Jason Thompson is staying in Sacramento.The Kings and their starting power forward agreed inprinciple to a new contract on Wednesday, locking down the restricted freeagent on the first day free agents could sign contracts.We are all very excited about Jasons return, Kingspresident of basketball operations Geoff Petrie said in a statement. He is avery important young veteran for our team and style of play going forward.Jason brings experience, energy and an improving all-around game to the floorevery night.The Kings did not disclose the length of the deal nor howmuch money Thompson will receive, but the Sacramento Bee reported that Thompsonwill likely receive an average of 6 million per season.The Kings had extended a qualifying offer to Thompson tomake him a restricted free agent. Petrie said Thompson was the Kings toppriority of the free agency period before it began.The 6-foot, 11-inch power forward contributed 9.1 pointsand 6.9 rebounds per game for the Kings last year.With Thompson re-signed, Sacramento now has three dynamic big men.Center DeMarcus Cousins averaged 18.1 points and 10.9 rebounds in his sophomoreseason and has spent the summer practice against the Olympic mens basketballteam as a member of the USA Mens Select Team. Thomas Robinson, thefifth-overall pick in this years NBA Draft, scored 17.7 points and grabbed11.9 boards per game for Kansaslast year.With 15 million in cap space entering the offseason, theKings likely still have some money throw around in free agency after bringingback Thompson and signing Robinson.That money might be useful to address three-point shootingwoes. The Kings 31.6-shooting percentage was second-to-last in the NBA last season.
For the second time in seven days, the Sacramento Kings face the Toronto Raptors for an early Sunday matinee. This time around, they’ll have to go to battle without their leading scorer and their starting point guard.
Zach Randolph has carried a tremendous load for the Kings over the last few weeks. The 36-year-old big has logged 30 or more minutes for the Kings seven times over the past 11 games. He’s posted huge numbers over that stretch, including a 35-point, 13-rebound performance in a win over the Pelicans.
In his 17th NBA season, Randolph is leading the Kings in scoring at 15.2 points and rebounding with 7.0. With a short break in the schedule, the team is giving Z-Bo an opportunity to catch his breath with a day off to rest. He’ll return to action when Sacramento travels to Philly and Brooklyn for back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.
In addition to Z-Bo sitting, rookie De’Aaron Fox will sit on Sunday with a quad contusion. He is listed as day-to-day moving forward and the injury is not considered serious.
Raptors by 12.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
George Hill vs. Kyle Lowry -- With De’Aaron Fox out, the Kings need Hill to continue his recent surge. He’ll draw a three-time All-Star in Lowry that has the Raptors machine running smoothly. If Sacramento has any chance of upsetting Toronto, they’ll need their veteran point guard to come up big.
WHERE THEY STAND:
Kings: 9-19, fourth place in Pacific
Raptors: 19-8, second place in Atlantic
Kings: C/PF Zach Randolph (rest) out, PG De’Aaron Fox (right quad contusion) out, SG/SF Malachi Richardson (sprained ankle) probable, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out until January at the earliest.
Raptors: C Lucas Nogueira (calf) out.
After four straight losses to the Kings, the Raptors picked up a win at Golden 1 Center last Sunday, giving them a 1-0 advantage in the season series. Sacramento holds a 26-16 lead in the all-time series between these two clubs.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
Replacing Z-Bo -- Randolph has been spectacular for Sacramento in the early season, but he’s played more minutes than expected. The team last played Thursday in Minnesota. By giving Randolph Sunday off, the Kings are effectively giving the veteran a four day break from basketball activities. Someone has to step up and fill the void or it’s going to be a long day for the Kings.
Second Team Magic -- With the team shorthanded, Dave Joerger is going to need the second unit to continue their strong play. Two reserves will slide into the starting lineup, opening up an opportunity for the end of the bench to get some run.
Air Canada -- After 20 seasons of NBA action, this might be Vince Carter’s last trip to the city where it all began. The 40-year-old wing has played sparingly this season for Sacramento, but with the roster depleted, he’ll likely see action. Carter helped put Toronto on the map as an NBA city. It’s hard to imagine the fans not reacting to him in a positive way.
Rookie down. De’Aaron Fox banged knees with Minnesota Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns in the first quarter Thursday evening at the Target Center. The Kings’ 19-year-old point guard was diagnosed with a right quadricep contusion and was ruled out.
Fox has played in all 28 games for Sacramento this season, posting 10 points and 3.9 assists in 26.3 minutes per game coming into Thursday evening. He left the game after just seven minutes of action, finishing with two points, two assists and two turnovers.
The fifth overall selection in the 2017 NBA Draft will likely be listed as day-to-day moving forward.