Kings

How Kings could benefit from Kristaps Porzingis NBA blockbuster trade

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USATSI

How Kings could benefit from Kristaps Porzingis NBA blockbuster trade

SACRAMENTO -- NBA trade season is not for the faint of heart. New York Knicks fans were hit with a right cross Thursday afternoon, when rumors of a potential Kristaps Porzingis trade began circulating.

A deal materialized and was finished before the good folks in New York had a chance to collect their thoughts.

The 23-year-old center is on his way to Dallas, where he’ll join rookie phenom Luka Doncic. Porzingis hasn’t played a minute this season after tearing the ACL in his left knee in early February of last year.

The trade is likely to have a ripple effect around the league. Dallas took on the contracts of Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee in the deal.

Porzingis is in the final year of his rookie-scale contract. He is a restricted free agent after the season, but according to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Porzingis is considering accepting a qualifying offer this summer and entering free agency in the summer of 2020 when he would be unrestricted.

In addition to a pair of first-round selections, the Knicks received Dennis Smith Jr. and the expiring contracts of DeAndre Jordan and Wes Matthews.

While the Kings were not directly involved in the transaction, there are a few ways in which they may be affected by the deal.

[RELATED: Time for the Kings to revisit Porter trade? Here's one idea]

Wins and Losses

The long-term effects of this transaction will take time to work out. In the meantime, both teams are expected to take a step backwards, which bodes well for the Kings.

Sacramento faces New York twice in the span of five days in early March. While nothing is ever a guarantee, the Knicks should be in full tank mode at that point.

In late March, there is another five-day window where the Kings and Mavs play twice. Dallas gave up two starters in the transaction, and there’s a good chance Porzingis doesn’t return to action this season.

Like the Knicks, Dallas has an incentive to lose. They owe the Atlanta Hawks a 2019 top-five protected pick. They may have just thrown in the towel on this season, with the hopes of adding another top talent through this summer's draft.

When you have playoff aspirations, every win counts.

[RELATED: What went right, what went wrong in Kings' win over Hawks]

Teams on the Rise

This trade was a massive gamble that might pay off big time for the Mavericks. Porzingis is a talent who could help jump-start their rebuild.

Nothing is a sure bet, but Porzingis and Doncic could become a deadly tandem. In a race to return to relevance, the Mavericks are taking a stab in the dark with a one-year rental on an injured player. If it pays off, they might leapfrog a few teams, including the Kings.

If Porzingis doesn’t like his surroundings in Dallas and chooses to leave in the summer of 2020, the Mavs might be in trouble. They’ve committed either a 2019 or 2020 first-round pick to acquire Doncic. Now, they are on the hook for two more picks, either in 2021 and 2023 or in 2022 and 2024.

Spare Parts

Dallas took on Hardaway and Lee in the deal. Hardaway is due $18.1 million next season, with a player option at $19 million for 2020-21. Lee is also under contract next season at $12.8 million.

The Mavericks already have Harrison Barnes under contract this season at $24.1 million with a player option next year at $25.1 million.

With extra bodies on the roster, the Mavericks might be inclined to trade one of these players. Both Hardaway and Barnes have played the small forward position in the past, and could give the Kings a scoring option at the three.

NBA admits LeBron James fouled Harrison Barnes on decisive Lakers-Kings play

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AP

NBA admits LeBron James fouled Harrison Barnes on decisive Lakers-Kings play

The Kings' 99-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night was too close for comfort. It also created a controversial call -- a call in which we recently received some clarity.

With 5.5 seconds remaining in the game, Harrison Barnes was called for blocking a foul against LeBron James. This allowed LeBron to sink a couple of free throws to get the Lakers to 99 points.

Barnes would later say contact was made but was waiting for the replay to decide.

The NBA Officiating Last Two Minute Report would confirm James did indeed foul Barnes with 5.5 seconds remaining. 

