Ty Lawson practices with Kings on Monday after 'personal issue'

Ty Lawson practices with Kings on Monday after 'personal issue'

SACRAMENTO -- When the media doors opened to the Kings practice facility at the new Golden 1 Center Monday afternoon, point guard Ty Lawson was on the floor with his teammates. It’s been a rocky 72 hours for the 28-year-old after he missed a team flight to Kentucky, but he’s survived for the moment and will remain part of the Kings roster.

“Ty had a personal issue and that stuff is non-basketball related,” coach Dave Joerger said.

“There is no situation,” Joerger continued. “It’s in my hands. The decisions that were made of the plane and all that stuff, that’s on me. It’s a personal issue, I think has been very inaccurately reported.”

Lawson, who has a history of off the court issues, was brought in late during the offseason to support one of the soft spots in the Kings roster. Starter Darren Collison is scheduled to miss the first eight games of the 2016-17 season due to league suspension.

While it’s a minor distraction during the preseason, it appears that Lawson’s teammates are ready to support him and move forward.

“It’s a family situation, this is a family and when you say family in the huddle, you don’t just mean it, you’ve got to show it,” veteran Matt Barnes said. “He’s going through stuff right now off the court. I reached out to him because I’ve been through everything off the court personally. We’ve been talking a lot lately and this is something we’re going to help him get through because he’s a very important member of this team. Family is most important for us and we realize that sometimes it’s bigger than basketball.”

After six successful seasons in Denver, Lawson bounced around the league last season, playing 53 games for the Houston Rockets before getting waived late in the year. He joined the Indiana Pacers for the final 13 contests of the year and even made seven playoff appearances.

Known for his speed and quickness, the Kings have been optimistic throughout camp that Lawson can start in Collison’s absence and provide a major spark off the bench once Collison returns.

Fresh off a 3-year, $35 million contract, Lawson was signed to a non-guaranteed, league minimum contract with Sacramento. The Kings have policies in place for situations like this, but according to general manager Vlade Divac, the code of conduct is team wide, not specific to Lawson.

“It’s a team policy, you can’t just create one policy for one guy,” Divac said following Monday’s practice. “Everybody has to be a pro. Everybody has to behave the way we would like to represent this organization. So that’s how we are going to move forward.”

According to the Kings, “We have made it clear to all our players and employees that there are standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization - on and off the court.”

While Divac said Lawson wouldn’t be suspended by the team, he left the door open for a possible fine by the team. Lawson’s explanation to team officials has extended his stay with the team, at least for now.

The Kings roster remains at 18 players, with cuts expected later this week to get to the league maximum of 15. Four players, including Lawson, opened camp in a battle for the lone remaining roster spot. Before his latest indiscretion, Lawson was considered a lock to not only come out of camp with the team, but to play a major role for the retooled roster.

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.