Kings' De'Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes building bond at Team USA camp

Kings' De'Aaron Fox, Harrison Barnes building bond at Team USA camp

LOS ANGELES -- Playing for USA Basketball is an opportunity. It’s a chance to represent your country on a tremendous stage. It’s also a time for players to challenge themselves against some of the best the game has to offer while building lifelong relationships.

For two Kings players, competing for spots on Team USA's 12-man FIBA World Cup roster have provided an extra few weeks to create a bond during a busy summer, and that could pay huge dividends down the road.

When the whistle blows to conclude practice, De’Aaron Fox and Harrison Barnes can often be seen standing together in the ensuing scrum. Following media sessions, they head off together to get a lift in or treatment.

Regardless of whether one or both make the team that will represent the USA in China next month, this has been a valuable experience for two of the Kings’ core players to build chemistry and get to know each other better.

“Spending time with D has always been great, he’s a character for sure,” Barnes told NBC Sports California following Wednesday’s Team USA practice in Los Angeles. “I’m definitely looking forward to this trip and continuing to spend more time, continue to develop a relationship and see that translate when we get back to Sacramento.”

This is a new relationship. Barnes joined the Kings at the trade deadline and spent the final 28 games of the season trying to get acclimated to a new team in a new city that was trying to stay in the playoff hunt. Basketball came first. Friendships take time to develop.

Barnes is the veteran who has won a championship and an Olympic gold medal. Fox is the budding star still learning the ropes and trying to improve as a player.

“It’s just trust,” Barnes said about the opportunity to spend extra time together. “Anytime you can hang out with somebody, break bread with somebody, play Playstation, whatever it is, that just builds the camaraderie, the trust that you have with somebody.”

While they didn’t have a lot of time together during the season, you can see Fox leaning on Barnes for advice and leadership as he tries to navigate the new world of USA Basketball.

“It’s definitely grown a lot,” Fox said of his relationship with Barnes. “He’s one of the only guys that I’ve ever played with here, we play on the same team, so we’re a little bit comfortable together.

“For me, it’s definitely still been a bit of a learning experience and I can use him, basically as a vet that has been through this before."

Fox is the face of the Kings’ franchise and Barnes is a smart player who can see the potential in his young understudy.

Through his seven seasons in the NBA, Barnes has played with a few legends, including Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Dirk Nowitzki. He has witnessed the sacrifices stars make both on and off the court, and he is willing to impart some of that knowledge to his young Kings teammate.

“It’s just a matter of me seeing great players demonstrate good habits,” Barnes said. “Knowing the potential that De’Aaron has and just trying to help him foster that. Obviously, he can be one of the best point guards, if not the best point guard in the league. So it’s just helping him stay on those little things to help him get there.”

Barnes jumped at the chance to play for the national team again and it appears that the experience comes with the added bonus of building a better relationship with a young man who likely will be at his side for the next four seasons -- or more.

[RELATED: Why Fox isn't upset at Kings having only one national TV game]

The 27-year-old forward gambled on the potential of Fox and the young core of the Kings this summer when he inked a new four-year, $85 million deal to remain in Sacramento. He’ll spend his prime in purple and black, and it appears he’s willing to invest in the players around him

Fox is a sponge and he’s learning as fast as he can. Having a big brother to guide him through his Team USA experience this summer could make all the difference down the road.

Kings' Harrison Barnes makes final Team USA roster for FIBA World Cup

Kings' Harrison Barnes makes final Team USA roster for FIBA World Cup

Team USA will feature one member of the Sacramento Kings after all in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, as the final roster was made official Saturday.

Both Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox were among the finalists before both withdrew, citing a need to prepare for the 2019-20 NBA season. 

Barnes has competed for Team USA before, as he was part of the national team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

There is, however, one more Northern California connection on the World Cup roster. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown played his one season of college hoops at Cal.

This team is a far cry from the initial roster projections, as just about every marquee player offered the chance to play seemed to withdraw from consideration due to injury or desire to rest, as the tournament will end just a few weeks before the start of NBA training camps.

[RELATED: Kings big man Marvin Bagley drops first rap album titled 'BIG JREAMS']

Barnes has started two of the three games during Team USA’s training trip in Australia, which included the program’s first international loss in more than a decade Friday night. 

Even with so many great players declining the opportunity to represent the Red, White, and Blue in the World Cup, Team USA is still favored, so look for Barnes to be bringing back some hardware to Sacramento.

Kings big man Marvin Bagley drops first rap album titled 'BIG JREAMS'

Kings big man Marvin Bagley drops first rap album titled 'BIG JREAMS'

Marvin Bagley can do more than make buckets. The Kings' young big man can spit some rhymes, too. 

Bagley released his first album Saturday, titled "BIG JREAMS." And, no he didn't misspell "dream." Bagley explained the title to one fan Saturday morning. 

The album includes 14 songs, and Bagley tweeted a preview on Wednesday. 

Music isn't new to Bagley. The No. 2 pick from the 2018 NBA Draft has had a passion for the art for years now and even found himself in a rap battle with Blazers star Damian Lillard earlier this offseason.

[RELATED: How different factors on schedule will affect the Kings]

Bagley was voted first-team All-Rookie this past season after averaging 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for the Kings. Let's see if he can find just as much success off the court with his music.