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- Frank Kaminsky, why the hell not
The Sacramento Kings continue their bargain bin shopping spree this week by adding another NBA veteran as center Frank Kaminsky has reportedly signed a one-year nonguaranteed deal at the veteran minimum to join the team and battle with the recently inked Hassan Whiteside for minutes in the middle. Drafted in 2015 out of Wisconsin by the Charlotte Hornets with the ninth overall pick, Kaminsky was never able to establish himself in the league. Over five seasons he has career averages of 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.6 points. He was projected to be an outside threat at both the 4 and 5 positions but has only hit 34.7 percent of his three-pointers and basically flamed out of the NBA by the end of the 2019-20 season as a forgotten member of the Phoenix Suns. General manager Monte McNair is apparently hoping the 7-*footer can be re-invented in Sacramento. The team needs more outside shooting from their bigs as Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes, Jabari Parker, and Whiteside all struggle outside the paint. If Frank can find his outside shot, it would open the middle up for the bigs to work down low and allow De’Aaron Fox to drive in for easy buckets. Clearly this team is focusing on the core and evaluating the youth, while filling the edges with cheap vets on 1-year deals to pass the time. Sorry, I just couldn't resist.
- DaQuan Jeffries gets his call-up from the Kings
DaQuan Jeffries has shown patience and a strong work ethic, and it has finally paid off for the second-year wing out of Tulsa. The Sacramento Kings signed the 6-5 Oklahoma native to a two-year deal for a reported $3 million. There is a team option for the second year. Jeffries impressed the Kings last season with his high-energy and athleticism on the court. In 13 games, he averaged 3.8 points and 1.4 rebounds while splitting time between the Stockton Kings of the G-League and the parent club. His efforts on both ends of the court have made him a fan favorite already. During the 8-game Orlando bubble season, Jeffries got a chance to prove himself averaging 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds on .515 shooting from the field. His best game was a 5-for-5 shooting performance (including 2-for-2 from deep) on August 2 against the Orlando Magic where he finished with 12 points. The Kings are going to let the kids battle it out for minutes behind starting small forward Harrison Barnes. Jefferies, Justin James, and rookies Robert Woodard and KJ Martin will all be given chances to claim minutes. General manager Monte McNair is looking for defensive-minded young wings who can hit the shot when left open, but more importantly, not get totally humiliated by the league’s top small forwards. Only time will tell, but the Kings are obviously hoping one of these guys can grab the opportunity and not force the team to have to go out and bring in another veteran small forward mid-season. Jefferies is going to do everything within his power to be that guy for the Kings.
- The return of Count Blockula to Sacramento
The Sacramento Kings have signed center Hassan Whiteside to a one-year $2.3 million veteran minimum deal for the 2020-21 season. The 7-foot, 265-pound bigman will fill the whole left by Alex Len, who bolted for the Toronto Raptors earlier in the week. Whiteside, 31, was originally selected by Sacramento back in 2010 with the 33rd overall pick in the NBA Draft. He held the dubious label as the team’s other center selected that year as All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was the team’s choice with the 5th pick. The Marshall standout played in just 19 games for the Kings over two seasons before being cut. He then spent two years overseas playing in Lebanon and China before making his way back to the D-League in 2014. Shortly thereafter, the Miami Heat called Hassan up to the parent team and he never left. In 2016, he signed a lucrative deal worth $98 million over the next four years. Over his 8-year NBA career, Hassan established himself as one of the leagues best per-minute rebounder and shot-blocker. He has career averages of 13.7 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in just over 26 minutes a game. Last season with the Portland Trail Blazers, he averaged 15.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks. So, what happened? How can such a defensive stud on paper end up with a vet minimum contract in Sacramento? While talented, Whiteside lacks the consistent mental and physical toughness to dominate the NBA. He suffers from long stretches in a game where he is completely disengaged. Smart opponents can get in his head and throw him off. His inability to defend or shoot outside the paint does not equate to success in today’s NBA style of play. He is a center of the 1990s stuck in 2020. The Kings likely only want him around for insurance, as they hope to develop third year bigman Marvin Bagley at the 5 and continue to evaluate Richaun Holmes, Hassan will likely be used sparingly and only when the opponent presents large front lines like the Los Angela’s Lakers. Fans will wonder why general manager Monte McNair would even consider bringing the enigma that is Hassan Whiteside back to Sacramento, but if you look at the numbers, it kind of makes sense. Kind of.
