The Kings are taking over Salt Lake City this weekend for the NBA All-Star festivities.
Keegan Murray will get things started for Sacramento in the Rising Stars challenge Friday night. Sharpshooter Kevin Huerter will participate in the 3-point challenge on Saturday, and De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis will bring their two-man game to the main event Sunday.
Mike Brown, who has coached this young Kings roster to unprecedented success through 57 games, took on the financial advisor role when dishing out advice for his four players bound for Utah.
“They need to win, because if they win, no matter what you do out there, there’s a little bit more cheese that goes in your pocket,” Brown said with a smile at practice Monday [h/t FOX 40]. “Think about that. Think about all the tickets and flights they’ve got to get for their friends and family.
“Win, guys. Win. Save some money.”
Players on the winning team in the All-Star Game receive $100,000, compared to $25,000 on the losing team. Fox and Sabonis aren’t guaranteed to play with each other Sunday night, as All-Star captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo will pick the rosters minutes before tipoff. But both players could be flying back to Sacramento with extra cash in their pockets.
For Huerter, the 3-point contest winner receives $50,000. Second place ($35,000), third place ($25,000) and fourth, fifth and sixth place ($10,000 apiece) pay out, but finishing last or second-to-last of the eight competitors won’t give the sharpshooter any All-Star bonus.
The NBA changed its Rising Stars format this season from a single game to a four-team bracket, so it’s not clear what Murray could add to his rookie paycheck in the new format.
Murray, though, just plants to soak up the entire experience.
“Just to have fun,” Murray said Monday of his All-Star Weekend expectations. "It’s a time away from competitive basketball. Hang out with my family.
“I don’t really know what to expect. I’m just going in there with a clear head and just trying to have a good time."
Sacramento has spent most of this season out of the national spotlight despite holding down the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference for nearly a full month. But for three straight days, four Kings players will take part in the weekend reserved for the league's finest. Right where they belong.
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"It’s huge for everybody in this city," Brown said. "Sacramentans are proud people. Everybody I talk to, they speak proudly of their city. They feel that they’re a little underappreciated, especially being the capital of California and everybody talks about LA, the Bay -- no one really mentions Sacramento.
"Any time that recognition can happen on a national level is great for everybody in the city. It’s obviously great for everybody in the organization."