Kings

How two-way contract additions Cooley, Sampson fit with Kings

How two-way contract additions Cooley, Sampson fit with Kings

The Sacramento Kings continued their offseason of change Saturday morning, adding two more players to their expanded roster rollover. Jack Cooley and JaKarr Sampson were added via the NBA’s new two-way contract, giving the Kings two more able bodied players to come into camp with.

The two-way contract is the NBA’s next step in establishing a true minor league system with G-League (formerly the D-League). Teams can add a 16th and 17th rostered player that they can then bounce back and forth with their G-League affiliate team. Sampson and Cooley are eligible for a $75,000 contract, which is substantially higher than the $26,000 cap of a standard G-League signee.

Both Sampson and Cooley are also eligible for a maximum of 45 days of call-ups to the parent club, where they make a prorated portion of the NBA’s $812,000 league minimum salary.

On a team filled with highly paid veterans and first round picks on guaranteed deals, both Sampson and Cooley have tried to break into the league the hard way. Neither jump off the page as potential future starters, but there is a way for both of them to fit with Sacramento as the current roster is constructed.

Cooley spent last season with Riesen Ludwigsburg of the German basketball Bundesliga. After going undrafted out of Notre Dame, he’s spent Summer League with the Kings and turned heads with his gritty style of play.

The 6-foot-10 power forward is a banger inside and a plus rebounder. He’ll provide organizational depth in case Skal Labissiere struggles in his sophomore season or an unexpected injury to 36-year-old Zach Randolph.

Cooley, 26, also gives the Kings the opportunity to take it slow with rookie Harry Giles, who has a history of knee injuries and played sparingly last season at Duke. After bouncing around the world chasing his basketball dreams, Cooley will likely act as a mentor to Giles both in Sacramento and with the Reno Bighorns.

Sampson went undrafted out of St. John’s in 2014. He’s played 147 games in his NBA career during stops in Philadelphia and Denver, but he spent last season with the Iowa Energy of the D-League. The 24-year-old small forward earned a D-League All-Star spot, while posting 15.1 points, 5.9 rebounds in 25.7 minutes per game.

Like Cooley, the high flying wing joined Sacramento in Las Vegas and played well. The Kings don’t have a conventional roster spot available for Sampson, but he has a lot more experience than either Malachi Richardson or Justin Jackson at the small forward position.

He has a motor that doesn’t stop and at 6-foot-9, 214-pounds, Sampson has great size at a position of need. He is a strong defender and he likes to finish above the rim. In a perfect world, he might compete for a rotational spot with the club while the rookies fight to earn playing time.

Sampson may earn minutes, but the limitations of the 2-way contract, matched with the team’s need to develop their young additions at the wing will limit his time with the parent club.

Cooley and Sampson are players who have worked hard to earn another shot in the NBA. They play with a blue collar mentality and can bring an interesting perspective for a group of young players that know nothing but the security of a first round rookie scale contract.

82 games is a long season. Chances are Cooley and Sampson will make an appearance this season in a Kings uniform, even if it’s for a quick look.

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

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USATSI

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.