Kings

Gameday: A chance to rebound, Kings visit crumbling Lakers

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USATSI

Gameday: A chance to rebound, Kings visit crumbling Lakers

After falling apart late Monday night against the San Antonio Spurs, the Sacramento Kings get an opportunity for redemption Tuesday on the road. Waiting for them is a struggling Lakers team caught in the middle of a media storm.

Sacramento played well for about 44 minutes against the Spurs, but they were outscored 17-5 down the stretch by a veteran San Antonio team. Willie Cauley-Stein posted big numbers, but the Kings received solid contributions from almost everyone who stepped on the floor.

The Lakers lost nine straight before taking apart the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday. Like last season, Los Angeles started hot and then they've gone ice cold. Rookie Kyle Kuzma is still the best player on the team, but Brandon Ingram is quickly developing in his second NBA season.

BETTING LINE

Lakers by 6.5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Lonzo Ball part 2 -- Welcome to the main event. Since returning from injury, Fox is playing his best ball as a pro. The 20-year-old posted 11 points and 10 assists Monday against the Spurs and has looked aggressive on both sides of the court. Ball has improved his 3-point percentage as the season has progressed, but he’s still shooting just 35.3 percent from the field overall. It should be a fun match between two young and talented point guards.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 13-26, fourth place in Pacific

Lakers: 12-27, fifth place in Pacific

INJURY REPORT

Kings: PG George Hill (personal) out, PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out.

Lakers: No injuries to report.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Punch Back -- The Lakers lead the NBA in pace, but they struggle mightily on the defensive end. They’ll want to get into a track meet and the Kings need to have answer. Sacramento is last in the league in pace, points per game and offensive rating, but they have plenty of young guys that can run.

Shake Off the Loss -- Sacramento went toe-to-toe with the Spurs for most of the night at Golden 1 Center. They fell apart late, but there was a lot to like in the loss. The NBA schedule doesn’t allow time for feeling sorry for yourself. Move on and get ready for a struggling Lakers club.

Mobile Forwards -- The Kings struggle with size at the forward position. The Lakers come in with two versatile and tall forwards in Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma. Davis Bertans lit the Kings up for 28 points on Monday evening and if they don’t make adjustments, either Kuzma or Ingram or both will have a field day.

SERIES HISTORY

The Kings beat the Lakers 113-102 back in late November to take a 1-0 lead in the season series. Los Angeles owns a huge 270-154 lead in the all-time series and a 92-45 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

QUOTE

“Tomorrow’s game? Another game.” -De’Aaron Fox on the Kings/Lakers matchup on Tuesday.

Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

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Hill to the Cavs? The best and biggest deal for the Kings is...

Is the George Hill era in Sacramento coming to and end? According to Shams Charania, the Kings might have an interested party in the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Hill signed a massive three-year, $57 million deal with Sacramento over the summer, but has yet to live up to the contract. Through 37 games, Hill is posting 10.5 points and 2.7 assists per game for Sacramento. Those numbers are down from 16.9 points and 4.2 assists he averaged last season as a member of the Utah Jazz.

If a deal between the two teams is going to happen, it might be more complex than just shipping the 31-year-old to Cleveland on the next flight. Here is a look at a couple of possibilities without going into potential 3-way deals.

BEST DEAL FOR KINGS

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - year-two a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land a very serviceable forward that instantly fills the team’s biggest need. At 27-years-old, Crowder is affordable and under contract for another two seasons, although he’s really struggled in his first season in Cleveland. Shumpert is coming off an injury and would likely opt out of his final year.

Why Cavs make deal: Hill instantly improves their backcourt. He can play the one of the two either as a starter or off the bench. Giving up tow wings might not be the best option, but Sacramento is going to want something of value back. Richardson is thrown into the deal to make salaries match.

BEST DEAL FOR CAVS

Kings receive: Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs Receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: Kings give up an asset in Richardson, but they shed Hill’s $19 million owed for 2018-19 season. If Shumpert opts in, the Kings still save $8 million off the books for next season.

Why Cavs make deal: Basically, they land Hill for a couple of spare parts. Richardson is

BIG DEAL

Kings receive: Jae Crowder (3-years, $22 million), Channing Frye (1-year, $7.4 million) Iman Shumpert (2-year, $21.4 million - 2018-19 contract a player option at $11 million)

Cavs receive: George Hill (3-year, $57 million), Kosta Koufos (2-year, $17 million with player option for second year), Malachi Richardson (2-year, $3 million with team option for third year)

Why Kings make deal: They land Crowder and a get out of jail free card on Hill’s contract. Koufos can opt out of his deal at the end of the season and the Kings get nothing. Throwing in Richardson isn’t ideal, but the Kings are deep at the two and they have to match roster spots.

Why Cavs make deal: They get an upgrade in the backcourt in Hill. They are also rumored to be in the market for a big and Koufos is a much more affordable option than DeAndre Jordan.

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

Bogdan Bogdanovic breaks his shell early in 2018, 'he’s able to do everything'

He’s not really a rookie. After playing for years overseas, Bogdan Bogdanovic has proven very quickly that he is an NBA player. Midway through his first season in the league, the 25-year-old Serb is finding his stride. 

From the moment he stepped on the floor in Sacramento, Bogdanovic showed flashes of something special. You could see early on that he was trying to fit in and make nice with his teammates, but the honeymoon phase is over. Bogdanovic is no longer holding back.

For the third time in the new calendar year, Bogdanovic set a career-high in scoring on Wednesday evening. He dropped in 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting, including a perfect 6-of-6 from long range. 

“I’ve said it all year, he’s not really a rookie, he’s been playing pro ball for so many years,” De’Aaron Fox said of his backcourt mate. “He definitely doesn’t play like a rookie. He brings the intelligence, the savvy, the shooting - defensively, he gets after it. He’s able to do everything for us.” 

He’s pushed his season numbers up to 11.5 points, 2.8 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 26.6 minutes per game. Bogdanovic has also raised his shooting percentages drastically as the season has progressed, knocking down 48.8 percent from the field and 41.3 percent from behind the 3-point line. 

In eight games in January, Bogdanovic has taken his game to another level. He’s hit the opposition for 16.3 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 30.6 minutes a game. Dave Joerger has come to rely on the former Fenerbahce star, even giving him starts in the last two games since the youth movement was officially put into motion.

“I’m working every single day as hard as I can, I’m trying to be the best version of (myself).” Bogdanovic said following the team’s loss to Utah on Wednesday.

It’s a small sample size, but Bogdanovic’s shooting numbers in 2018 are off the charts. He’s hitting 54.8 percent from the floor, a stunning 58.3 percent on the 3-ball and 92.3 percent from the line.

With All-Star weekend on the horizon, Bogdanovic has likely earned his way into an invitation for the Rising Stars Challenge. Amongst rookies, he’s currently seventh in scoring, fourth in 3-point percentage, eighth in field goal percentage and sixth in steals. 

Sacramento’s 2017-18 season is about sifting through the young players and figuring out what they have. It appears the Kings have found a keeper in Bogdanovic.