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.

Report: After starting 0-3, Suns fire head coach Watson on eve of Kings game

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USATSI

Report: After starting 0-3, Suns fire head coach Watson on eve of Kings game

Drama. The Sacramento Kings have done their best to avoid the non-basketball related issues that often come with the NBA game, but they’ll walk into someone else’s firestorm Monday night in Phoenix.

The Suns have fired head coach Earl Watson just three games into the 2017-18 season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Phoenix has dropped all three contests, including a 48-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on opening night and a 42-point defeat at the hands of the Clippers on Saturday.

Before the firing, veteran point guard tweeted out a message that has since gone viral.

Whether Bledsoe was referring to Watson or his impending release is unknown at this time. 

Watson leaves with a 33-85 record in parts of three seasons with the Suns. He took over for Jeff Hornacek midway through the 2015-16 season. According to Wojnarowski, Suns ownership and management is currently meeting with the team’s assistant coaches and Jay Triano is likely to be named interim head coach.

Day before facing Kings, Suns guard tweets ‘I don’t wanna be here’

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AP

Day before facing Kings, Suns guard tweets ‘I don’t wanna be here’

The Kings head to Phoenix Monday to take on the Suns. It looks like If it were up to Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, he wouldn't be playing the Kings or anyone else with his current team. 

On Sunday, Bledsoe let out his frustration with the following tweet:

The Suns fell to 0-3 on Saturday after getting crushed by the Clippers, 130-88, Sunday in Los Angeles. They are losing by an average of 30.7 points as their defense is allowing 128.7 points per game. 

With the ball in their hands, the Suns' offense isn't much better, averaging a pedestrian 98 points per game. 

Former teammate DeAndre Jordan chimed in on Twitter after Bledsoe's tweet too. Bledsoe spent his first three years in the NBA with Jordan on the Clippers.

Bledsoe, 28, is averaging 15.7 points and 3.0 assists per game in the young season. Over his eight-year career, Bledsoe has put up averages of 13.1 points and 4.6 assists per game.