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- Buddy gets some love, signs extension with Kings
Picture this. Its 2am early Monday morning and Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield is sitting in a room with general manager Vlade Divac with just 13 hours left before the deadline for rookie extensions expires. A life-changing decision for one and a critical financial commitment for the other is on the line. Tick tick tick. The weeks leading up to this moment were filled with public drama and serious concerns by both sides that a deal might not get done and the fallout could wreck what could have been a magical season in Sacramento. Yes, it was starting to look like one of those obnoxious sports reality television shows, but cooler heads prevailed, and the result was a contract extension that both parties can live with. And that’s all you can really ask for in negotiations like this. Hield landed a 4-year $86 million contract extension that will keep him in Kings purple through the 2023-24 season. Not bad for a kid from the Bahamas who never could have imagined such a windfall while playing high school ball just 10 years ago. Divac locked up the first member of his young core for the next five years that includes Bogdan Bogdanovic, De’Aaron Fox, and Marven Bagley. Those deals loom, ahead for the Kings GM and he really needed to get this one done now. The Deal Beginning in the 2020-21 season, Buddy will earn a contract-high $24.4 million and then his salary will decline by roughly eight percent in each of the remaining three years. By the final year of the contract, his salary would be a rather manageable $18.6 million. Or, just 13 percent of the team’s total cap. Assuming cap projections hold true. 2020-21: $24.4 million 2021-22: $22.4 million 2022-23: $20.5 million 2023-24: $18.6 million So now to the fun stuff… On top of Buddy’s base salary, is approximately $20 million in performance incentives. This amount is broken out over the life of the contract and includes both individual performance and team performance bonuses that could total some $106 million when it is all said and done. While some incentives are quite attainable, others are, well… Let’s just say that as Kings fans we would love for Buddy to get the full $106 million. According to Jason Jones of The Athletic, here are the available incentive bonuses for year one. Years 2-4 are likely similar in nature. Play at least 70 games AND shoot 85 percent from the free-throw line ($500,000) Average fewer than two turnovers per game ($500,000) Lead the league in made 3-pointers ($500,000) Post a defensive rating below 110.5 ($500,000) Be named an All-Star ($500,000) Help the Kings make the playoffs ($500,000) Help the Kings make it to the second round of the playoffs (additional $250,000) Help the Kings make it to the Western Conference Finals (additional $500,000) Help the Kings make the NBA Finals (additional $1 million) This is a nice combination of individual and team goals to motivate Hield to improve in areas of his game that the team feels he needs to work on. If he achieves the individual goals, the team goals should fall into place and everyone wins. It will be fun to track his progress during the season And that’s what came out of that 2am marathon. One can only imagine what kind of crazy incentives were on the table that morning, but the result was the first step to keeping this young “super team” together for many years to come.
- Marvin Bagley out 4 to 6 weeks with broken thumb
Following the Sacramento Kings disappointing 95-124 season opening loss to the Phoenix Suns Wednesday night, fans were more focused on whether the team could bounce back during their home opener on Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers. Or perhaps, the health of their starting backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield, who both limped off the court late in the game. However, no one could have predicted this. Power forward Marvin Bagley will miss four to six weeks with a non-displaced fracture of his right thumb. He suffered the injury in the fourth quarter when a Suns player swiped down to dislodge the ball and came down hard on his hand. The injury does not require surgery as a non-displaced fracture is a crack in the bone that will heal on its own if immobilized. Injuries are nothing new for Marvin during his short NBA career. As a rookie, he missed 20 games do to various injuries caused by freak incidents on the court. This shouldn’t be an indication of his fragility, but he is a little snake-bitten. Filling in for Bagley as the starting power forward would likely be Harrison Barnes or Nemanja Bjelica. Barnes could slide over from the small forward spot and provide an effective small-ball option for the Kings. At 6’8” he might be a little over-powered at times, but on offense he can punish the opposing defense with his inside and outside games. Bjelica started 70 games for the Kings last season and at 6”10” could provide some size at the position along with his long-range threat. He is also a decent rebounder for a stretch 4 but could hurt the team a little on the defensive side. Whatever happens, the 2019-20 season isn’t starting off very well, but this team is deeper than any Kings squad in recent years and such a setback might not hurt the team as much as it could have.
