How Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon fit Kings after quick NBA free agency start

How Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon fit Kings after quick NBA free agency start

SACRAMENTO -- Build through the draft, add the right pieces when the timing is right. That is a formula that has worked for other NBA teams, and now the Kings are implementing the plan in the early hours of NBA free agency. 

With young building blocks in De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Marvin Bagley and Harry Giles in place, the Kings attacked the free-agent market Sunday like never before.

The first line of business was to re-up Harrison Barnes on a four-year, $85 million contract extension. With one of their forward positions in place, Kings general manager Vlade Divac hit the nitro button.

Sacramento bolstered its center position, agreeing with former Hawks big man Dewayne Dedmon on a three-year, $40 million contract. The Kings backed that up with another forward, and agreed to a two-year, $25 million contract with Trevor Ariza.

How do the additions fit?

Barnes slides right back into his starting small-forward role, but now new coach Luke Walton has plenty of options to move him around as the team makes adjustments throughout the game.

With Barnes’ ability to play either forward position, the Kings needed depth at the three. Ariza’s arrival gives Sacramento another shooter on the wing and a strong defender.

After being shipped to the Wizards last season, the 34-year-old averaged 14.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.2 steals in the final 43 games of the season. At 6-foot-8, 215 pounds, he gives the Kings more size and depth than they had at the position for most of last season.

Dedmon is a perfect fit for what the Kings are trying to do. At 29 years old, he still has plenty of life in his legs and checks some extremely important boxes for the Kings.

The 7-footer out of USC averaged 10.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game last season. He can run the floor and protect the rim, and he shot 38.2 percent from behind the arc on 3.4 attempts per game last season.

Dedmon’s ability to stretch the floor opens up running lanes for Fox and gives Bagley room to work in the post. He likely slots into the starting five alongside Fox, Hield, Barnes and Bagley.


Barnes was always going to cost the Kings. They knew that when they acquired him via trade from the Dallas Mavericks in February. He saved the team money when he opted out of his $25.1 million deal for this season. His four-year, $85 million deal reportedly declines in value, which is perfect for when Divac is going to have to pay the young core.

Ariza’s initial hit is pretty big, but in the same ballpark of what Kings paid guard Iman Shumpert last season. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Ariza's second year is only partially guaranteed.

Ariza turned 34 on Sunday, and his play last season would lend you to believe he has plenty left in the tank. If the Kings need an upgrade at the position next season, Ariza will likely have enough trade value to be moved.

All of the numbers aren’t in on Dedmon yet, although early reports suggest only the first two years are guaranteed. This is perfect for Sacramento. If Bagley or Giles show they are ready to take over the position, the Kings can opt out in year three and look for younger options. If not, they have an affordable option while they search for answers.

Without having the exact numbers, it’s hard to estimate where the Kings are in relation to the cap as of right now. If we ballpark the numbers for this season, Barnes will make $23 million, Ariza will take home around $12.5 million and Sacramento is likely on the hook for around $14 million for Dedmon.

If these estimates are close, the Kings have roughly $91 million in dedicated salary for next year with 10 roster spots filled. They have team options on Yogi Ferrell ($3.2 million) and Frank Mason ($1.6 million), but they are also in search of a backup point guard.

If they choose to walk away from Ferrell and Mason, they still have an estimated $18 million in salary-cap space, as well as a room exception of $4.7 million.

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The Kings improved their overall talent level and bolstered major positions of need in the first hours of free agency. They have more work to do, but they made additions while keeping their cap flexibility for the future when they’ll have to pay their young core.

Sacramento likely will use some of its cap space to add another point guard, and potentially a fifth big who can play center behind Dedmon and Giles. Like last season, the Kings might walk into opening night with additional money, which could come in handy early in the season or at the trade deadline.

Nemanja Bjelica's career night gives Kings much-needed win over Mavs


Nemanja Bjelica's career night gives Kings much-needed win over Mavs

Marvin Bagley is almost back. What that means for Nemanja Bjelica is a decision head coach Luke Walton will have to make over the next few games.

The veteran forward might have made life a little more difficult for his coach in the team’s 110-106 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday evening.

Since Bagley went down in the season opener, Bjelica has started the last 21 games at power forward. He’s had some ups and downs, but against Dallas, he was on his game.

“One of the best, here for sure,” Bjelica told Grant Napear and Doug Christie following the win. “I was feeling good, coach trusts me, I have a green light to shoot. That’s my advantage on offense. I need to get a little bit better on defense, but the important thing is we won the game.”

A former EuroLeague MVP, Bjelica is a very smart player. He might not have the athleticism that a few of his teammates possess, but he can impact a game in many ways.

