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- Kings Mini Camp Interviews - Day 3
Harrison Barnes and Kent Bazemore speak with the media via a Zoom call on Friday. Beards, Bowling balls, and life in the bubble are all covered. Harrison Barnes Kent Bazemore ore
- Kings Mini Camp Interviews - Day 2
Marvin Bagley and Corey Brewer spoke with the media via a Zoom call Thursday to talk about the season restart and expected life in the Orlando Bubble. Marvin Bagley Corey Brewer
- Kokoskov leaving Kings to head up Fenerbahce
Sacramento Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov has agreed to be the next head coach of Fenerbahce in Istanbul. He will continue his coaching duties with the Kings through the completion of the 2019-20 season restart in Orlando, FL before heading overseas. Fenerbahce was Bogdan Bogdanovic’s old team from 2014 to 2017, and is widely viewed as one of Europe's top clubs..
- Kings Mini Camp Interviews - Day 1
De'Aaron Fox and Luke Walton spoke with the media on Wednesday via a Zoom call. While players are allowed to practice with coaches again, they are still limited to one-on-one workouts and required to maintain social distancing at the practice facility. Formal team practices will not begin until after the team arrives in Orlando on July 8. De'Aaron Fox Luke Walton
- The G-Man is back on TV
In an anticipated move, the Sacramento Kings have named Gary Gerould to take over the TV play-by-play duties for the team’s 2019-20 season restart in Orlando, FL. Gerould, a 35-year Kings announcing veteran, will move over from his radio play-by-play duties to the TV side where he once held the job from 1994 through 1998. He will be paired up with current color commentator Doug Christie for all local NBC Sports telecasts for the 8-game season and any locally televised playoff games that follow. He replaces the recently departed Grant Napear, who left the role following a social media dispute with several former Kings players including DeMarcus Cousins. Due to restrictions imposed by the NBA relating to the Coronavirus, all local broadcasts will be conducted remotely back in Sacramento. Stepping in to cover the radio play-by-play side will be Jason Ross, who has periodically filled in for Gerould and is the heir apparent for that role once the G-Man calls it a career. Ross’ high-energy style will be needed to convey excitement for games being played nearly 3000 miles away from Sacramento. The Kings will be conducting a formal search for a permanent television play-by-play announcer prior to the start of the 2020-21 NBA season.
- Three Kings out with Coronavirus
The Sacramento Kings have not even held a team practice in preparation for the NBA’s 2019-20 season restart in Orlando, FL and they have already lost 20% of their players to the coronavirus. Not a very encouraging start. Forward Jabari Parker, center Alex Len, and guard Buddy Hield are all reportedly in self- quarantine until health officials can cleared them to join the rest of the squad at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. The team is scheduled to fly out to their Disney bubble on July 8 to prepare for their first game on July 31 against the San Antonio Spurs. Parker was the first to report his positive test by releasing a statement through the team. “Several days ago, I tested positive for COVID-19 and immediately self-isolated in Chicago which is where I remain. I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well. I look forward to joining my teammates in Orlando as we return to the court for the resumption of the NBA season.” Shortly afterwards, Len posted a statement on his Instagram account confirming his test result as well. “I underwent testing yesterday in Sacramento and was found to be positive for COVID-19. I want to thank the Sacramento Kings for their great care and the NBA for putting the protocols in place to allow me to catch this early. I have immediately entered isolation and look forward to being cleared and rejoining my teammates for our playoff push.” While Hield has not released any formal statements, it was reported that he has confirmed reports of his positive test results and fully intends to rejoin his teammates very soon and expects to be ready to go on July 31. All three players who tested positive were residing outside of Sacramento when they contracted the virus.
- Kings bring back Brewer for the Bubble League
The Sacramento Kings have turned to a familiar face to fill their remaining roster spot for the 2019-20 season restart in Orlando, FL. Veteran swingman Corey Brewer will join the squad and bring his 13-years of NBA experience, along with an NBA title to help the Kings break a 13-year playoff drought. His defensive tenacity and size at 6-9 will provide the team more depth at the wing, especially if starting small forward Harrison Barnes is moved over to the 4 when the squad goes small. Brewer played in 24 games with the Kings during the 2018-19 season as a reserve, averaging 4.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. He also played under head coach Luke Walton for two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
- 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.
