Kings

Fencing already up, heavy police presence expected for Kings-Pacers at Golden 1

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James Ham

Fencing already up, heavy police presence expected for Kings-Pacers at Golden 1

SACRAMENTO -- With just seven games remaining on the 2017-18 schedule, the Sacramento Kings host the Indiana Pacers Thursday evening at Golden 1 Center.

Protesters have interrupted the arrival of paying customers in two of the team’s previous three games, but the Kings have worked with the Mayor, the Sacramento Police Department and local community leaders to help provide a safe environment for fans hoping to watch the game. Fencing is already up around the arena and a heavy police presence is expected.

Indiana is firmly planted in the Eastern Conference playoff race. They trail the 76ers by a half game for the four seed and the Cleveland Cavaliers by just a game for the third spot. Six players average double-figure scoring for Indy, including a team-high 23.2 from breakout All-Star Victor Oladipo.

BETTING LINE

Pacers by 8

MATCHUP TO WATCH

De’Aaron Fox vs. Darren Collison -- Fox is struggling down the stretch, but each game is another chance to get better. He’s holding down the point guard position that Collison held last season in Sacramento. In his first year back in Indiana, Collison is leading the league in 3-point percentage and posting similar numbers to what he did with the Kings.

WHERE THEY STAND

Kings: 24-51, fourth place in Pacific

Pacers: 44-31, second place in Central

INJURY REPORT

Kings: SG/SF Garrett Temple (sprained left ankle) out, SF/SG Iman Shumpert (knee rehab/plantar fasciitis) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) out for the season.

Pacers: PF Trevor Booker (right ankle) status unknown.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Focus on Hoops -- The last two weeks in Sacramento have been chaotic, to say the least. The Kings played in front of 2,500 against Atlanta and just 4,000 fans Tuesday against the Mavericks due to protesters locking down the building. It’s difficult, but the team must turn all of their attention to the Indiana Pacers.

Slow Oladipo -- The 25-year-old guard is having a breakout season for the Pacers. Bogdan Bogdanovic will get the start, but Buddy Hield will need to step up as well. The Pacers have plenty of weapons, but Oladipo is the key to their offense.

Play Spoiler-- Dave Joerger wasn’t happy with his team’s effort against Dallas. He turned to the youth of the team for much of the night and they couldn’t match the intensity of a 23-win Mavs team. The Kings need to show up against a quality Pacers team that is fighting for playoff positioning.

SERIES HISTORY

The Pacers have won three straight against the Kings, including a 101-83 victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Halloween night. Indiana holds a 47-39 lead over the Kings all-time and a 36-26 advantage during the Sacramento-era.

What does Nemanja Bjelica bring to the Kings?

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USATSI

What does Nemanja Bjelica bring to the Kings?

The Sacramento Kings had cash burning holes in their pockets. After nearly three weeks of inactivity in free agency, the team signed a second player in less than eight hours Friday afternoon.

Yogi Ferrell inked a two-year, $6.2 million deal to start the spending spree and, according to a source, Sacramento added Nemanja Bjelica to a three-year, $20.5 million deal just as most people were settling in for dinner. The final year of his deal is non-guaranteed.

The Bjelica transaction has been rumored for the last few days, although the exact dollars figures were unknown. The 30-year-old combo forward posted 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game last season with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

He initially agreed to a one-year, $4.4 million contract with the Philadelphia 76ers, but backed out of the deal earlier this week with the thought that he would return to Europe to play. According to reports, Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic reached out to the Serbian-born forward in an attempt to keep him in the NBA and talk him into joining the Kings.

How does he fit with the Kings?

Bjelica split his time between the small forward and power forward positions last season with the T-Wolves, and will likely do the same in Sacramento. Listed at 6-foot-10, 230 pounds, Bjelica is known for his long range shooting touch, knocking down a career-best 41.5 percent from behind the arc last season.

The Kings have an overload at the power forward and center position, so it’s likely that Bjelica will play plenty of minutes at the small forward spot. He's a potential defensive liability against smaller wings, but he'll help to open running and passing lanes for De’Aaron Fox and the rest of Sacramento’s guards.

Who loses time?

There is a lot that can happen between now and the start of training camp. If the roster looks the same in mid-September as it does now, expect Bjelica to steal time from Justin Jackson at the small forward position and Skal Labissiere and Zach Randolph at the four.

His ability to stretch the floor will keep him on the court for plenty of minutes in Dave Joerger’s rotation.

Financial Impact

While we don’t have exact year-by-year numbers, Bjelica should eat up roughly $7 million a year in each of his guaranteed seasons. When combined with Ferrell’s $3 million salary for this season, the Kings still have more than $9 million of cap room and they will have to waive one player before making the signing official.

Source: Kings agree to three-year deal with Nemanja Bjelica

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USATSI

Source: Kings agree to three-year deal with Nemanja Bjelica

Europe can wait for free-agent forward Nemanja Bjelica.

The 30-year-old agreed to a three-year, $20.5 million deal with the Sacramento Kings on Friday, a source confirmed to NBC Sports California's James Ham. The third year is not guaranteed. 

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the news. 

The 6-foot-10 Serbian averaged 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game last season. A source told NBC Sports California's James Ham on Wednesday that the Kings like the Serbian forward's versatility, and believe he can play minutes at the small forward and power forward postions. 

Bjelica previously agreed to a one-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers this summer. He told the team on Monday that he planned on staying in Europe this season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.