"James (LAL) extends his elbow into Barnes's (SAC) chin before any contact is initiated by Barnes on the perimeter," the report stated.

“Who initiated that, that’s for replays to decide," Barnes said after the game. " And they chose to call that a foul on me and that’s something you have to live with."

[RELATED: No timetable for De'Aaron Fox return]

Buddy Hield spoke to NBC Sports California's James Ham about the play and said it was a game-changer.

“One call changed the whole game, it could have gone either way,” Hield said. “It be like that sometimes. When the home team is favored, especially you know, in LA.”

In a game that close, he could be right.

Kings not happy with two questionable calls late in loss to Lakers

Kings not happy with two questionable calls late in loss to Lakers

Losing never feels good, but the Sacramento Kings were definitely not happy about the way things went Friday evening at the Staples Center. With the game on the line late, not one, but two plays went against Sacramento, and the Los Angeles Lakers came away with a 99-97 victory.

With 5.5 seconds remaining, Harrison Barnes was called for a blocking foul against LeBron James, which allowed the one of the game’s greats to step to the line and knock down a pair of free throws to give his club a 99-97 lead.

“Contact was made,” Barnes said. “Who initiated that, that’s for replays to decide. And they chose to call that a foul on me and that’s something you have to live with.”

At least one Kings player was willing to voice his displeasure at the chain of events following the loss.

“One call changed the whole game, it could have gone either way,” an angry Buddy Hield said. “It be like that sometimes. When the home team is favored, especially you know, in LA.”

The replay is difficult to parse out and is up for interpretation. It was clear that Barnes made a move on the ball, but it was also obvious that James made contact with the defender and cleared space.

“Sometimes you have to let the situation play out,” Hield said. “I don’t think it was a foul. It was the other way. Ask Rodney what he thinks.”

By “ask Rodney,” Hield was referring to official Rodney Mott, who called the game along with Sean Wright and Natalie Sago.

Sacramento had another opportunity to either tie or go ahead in the final moments, but this time, the officiating crew allowed the players to continue after contact.

Barnes took an inbounds pass, saw an opening and broke for the basket. It appeared that while trying to recover defensively, James clipped the back of Barnes right heel, which knocked him off balance and sent him careening towards the key.

Barnes continued to stumble towards the basket where he was met by All-Star center Anthony Davis in the lane. The 6-foot-11 big managed to absorb contact from Barnes and swat a last-second shot attempt away to preserve the Lakers win.

It turns out that Barnes going to the paint was the Lakers gameplan all along.

“The one thing we wanted to do was force them inside the 3-point line,” James told reporters following the game. “A two doesn’t hurt us. They make a two, we call a timeout, see if we can win the game, if not go into overtime. We played it to perfection making them go inside the line and then when you have a shot blocker with the caliber of AD protecting the rim, it just made it a lot tougher on Harrison.”

While James saw perfection, the Kings saw an offensive foul or no-call, followed by a second no-call. They’ll point to a disparity in free throw attempts on the evening, where they went 9-of-9 from the line, including seven attempts in the fourth quarter, while the Lakers finished 20-for-22.

“It’s always the referee’s decision to call or not call (a foul),” Bogdan Bogdanovic said. “Sometimes you get calls, sometimes not. Homecourt advantage maybe? Sometimes it goes like that, you know? But it’s over, we lost this game and we have to be locked in for Boston.”

[RELATED: Kings take leap of faith on young core]

Sacramento will wait anxiously for the league’s Last Two Minute report to drop on Saturday afternoon, although the officials report has zero value when it comes to wins and losses. The league may admit a mistake or two, but there is no recourse. They could also side with the officiating crew at the arena.

A loss is a loss, but the Kings played solid ball against the best the Western Conference has to offer. They played short-handed with De’Aaron Fox (left ankle), Marvin Bagley (right thumb) and Trevor Ariza (right groin) missing the game and they still managed to keep it close with a chance to win late.