How Kings' Luke Walton could use Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield this year


How Kings' Luke Walton could use Bogdan Bogdanovic, Buddy Hield this year

Two players vying for contract extensions. Two players fighting for minutes. Two players attached at the hip.

Kings shooting guards guards Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic have a friendly rivalry on the court and a close friendship off of it. They play completely different styles, but they also compliment each other well.

New coach Luke Walton has major decisions to make at multiple positions this season. The Kings’ depth is a good problem to have, but it’s still a problem.

Hield had a breakout season last year, posting a team-high 20.7 points, five rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 42.7 percent from behind the arc. He made an astounding 278 3-pointers, giving him an NBA-record 602 triples through the first three years of his career.

The 26-year-old played 31.9 minutes per game, up from the 25.3 minutes he played the prior season. Hield became not only a bonafide starter, but a lethal weapon in the Kings’ offense.

Slowed by a late offseason knee surgery, Bogdanovic missed 11 of the Kings' first 12 games while rehabbing. He had some high points and some struggles during the long season, but Bogdanovic still managed to average 14.1 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 36 percent from distance.

Hield is the shooter. Bogdanovic is the playmaker. They complement each other on the court, but they are also in a fight for minutes this season with so many other alternatives in the rotation.

The Other Guys

Hield and Bogdanovic are the two main shooting guards, but Walton has other options as well. De’Aaron Fox and Cory Joseph can both move over from point guard and steal minutes, while rookie Justin James is an interesting player as well.

There is a chance that Walton steals a handful of minutes in a dual point-guard set with both Fox and Joseph on the court together. It’s possible that move would come at the expense of Hield and Bogdanovic, but they will likely spill over at small forward as well.

James is lost in a numbers game. He might play some spot duty in blowouts, but it’s more likely he spends the majority of the season either on the bench or sitting in Stockton with the team’s G League affiliate.

Stealing minutes at the three

It’s not a perfect solution, but Walton is going to need to find an additional 12 to 14 minutes for his shooting-guard tandem. Both players can move over to the wing in a three-guard small ball lineup, although it’s not a perfect solution. Bogdanovic spent more time at small forward last year than Hield, including 17 starts.

There is also the issue that Harrison Barnes is a big-minute player at the three, and Trevor Ariza can be a contributor in his 15th NBA season. Barnes will take minutes at power forward, although it’s a crowded field with five bigs vying for time.

Walton can only steal minutes from so many positions before he runs out of time. Pairing the rotation down to nine or 10 players is going to be very difficult.

[RELATED: Can Bogdanovic avoid FIBA hangover ahead of Kings camp?]


In a perfect world, Hield would play 32 to 34 minutes a game for the Kings as either their first or second option on offense. In addition, Bogdanovic would also play 27 to 30 minutes per game as the team’s super-sub.

This might be the plan of attack coming into the season, but there are so many mouths to feed on this roster.

Each of these players brings an intangible that can’t be replaced. Hield is an elite NBA shooter and a very good scorer. Bogdanovic is one of the team’s best playmakers and a solid scorer in his own right.

Walton will quickly realize that Hield and Bogdanovic are two of the team’s top five players. He’ll make adjustments to get them time, especially down the stretch of games when they both flourish.

Kings' Harrison Barnes generously pays for Atatiana Jefferson's funeral


Kings' Harrison Barnes generously pays for Atatiana Jefferson's funeral

Harrison Barnes signed a long-term contract that will keep him in Sacramento for the next four seasons, but before he joined the Kings, Barnes spent two-and-a-half years in Dallas as a member of the Mavericks.

The Kings forward still feels a connection to his previous home city, and that was extremely evident through the generous gesture Barnes and his wife made to the family of Atatiana Jefferson, a Dallas-area woman who recently was shot and killed by a police officer while in her own home.

Jefferson had been looking after her eight-year-old nephew when the officer, Aaron Dean, arrived at her open-door home and opened fire without announcing he was a policeman. The 28-year-old Jefferson was shot and killed, and Dean since has been charged with murder.

It's a terrible, heartbreaking situation for Jefferson's family, and Barnes sought to make things easier on them during these trying times by paying for her funeral.

"The biggest thing is, anytime someone has to go through that, the last thing you want to have to worry about is trying to come up with the money for a funeral," Barnes explained Thursday. "It's about the family, it's about everything they're going through. Our prayers are obviously with them, and it was a gesture my wife and I wanted to do for them.

"It was unfortunate. It should never happen," Barnes continued. "Just in general, gun violence in Dallas, recently. Andre Emmett, a guy that I played pickup basketball with for two-and-a-half straight summers -- another unfortunate incident. So when you see these type of situations continue to occur, you know that change needs to happen."

