Kings

Kings G League team opens inaugural season in Stockton with lively crowd

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Stockton Kings

Kings G League team opens inaugural season in Stockton with lively crowd

STOCKTON -- With the Sacramento Kings cruising through their four-game road trip on the east coast, the team’s G League affiliate opened their inaugural season in Stockton, Calif., Friday evening. 

After spending the last decade as the Reno Bighorns, the Kings relocated their affiliate 40 minutes down the road over the summer and rebranded the team as the Stockton Kings.

All of the team’s brass were in attendance and sitting courtside, including owner Vivek Ranadivé, COO Matina Kolokotronis, president John Reinhart, general manager Vlade Divac and all three of his assistant GMs, Brandon Williams, Ken Catanella and Peja Stojakovic.

Before the game tipped off, Ranadivé joined Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs at center court to welcome in the new crowd. Tubbs, 28, is one of the youngest mayors of a major city in the United States.

Purple towels adorned the seats of the Stockton Arena, that also houses the Stockton Heat of the American Hockey League. More than 5,000 fans turned out to watch the Kings take on the Oklahoma City Blues on opening night.

The roster is a mixed bag of veterans, local kids and a few NBA hopefuls. Wenyen Gabriel, one of the team’s two, two-way players, started on the frontline. Troy Williams, the Kings’ second two-way player is currently traveling with the parent club as they prepare to take on the Milwaukee Sunday afternoon.

While the team will play games in Stockton, they are headquartered out of the Kings’ former practice facility on the Arco property in Natomas. The current roster was assembled by general manager, Anthony McClish, as well as Drake U’u, the team’s assistant GM.

The move to Stockton allows for the better synergy between the parent club and the affiliate with players being able to transfer back and forth between the two teams in minutes.

It was a lively evening, but the game didn’t go as planned in the opener. The home team fell by a final of 124-89, but the crowd seemed to enjoy having basketball in their city for the first time.

Kings Under Review: Sacramento gets defensive in win over Blazers

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USATSI

Kings Under Review: Sacramento gets defensive in win over Blazers

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings took care of business on their home court Monday evening, posting a quality 115-107 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. The win was the third straight and fourth in the last five games for Sacramento, who now head out on the road for a brutal 12-day trip across the country.

It wasn't a wire-to-wire success like Saturday's game against the Hornets, but the Kings took control in the first half and fended off a late charge by Portland. After a rough patch to start January, the Kings are showing a newfound ability to close out games.

The win pushed Sacramento two games over the .500 mark at 23-21. Here are the positives and the negatives from the win.

POSITIVE

De-Fense

With time off between games all week, the Kings focused on shoring up their defense. The work paid dividends against a tough Trail Blazers team.

Sacramento held Portland to 40.2 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent from behind the arc to come away with the win.

The Kings made a concerted effort to slow both Jusuf Nurkic and C.J. McCollum and it paid off. After crushing Sacramento in the previous matchup, Nurkic finished with a modest six points and 11 rebounds. McCollum was limited to 2-of-14 from the field for six points.

POSITIVE

Second Unit

In a continuing trend, the Kings are getting productivity up and down the lineup. Against Portland, it was a group of reserves that made a tremendous impact on the outcome of the game.

Bogdan Bogdanovic led the way with 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting off the bench, but he wasn't the only one of the bench mob to produce.

The young bigs went to work. Marvin Bagley posted a 13-point, 11-rebound double-double before fouling out late. Harry Giles scored 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added four rebounds, two assists and a block in 19 minutes.

Justin Jackson hit three 3-pointers, including a pair in the fourth quarter while the game was undecided. Yogi Ferrell chipped in six points to round out the production from the reserves.

Sacramento's second unit totaled 58 of the team's 115 points on the evening.

NEGATIVE/POSITIVE

Lillard Goes Off

Damian Lillard is one of the better scoring guards in the league. He's a tough cover for any team, especially when he goes into attack mode late in a game.

Lillard finished with 35 points on 11-of-27 shooting from the field and 4-for-12 from behind the arc. He was a perfect 9-of-9 from the free throw line and dished out five assists.

He attempted to take over the game in the fourth quarter, scoring 10 points for Portland, but the Kings made life difficult, holding him to 2-of-7 shooting in the final 12 minutes of play.

While Lillard led the Blazers in scoring, he had an inefficient scoring output and turned the ball over six times.

POSITIVE

The Homestand

Needing a solid showing at home before heading out for a season-long six-game trip, the Kings looked focused on the task at hand.

The Pistons, Hornets, and Trail Blazers were all playing on the second night of back-to-backs, but they are all quality veteran teams in the playoff hunt.

With the sweep at home, the Kings improved to 14-10 at Golden 1 Center this season. They'll take some momentum out on the road, where they are 9-11 through 20 games.

NBA rumors: Kings express interest in trade for Hawks guard Jeremy Lin

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USATSI

NBA rumors: Kings express interest in trade for Hawks guard Jeremy Lin

The NBA trade deadline isn't until Feb. 7, but the rumor mill already has begun.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Tuesday that the Kings have expressed interest in trading for Atlanta Hawks veteran point guard Jeremy Lin.

Sources also have told NBC Sports California's James Ham that Sacramento has been kicking the tires on bringing in a conventional backup point guard to help stabilize the second unit. Lin surely would fit that mold.

As Lin is an impending free agent and has a contract worth over $12 million this season, Stein indicates the Hawks likely would be looking for expiring contracts such as Zach Randolph or Kosta Koufos to complete the deal.

Lin, 30, is a Palo Alto native who's currently averaging 10.8 points and 3.6 assists in 19.5 minutes per game with the lowly Hawks (13-30). Given Atlanta's desire to rebuild around rookie point guard Trae Young, it isn't surprising that the team would be looking to move Lin to a contender.

Lin took over the sports world in 2012 with "Linsanity," when he initially burst on the scene with the New York Knicks. Although the highs of Linsanity were impossible to sustain, the veteran has established himself as a solid backup point guard across his eight-year NBA career.

[RELATED: Shumpert denies he tried to enter Blazers locker room]

If a trade to the Kings were to occur, Lin would join a crowded backcourt with De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Iman Shumpert, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Frank Mason III, Ben McLemore and Yogi Ferrell.