Against Dallas, he came out firing early and never let up. When Bjelica is on, his range is limitless and he spaces the floor for the rest of his teammates. The Mavericks caught the Serbian sharpshooter in rare form.

The 31-year-old power forward knocked down a perfect 7-of-7 from the field in the first half, to help give his team a 20-point lead heading into the intermission. He continued to fire away during the second half, but he was much more than just a shooter, which Walton and his staff have been pushing for.

“He’s a heck of a ball player,” coach Luke Walton told media following the win. “We keep talking to him about how we view him as much more than just a space four-man. When he was younger in Europe, he played point guard for his club team. He’s got the skill, the passing ability and the shooting ability to really put the pressure on defenses.”

In addition to tying his career-high of 30 points, Bjelica added seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in 34 minutes of play. He knocked down 13-of-18 from the field and 4-of-7 from long range and failed to register a turnover.

“We’re constantly encouraging him to be more aggressive and I thought tonight, he was aggressive and it helps when you’re knocking down those shots too,” Walton added.

After a tough overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, the Kings needed a team win. They almost let the game slip away, but Bjelica helped seal the deal in the waning seconds to come away with the first win of the road trip.

“We just need to play 48 minutes, we need to respect our opponents,” Bjelica added. “Everybody can play, everybody can score in this league.”

The peaks and valleys of this season has taken its toll on Kings. They’ve had to play without Bagley for nearly seven weeks and De’Aaron Fox has missed major time as well.

Players like Bjelica, Cory Joseph and Richaun Holmes have stepped up and kept the team competitive on most nights. 

“This team is growing, we have a bright future, but we’re here to win the games,” Bjelica said. “We had a bad start to the season, but now we just have to play harder.”

With the victory over the Mavs, the Kings now sit at 9-13 on the season. Bagley is expected back in the next few days, which should bolster the front line and give Bjelica a bit of a break. While his role might change, Bjelica has earned a spot in the rotation with his strong play, whether that’s with the starters or off the bench.

The Final Play

With 4.4 seconds remaining in the fourth, Holmes ripped down a rebound and was instantly fouled by the Mavericks. It was the first foul in the final two minutes, which allowed the Kings to inbounds the ball and potentially kill the clock.

Bjelica set a screen for Harrison Barnes who broke for the midcourt line. Bjelica then slipped to the hoop while his defender jumped out to help on Barnes.

Bogdan Bogdanovic faked to Barnes and then fired a bullet to a wide open Bjelica standing under the basket.

[RELATED: Bagley doesn't return vs. Luka, Mavs]

The Serbian connection worked. Bjelica went in for a two-handed jam to tie his career-high of 30 points. The bucket gave Sacramento a four-point lead with 3.4 seconds remaining and effectively ended the game.

If you’re going to have a career night, you might as well be the player who seals the win.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in scrappy 110-106 win over Mavericks

Kings takeaways: What we learned in scrappy 110-106 win over Mavericks


After a devastating overtime loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday evening, the Sacramento Kings almost had a replay Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks. After leading by 20 at the half, the Kings melted down in the fourth quarter.

Luka Doncic missed a runner in the final seconds that would have tied the game and Richaun Holmes ripped down a rebound to help preserve the 110-106 win for Sacramento. 

Tim Hardaway Jr. knocked down nine 3-pointers to keep the Mavs in the game and Doncic dropped in a near triple-double performance, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings surprised the Mavericks on their home floor to improve to 9-13 on the season.  

The other European

Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and Bogdan Bogdanovic are three of the best European players in the NBA. On Sunday in Dallas, it was another Euro who stole the show early.

Bjelica couldn’t miss in the first half, scoring 17 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting. And he didn’t stop there.

The Kings’ starting power forward tied his career-high of 30 points on 13-for-18 from the field and 4-of-7 from long range. He also grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists to help propel the Kings to victory.

Good Buddy

Buddy Hield has been all over the place this season. He’s struggled with his shot selection, missed open looks and had a few mental lapses on defense as well. That was not the player that started against the Mavs.

After a tough outing against the Spurs, Hield lit up the Mavs for 26 points on 5-for-6 from 3-point range. 

Maybe more important than the shooting, Hield set up his teammates for five assists and grabbed four rebounds.

Value the ball

Despite playing at the slowest pace in the league, the Kings rank 19th in the league in turnovers at 15.7 per game. Against Dallas, they valued the ball and it made a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game.

Sacramento turned the ball over just four times through three quarters and then came undone late to all the Mavericks back in the game.

In the final 12 minutes, the Kings had a pair of 24-second shot clock violations. They made a few bad passes and they picked up two offensive fouls. In total, they turned the ball over seven times in the fourth to finish the game with 11.