- The Bogdanovic era is over in SacTown
The Sacramento Kings have been outplayed, again. On Monday evening it was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the team has decided to not match the 4-year/$72 million offer sheet by the Atlanta Hawks, and thus allow Bogdan Bogdanovic to walk away for nothing in return. Not at all how Kings fans would have liked to see new general manager Monte McNair’s first run at free agency play out. McNair apparently felt that the need to maintain cap flexibility for the future outweighed the need to keep talent today. Perhaps the team thinks they have a shot at Giannis Antetokounmpo next summer? 🤣 Regardless, it is disappointing that the Kings were unable to find a solution for moving either Bogdanovic or guard Buddy Hield during the offseason when everyone knew they needed to choose between their two talented, but expensive shooting guards prior to the start of the 2020-21 season. Successful small market franchises find ways to flip assets for other assets. To date, this free-agent season has been a total bust for the Kings. In addition to Bogi’s departure, Harry Giles, Kent Bazemore, Alex Len, and Yogi Farrell have also left the team. The only new faces are rookies Tyrese Haliburton, Robert Woodard, and Jahmi'us Ramsey. Sacramento is clearly pulling back a bit to see what they have in their core of De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, Richaun Holmes, Hield, and Haliburton before making a run at things. Perhaps this group will prove out to be a bunch of young superstars, or maybe we’ll see more assets leave SacTown next summer. Either way, Kings fans will need to endure more patience as another front office exec tries to salvage the franchise.
- Alex Len leaving Kings for Toronto
Free agent center Alex Len joins a growing list of former Sacramento Kings looking elsewhere to continue their NBA careers. On Monday, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the veteran bigman has signed with the Toronto Raptors for the 2020-21 season. The 7-footer came to the Kings mid-season as part of the Dewayne Dedmon deal that also landed Jabari Parker in Sacramento. In 15 games, he averaged 5.9 points and 6.1 rebounds. But more importantly, he brought a level of size and toughness that has not been seen in SacTown for years. With the Kings likely looking at Marvin Bagley, Nemanja Bjelica, Richaun Holmes, and Parker as their center rotation, “toughness” is not the first word that comes to mind. Fans just assumed that Len would be back for, at least, another year to shore up the middle against large front lines like the Lakers and other such teams, while Bagley figured out how to play the position. Now, the rumors of a possible Hassan Whiteside return to Sacramento are sounding even more chillingly realistic. Let’s hope Monte McNair has spoken to someone with the team who was here during Whiteside’s initial stint and realizes that it is not something worth repeating. There are plenty of other 7-footers still on the market.
- Giles, Bazemore bolt for greener pastures
The Kings lost two fan favorites on Sunday as both Harry Giles and Kent Bazemore will be wearing another team’s colors next season. Giles, the injury-prone, but beloved young center has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trailblazers reportedly for the minimum. He will be given a chance to prove his worth in the league as starter Jusuf Nurkic’s backup. In 104 games with the Kings, Giles averaged 7.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. It was his passing that set him out from the rest. His court vision and ability to get the ball to his teammates for easy dunks was rather Chris Webber-like. His positive attitude and desire to interact with the fan base just sealed the deal as an all-time favorite Sacramento King within the community. However, his surgically reconstructed knees and a question of dedication to fitness have been huge red flags for the front office fthroughout his NBA career. We’ll see if he can turn things around in Rip City and be the prospect everyone predicted he could be. Bazemore accepted a one-year deal to return to his first NBA team in Golden State. With the recent injury to All-Star Klay Thompson, Baze is likely to have a significant role on the imbalanced Warriors’ roster. In 25 games with Sac following his mid-season trade from Portland, Bazemore experienced a resurgence in his career, averaging 10.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. He helped shore up the Kings’ lack of defense at the wing and was well-liked all around for his veteran work ethic. With Sacramento clearly needing more defensive wing help, it was believed that Kent would be brought back, but apparently the $2.3 million and the promise of substantial minutes to return to the Bay Area was just too appealing. So here we stand. Sacramento has lost Giles, Bazemore, and likely Bogdanovic. The addition of first-round pick Tyrese Haliburton and a couple second-round picks with no other significant moves to date shows that the direction of the Kings is looking like they want to contract, reset and poke their heads out of their hole in another year or two. Guess we’ll just have to be patient some more.