- Kings acquire Bazemore, Tolliver, picks from Blazers for Ariza
The Sacramento Kings have traded forwards Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan to the Portland Trail Blazers for guard Kent Bazemore and forward Anthony Tolliver. Sacramento also received Portland’s 2024 and 2025 second-round picks in the deal. Bazemore, a 6-4 swingman was touted as a player with star potential when he signed a 4-year/$70 million deal with Atlanta back in 2016. In 43 games with Portland this season, he is averaging 7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists, while hitting just 32.7% from deep. The 7-year veteran does bring a scrappy presence to the court, but his limited height might hinder his defensive effectiveness at the small forward position. It will be interesting to see how head coach Luke Walton chooses to use him as the club has plenty of quality shooting guards already on the roster, but a newly opened gaping hole at the backup small forward position behind 6-8 Harrison Barnes. Tolliver is making a return trip to Sacramento. He played in 65 games for the Kings back in the 2016-17 season. Best described as the “classic stretch 4”, the 34-year-old veteran can do little more than grab a few rebounds and shoot the three. In 33 games with the Blazers, he averaged 3.9 points and 3.3 rebounds. It is unclear what his role could be in Sacramento as sharp-shooter Nemanja Bjelica has the stretch big man role firmly claimed. But he is a solid locker room presence and the team is in desperate need of that as they go through troubling times at the midway point of the season. Who are the Kings losing? The move marked the end of Ariza’s brief 32-game career as a King where he averaged 6.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists off the bench. He was brought in to bring a veteran mentality to the locker room and a 3-and-D presence to the floor where he shot a respectable 35.1% from deep and was a key figure in Walton’s defensive lineup. Gabriel went undrafted out of Kentucky in the 2018 NBA Draft and played for the Kings’ G-League squad in Stockton as a two-way player last season. In 11 games with the parent club this year, the 6-8 small forward averaged just under two points and one rebound in limited minutes. The Sudanese native was viewed as a project by the front office with a nice mix of athleticism and scoring from both inside and out. He teamed up with Kings’ star point guard De’Aaron Fox during their freshman year in college. In a strange twist of fate, Swanigan is headed back to Portland after being acquired by Sacramento back in 2019 when the Kings sent center Skal Labissiere to the Blazers in a straight up swap. The 6-9 big man out of Perdue never fit into the Kings’ rotation and had his 2020-21 rookie option declined earlier this season. What this move could mean? For Sacramento, this appears to be the first step towards another move. Aside from collecting a couple additional second-round picks and clearing a roster spot, Sacramento really didn’t gain much with this trade as a standalone. They saved about $1.8 million in salary space next season via Ariza’s small partial guarantee but lost significant length at the backup small forward position. With center Dewayne Dedmon wanting to move on, it is highly likely that GM Vlade Divac is working on a second move that could involve that newly opened roster spot and/or those 2nd round picks from Portland. With the recent emergence of center Richaun Holmes, Dedmon has become expendable. The Kings are hoping that the three-man rotation of Marvin Bagley, Holmes, and Bjelica will serve as the core bigs of the future. This move could also spell more consistent time on the court for swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic. Many national writers would love to see the 6-6 sharpshooter/playmaker move to a team where he could be a focal point of the offense, but Divac and the front office have been clear that they want to re-sign the 27-year-old Serbian star this summer. And getting Dedmon’s money off the books for next season would clear enough room for that to happen. The Kings’ season has not necessarily turned out as everyone planned, but Divac and his staff are in no way panicking. Things happen and you just roll with it. Let’s see what is next as this team is not afraid of shaking things up mid-season. While we wouldn’t expect a major bombshell, clarity on the new direction of the Sacramento Kings should reveal itself soon.
- Ariza out for rest of preseason
Trevor Ariza will miss the Sacramento Kings’ final two preseason games after undergoing a successful procedure to remove a lipoma growth from his back Friday morning. He will be reevaluated in about a week to determine if he is on track to play in the team’s regular season opener on October 23. The veteran forward scored five points and grabbed five rebounds Thursday night in Sacramento’s 105-88 preseason victory over the Phoenix Suns at the Golden 1 Center. A lipoma is a lump situated between the skin and muscle layer. It is very common and generally does not require treatment. However, in some cases it can be very painful and requires removal. Ariza’s absence could likely mean more opportunities for swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic and two-way player Wenyen Gabriel behind starter Harrison Barnes during the team’s final two preseason games.
- Harry just can’t get a break
After being left behind when his Sacramento Kings teammates jetted off on Air Drake to play two preseason games in India, center Harry Giles III has now been ruled out of action for the remainder of the preseason, and his status for the October 23 regular season opener is in serious jeopardy. Described as left knee soreness, Giles had an MRI back on October 1 following just two days of training camp practice sessions. While no new structural damage was discovered, the team immediately went into caution mode and greatly limited his activity. He is participating in controlled rehab with the team’s training staff and hopes to be back at full strength and cleared to participate with the team soon, The third-year big man has endured a rather star-crossed NBA career since being drafted by the Kings with the 20th pick in the 2017 NBA draft. He sat out the entire 2017-18 season to rehab his surgically repaired left knee and then was held out of the final 11 games of the 2018-19 season for precautionary reasons. He was then left off the team’s Summer League squad and was finally cleared to participate in full training camp activities back on September 29. Giles now faces another challenge. Free-agent signee center Richaun Holmes is making a very strong bid to monopolize the backup center minutes with his defense and hustle, thus moving Harry to third in the depth chart going into the 2019-20 season.