Kings

Gameday: Memphis homecoming for plenty of Kings

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USATSI

Gameday: Memphis homecoming for plenty of Kings

Want to get away? After dropping six straight games, the Sacramento Kings hit the road for a season long six-game trip beginning Friday in Memphis. 

It’s a homecoming game for plenty of Kings coaches and players, including Zach Randolph, who is playing in front of a Memphis crowd wearing an opposing jersey for the first time in eight years. Dave Joerger and most of his staff came over from the Grizzlies in the summer of 2016 and Vince Carter and Kosta Koufos spent time in Memphis as well.

Memphis has had a rough season, but two-time former King, Tyreke Evans, has made a tremendous impact in his first season with the team. He’s posting big numbers and looks as healthy as he’s been in years.

BETTING LINE 

Grizzlies by 5

MATCHUP TO WATCH

Willie Cauley-Stein vs. Marc Gasol -- Cauley-Stein is blossoming in his third NBA season. He’s become a reliable scoring and rebounding option for the Kings. He’s improved on the defensive end as well, but guard Gasol is as tough as it gets. The 7-foot-1 Spaniard has an old school game. He can pass, hit you from the outside and work you over in the post. Cauley-Stein will have his hands full with the three-time All-Star big.

WHERE THEY STAND 

Kings: 13-31, fifth place in Pacific

Grizzlies: 15-28, fourth place in Southwest

INJURY REPORT 

Kings: PF Skal Labissiere (left shoulder strain) questionable, PG Frank Mason III (heel) out, PF Harry Giles (bilateral knee rehab) is out for the season.

Grizzlies: C Marc Gasol (illness) questionable, PG Mike Conley (Achilles) out, SG Andrew Harrison (shoulder) questionable, SF Chandler Parsons (knee) out, SF James Ennis (calf) out, .

THREE THINGS TO WATCH

Homecoming -- This should be an emotional night for plenty around the Kings team, especially Randolph. The Grizzlies retired the 36-year-old’s No. 50 jersey, making him the first in franchise history to receive the honor. 

Show Improvement -- The Kings are in a funk, but we are seeing steady improvement from plenty of the team’s young players. Bogdan Bogdanovic continues to post up big numbers, including a career-best 25 against the Jazz on Wednesday.

Break the Streak -- A six-game trip is daunting, especially after a rough stretch. If Sacramento can get out of Memphis with a win, it would take plenty of stress off a young team. 

SERIES HISTORY 

These two teams split their season series 2-2 last season, but Memphis went up 1-0 for the 2017-18 campaign with a win at Golden 1 on New Year’s Eve. The Kings hold a 45-39 advantage over the Grizzlies all-time.  

Divac explains why Bagley over Doncic was an 'easy choice' for Kings

Divac explains why Bagley over Doncic was an 'easy choice' for Kings

SACRAMENTO -- Deliberate. Calculated. Secretive. The Sacramento Kings held the NBA in suspense throughout the 2018 NBA Draft process. It wasn’t until Thursday morning that anyone knew for sure what Vlade Divac and his group were going to do and even then, there was a possibility of a last minutes swap.

With the second overall pick the Kings selected Duke big man Marvin Bagley III. According to Divac, Sacramento focused on the 19-year-old leaper early in the draft process.

“He’s a guy who works hard, wants to improve, learn, coachable, good teammate, checks all the boxes of what we want,” Divac said.

Bagley tore up the ACC in his lone season as a Blue Devil and has been vocal about his want to be the first overall selection. He reiterated that desire on his post draft phone call with Sacramento media members on Thursday.

“That’s just the kind of player I am, I have confidence in my game,” Bagley said. “I still think I’m the best player in the draft and I stand by that. I put a lot of work into it and I’m glad I’ll be able to show it with Sacramento and I’m super excited.”

With Bagley in tow, the Kings now have six big men, including veterans Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos, as well as young players Willie Cauley-Stein, Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles. It’s a crowded frontline that Divac will need to adress, or maybe not.

“He can play small forward,” Divac said of Bagley. “He can play 3, 4 and 5. Marvin’s a unique talent. He can play multiple positions.”

[RELATED: How Marvin Bagley fits with Kings]

Whether or not Bagley can play the wing is unknown at this time. He played primarily at the power forward and center position at Duke. At 6-foot-11, 234 pounds, he is a lean athlete and he shot nearly 40 percent from behind the 3-point line last season.

Much to the ire of plenty of Kings fans, Sacramento’s front office passed on Slovenian star Luka Doncic. When asked about the decision, Divac made it clear where his group ranked Bagley.

"Marvin, for us is better fit, better player. Great talent. So it was an easy choice for us," Divac said.

Bagley will land in Sacramento Friday morning. The Kings will introduce him to fans during Music in the Park at Cesar Chavez Plaza at 5pm.

He will meet with the media on Saturday for his introductory press conference, and according to Divac, fans won’t have to wait long to see him in action. The plan is for Bagley to see action in both Sacramento and Las Vegas summer league tournaments beginning in early July.

Kings trade No. 37 overall selection in 2018 NBA Draft for two future second-round picks

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AP

Kings trade No. 37 overall selection in 2018 NBA Draft for two future second-round picks

SACRAMENTO -- With all of the fanfare focused on Marvin Bagley III, the Sacramento Kings snuck in another Duke Blue Devil with the 37th overall selection, taking guard Gary Trent Jr. with their second round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Moments later, it was announced that they had a deal in place to ship Trent to the Portland Trail Blazers for two future second round selections.

With eight players on rookie scale contracts already on the roster, plus the addition of Bagley, the Kings were expected to move off of their second-round selection this season. 

Trent, 19, averaged 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds a game as a freshman this season for Duke. He is the son of former Trail Blazers big man, Gary Trent.