Kings

How the Kings can help T'Wolves and themselves in Jimmy Butler trade

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USATSI/AP

How the Kings can help T'Wolves and themselves in Jimmy Butler trade

The Sacramento Kings have positioned themselves well coming into the 2018-19 season. They likely still are a year or two away from competing for a potential playoff spot, but financially, they are doing just fine. In fact, they are the lone NBA team with any type of real salary cap space to speak of right now. 

Over the next few days, rumors will continue to build as the Minnesota Timberwolves work to find a trade partner for disgruntled All-Star Jimmy Butler. It’s very possible that a trade involving Butler also will include the Kings and their $11 million in cap room.

These are treacherous trade waters facing the Kings. What we know is Butler isn’t walking through the Golden 1 Center doors and donning purple and black. 

The 29-year-old wing has given the T-Wolves a list of teams with which he would consider signing a contract extension. The Kings weren't on that list, and they're only mentioned in this deal as a potential third partner to help facilitate the transaction.

Butler certainly fits one of the Kings’ biggest needs and would provide them with a legitimate star, but he doesn’t fit the player arc of the team, and Minnesota is looking for a king-size ransom in any deal. 

The Kings have plenty of young players, but after the Timberwolves ended their long playoff drought last season, they want veteran, star-level players in return with the hopes of salvaging this season. 

The Kings are open to being a partner in a potential deal, not a dumping ground. Sacramento is willing to play ball. Banking cap space was one of the team’s plans once the Bulls matched the offer sheet for Zach LaVine.

Sacramento is in a position of power on the trade market, but what it won’t do is damage its future to help another franchise get better. 

If the deal improves the Kings today and down the road, they have no problems helping out. They’ll want young players and/or draft picks in return for swallowing short-term contracts. 

The Kings also fully understand that a first-round draft pick in the 20’s does very little to move the needle in their rebuild. Taking back a contract like Gorgui Dieng’s three-year, $42 million deal also makes no sense for Sacramento unless it's receiving a bonafide starter that fits the long-term and short-term goals of the team. 

Miami has jumped into the Butler conversation as a potential trade partner. The Heat have a bevy of veterans, and almost all of them are on extremely unfriendly contracts. A deal that lands Hassan Whiteside, James Johnson, Dion Waiters or Kelly Olynyk in Sacramento should be a non-starter for Vlade Divac and Brandon Williams.

The Heat have a couple of young players who might entice the Kings to listen. Bam Adebayo likely is off the table, and the Kings already have a surplus of bigs. If Josh Richardson, 25, or Justise Winslow, 22, become part of the conversation, Sacramento would have to at least be intrigued. 

In his third NBA season, Richardson posted solid numbers for the Heat, averaging 12.9 points and shooting 37.8 percent from behind the arc. At 6-foot-6, he is considered a small forward and would compete for a starting job with the Kings.

Winslow took a step back in his third season out of Duke, but the 10th overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft is built like a tank and might need a change of scenery to reach his potential. Like Richardson, he plays the wing and would challenge for starter minutes. 

It’s possible that other teams will jump into the conversation and that the Kings still are needed to push the deal through. It’s also possible that the deal gets too expensive for Sacramento and it leaves the other teams involved to figure things out on their own. 

Sacramento has plenty of time to use its cap space. The Kings shouldn’t rush into any deal that doesn’t help the franchise, and they should avoid anything that has the team taking on long-term money for an average NBA player. 

The Kings worked hard to create this opportunity, and this won’t be the last deal that will come along this season needing a third team. If they play their cards right, this is an opportunity for the Kings to improve the talent on the roster. 

De'Aaron Fox calls out Laura Ingraham's 'shut up and dribble' hypocrisy

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USATSI

De'Aaron Fox calls out Laura Ingraham's 'shut up and dribble' hypocrisy

Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, as he has done with more frequency as of late, turned to social media Thursday to voice his opinion about racial injustice in America.

The Kings’ young star retweeted a video from Complex Sports, which strings together two separate segments from Laura Ingraham's show on Fox News.

The first segment is a clip from 2018, when Ingraham told NBA superstars LeBron James and Kevin Durant to “shut up and dribble,” admonishing them for criticizing President Donald Trump.

In the second segment, she defends Saints quarterback Drew Brees for his comments made Wednesday to Yahoo Finance.

Fox clearly didn’t like the double standard.

“Is anybody surprised??? Black basketball players “shut up and dribble”

White football player who agrees with her “he’s allowed to have his view” & “this is beyond football” and it’s so natural to them,” Fox commented.