- De'Aaron Fox is back
Just 36 days after suffering a Grade 3 sprain of his left ankle during a mishap in practice, De’Aaron Fox is back on the court breaking the ankles of his opponents. The Sacramento Kings’ third-year point guard returned to action Tuesday night in Charlotte to score 19 points and dish out eight assists off the bench as the Kings fell to the Hornets 102-110. The loss dropped the squad to 12-15 on the young season. While some might fret over the defeat, the big picture is far more positive. Fox looked very spry during all 30 minutes he was on the court and did not appear to be hampered in any way by the ankle. He also showed off a nice shooting touch following his 17-game absence, hitting 6-13 shots, and 2-6 from behind the arc. In fact, De’Aaron’s ankle was feeling so good Tuesday night that he decided to hurdle Charlotte’s Devonte Graham late in the 3rd quarter. The shame was that even though he cleared him, the refs called a foul because no one is supposed to be able to hurdle an NBA player.
- Kings try to paint SacTown red with new City Edition uniforms
The Sacramento kings recently revealed their 2019 Nike City Edition Uniforms, and they are red. Very red. In holding to their City Edition tradition, the team has decided to forgo any sense of creativity or connection with the Sacramento region and just copy last season’s version with a different color scheme. This year the theme is red, as they have played out the baby blues for long enough. They swapped out the primary color and wove the usual grey, white, and baby blue throughout the uni and slapped on the traditional “SacTown” name on the front to link them with the city. They look like rather colorful summer league jerseys. “The City Edition uniforms were made to represent the Proud Past and Proud Future of our Kings here in Sacramento,” said team President of Business Operations John Rinehart. “With red as the primary color, they represent that passion and energy that has echoed through our arena and helps celebrate the team’s 35th year in Sactown.” The team will dawn their new threads during seven home games in the 2019-20 season along with their red, white, and blue classic court. November 30 vs. Denver Nuggets December 2 vs. Chicago Bulls December 11 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder December 13 vs. New York Knicks December 23 vs. Houston Rockets February 7 vs. Miami Heat February 8 vs. San Antonio Spurs Fan response has been mixed so far. Some are excited by the retro color scheme, while others are bored with it already and confused why the team went red. The Kings and Nike really need to step up their uni game next season and come up with a theme that truly captures the essence of the city and region of Sacramento. Otherwise, we will just end up with the same uniforms as previous years, but next time grey will be the primary color. Be sure to check out the other team City Editions that have been released so far in Pete Blackburn’s column Grading the 2019-20 NBA ‘City’ uniforms. The best and worst jerseys from across the league. Sacramento wasn't the only team that missed the point.
- De’Aaron Fox could be out for months with sprained ankle
The Sacramento Kings received devastating news Monday afternoon when it was reported that starting point guard De’Aaron Fox could miss more than a month of action after suffering a severely sprained ankle. Near the end of practice, a teammate accidentally stepped on the third-year guard’s foot resulting in the injury. An MRI confirmed that he suffered a Grade 3 sprain of his left ankle – the most severe level. He will be re-evaluated in three to four weeks before a definitive time table can be set for his return. The re-evaluation comment is generally code for “he will be out much longer, so don’t get your hopes up”. This news comes less than three weeks after the team’s other young star, Marvin Bagley was ruled out of action for four to six weeks following a fractured right thumb. In nine games this season, Fox was averaging 18.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists. While his overall stats were down slightly from last season, his floor leadership and wide-ranging scoring threat on the court will be missed. Defenses will now be able to focus in on the team’s other options and try to disrupt what was an offense that had just started clicking. Obviously, the Kings’ depth will be tested over the coming months, and general manager Vlade Divac’s moves over the summer to bolster the bench will be under an extreme microscope. Veteran point guard Cory Joseph and utility superstar Bogdan Bogdanovic will need to step up and fill the void left by Fox. Both are quite capable of leading this team, but neither possesses the speed and athleticism of De’Aaron and head coach Luke Walton must switch up his game plan to accommodate their strengths – a high-IQ, half-court offense. The run-and-gun Kings may