Kings' De'Aaron Fox explains why Nemanja Bjelica starts over Marvin Bagley


Kings' De'Aaron Fox explains why Nemanja Bjelica starts over Marvin Bagley

It's been one of the biggest talking points among Kings fans this season.

Why isn't 2018 No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley III starting? Why is 30-year-old Nemanja Bjelica, who has been a bench player most of his career, starting over Bagley?

Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox shed a little light on that in the latest Posted Up podcast with Yahoo's Chris Haynes.

The answer, though, came out during a question about what Fox's first thought is on a fast break.

"First thing I’m thinking is, get a layup" Fox told Haynes. "Second thing is, if I’m not going to get a layup, I’m going to attack, but it’s really just to see what the defense does because if there’s one defender in front of me, that’s still a layup. For the most part, I’m not looking at who’s guarding me. It’s the second and third level defenders. So if I make a move and somebody helps, I’m just going to kick it."

That's when Fox dropped this nugget.

"And I think with our starting lineup, for sure, and which is why everyone questions why Marvin [Bagley] is not starting and this and that," Fox said. "I think [Nemanja Bjelica] spreads the floor so well and that’s what opens up my lanes, that’s what opens up driving lanes. [Iman Shumpert] is shooting the ball well, everybody knows Buddy [Hield] can shoot the ball and Belly can shoot the ball, they’re both, for their careers, shooting over 40 percent. So, if you help, it’s like pick your poison. Help or don’t help. If you don’t help, I’m going to get a layup or dump off to Willie. If you do help, we’ve got shooters on the wing."

The Bjelica-Bagley dynamic has been a point of contention this season. In November, Haynes reported that there was a "substantial disconnect" between Joerger and the Kings' front office regarding the playing time of Bagley, Harry Giles and Skal Labissiere. The Kings later came out and denied the report.

The Kings like to be patient with their top picks. Last year, Fox wasn't thrust into the starting lineup right away. He came off the bench for the first part of the season and learned behind veteran George Hill.

Now, the Kings are taking the same approach with Bagley. And they are able to do it due to the presence of someone like Bjelica, who fits well with what the Kings are trying to do, which is run, push the pace and spread the floor.

Source: Kings add Wenyen Gabriel to 15-man roster, waive Tyler Lydon

Source: Kings add Wenyen Gabriel to 15-man roster, waive Tyler Lydon

SACRAMENTO -- After signing Buddy Hield to a new four-year, $86 million contract extension Monday morning, the Sacramento Kings finished off their roster with some final housekeeping measures.

A league source has confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings elevated Wenyen Gabriel from this two-way contract and added him to the main roster on a new deal Monday afternoon.

Gabriel went undrafted out of Kentucky in the 2018 NBA Draft. He signed a two-year, two-way contract with Sacramento last season, but failed to make a single appearance with the club.

The 6-foot-9 forward has played mostly at the small forward position during the preseason for Luke Walton’s squad. Over his four contests, he averaged 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.  

With Harry Giles on the shelf, at least to start the season, Gabriel will act as organizational depth at both forward positions. He is a big-time athlete that can get out in the open court and even hit an occasional 3-pointer. 

In 42 games with the Stockton Kings last season, Gabriel averaged 10.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and a block in 20.8 minutes per game. He shot 49.3 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from 3-point range.

To make room for Gabriel on the roster, the Kings waived third-year pro Tyler Lydon. 

The 6-foot-10 forward has played in just 25 NBA games since being selected with the No. 24 overall pick of the 2017 NBA NBA Draft. He was limited in camp due to a hip injury and played just one eight minute stretch for the team.

In addition to the Gabriel and Lydon moves, the Kings claimed DaQuan Jeffries off waivers from the Orlando Magic and converted his non-guaranteed deal to a two-way contract.

[RELATED: Gabriel making family proud by making NBA]

Jeffries averaged 13 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season at Tulsa. He went undrafted during the 2019 NBA Draft, but according to an NBA source, the Kings were high on him coming out of college. 

The 6-foot-5, 230 pound guard/forward is will likely spend most of his time playing for the Stockton Kings of the G League this season.

Buddy Hield's four-year contract extension with Kings win-win for all

Buddy Hield's four-year contract extension with Kings win-win for all

SACRAMENTO -- If you are looking for winners, you have come to the right place. The Kings signed shooting guard Buddy Hield to a multi-year contract Monday.

A source told NBC Sports California the deal is a four-year, $86 million contract extension. The Athletic's Sam Amick first reported the news hours ahead of Monday's contract extension deadline.

In an NBA rarity, the early takeaway is that the deal is a win-win for everyone involved.

After a breakout season, Hield gets paid handsomely for ascending to elite shooter status. He also has an additional $20 million in motivational incentives over the next four seasons.

Some of those items are obtainable and some aren’t. Either way, Hield has plenty of reasons to back up his strong play, as well as focus on team goals.

The structure of the contract also allows Hield and his management team to claim victory. While he was looking for something in the neighborhood of $110 million, Hield can come close to that number if everything goes perfect.

According to a league source, a few of his contract incentives are very attainable. There are others that are almost impossible for the 26-year-old to reach. On the low-end, he’s still looking at between $86-94 million over the length of the deal.

The contract puts the onus on Hield to not only perform personally, but to achieve team goals like playoffs and even the NBA Finals.

Sacramento keeps the first of their young core players in the fold. They also structured the deal in the same way they handled Harrison Barnes’ extension over the summer. Hield will start with a base salary of $24 million, which will then decline by eight percent in the following three seasons.

Declining value contracts have become an earmark of the Kings’ cap conscious build. The players get plenty of upfront money, but eventually, both Hield and Barnes will represent a smaller percentage of the projected cap when money becomes tight and the team has to pay out for young stars like De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley.  

[RELATED: Source: Kings don't have 'remorse' over Harrison Barnes]

Like Barnes’ deal, Hield’s cap figure will drop below $19 million a year in the final year and represent just 13.5 percent of the team’s total projected salary cap.

Instead of allowing Hield’s contract to become a potential landmine during the season and bleed into next summer, the team now is moving into opening night with a clean slate and a very happy leading scorer.

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!