- Bye-Bye Bogi; Hawks offer 4-year/$72 million deal
Sacramento Kings restricted free-agent Bogdan Bogdanovic has signed a four-year/$72 million offer sheet from the Atlanta Hawks. The deal also includes a 15% trade bonus. Atlanta’s hope is that Kings GM Monte McNair will not want to match the high-priced offer and be forced to let Bogi walk for nothing. Not an ideal scenario for Sacramento and a poor first impression of McNair’s new reign as the King’s front office if this is indeed how it all plays out. Small market teams like Sacramento cannot afford to lose valuable assets for nothing in return. Portland, Oklahoma City, and Utah are clear examples of how small market franchises can become perennial powerhouses by flipping valuable assets for more good assets while never missing a beat. The Kings have struggled with the practice for decades. The 28-year-old Serbian has been a solid contributor for the Kings over the past three seasons averaging 13.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. His ballhandling skills and high basketball IQ have made him an invaluable member of the squad. Bogi is best suited for a more methodical style of play where he can have the necessary time to evaluate the defense and carve it up with drives to the hoop, deep threes, or passes to teammates requiring pinpoint accuracy. The run-and-gun style Sacramento is likely to adopt may not have been a perfect match for him, and that is likely why guard Buddy Hield is sticking around instead. The Kings have 48-hours to match the offer once Bogdanovic signs it. We will all be waiting to see what kind of general manager Monte is. Was he outwitted, or does he still have a plan to salvage this situation and get the Kings on the right path again?
- Fox gets the franchise; To sign 5-year max with Kings
De’Aaron Fox will be wearing Kings purple for a very long time to come. Sacramento’s dynamic point guard has reportedly agreed to a 5-year $163 mullion deal with incentive’s that could bring it up to the $196 million super max. The 4th year guard enjoyed his best overall season in the NBA last year averaging a team-high 21.1 points, 6.8 assists, and 1.5 steals. But more importantly, he elevated himself as the clear team leader on the floor which likely went a long way toward new GM Monte McNair feeling comfortable enough to hand him the keys to the franchise for the next six years. Fox will be just 28 when his contract expires, setting him up for one more large haul if he can prove himself as the All-Star guard everyone is predicting him to be. At the $163 mullion scale, here is how De'Aaron's salary would breakdown. If he achieves All-NBA, the numbers would go up. 2021-22 = $28.1M 2022-23 = $30.4M 2023-24 = $32.6M 2024-25 = $34.8M 2025-26 = $37.1M
- With the 12th pick, the Sacramento Kings select Tyrese Haliburton
They did not expect him to still be available at number 12, but the versatile guard out of Iowa State Tyrese Haliburton is the newest Sacramento King.
- Jabari Parker exercises his $6.5 million option for 2020-21
In a move that was considered a mere formality, forward Jabari parker has exercised his $6.5 million player option for the 2020-21 season with the Sacramento Kings. It is still unclear if the talented, but extremely injury-prone bigman will step onto the court for the Kings this season. He played in just six games for Sacramento last year averaging an efficient 8.5 points on 56% shooting and 3.8 rebounds in just under 14 minutes a game. However, his entire game revolves around shots inside the three-point arc and he is notoriously known as one of the leagues worst defenders. Parker was originally acquired by the Kings along with center Alex Len for Dewayne Dedmon and a couple second-round picks back on February 6, 2020. The move was in an effort for then GM Vlade Divac to get out from under Dedmon’s 3-year $40 million deal that was signed over the summer. It will be interesting to see if new GM Monte McNair sees a path for Jabari to be part of his plans for the Kings’ season, or if he will be moved to yet another destination. He is a scoring machine on the inside, but little else.
- Kings choose Buddy over Bogi...or did they?
