Kings

Kings set off fireworks on 4th of July by agreeing with Hill and Randolph

Kings set off fireworks on 4th of July by agreeing with Hill and Randolph

Fireworks and the Fourth or July are synonymous. Fireworks and the Sacramento Kings, not so much.
 
Vlade Divac and his budding front office set the NBA world buzzing Tuesday morning when they agreed to terms with two free agents.
 
Divac and co. added one of the premiere free agent guards in Utah’s George Hill, a source confirmed to NBC Sports California.

The contract -- which could be worth up to $57 million -- contains two guaranteed years and a partial guarantee in Year 3.

The deal was first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical.
 
Minutes after reports broke on Hill’s addition, the Kings struck again, adding 16-year NBA veteran Zach Randolph. Z-Bo spent three years working under head coach Dave Joerger with the Memphis Grizzlies and according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, he’s agreed to a deal worth $24 million over two years.
 
Hill is signing on to mentor rookies De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason. The 32-year-old point guard posted 16.9 points, 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds last season for a 51-win Utah Jazz team. He played just 49 games due to injury, but he managed to shoot 40.3 percent from three in 31.5 minutes a night. 
 
Randolph continues to grind. The soon-to-be 36-year-old dropped 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds in 24.5 minutes per game last season in Memphis. He will be asked to help mentor the Kings’ fleet of young bigs, including Skal Labissiere, Harry Giles, Willie Cauley-Stein and Georgios Papagiannis. 
 
The two-time All-Star brings a toughness the Kings sorely lack on the frontline and he’s played alongside veteran Kosta Koufos during their time together with the Grizzlies.
 
Sacramento isn’t done shopping, although they are running low on roster spots. They still have a major hole at the small forward position and at least $15 million to spend. 
 
Hill and Randolph represent two of the biggest free agent acquisitions by the Kings in recent memory. They are solid veteran additions that will join Koufos and Garrett Temple as the team’s elder statesmen tasked with bringing along one of the league’s youngest rosters.
 

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

After loss to Nuggets, it's clear Kings need to fix problem on the glass

SACRAMENTO -- Light in the rear. It’s a term the Sacramento Kings coaching staff has used since the beginning of training camp to describe the bigs on the roster. On Monday night at Golden 1 Center, the team’s lack of strength inside was on full display as the Denver Nuggets crushed them on the glass.

“I think we’re 29th in the league for rebounding, so that’s a little bit of our makeup of how our team is made,” Dave Joerger said following the Kings’ 114-98 loss.

Joerger is close in his assessment, but off by a few spots. His roster ranks 26th in the league in rebounding overall and 28th on the defensive side of the ball. It’s become an achilles heel for a team that has a few glaring weaknesses.

“When Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Kosta (Koufos) aren’t in there to snag every rebound, we have to get in there and help Zach (Randolph) and help Skal (Labissiere),” veteran Garrett Temple said. “Skal’s a little undersized in terms of weight and Z-Bo will put his body on people, but some people might be able to out jump him.”

On a normal night, Temple is right. Randolph and Labissiere struggle to put up big numbers on the glass. But against the Nuggets, it was Koufos and Cauley-Stein that combined to grab nine rebounds in 51 total minutes of action.

Randolph and Labissiere didn’t fair much better, finishing with 10 boards between the two of them in 38 minutes with the starters. Between the Kings’ four bigs, they were out rebounded by the Nuggets bigs by a final of 34-19.

The Nuggets came into the night a top 10 rebounding team overall and the second best offensive rebounding team in the NBA at 11.8 per game.

It’s not just the bigs that struggled to grab boards for Sacramento. Without Buddy Hield, the club’s best rebounding wing, the Kings’ were dominated 49-34 overall in rebounding, including 14-5 on the offensive glass.

“The first shot, it’s a good contest, we did everything right, except get the rebound,” rookie point guard De’Aaron Fox said. “And then they get an open shot off a second chance shot. If we can complete a lot of plays with the rebound, we’ll be okay.”

To Fox’s point, the defensive possession doesn’t end until the rebound is secured. Sacramento was outscored 19-6 on second chance points. In a 16-point game, those numbers loom large.

“Us guards, we know we have to help our bigs,” Fox said. “We know our bigs are athletic. We know they do what they do, at the end of the day, other team’s guards are helping their bigs rebound and their bigs aren’t alone.”

Outside of the four bigs, none of the other seven players to see action had more than three rebounds. It’s an issue that has to be addressed as the Kings move forward.

“There are some instances that really bothered me,” Joerger said. “We had some guys leaking out, standing at half court and that I won’t have.”

The Kings have a day of practice on Tuesday to try and sure up some of their issues. Some of the problems stem from inexperience, but some of the issue comes down to energy and effort.

It doesn’t even get easier on Wednesday. The Los Angeles Lakers rank second in the league in rebounding at 47.5 boards per game. On the plus side, they also give up the 28th most rebounds in the league.

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone suspended for game against Kings

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USATSI

Nuggets head coach Michael Malone suspended for game against Kings

Michael Malone won't be on the sideline when his Nuggets take on his former team on Monday night.

The NBA announced Monday afternoon that Malone has been suspended without pay for the game against the Kings.

The suspension stems from Malone "entering the court, halting play and making contact with a game official" during Denver's game against the Lakers on Sunday. The incident occurred midway through the second quarter.

Malone was hired as head coach of the Kings prior to the 2013-14 season. He was fired just 24 games into the 2014-15 season.

Coverage of the Nuggets and Kings gets underway at 6:30pm on NBC Sports California and streaming on the NBC Sports App.