George Hill will play a major role as he mentors Kings rookies


George Hill will play a major role as he mentors Kings rookies

On draft night 2017, the Sacramento Kings tested the old proverb, “patience is a virtue.” Instead of giving up gold to move into the top three of the draft, guaranteeing a shot at selecting De’Aaron Fox, they sat back and let the talented 19-year-old point guard fall to them at the fifth pick.

They backed that selection up by drafting Frank Mason, another point guard, in the early second round. The message was clear - veterans Darren Collison and Ty Lawson were not coming back for the 2017-18 season.

It appeared that Vlade Divac and his group were ready to head into the season with rookies manning one of the most important positions on the floor, and then the team went on a July 4th spending spree. Vince Carter and Zach Randolph were added for veteran leadership at the wing and in the post and George Hill inked a three-year, $57 million deal to stabilize the backcourt.

Hill, 31, has plenty left in the tank. He spent last season with the Utah Jazz, helping the team improve from 40 wins during the 2015-16 season, to 51 wins in 2016-17. He averaged a career-best 16.9 points for coach Quin Snyder while posting 4.2 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 31.5 minutes per game.

The nine-year NBA vet might not see the same type of minutes in his first season in Sacramento, but Dave Joerger is going to give plenty of time to his veterans while the young core finds its sea legs.

Sacramento is very high on Fox. They also know that Mason can play solid minutes in year one, but Hill will play a major role while he mentors the rookies.

Both Fox and Hill can also shift to the shooting guard position for short stints and play alongside each other. The Kings already have plenty of bodies at the two, but Fox’s development will be a high priority as they groom him for the seasons to come.

On the downside, Hill has missed plenty of games over his career, including 33 last season due to toe and groin issues. He’s never played a full 82 games, but in this scenario, that might not be a negative.

Sacramento hedged their bet with Hill, giving themselves a $1 million buyout for year three of the deal. If Fox is ready to take over full-time or Hill begins to decline as a player, the Kings can clear a mountain of cap space off the books for the summer of 2019.

For now, Hill will start at the point and act as a veteran advisor for Fox and Mason. There is no question that he knew what he was buying into when he signed his contract with the Kings. He’ll eat plenty of minutes as the rookies learn the ropes at the NBA level and then he will pass the torch when the time is right.

The Kings have talent, depth and a future at point guard. Minutes will be earned, not handed out, which is the way it should be.

Kings add Lindsey Harding, two others to Luke Walton's coaching staff


Kings add Lindsey Harding, two others to Luke Walton's coaching staff

The female coaching community in the NBA continues to grow.

Lindsey Harding has been added to the Sacramento Kings' staff as assistant coach/player development, the team announced Friday.

Harding has over a decade of experience at the professional level both as a coach and a player. She comes from the Philadelphia 76ers, where she has worked as a player development coach since April. Before her promotion, she worked as the NBA's first African American female pro professional scout for the 76ers. She spent nine seasons in the WNBA after being drafted in 2007 from Duke. In her career playing in the association, Harding averaged 9.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game across 270 career games and six teams.

She also went international, playing in Turkey, Lithuania and Russia as well as participating in the 2016 Summer Olympic Games as a part of the Belarus women's national basketball team.   

At Duke, Harding was a star. She earned the 2007 Naismith College Player of the Year Award and had her No. 10 jersey retired. She was also inducted into the Duke Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018, becoming just the third women's basketball student-athlete to receive the honor. 

[RELATED: Lindsay Gottlieb excited for challenge, risk with Cavaliers] 

The Kings also added Stacey Augmon as assistant coach/player development and Rico Hines as a player development coach to Luke Walton's staff.

Source: Former Kings big man Kosta Koufos agrees with European club

Source: Former Kings big man Kosta Koufos agrees with European club

Kosta Koufos is heading to Europe.

The former Kings big man has reached an agreement with European power CSKA Moscow on a two-year, $6 million contract, NBC Sports California's James Ham confirmed Friday. The deal will include options to return to the NBA.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes was first to report news of the agreement.

Koufos has played 11 years in the NBA, averaging 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in his career. He spent the last four seasons in Sacramento, where the Ohio State product was a consistent role player. But he saw a reduced role last season, as the Kings gave minutes to young big men Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles, forcing Koufos to the fringes of the rotation.

In a recent interview with James Ham, the 30-year-old veteran believes he still can contribute.

“I’ve been in the league for 11 years," Koufos said. "I’ve started a numerous amount of games, and when given time, I can put up numbers.”

He'll get that opportunity in Russia, where he'll join a CSKA Moscow team that just won its eighth EuroLeague championship.

[RELATED: Walton already has earned respect of Kings' veteran players]

In four seasons with the Kings, Koufos averaged 6.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.3 minutes.