Update: The sign-and-trade between the Kings and Bucks is on hold as Bogi is apparently refusing to accept the deal and will enter restricted free agency on Friday. More details to come… New general manager Monte McNair Has now signaled the direction he intends to take the Sacramento Kings, and it looks like we may see more speed and threes coming our way. Late Monday night, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Sacramento Kings have reached a sign-and trade agreement that would send Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin James to the Milwaukee Bucks for Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson, and Ersan Ilyasova. The deal essentially closes the door on all those Buddy Hield trade talks as the outspoken sharpshooter is now expected to move back into the starting lineup alongside point guard De’Aaron Fox and be a primary offensive focus for the team once again. Bogdanovic leaves Sacramento after 3 solid seasons with the Kings, averaging 13.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.5 assists. His cool demeaner and clutch scoring will be dearly missed. However, he made no secret of his desire to win in the NBA and now he will have that chance on a loaded Bucks team. Bogi was likely one of Sacramento’s smartest players on the court. Being able to see the floor very well and make the right decisions at the right time. His ability to play three positions made him invaluable to the Kings, but his lack of defense, redundancy at the shooting guard position, and the expected high price to keep him, made him ultimately expendable. Justin James was coming off a rookie campaign where he split time between the parent club and the Stockton Kings of the G-League. The athletic 6-7 swingman showed real promise on the defensive end and could have likely grown into his offense, but he will now have that opportunity on a rather thin Milwaukee bench that will need him more than the Kings. Donte DiVincenzo is the prize return for Sacramento. The 6-4 shooting guard is known for his perimeter defense and ability to play in an up-tempo offense. In his first two seasons in the NBA, the two-time NCAA champ averaged 8.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.0assists. He doesn’t have much of a long-range game yet but is effective in the paint. Paired up with backup point guard Corey Joseph, DiVincenzo could give Sacramento a real lockdown backcourt defense when needed. He is only entering the third year of his rookie deal, so the Kings have salary cap control on him for several more seasons as well. Power forward DJ Wilson returns to Sacramento where he played at Capital Christion High School. The 6-10 power forward was used sparingly in Milwaukee during the 2019-20 season but could get a chance to revitalize his career back in his hometown. Ersan Ilyasova, 33, has a team option worth $7 million which has to be picked up in order to complete this trade. He is yet another 6-10 power forward that will just increase the Kings' logjam at that position.
- ESPN's Mark Jones named new Kings TV play-by-play guy
The Sacramento Kings have named ESPN’s mark Jones their new primary television play-by-play announcer for the 2020-21 season. He will be teamed up with current color analyst Doug Christie to broadcast games on NBC Sports California. A 30-year veteran of ESPN, Jones is no stranger to the NBA. In addition to being a member of the #2 national broadcast crew for the network, he has also hosted a weekly NBA show, covered the NBA Draft and All-Star games over the years. Jones and his new broadcast partner Christie have been friends since 1995, when the Kings’ standout was a member of the New York Knicks. They were neighbors and played pickup ball together and their chemistry during broadcasts should be apparent on Day 1. The Toronto native and South Florida resident is excited to move to California and start a new chapter of his career with an up-and-coming young team. “I am thrilled to join the Kings broadcast team. During my years of covering the league extensively, Sacramento has always stood among the top for its passionate and deeply loyal fan base,” said Jones. “I am thankful to Vivek and the organization for this incredible opportunity. My family and I are excited to move to Sacramento and become a part of the community.” Jones’ three children all reside in California for college, so there were plenty of additional reasons to say goodbye to South Florida. Due to his existing commitments to ESPN, Jones will not be able to broadcast every Kings game on NBC Sports California. A secondary announcer will be identified shortly to fill in during those times when national obligations conflict. This is not uncommon for many local broadcast teams who are lucky enough to hire big name talent like him.
- Rex Kalamian is back in Sac
The Sacramento Kings have named Rex Kalamian as the team’s newest edition to head coach Luke Walton’s coaching staff. He will fill the position recently vacated by former assistant Bob Beyer, who recently accepted a new role with the New Orleans Pelicans. With nearly 25 years of NBA coaching experience, Kalamian brings a winning tradition to a club looking to take the next step. Most recently, he spent time as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Clippers, Toronto Raptors, and Oklahoma City Thunder – all of which made deep playoff runs during his tenure. He is also very familiar with Sacramento. He was a member of Reggie Theus’ staff with the Kings from 2007 to 2009. While many of us might not recall Kalamian’s time in Sacramento, he apparently made quite an impression on some.
- Assistant Bob Beyer departs Walton's staff
Assistant coach Bob Beyer is leaving the Sacramento Kings to join Stan Van Gundy with the New Orleans pelicans, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. He joined head coach Luke Walton’s staff back in 2019, bringing more than 35 years of coaching experience with a focus on defense. Beyer previously worked under Ven Gundy during stops with the Orlando magic and Detroit Pistons. It is expected that Walton will look to fill that vacated spot. Perhaps with someone from new Associate Head Coach Alvin Gentry’s former assistant coach pool when he was the Pelican’s head man.