James also responded to Ingraham.

Brees has been scrutinized over the last two days for his comments regarding kneeling during the national anthem. 

“I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country,” Brees said during the interview.

Brees’ statements have caused an outpouring of responses, including an emotional video posted by his teammate, Malcolm Jenkins.

[RELATED: Poole: Brees reveals that he's part of problem, not solution]

Like many people, Fox has become more active over the last week on social media regarding racial injustice as protests rage worldwide after George Floyd's tragic death while in Minneapolis police custody. He’s finding his voice in a critical time in history.

Kings in NBA playoff picture, but tough schedule lies ahead in restart

Kings in NBA playoff picture, but tough schedule lies ahead in restart

The format is set. The NBA is returning. How will all of this play out for the Sacramento Kings?

What we now know is that every team invited to Orlando will play an eight-game schedule that according to reports, is based directly off their remaining schedule prior to the league's coronavirus suspension.

If the NBA decides to restart from where the season left off, the Kings' schedule is manageable. Keep in mind that every team invited to the tournament is either a playoff team or one on the fringe.

Sacramento will miss out on contests against the Hawks, Cavs (two times), T-Wolves and Warriors. They also won’t have to face the Clippers, Nuggets and Lakers twice.

Here is a quick look at the games on the docket for the Kings, if the league follows the pre-existing remaining schedule:

New Orleans Pelicans

The Kings were amped up to play the Pelicans on March 11. So much so that they remained on the court while New Orleans sat in their locker room at Golden 1 Center. They’ll get their shot at Zion Williamson and Co. right off the bat, which might determine the fate of both of these teams.

Season series: 0-1

Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn is an interesting team. They play extremely hard every night and they have plenty of star talent, but Kevin Durant isn’t coming back from his Achilles injury to play in a shortened season and it’s unlikely that Kyrie Irving (shoulder) returns either. Spencer Dinwiddie has played well in Irving’s absence, but this is a must-win for the Kings if they hope to make it to the play-in game.

Season series: 0-1

[RELATED: NBA return: Five things to watch as Kings get invite to Orlando restart]

Dallas Mavericks

The ghost of draft picks past. Sacramento will draw Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks as their third game of the restart. Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis were finding a rhythm when the shutdown hit, although Dallas was just 4-4 over their previous eight games.

Season series: 1-2

Houston Rockets

On Dec. 8 the Kings walked into Dallas and stunned the Mavericks. The next night, they did the same thing to the Houston Rockets. Sacramento could use a repeat of that two-game stretch. The Rockets are the best team the Kings face in their eight-game schedule. Plan on a hundred combined 3-point shots between the two clubs.

Season series: 1-1

Orlando Magic

Does home court advantage matter when there are no fans? We’ll find out as the Magic hosts all 22 teams. This is a tough team to figure out. They have talent and length, but at 30-35, they have the worst record of any team the Kings will face. Jonathan Isaac was ruled out for the rest of the season before the shutdown, but there is a shot he returns with the extra time added on.

Season series: 0-1

Pelicans

Zion. Lonzo Ball. Brandon Ingram. Jrue Holiday. Tiebreakers at stake. Both of the games against New Orleans are paramount to the Kings’ chances. The Pelicans will get JJ Redick back from his hamstring injury, which adds to the difficulty.

Season series: 0-1

Indiana Pacers

The last time the Kings played Indy, De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley just were coming off of injuries and the Pacers took advantage. Indy is tough and Victor Olidipo getting an additional four months to completely recover from injury makes them even more difficult. Domantas Sabonis, Malcolm Brogdon and T.J. Warren all give the Kings fits, which makes this one of the more difficult games on the schedule.

Season series: 0-1

San Antonio Spurs

If the Kings and Spurs still are in the hunt at this point in the schedule, there is a chance that this game could pit a team with a 13-year playoff drought against a franchise trying to preserve a streak of 22 straight seasons in the postseason. A lot has to happen for this game to have meaning, but you never know which teams come to Orlando ready to compete and which teams wilt under the pressure.

Season series: 1-1

Sacramento is just 3-9 against this group, but that means very little when you factor in a four-month layoff. This race to the finish likely will be decided by who walks into the gym focused and ready to play from game one.

If the Kings have a shot, they need somehow to overtake the Pelicans and Portland Trail Blazers in the standings, while remaining within 3.5 games of the Grizzlies and ahead of both the Spurs and the Suns.

It’s complicated and there still is a chance the NBA adjusts the Kings’ schedule slightly, but the Kings are in the running.