University of Kansas

Sacramento Kings waive former KU guard Frank Mason; Pistons to sign Markieff Morris

Former KU great Frank Mason on what’s next for him in the NBA

Every year, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic brings together former KU basketball players to raise money for kids fighting cancer. Former Jayhawk great and fan favorite, Frank Mason talked about the game on June 20, 2019 and his NBA career.
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Every year, the Rock Chalk Roundball Classic brings together former KU basketball players to raise money for kids fighting cancer. Former Jayhawk great and fan favorite, Frank Mason talked about the game on June 20, 2019 and his NBA career.

The Sacramento Kings waived backup point guard Frank Mason on Thursday, the NBA team announced in a news release on its Website.

The 5-foot-11, 25-year-old former Kansas standout, who was chosen by the Kings 34th overall in the 2017 NBA Draft, played sparingly in Sacramento his first two seasons in the league

He averaged 5.1 points and 2.2 assists while logging 11.4 minutes a game in 38 games in 2018-19. Mason hit 42% of his shots and just 21.9% of his threes.

Mason had his hopes of an expanded role with the Kings take a hit on Monday when Cory Joseph agreed to a three-year, $37 million contract with the team. Mason was to make $1.6 million in the third year of a three-year deal. But the team had an option on the deal and has elected to release him and not pay it.

“To Sacramento Kings ... thanks for allowing my dreams to come true. It was truly a blessing to be a part of the organization,” Mason wrote on Twitter on Thursday. “Excellent group of guys in the front office and a special coaching staff you guys bought along. Amazing training staff and strength & Conditioning Coach.”

Mason, according to James Ham, Kings insider for the NBC Sports Bay area and NBA Sports California, “will be on the summer league team in Las Vegas but Kings wanted to give him an opportunity to find another team.”

New acquisition Joseph, who is 6-foot-3, will “likely step in as the top backup to third-year point guard De’Aaron Fox while occasionally playing alongside him in an off-ball role,” according to CBSsports.com. The Kings also have point guard Yogi Ferrell on the roster. He is beginning his second year of a three-year contract with Sacramento. His contract also has a team option.

Team officials must decide by Thursday if they wish to honor the contract or release Ferrell. There are reports the team will keep Ferrell.

Pistons to sign Markieff Morris

The Detroit Pistons have reached agreement on a two-year contract with former Kansas power forward Markieff Morris, the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.

The 6-foot-10 Morris, 29, will be paid $3.6 million in 2019-20 and $7.4 million overall off the team’s full biannual exemption, the Free Press reported.

Markieff’s brother, Marcus, a free agent who played for Boston last season, was a starter for the Pistons in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

Markieff Morris played for both Washington and Oklahoma City last season, averaging a combined 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds a game in 58 games. A spine injury forced him to miss a couple months’ worth of games.

Marcus Morris, 29, reportedly is being pursued by Dallas, the Los Angeles Clippers and L.A. Lakers, New York Knicks and others. Marcus Morris averaged 13.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game for the Celtics in 2018-19.

Markieff Morris was picked 13th overall by Phoenix in the 2011 NBA Draft. Marcus was selected next at No. 14, by Houston. Marcus has played for Houston, Phoenix, Detroit and Boston; Markieff for Phoenix, Washington and Oklahoma City.

The Free Press’ Vince Ellis reports that Markieff “will provide depth behind Pistons All-Star Blake Griffin and sets up a camp battle with Thon Maker, although with Griffin headed toward a season of load management to lighten his minutes, both players will be used on nights Griffin sits.

“There are similarities between Morris and Maker, with both players capable of screening and popping to the three-point line — although Morris has a slightly better career percentage than Maker (32.6%),” Ellis adds. “Markieff is the superior interior threat, capable of scoring on post-ups, although he gets more perimeter-oriented with age.”

Wrote ESPN.com’s Kevin Pelton: “If the Pistons get anything like the Morris who made 36.5% of his threes in 2016-17 and 2017-18 as a full-time starting power forward for the Wizards, this deal will be a bargain. Having traded Jon Leuer and with Zaza Pachulia hitting free agency, Detroit had only Thon Maker as a veteran in the frontcourt behind starters Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Morris gives the Pistons much better insurance in case Drummond or Griffin miss time and will prevent them from needing to rush first-round pick Sekou Doumbouya into action.”

Summer League updates

Former KU forward Dedric Lawson scored seven points on 3-of-5 shooting and grabbed two rebounds while playing 10 minutes in Golden State’s 73-65 loss to Miami on Wednesday in the California Classic summer league event in Sacramento, California. He was 0 of 2 from three. The 6-foot-9 Lawson had two points in nine minutes in his other appearance — Tuesday’s 100-90 loss to the Lakers.

Former KU guard Malik Newman scored three points on 1-of-3 shooting in seven minutes, while former Kansas State forward Dean Wade had four points on 1-of-6 marksmanship with five rebounds and five assists in 29 minutes in Cleveland’s 81-68 loss to Memphis on Wednesday in the Salt Lake City summer league.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported that Newman “received treatment on his knee after the finale (in Salt Lake).” It’s not known if Newman will miss any time at the upcoming Las Vegas Summer League, which runs Friday through July 15.

Canada’s Mane considers KU

KU is one of the schools recruiting Karim Mane, a 6-5 senior-to-be combo guard from Vanier College in Montreal, Canada. He is playing for Canada’s Under 19 team at the FIBU Under 19 World Cup in Greece. He’s averaged 14.7 points and 7.3 rebounds per game through the first three contests.

Mane has heard from coaches from KU, Kentucky, Maryland, Texas, Illinois, Xavier, Providence, Oregon, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, Arizona State and others, Zagsblog.com reports.

““The kid was kind of flying under the radar until we got him this year,” Shane James, co-director of Under Armour Canada Elite told Zagsblog.com. “He’s got a 7-foot wingspan and he’s a 6-5 point guard. That’s kind of unheard of to have that kind of length.

“He’s got a nice frame on him. The kid can really shoot the ball. He shoots it from deep. He’s shooting NBA threes already. He’s shooting it off the bounce, he’s shooting it off the catch. He’s an explosive athlete. He’s got one visit under his belt (to Maryland). He plans on taking a few more (official visits) in the fall,” James added.

KU looking at Ware?

KU coaches have reportedly scouted some summertime AAU games of Lance Ware, a 6-9 senior-to-be forward from Big Picture Learning Academy in Camden, New Jersey, Rivals.com reports. He’s an unranked player in the recruiting Class of 2020.

“Ware is mobile, quick and skilled and has really started to figure out ways to score on the interior without floating to the perimeter. His recruitment is about to go crazy,” writes Eric Bossi of Rivals.com.

Ware has received offers from Maryland, Wake Forest, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Miami, Ohio State, Pitt, Providence, Seton Hall, Temple and Virginia Tech. Like KU, Kentucky and North Carolina may enter the mix soon, Bossi indicates.

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