- Grant Napear makes his return, as a podcaster
Former Sacramento Kings TV play-by-play announcer and local sports radio talk show host Grant Napear has reemerged onto the sports talk scene with a new pod cast following his sudden dismissal due to what was deemed insensitive comments on social media last Spring. “If you don’t Like that with Grant Napear” debuted in early October and has quickly built up a large following from fans across Northern California and the world. The first three episodes have already drawn more than 25,000 downloads. NBA legend Charles Barkley was the first guest on the pod. The two old friends discussed the current state of sports in America and the challenges everyone is facing when it comes to publicly speaking one’s mind. Charles also recalled a funny story involving a dispute between former Kings’ head coach Paul Westphal, a troublesome young star name Demarcus Cousins, and which one of them ultimately won the battle. Sirius FM’s Chris Russo, a childhood friend of Nap ear’s, appeared on episode 3 and the two recalled their lives together and the paths they both took to build successful careers in sports broadcasting. Grant is clearly trying to move on from the unfortunate events that led to his dismissal and rebuild his career, but it will take some time. He will need to get comfortable back in front of a mic and just talk sports without feeling the need to confront the situation that derailed what was a highly coveted position in sports broadcasting. Back on May 31, Napear responded to a series of tweets by Cousins regarding the BLM movement. His response caused an immediate uproar and the long-time Sacramento sports personality was fired by KHTK Radio the very next day and he was asked to resign his position as the Kings play-by-play announcer shortly after that. Regardless of whether Napear’s response was an intentional slam on the social injustice raging across America, or if it was just a case of someone not truly understanding the movement and the slogans of the various sides, the swift actions of his employers left a bitter taste in his mouth that he is unlikely to forgive. He and his wife have since sold their home in El Dorado Hills and moved to Miami, FL to get away from the negative situation and start a new phase of their lives. Its unclear if he’ll ever return to Northern California, where much of his family still resides, but for now he is happily enjoying the ocean view from his Highrise condo and doing what he loves best, talking sports again. He will eventually resurface again to call play-by-play for a regional or national sports network, but for now you can catch his podcast every Tuesday and Friday.
- The new SacKings Shop is now open
We are happy to announce the opening of the SacKings Shop. An online store where you can find some stylish, high-quality swag featuring our new 2020 branding. We decided it would be fun to bring back the SK Swag. We first introduced our Tees back in 2004 and they sold out in weeks. Today we are offering a much wider variety of items and more will be added every week. This time, we have decided to just sell everything at cost. Its our way of saying thank you for being an SK supporter for all these years. That combined with worldwide free shipping means the price you see is the price you pay. So, come have a look around the Shop and grab something to show your support of the original Sacramento Kings fan site.
- McNair lands a trio of talent for the front office
New Kings GM Monte McNair is wasting no time in assembling his new front office staff. The team announced the hiring of Wes Wilcox as Assistant GM, Phil Jabour as VP of Player Personnel, and Paul Johnson as Director of Basketball Operations. The trio will join Ken Catanella as the group prepares for the November 18 NBA Draft and free agency shortly thereafter. Wilcox is the most prominent name of the three. He recently served as the general manager of the Atlanta Hawks and was a finalist for the head job with the Kings. He brings a wealth of experience and is well-connected in the NBA universe. Jabour most recently worked with the Philadelphia 76ers and spent five years with McNair when they were both with the Houston Rockets. He will primarily focus on scouting and talent evaluation. Johnson Leaves the Oklahoma City Thunder front office and will assume the general manager role for the Stockton Kings of the G-League as well as several other responsibilities with the parent club. “I am excited to have Wes, Phil and Paul join the front office,” said McNair. “Wes’ background as an executive in the league combined with Phil’s veteran leadership through the scouting ranks and Paul’s proven experience in evaluating talent will be strong additions to the basketball operations group. Their diverse skill sets, and unique perspectives will add valuable knowledge and innovative thinking as we focus on executing our vision of building a winning culture in Sacramento.”
- Alvin Gentry named Associate Head Coach
Sacramento Kings head coach Luke Walton got his guy. The team announced on Wednesday that former New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry would be joining the Kings as their new associate head coach for the 2020-21 season. Gentry, 65, has previously held five head coaching positions in the NBA including time with the Miami Heat, Detroit Pistons, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix Suns, and the Pelicans. He and Walton were both assistant coaches under Steve Kerr during the Golden State Warriors’ 2015 NBA championship title run. Known for his up-tempo and creative offensive coaching style, Gentry should fit right in with the young Kings’ desire to run and gun with starting point guard De’Aaron Fox. His philosophy also meshes with new GM Monte McNair’s plans to pick up the pace next season. “I’m excited to add Alvin’s valuable experience and leadership to the team,” said Walton. “His veteran coaching perspective will be a great addition and I look forward to working with him again to continue developing our group.” Gentry steps in to fill the spot vacated by former associate head coach Igor Kokoskov who left Sacramento last summer to take over the head coaching duties of European powerhouse Fenerbahçe in the Turkish league. Many may think Alvin is the obvious heir apparent to Luke as the team’s next head coach, but he hasn’t really shown the ability to build and maintain a winning team in the NBA. He was unable to take advantage of four seasons with superstar Anthony Davis in New Orleans, and rookie sensation Zion Williamson fizzled out at the end of the season prompting Pelicans’ management to look elsewhere for their next head coach. Either way you look at it, The Kings landed a quality coach and will benefit from his extensive experience and respect across the league.
