Reports: Kings pursuing Hawks' Paul Millsap


Reports: Kings pursuing Hawks' Paul Millsap

SACRAMENTO -- With the reported trade of 35-year-old sharpshooter Kyle Korver, the Atlanta Hawks appear primed as sellers nearly seven weeks before the NBA’s Feb. 23 trade deadline. What does that mean for veteran big man Paul Millsap?

According to multiple reports, the Kings have interest in the Hawks’ All-Star forward and are pushing hard to make something work.

The Atlantic Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamare started the conversation with a tweet Thursday afternoon.

“The Sacramento Kings are a team very interested in Paul Millsap,” Vivlamare tweeted.

Minutes later, RealGM writer Keith Smith jumped into the conversation.

“Also, the Kings are getting deep on Millsap. Other teams involved, but SAC very motivated to get in the playoffs this year,” Smith posted on twitter.

Smith went on to say that DeMarcus Cousins would not be included in any deal for Millsap and that the Kings would love to pair the veteran with their All-Star center.

Millsap, 31, is in the middle of a three-year, $60 million deal that carries him through the 2017-18 season, but he has a $22 million player option for next year and could leave as an unrestricted free agent.

The three-time All-Star is posting solid numbers for the Hawks, averaging 17.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals in 33.9 minutes per game.

Known as a positive presence in the locker room and a quality defender on the floor, Millsap would fit nicely at the power forward position alongside Cousins.

Whether the Kings have the assets to land an All-Star caliber player is another question.

Sacramento has already committed their 2017 first round selection (top 10 protected) to the Chicago Bulls as part of the Omri Casspi/J.J. Hickson deal from 2011 and their 2019 pick is property of the Philadelphia 76ers from the Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry deal from 2015. The earliest selection the Kings could include is a 2021 pick per NBA rules.

If Atlanta is looking for prospects, the Kings have plenty of young options sitting on the bench from both the 2015 and 2016 NBA Draft. They also have plenty of moveable veteran pieces on short-term deals to make the money work.

Millsap’s value will be hampered slightly by his contract status. Dealing him in the first week of January would guarantee a team less than four months of service before he could exercise the option to enter free agency this summer.

It looks like trade season is starting early this season and the Sacramento Kings might be ready to jump in the action.

Kings find themselves in middle of protest as sports, politics collide: 'It has to stop'

Kings find themselves in middle of protest as sports, politics collide: 'It has to stop'

SACRAMENTO -- Basketball took a backseat Thursday evening at Golden 1 Center. Protesters surrounded the Sacramento Kings’ facility, locking arms and blocking the entrance to an estimated 15,000 fans. The game was delayed by nearly 15 minutes and the limited number of ticket holders that made it into the building were basically put on lock down and supplied with free food for the evening.

This issue at hand was the officer involved shooting death of Stephon Clark, a local South Sacramento man that was killed Sunday evening.

Video of the shooting was released by the Sacramento Police Department Wednesday afternoon, setting off community outcry in Sacramento.

In perhaps his finest moment as owner and chairman of the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadivé took center court surrounded by his players to address the undersized crowd.

“On Sunday, we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community and on behalf of the players, the executives, ownership and the entire Kings family, I first of all want to express our deepest sympathies to the family. What happened was absolutely horrific and we are so very sorry for your loss.

I also want to say that we at the Kings recognize your people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that. We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously and we stand before you; old, young, black, white, brown and we are all united in our commitment.

We recognize that it’s not just business as usual and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting in our own community. We are going to work hard to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.”

Protests continued throughout the night in the courtyard adjacent to Golden 1 Center. Security and police stood guard at each entrance, trying to keep the events outside the building from spilling into the team’s two-year-old facility.

The locker room was quiet. Despite the 105-90 victory by the Kings, basketball was the last thing on anyone’s mind.

"I just want to say I 100 percent agree with the protest outside,” Garrett Temple said following the game. “If I didn't have a job to do, I probably would have been out there with them peacefully protesting, because what's going on has to stop. It has to stop.”

Sacramento’s leader behind the scenes, Temple has been active in reaching out in the community and fostering conversation with local youth. He wasn’t able to play in Thursday evening’s game due to a left ankle sprain, but that didn’t stop him from waiting around to field questions.

“I think the protest did what it was supposed to do, it brought a light to what’s going on, I think that’s what protests are for,” Temple added. “After that, something has to change. Us not playing a basketball game isn’t going to change the fact that police unfortunately view black and brown men as a threat, when they are certainly not.”

Temple said that he had viewed the video and admitted that it was dark. A split second decision by a police officer cost Clark, a 22-year-old African American, his life. According to published reports, Clark was holding his mobile phone and not a weapon as officers believed.

The tragic events played out in seconds, but it’s storyline that many communities around the country have had to face on countless occasions.

Temple isn’t one to sit by idly by and bite his tongue. He may have addressed the shooting on his own with or without the protest going on outside the arena. But with the events of the night, politics and sports intersected at 500 David J. Stern Walk, opening a door for Temple to express himself.

“To those that say politics and sports don’t intertwine, this is a democracy, people have a voice and we’re people at the end of the day,” Temple said. “Obviously, sports and politics definitely intertwined tonight. The protesters did what they wanted to do in terms of bring light to the situation.”

In addition to Ranadivé’s comments following then contest, the Kings put out two separate press releases. The first came out around 7 pm to update fans of the current status of the game.

"Tonight's game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund."

The second press release came later to insure fans that they would receive a refund.

“Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remained closed as tonight’s game proceeded with a delay. In the coming days, guests who purchased tickets for tonight’s game directly through the Sacramento Kings or Ticketmaster will receive detailed instructions to facilitate a full refund.”

The Kings return to the court Sunday afternoon for a 3pm matinee game.

Start of Hawks-Kings game delayed due to protests outside arena

Start of Hawks-Kings game delayed due to protests outside arena

SACRAMENTO -- Giving new meaning to playing under protest, the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks game at Golden 1 Center was delayed 13 minutes Thursday evening due to an actual protest outside the building.

Protesters locked arms in front of the entrance to the building, blocking ticket holders from entering the arena.

The Kings released the following prepared statement.

“Tonight’s game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund.”

Minutes before the 7:10 game start time, the Kings invited what few fans made their way into the building to sit in the lower bowl. A couple of thousand fans moved as close to the court as possible, while the doors remained closed to the outside.

The protest stems from the release of police body cam footage of the officer involved shooting death of South Sacramento resident, Stephon Clark, on Sunday evening. The video was released on Wednesday.

As of 8pm PST, the Golden 1 Center remains surrounded by protesters with security and police officers stationed insider every entrance and exit door.