Kings icon Chris Webber named Basketball Hall of Fame finalist for third time


Kings icon Chris Webber named Basketball Hall of Fame finalist for third time

For the third straight year, former Kings great Chris Webber is a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The five-time All-Star forward was one of 13 names announced on Friday afternoon.

Webber, 45, was the first overall selection in the 1993 NBA Draft out of Michigan. After winning the Rookie of the Year award, the Warriors traded the star big man to the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), where he spent four seasons.

Before the 1998-99 lockout shortened season, Sacramento traded All-Star shooting guard Mitch Richmond and veteran big man Otis Thorpe to Washington in exchange for Webber. Richmond is the lone Kings player from the Sacramento era to gain entrance to the Hall of Fame.

Once with Sacramento, Webber flourished. He led the Kings to six straight playoff appearances, including a run to the Western Conference Finals during the 2001-02 season.

The talented power forward made four consecutive All-Star teams as a member of the Kings, and another during his time in Washington. Webber made the All-NBA team five straight years in Sacramento, including a first team selection during the 2001-02 season.

After a devastating knee injury in May of 2003, Webber struggled to regain his status as an elite player. He was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in February of 2005, where he spent a year-and-a-half before moving on to the Detroit Pistons. Webber returned to where it all started, and finished his career with the Warriors.

Webber retired with 17,182 points, 8124 rebounds, 3,526 assists, 1,197 steals and 1,200 blocks in 831 regular seasons games. He posted career averages of 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists during his 15 year career. The 15-year veteran appeared in 80 playoff games, including 53 as a member of the Kings.

In addition to Webber, former Kings head coach Paul Westphal was also named a finalist for his playing career.

Westphal is a first-time finalist after making it onto the ballot multiple times. He spent a little over two seasons coaching the Kings, beginning in the 2009-10 season and ultimately tallying a 51-121 record with Sacramento.

[RELATED: Kings look to make splash at 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend]

As a player, Westphal was known as an elite scorer during his 12-year career. Like Webber, he made the All-Star team five times. a. He also made the All-NBA first team three times. and was a named the NBA’s Comeback Player of the Year in 1982-83.

Webber and Westphal join former NBA players Marques Johnson, Jack Sikma, Ben Wallace, Sidney Moncrief and Bobby Jones on the ballot, as well as WNBA star Teresa Weatherspoon. Coaches Bill Fitch, Leta Andrews, Eddie Sutton and Barbara Stevens, as well as 28-year NBA referee, Hugh Evans, round out the list.

The Class of 2019 will be announced during the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis, Minnesota in early April. According to the official press release, “a finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.”

Why Hawks trading for Dewayne Dedmon made no sense to Kings' Alex Len

Why Hawks trading for Dewayne Dedmon made no sense to Kings' Alex Len

The Atlanta Hawks had a chance to re-sign center Dewayne Dedmon last summer.

Atlanta passed on the opportunity and let Dedmon leave in free agency, where he eventually signed a three-year, $40 million contract with the Kings.

But in an odd twist, the Hawks brought Dedmon back in a Feb. 5 trade with the Kings.

One of the two players the Kings acquired, Alex Len, recently spoke to The Athletic about his time in Atlanta and the trade that landed him in Sacramento.

“They didn’t want to pay him in the first place, so it didn’t make sense to me,” Len told Chris Kirschner. “If they wanted him, they could have just paid him. So they get him as a backup now and end up paying him anyway."

Len was taken No. 5 overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2013 NBA Draft and signed with the Hawks as a free agent in 2017. He was hoping to be part of the group that returned Atlanta to prominence, and told The Athletic he didn't want to be traded.

“One-hundred percent -- I wanted to stay,” Len said. “I like the coaching staff. I liked my teammates. Everyone was cool. It really had a family feel to it. Last year, you could see the trajectory was going up. Everyone was getting better towards the end of the season. The way we started this season -- I think the mistake we had was we had too many young guys. I didn’t think we had enough veterans and leadership on the team. This season didn’t work out as planned, so they had to make changes. It’s a business, so I understood they had to do it.”

The Hawks appeared to be making progress last season. With Lloyd Pierce in his first season as coach and Trae Young bursting onto the season, Atlanta finished with a 29-53 record. Expectations were high entering the 2019-20 campaign.

[RELATED: Len pleasantly surprised by Kings trade]

But when the NBA suspended the season due to the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Hawks were in possession of a 20-47 record, the second-worst in the Eastern Conference.

Len wanted to stay in Atlanta, but he entered an NBA playoff race when he joined the Kings.

In nine appearances with the Kings, all off the bench, Len is averaging 6.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 16.7 minutes.

Kings' former home, Sleep Train Arena, could become coronavirus hospital


Kings' former home, Sleep Train Arena, could become coronavirus hospital

Have the Sacramento Kings found an alternative use for Sleep Train Arena?

The Army Corps of Engineers is planning to turn the team’s former home into a 360-bed coronavirus hospital as California braces for a potential increase in need for hospital beds.

“California, I think in Sacramento, we’re looking around 360 [beds], some of those are COVID, some of those are non-COVID,” Army Lt. Gen. Todd T. Semonite told reporters this week. “That’s just in the Sleep Train Arena out in Sacramento where we’ve been asked to look.”

According to Lt. Gen. Semonite, Sleep Train, like many convention centers around the country, can be broken into separate areas and quickly converted into hospital-like settings to handle the expected increase in cases on COVID-19 in the coming weeks.

The Sacramento Bee was first on this story. According to their reporting, “The Army Corps of Engineers is supporting the state of California under a FEMA mission assignment to provide planning and site assessments for alternate care facilities in California.”

The Kings left Sleep Train Arena following the 2015-16 season upon the completion of Golden 1 Center. 

Built in 1988, the building formerly known as Arco Arena, mostly has been empty since. Most of the seating areas were cleared out a few years ago as the team has searched for a redevelopment plan for the building.

[RELATED: Kings PA announcer's thoughts on NBA games without fans]

Currently, the Stockton Kings, the team’s G League affiliate, use the practice facility and attached office space as its headquarters. 

According to the Bee, no deal has been finalized, but this is one of the sites the Corps of Engineers is considering as they look to open eight potential mobile hospitals across the state.

We will have more on this possibility as information becomes available. The Kings have yet to comment on this plan.