- Monte McNair introductory press conference
New Kings General manager Monte McNair was formally introduced to the Sacramento media Wednesday via a Zoom call. Aside from it being a rather awkward solo press conference up on the stage, he answered most of the obligatory first-time questions with poise and very careful wording. Basically, he said a lot without saying anything. This new era is going to be very different than the Vlade Divac or Pete D’Alessandro regimes.
- Kings tab Rocket’s McNair as new GM
The Sacramento Kings announced on Thursday that Monte McNair will be the team’s new general manager and head all aspects of basketball operations. He replaces Vlade Divac, who resigned back in August. “Monte is one of the NBA’s top basketball minds who has played an instrumental role in building several winning teams in Houston,” Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said. “I am excited to bring his extensive experience and vision onboard to lead our basketball operations department, and it is my pleasure to welcome Monte and his family to Sacramento.” McNair served under Houston Rocket’s GM Daryl Morey as an Assistant GM since 2018 but has held various roles with the organization since 2007. He is known as an analytics-driven basketball mind and is expected to bring that philosophy to Sacramento. He joins a franchise desperate for a return to respectability in the NBA. The Kings have not been to the playoffs in 14 seasons, and McNair’s #1 job will be to build a team that will break that streak. “I am thrilled to join the Kings organization and honored to shape the franchise’s bright future for the team’s loyal fans,” McNair said. “I would like to thank Vivek for this opportunity and look forward to becoming a part of the Sacramento community.” Several major decisions will loom during his first couple months on the job. The De’Aaron Fox extension, the Bogdan Bogdanovic restricted free-agency, and what to do with Buddy Hield. He also has an NBA Draft to prepare for, where Sacramento currently has the 12th, 35th, 43rd, and 52nd picks. He also needs to build out his front office staff quickly. Assistant GM Peja Stojaković resigned shortly after Divac’s departure, leaving just assistant GM Ken Catanella as the lone hold out from the previous administration. However, reports have surfaced that McNair will ask the team’s cap guru to join his new staff in the same role. In another move, it was announced that Interim Vice-President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars has been named Chief Strategy Officer. Basically, he’ll fade off into the distance and not really be an active member of the basketball ops moving forward but provide his input from afar here and there. All in all, a positive move for the Sacramento Kings. Monte McNair brings instant credibility to the front office from his time with the Rockets and should help the Kings start the long climb out of NBA purgatory.
- Kings furlough Basketball Ops
The economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic has finally started to hit the basketball side of the Sacramento Kings. On Wednesday, Interim Executive Vice-President Joe Dumars announced that furloughs were issued to a number of full-time employees in the Kings’ basketball operations department. The furloughs are expected to be in effect for at least the next 8-10 weeks. During their absence those employees will continue to receive medical benefits and are expected to return to their duties with the team once the NBA future is clearer. “Given uncertainty about the start of next season due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to furlough a handful of full-time positions across our basketball operations departments primarily around support roles,” Dumars said. It was not immediately known who was affected by this move, but senior members of the front office, scouting, and analytics were spared as they need to prepare for the upcoming NBA Draft and free-agency season.
