Kings caught in eye of the storm as racial tensions boil over in Sacramento

Kings caught in eye of the storm as racial tensions boil over in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- Racial tensions in Sacramento have hit a fever pitch and the Kings are in the eye of the storm. As City Council met to discuss the officer involved shooting death of Stephon Clark on Tuesday evening, the protests once again spilled out into the courtyard surrounding Golden 1 Center.

With knowledge that there was potential for issues, the team opened their doors early in an attempt to avoid conflict. There were no issues until roughly 6:30 when a small group of 40-60 protesters ascended upon the entrances of Golden 1 Center. 

For the second time in three games, the Kings were forced to close their doors to paying customers. Maybe worse, they had no choice but to leave their fanbase caught outside in the midst of protesters and armed police. 

Slightly more than 4,000 fans were allowed in the building before the lockdown occurred, an increase from the 2,500 that made it into the arena last Thursday evening when the team hosted the Atlanta Hawks.

The team is caught in a difficult situation. While the events were playing out quickly outside, Owner Vivek Ranadivé, COO Matina Kolokotronis, President of Business Operations John Rinehart, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations for the NBA Kiki Vandeweghe amongst others met inside the main entrance doors to Golden 1 Center on Tuesday evening. 

After long discussions, the team had no other choice but to ask the remaining 10,000-plus fans waiting outside, to go home. 

Following the loss to the Mavericks, the team released the following statement:

“Tonight’s demonstrations beginning at City Hall migrated to Golden 1 Center preventing ticketed guests from safely entering the arena. The safety of our guests is our number one priority. Due to law enforcement being unable to allow ticketed fans to safely enter the arena, the doors were closed to maintain guest and public safety.

"We continue to work with law enforcement and City leadership to ensure the safety and security of fans and the public on Thursday and at future events.”

We very well could see a similar situation play out on Thursday evening as the Kings play host to the Indiana Pacers. Civil rights activist, Reverend Al Sharpton, is scheduled to be in Sacramento Thursday to give a eulogy at Clark’s funeral and the turnout is expected to be high.

The Kings are aware of the potential for more protests and have spent Wednesday morning making preparations. 

“We are meeting with the Mayor, law enforcement and community leaders today and are committed to ensuring the safety and security of fans on Thursday and future events. We will continue to provide updates as they become available,” the Kings relayed to NBC Sports California.

While the Kings have made contingency plans for Thursday, they can only do so much without the aid of the police department. There will be a plan in place to help facilitate the safe arrival of fans, but the team does not employ armed security for events and to avoid escalating the tension, police have chosen to stand down.

After two days of activity, the Sacramento Police Department made a commitment to facilitate the safety of fans in statements to the Sacramento Bee Wednesday.

“We will be working with the Kings organization to make sure that we have a strategic plan, because obviously we are concerned about people’s safety,” Sgt. Vance Chandler told the Bee. “And we also are concerned about people being able to attend the game they paid tickets to go view.”

“We know how important that is for the people who are hoping to go to the game and enjoy their time,” Chandler added. “And we also know that people are concerned about their safety and we want to make sure that everybody in our city is safe.”

This is clearly an evolving story. We will continue to update fans as information becomes available throughout Thursday. 

Kings' 2018-19 schedule has fewer back-to-backs, but start is road heavy

Kings' 2018-19 schedule has fewer back-to-backs, but start is road heavy

Basketball season is just around the corner. Well, maybe not. We’re still nearly five weeks away from the opening of training camp for the 2018-19 season, and the regular season doesn’t begin until mid-October. 

On Friday, the NBA announced the 82 game schedule for all 30 teams, including the Sacramento Kings, who will open the season at home Oct. 17 against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.

Here are some of the nuts and bolts from this season’s campaign.

•    For the second season in a row, the Kings will play only one set of five-games-in-seven-nights, and that comes at the tail end of March and into early April. This is part of the NBA’s new plan of allowing players more time to rest. The league has eliminated the dreaded four-games-in-five-nights grouping from the schedule as well.

•    Sacramento will have 14 sets of back-to-backs, two shy of last season’s total of 16 sets. Of those 14 sets, one is home-and-home, seven are away-and-away, two are away-and-home and four are home-and-away.

•    After a balanced November and December schedule, the Kings will hit the road for their longest trip away from home in mid-January, stopping in Charlotte, Detroit, Brooklyn, Toronto, Memphis and Los Angeles (Clippers) from Jan. 17 to Jan. 27. 

•    The Kings’ longest homestand will be six games and come on the heels of their longest road trip. From Jan. 30 through Feb. 10, Sacramento will host the Hawks, 76ers, Spurs, Rockets, Heat and Suns at Golden 1 Center. 

•    Sacramento will play seven of its first 10 games away from Golden 1 Center. With plenty of new faces expected to see time in the rotation, the young Kings will have to learn on the fly while traveling around the NBA landscape.   

[RELATED: Five most intriguing games on Kings' 2018-19 schedule]

There are plenty of games to look forward to as well, beginning with opening night. There are old faces in new places and plenty of intrigue.

•    Sacramento will match up with the two-time reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors four times this season. The initial battle is set for Nov. 24 at Oracle, with a follow-up three weeks on Dec. 14 at Golden 1 Center. The teams will meet again Jan. 5 at Golden 1 and then finish the series in the first game coming out of the All-Star break on Feb. 21. It likely won’t happen early in the season, but at some point, former Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins will make his debut as a member of the Warriors, which should be fun to watch.

•    The Kings will face off with the new-look Los Angeles Lakers four times as well, beginning on Nov. 11 at home. The Lakers have made substantial changes to their roster, including the addition of LeBron James. These teams will play each other again twice in late December before completing the series March 24 in L.A. 

•    Isaiah Thomas joined forces during the offseason with former Kings coach Michael Malone in Denver. Sacramento will play the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on Oct. 23 and then again on Jan. 3 at Golden 1 Center and Feb. 13 back in Denver.

•    The Kings will have to wait until Dec. 4 to get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton when they travel to Talking Stick Resort Arena to face the Suns. They’ll see No. 3 overall selection Luka Doncic on Dec. 16 when they stop over in Dallas for a game against the Mavs.

Below is the complete Kings 2018-19 schedule, with all times local to where the game is played:

Report: Lil Wayne is suing Kings guard Frank Mason III


Report: Lil Wayne is suing Kings guard Frank Mason III

Second-year Sacramento Kings pro Frank Mason III is being sued by rap star Lil Wayne. Seriously. 

The 24-year-old guard is being sued for $92,000 and must give back his Young Money diamond chain, according to TMZ Sports.

Before the Kings selected Mason in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, Lil Wayne's agency, Young Money APAA Sports Group, signed the former Kansas star. The agency reportedly gave Mason $40,000 in advance, paid his pre-draft expenses which totaled $52,000 and gave him an $11,000 diamond chain. 

However, Mason's contract reportedly stated if he left the agency, Mason would have to repay the money and give back the chain. This past April, Mason left the agency. 

Mason signed a three-year, $4,181,147 contract with the Kings after the 2017 draft. He is guaranteed $2,562,627.