr continues to be the perfect coach for this team. He helps to keep the players focused on their individual roles within the larger team structure and has so far prevented major dissension and discord. Kerr took the team that Mark Jackson previously coached and helped to transform the team into champions. Credit is deserved for his part in successfully orchestrating the move of former All-Star Iguodala to a bench role and meshing Durant’s individual brilliance with the Warriors’ pre-existing, pass-happy offense. Kerr has missed significant time due to his botched spinal surgery, but if he can manage his health, count on Kerr to keep the Warriors a well-oiled machine.
2. Nick Young
Nick Young is a player that has had an up-and-down career. Credit Young for carving out a relatively successful career as a journeyman three-point shooting wing. Keeping Young focused and unlocking his full range of talents has been difficult for many organizations. The Warriors are up next and will give the 11th year pro an opportunity to do what he does best — knocking down three-pointers. As a career 37.6 percentage three-point shooter, Young will have a chance to get more open looks from distance than he has previously in his career. Like JaVale McGee, Young will also have a chance to transform his reputation if he proves to be a disciplined, effective contributor to a championship team.
3. Jordan Bell
What’s the perfect piece for a rebuilding team in need of young talent to build around? Jordan Bell, selected with the 38th pick in this year’s draft), is just that sort of player. The Warriors acquired the pick from the Chicago Bulls for cash consideration. The Bulls loss is the Warriors gain as hopes are high for the young talent from the University of Oregon. The Warriors will take their time with the 6-foot-9 forward and hope that he will build on and develop his defensive talents and one day be a reliable contributor for Golden State.
4. Shaun Livingston
Shaun Livingston is many years removed from the knee injury that nearly ended his professional career. While Livingston has played for nine teams in his career, he continues to be loyal to the Warriors, the team with which he has experienced the most success post-injury. Livingston continues to do whatever the team requires as he slides into either guard slot when needed and provides reliable production from the bench. Opposing backup point guards often get caught being posted up by the lengthy 6-foot-7 guard. Count Livingston as another essential cog who will do whatever it takes to help the Warriors win at all costs.
– James Blancarte
SALARY CAP 101
The Warriors are a major spender at $135.4 million in guaranteed salary, resulting in at least $32 million in luxury taxes. Golden State used its Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to sign Nick Young at $5.2 million for a season. Having re-signed on one-year deals, Zaza Pachulia, David West and JaVale McGee can block any trades.
Before November, the Warriors need to decide on 2018-19 team options for Kevon Looney and Damian Jones. Next summer, Kevin Durant can opt out again but now the team has his Early Bird Rights and the ability to give him a raise in the $35 million range. The Warriors seem willing to pay for a winner but for how long as luxury taxes grow progressively as the team gradually becomes a repeat offender?
– Eric Pincus
This team continues to have everything you could want in a modern NBA team. An electric point guard who is nearly unstoppable, a 3-and-D wing with a killer three-point shot, an unstoppable one-on-one player who can score from anywhere, a dominant and flexible defensive forward who can play center and a defensive wing who is a great glue guy. That’s just the five players that are normally used to close out games. The rest of the roster has a number of key contributors ready to do whatever the team needs. Oh, and they also have a great coach to keep everyone on the same page. With all the pieces a team could want, expect the Warriors to again push a possible record-breaking pace in the regular season on their way to the playoffs and likely the Finals.
– James Blancarte
The easiest answer here is none. Eventually the injury bug might hit the Warriors but for now they have everything they could want to continue their excellent play. Perhaps some players may lose a sense of urgency in the regular season after breaking records and dominating the last few seasons, though that seems unlikely. On paper, this team is not afflicted by any major weaknesses.
– James Blancarte
THE BURNING QUESTION
Can anyone stop the Warriors?
Other teams continue to make moves to get better. On September 23, the Oklahoma City Thunder traded agreed to terms on a deal to acquire Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks. With that move, count the Thunder, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics and the Cavaliers as the biggest potential obstacles in the Warriors’ path to repeat. One of these teams may beat them, but the Warriors are the heavy favorites and the team most likely to win the championship next year.
– James Blancarte