- Kings will pick at 12 in 2020 NBA Draft
The lottery gods did not come through this year. The Sacramento Kings will have the 12th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and they really have nothing to complain about, as that is where they were supposed to pick according to the odds. Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox represented the team via the virtual draft lottery and seemed rather chill by the results. Two years earlier, he was present for the Kings’ surprising move up to the second position, where they later selected Duke standout Marvin Bagley. New Interim Executive Vice-President Joe Dumars has a lot of options at 12, and the prognosticators will spend the next two months making all sorts of wild guesses on what the Kings will do on the night of the NBA Draft. The team could trade the pick with another player for some quality talent in return. Trade up for a better pick. Trade down for multiple picks. Or even keep it and try to find a nice role player in the late lottery range. No one can say they truly know what Sacramento will do this year. At least you are not a fan of the New York Knicks. They were slotted to pick sixth, but hoped to sneak into the top spot, and ended up at eighth when both Charlotte and Chicago jumped them in the lottery. Now, that is a cursed team. The Minnesota Timberwolves ultimately snagged the top spot with the Golden State Warriors coming in at number two. The NBA Draft is currently slated to take place on October 16, but recent reports have indicated that the date might slip by a few weeks to give the league more time to determine the revenue implications on the forthcoming salary cap. Either way, Sacramento will have picks 12, 35, 43, and 52 to work with. It should be another fun night.
- Kings win coin flip tiebreaker with Pelicans
The Sacramento Kings received a little good news this morning. The coin flip to determine where the team would rank in Thursday’s NBA Draft Lottery came up tails, or heads, or who really cares. The Kings won the tiebreaker with the New Orleans Pelicans. Sacramento will have the 12th best odds to land one of the top four spots in the 2020 NBA Draft at 6.1%. The Pelicans’ chances will be just 5.7%. Both teams finished with identical 28-36 records when the 2019-20 season was initially called due to the Covid-19 outbreak. Even though the Kings ultimately finished with a better overall record following the 8-game restart in Orlando, the team’s original records were the determining mark. Sacramento last had a coin flip situation in 2018, when they lost the toss to the Chicago Bulls and ended up with the seventh pick. Of course, that turned out to be the lucky position as they then moved up to the second spot when they jumped up to the top three in the lottery. The Marvin Bagley draft. The NBA Draft will be held on October 16 and it will be very interesting to see wha new Interim VP of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars does with the pick. And, the free agency frenzy starts just two days after that on October 18. Buckle up, the current NBA season may be over for the Kings, but this Fall is sure to be a wild ride.
- Peja Stojakovic out as Kings assistant GM
The house cleaning of the old Sacramento Kings glory days continued Saturday when it was reported that assistant GM and Kings’ legend Peja Stojakovic would be departing the organization along with GM Vlade Divac. Stojakovic joined the team back in 2015 when Divac first landed the GM role. He initially spent time as the general manager of the team’s D-League franchise in Reno and as the Kings Player Personnel Director, before stepping into the assistant GM role in 2018. Vlade needed someone he could trust completely in a league of backroom deals and backstabbing agents. The fellow Serbian was his most trusted advisor. Peja was originally drafted by the Kings in 1996, but played for two more seasons for team PAOK of the Greek League before coming to Sacramento in 1998 to start what would ultimately become Sacramento’s most dominant period in the NBA. It was never entirely clear if Peja was fully invested in his role with the Kings, as he was involved in many business ventures overseas at the time he was summoned to Sacramento. But his loyalty to Vlade was unquestionable and he would do anything for his good friend and NBA mentor. “It has been a great joy and honor to work in the Kings front office for the past five years. I want to thank the organization and especially the incredible fans around the world for the support over the years", said Stojakovic via a statement released by the Kings. "Sacramento will always be home to me and I wish the franchise nothing but the very best.” Ken Catanella, the lone remaining assistant GM holdout is expected to stay with the organization through the draft and free-agency process as he has a history with the new Interim VP of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars during their time together with the Detroit Pistons. However, his future role with the Kings is unclear beyond that.