be on hold for a while. Third-string guard Yogi Farrell will also likely be thrust into action. He can fill some of the void in scoring but isn’t much of a flor-leader and lacks the size of the other guards on the team. Some fans may begin clamoring for two-way player Kyle Guy to come in and play a role. I personally don’t see that as Guy is more of a shooting guard right now, can’t play defense, and is basically a Yogi clone with no NBA experience. Let him find his way in the G-League and then see what he can bring later. That is why the Kings retained Farrell in the first place. While this news is absolutely crushing for a fan-base hoping for their young core to lead them to the playoffs for the first time in 13years, it may not be the end of the world. Sure, De’Aaron is a great rising star and brings an excitement to the game that few can, but his replacements are not unplayable scrubs by any stretch of the imagination. Joseph is an extremely heady player, and Bogdanovic could start for a lot of teams in the NBA. Let’s not throw in the towel just yet. Let’s give coach Walton a chance to prove his skills as a coach and retune this team on the fly. Critics will smirk, fans will snark, but this team still has several quality players on the roster. Can Luke turn them into a team? Next man up!
- Giles gets a “prove it” deal from Kings
The Sacramento Kings continue to move forward with their long-term plan of developing their youth, but it may come at a price. The team picked up the fourth-year option on guard De’Aaron Fox and the third-year option on big man Marven Bagley Thursday. However, in a move that surprised many fans, they declined the forth-year option on the popular, but injury-prone center Harry Giles. The charismatic big man from Duke won over Kings fans with his friendly demeaner and willingness to go the extra mile to interact with the residents of Sacramento. But now he will be an unrestricted free-agent next summer which saves the Kings approximately $3.79 million in 2020-21 and draws a line in the sand that Harry will need to prove he can withstand the riggers of a long NBA season. Or his NBA career may be nothing more than a case of “What could have been…”. Following a redshirt rookie year, he played only 58 games in the 2018-19 season due to lingering affects of three knee surgeries that have kept him off the court for much of the past five years. In an interview on October 25, Harry spoke with the media briefly about his knee and willingness to get back out on the court. His frustrations were clear, and he may have already known the team’s plans regarding his 2020-21 option by then. When Harry can get out on the floor, he has displayed talents unlike many big men in the league today. A willingness to pass and get his teammates the ball in ideal situations is one of the skills that really caught the eye of Kings general manager Vlade Divac – a skilled passing big himself back in the day. We will have to wait and see. If Giles can prove that his knee will hold up and he can be a key component in the team’s youth future, there is nothing holding them back from trying to re-sign him next summer. In other moves, the kings also announced their decision to decline the fourth-year option on center Caleb Swanigan. The 6’9” center out of Purdue was acquired last year in a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for center Skal Labissiere but hasn’t really found his way in the league.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Kings waive Mika, Pineiro
Shortly after making their NBA preseason debuts in the Sacramento Kings 105-88 victory over the Phoenix Suns at the Golden 1 Center Thursday night, the team has announced that center Eric Mika and forward Isaiah Pineiro have been waived. This move brings the team’s roster down to 18 players with three more cuts remaining before the start of the regular season. Mika, the former BYU Cougar standout went undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft. He spent the past two years playing in Italy and Germany before joining the Kings’ 2019 Summer League squad where he averaged 8.8 points and 8.1 rebounds to earn an Exhibit 10 training camp invite on August 20. His hustle and rebounding prowess were a welcomed sight to a Sacramento team that has, of late, been a little lacking in that area. Pineiro, the 6’7” Sacramento area native attended Sierra College before transferring to the University of San Diego where he lit up the WCC during his junior and senior seasons. He went undrafted in the 2019 NBA draft before joining the Kings Summer League squad. He signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the team back on July 31. Pineiro also participated in the 2019 FIBA World Cup tournament in China as a member of the Puerto Rican national team. It is likely that both Mika and Pineiro will be joining the Kings G-League team in Stockton for the 2019-20 season.