Barnes understands that while he's a basketball player by profession, he has a role to play that goes beyond the court.

[RELATED: Hield extension talks cast momentary dark cloud over Kings]

"I think that any time you come to a community, whether it's Sacramento, whether it's Dallas, whether it's Oakland, Chapel Hill or Ames, you always have a piece of that community that's with you and you always want to try to give back."

Buddy Hield contract extension talks cast momentary dark cloud over Kings


Buddy Hield contract extension talks cast momentary dark cloud over Kings

SACRAMENTO -- "Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again."

Whether it’s the soothing harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel or the powerful bellowing of Disturbed frontman David Draiman, the opening lines of the "Sound of Silence" are ringing in my ears.

For more than a decade, drama finds the Sacramento Kings, whether they are looking for it or not. Often times the wounds are self-inflicted. Every once in a while, the issues are nothing more than the complexities of the NBA playing out in real-time.

Buddy Hield wants his money. His agent says so. He says so. Twitter says so.

Hield’s team has gone on the record with the number of $110 million over four-years to seal the deal. The Kings will not confirm whether the reported four-year, $90 million figure that has been put out there is top end for the team.

Sacramento had a similar situation last season when big man Willie Cauley-Stein went public with his wishes to get paid. Again, the two situations are similar ... but really they aren’t.

Hield accomplished last season what Cauley-Stein never could in purple and black. He lived up to his lottery billing and became a consistent impact player on the court for the Kings.

Part of the team’s exciting young core, Hield has made it his offseason mission to get locked up long term. In doing so, he is making things as uncomfortable as possible for general manager Vlade Divac and his staff.

Will it work? Will slaying the drama mean more to the franchise than the long term financial flexibility they have worked so hard to build? That is the $110 million question.

The Kings are on the clock and Hield has started to get personal.

The talented shooting guard has asked for what he believes is fair, but the value is in the eye of the beholder. During his post-game comments on Wednesday evening, he invoked two separate ideas that take aim at not only the franchise but his standing amongst his teammates as well.

"Name one big free agent that came to Sacramento," Hield told the larger media scrum. "I've been here three years trying to grow the program, grow the organization and I feel like I could be rewarded close to that. But that's just me. That's my gut feeling."

Long an NBA outpost, the good people of Sacramento, regardless of who is running the franchise, know where they stand in the tall pecking order of the league. Landing an 'A list' free agent has never been on the table.

While it’s a matter for some debate, Divac himself is likely the top free agent the team has brought in during the team’s 35 years in Sacramento. The franchise has found success bringing back their own big-name free agents, like Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber and Mike Bibby. But they haven’t been able to crack into the superstar free-agent market.

That leaves the franchise with two options: Draft potential stars and hope for the best or acquire talent via trade and hope for the best.

Hield is a combination of both. Sacramento didn’t draft him, but they traded for him during his rookie season and spent the last three seasons helping to develop him into the player he is today.

In addition to taking a shot at a sensitive issue for the franchise he plays for, Hield went where most players don’t want to go. He compared himself to his teammates and what might happen for them in the near future.

“It’s all about value and where they see me as a player and of course, if another young player comes up and they give them what they want, it shows how much they value me,” Hield told NBC Sports California following the main media scrum.

Hield is pointing directly at the franchise and how they might value De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley. Creating a list of who mom and dad like the best doesn’t work for siblings. In the NBA world, it’s a good way to get your feelings hurt.

Speaking to people within the walls of the Golden 1 Center, they understand that all of this is part of the process.

They still love Buddy Hield. They still view him as a big part of the franchise. This is just another day out of many in the history of the Kings and it too shall pass.

It should also be noted that Hield is fighting to stay in a Kings' uniform. He is asking the team to lock him up for the next five seasons in Sacramento so he can put permanent roots. He has visions of buying a house in the area and making this his NBA home. 

Between now and Oct. 21, Hield will either get an extension or he won’t. He is emotional about the process. He wants financial stability. He wants respect. He wants to know that he is just as important to the recent success of the franchise as anyone else. All of this is understandable.

[RELATED: Kings, Hield $20M apart in contract extension talks]

At the end of the day, this is a negotiation. The NBA is a business and it shouldn’t get personal. If a deal doesn’t get done now, the two sides have another bite at the apple at the end of the season.

The next few days building to the deadline could get wild, but like so many other situations with the Kings, the darkness will pass soon enough. A resolution, one way or another, will happen and the focus will shift to basketball and the task at hand.