- The Vlade Divac era is over in Sacramento
After five years at the helm, Vlade Divac’s crusade to revitalize the Sacramento Kings has officially ended. It was announced today that the Kings legend would be stepping down as General Manager effective immediately. Joe Dumars, who was named Special Advisor to the GM back in June 2019 will assume the title of Interim Kings Executive VP of Basketball Operations moving forward. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the General Manager for the Kings. I want to thank Vivek for the opportunity & recognize all of the incredible colleagues who I had the great pleasure of working with during my tenure", said Divac in a released statement by the team. "Sacramento and the Kings will always hold a special place in my heart, and I wish them all the best moving forward.” Divac, a member of the basketball Hall of Fame, an NBA All-Star, and Euro basketball legend endured a challenging tenure as the leader of the Kings’ front office right from the start. While he was politely applauded as a world basketball leader, he was never accepted by the NBA GM fraternity. Mocked for his front office inexperience, thick accent, and often misunderstood dry sense of humor, the NBA insiders considered him an outsider and the team was just further seen as a third-rate franchise. Despite his total and complete loyalty to the team, city, and its fans, he was ultimately destined to fail in Sacramento. Vlade was initially hired by Kings governor Vivek Ranadive back on April 8, 2015 to replace the then disgraced general manager Pete D’Alessandro, who over a series of bad trades, poor coaching hires, and awkward fan interactions was run out of town less than two years after he replaced long-time GM Geoff Petrie. Divac’s first duty was to find a way to get the team’s highly talented, but volatile star DeMarcus Cousins, an equally ego-driven head coach George Karl, and a handful of moderately talented, but disinterested players to form some semblance of an NBA team. Not an easy task for any GM. By the end of the 2015-16 season, Vlade had fired Karl, and less than a year later, he traded Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for Buddy Hield and draft picks. It was obvious that the Kings could not improve with what they had and needed to blow it all up and start over. This was when Divac was finally able to put his fingerprints on his franchise and started to implement his vision of what makes a successful team. Quality players with quality character. Disruptive or selfish egos had no place in Sacramento. If you did not want to come to Sac for a pre-Draft workout, the Kings would not waste their pick on you (Emmanuel Mudiay). Over the years Sacramento continued their youth movement, acquiring more picks and young talent through trades and erasing any semblance of the team Divac was handed back in 2015. He was able to collect a promising war chest that ultimately produced De’Aaron Fox, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes, Harry Giles, and Hield. There were definitely some unfortunate draft selections and trades over those five years, but it was one pick in particular that ultimately sealed his fate. In 2018, through the urges of then assistant GM Brandon Williams, the Sacramento Kings selected the super-athletic Marvin Bagley over the highly touted Luka Doncic in the NBA draft with the second overall pick. From the moment the selection was announced, the national media mocked Divac's apparent ignorance, and Kings fans and local media bemoaned the pick. Two years later as Doncic has continued to rise to the top of NBA stardom while Bagley has been grounded by injuries, fans continued to call for Vlade’s head for that one fateful decision. To this day, Divac stands behind his choice, even if it ultimately buried him. As the 2019-20 season wrapped up for the Kings and a 14th-straight playoff absence staring the team in the face, Ranadive and the myriad of impatient minority owners felt that five years was long enough. Divac was asked to step back from his position of ultimate authority and relinquish the decision-making reins to Dumars moving forward. He would still be part of the front office, but nothing more than in name. Vlade Divac, a proud man, would never accept such a demotion and decided it was better to completely step away from the Kings organization rather than be cast into the abyss of the Golden One Center where he would have no role. He will be paid the remaining three years on his contract, so do not cry for him Sacramento. But I am sure he would gladly trade all that money for three more years to try and make his ultimate vision work. “This was a difficult decision, but we believe it is the best path ahead as we work to build a winning team that our loyal fans deserve. We are thankful for Vlade’s leadership, commitment & hard work both on and off the court", said Vivek Ranadive. "He will always be a part of our Kings family.” Ranadive went on to praise Joe Dumars efforts with the Kings so far and what he hopes is a smooth transition of power and a positive step forward for the team. "Joe has become a trusted & valued advisor since joining the team last year, & I am grateful to have him take on this role at an important time for the franchise.” Initial reports indicate that the permanent GM job is Dumars’ if he wants it, but it is uncertain if that will happen as he was very clear with the team last year that he was only interested in an advisory role based out of his Southern California home. If he chooses to look outside the organization for the next general manager, it likely will not happen until next season. Head coach Luke Walton has been assured by the team that his job is safe for the 2020-21 season. He is signed through 2022-23 and it would make no sense for the team to start a coaching search before a permanent GM can be put in place first. He is also a highly touted coaching talent and could still be the right man for the job moving forward. Assistant GMs Peja Stoijakovic and Ken Catanella’s futures are not yet known, but Catanella did work under Dumars during their time together with the Detroit Pistons and is a respected salary cap guru around the league. However, it is expected that no further major front office shake ups will occur until the conclusion of the 2020 draft and free-agency season with Dumars having the final say on all fronts. The Kings have a lot of major decisions to make and it is unclear at this point which way the franchise will go now. So, there you have it. Vlade Divac came back to Sacramento in 2015 to try and save his beloved Kings. He was probably the only man who loved the team enough to step into that firestorm and believe he could tame the flames. But ultimately, he too got burned. Running the Sacramento Kings is probably the hardest job in the NBA, aside from the New York Knicks, and whoever takes the reins next needs to accept that position with their eyes wide open. It is different in Sacramento.