Kings

Kings introduce Harrison Barnes, Alec Burks, Corey Brewer to media

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USATI

Kings introduce Harrison Barnes, Alec Burks, Corey Brewer to media

SACRAMENTO -- Reinforcements are here.

Following shootaround Friday morning at the Sacramento Kings practice facility, four new members of the squad were on the court hoisting shots and getting used to their surroundings.

Harrison Barnes worked the far court with a few of the young bigs. Alec Burks took turns firing away from 3-point range with Buddy Hield. Veteran Corey Brewer was all smiles and big man Caleb Swanigan looked ready for a new challenge.

Barnes, Burks and Brewer have already cleared physicals and are on the active roster for Friday’s clash with the Miami Heat. Swanigan is still in the process of having his paperwork finished, although it’s unknown what role he might have with the team moving forward.

For Barnes, this is the first time he’s been traded mid-season. After spending his first four seasons with the Warriors, including a championship run in 2014-15, he joined the Mavs in the summer of 2016 as a free agent.

“When I heard the news, I was excited to be with the group,” Barnes said, “We’ve got a lot of young players. Definitely looking forward to helping them grow, helping them develop, helping this franchise win games and I’m excited to compete.”

Dallas missed the playoffs two straight seasons and he’s excited to join a team that’s in the thick of the race.

“Just trying to compete, trying to help these guys win,” Barnes added. “[We’re] in the middle of a playoff, so that’s exciting, especially as a veteran player that’s been to the playoffs. Trying to be a part of that again is a special thing.”

After an acclimation period, Barnes is likely to be the everyday small forward for Sacramento. He has a player option for next season at a little over $25 million and the Kings are hoping he wants to be a long term fixture on the team.

“This is definitely an exciting opportunity,” Barnes said. “I’m happy to be here. Hopefully, we can build some things here in the next 30 games that can give us a postseason berth and we can build on the future going from there.”

This is the second time this season Burks has been on the move. He was traded to the Cavs in late November after spending more than seven seasons in a Jazz uniform. He’s looking forward to playing the Kings’ style.

“Playing for another and playing for something bigger than yourself is always exciting,” Burks said. “Especially with this young group that’s energized and likes to play with each other and have fun. I think that’s the most important thing at the end of the day, we all just go out there and play for each other and just see what happens.”

Burks provides depth and experience at both backcourt positions. He is another ball handler and distributor and he’s an exceptional rebounder for a backcourt player.

While Barnes and Burks are under contract throughout the remainder of the season, Brewer signed a 10-day contract with the Kings after spending two 10-day deals with the Sixers last month.

“It’s a perfect situation, just being a wing, just being with this young team and the way they like to get play, get up and down, that’s the way I like to play,” Brewer said. “They’re trying to make the playoffs and for me, that’s what it’s all about.”

At 32-years-old, Brewer has bounced around the league plenty. Sacramento is his eighth different team, ninth if you include two different stops in Minnesota. With only 13 players under guaranteed roster spots, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Brewer stick around for more than just 10 days.

[RELATED: Why Divac, Kings are heading in right direction together]

Coach Dave Joerger has the tall task of reorganizing on the fly and plugging three major pieces into the mix. Sacramento has two more games at home, before finishing their pre-All-Star break schedule Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets.

The coaching staff will have time over the break to work out some of the kinks before hitting the final 25 games of the season.

NBA Power Rankings 2019: Standing of every team at All-Star break

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USATSI

NBA Power Rankings 2019: Standing of every team at All-Star break

Welcome to another week of Power Rankings! We’re nearing the home stretch and very little is decided outside of the Warriors dominance.

There are surprising teams and some major disappointments. One of the biggest surprises is in Sacramento. 

Nobody expected the Kings to be in playoff contention. But at 30-27, the young squad is just one game back of the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference with 25 games to go. 

[RELATED: De'Aaron Fox sends message on potential Kings-Warriors playoff series]

Here is where the league stands heading into the All-Star break:

VIEW THE POWER RANKINGS HERE

De'Aaron Fox sends message on potential Kings-Warriors playoff series

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AP

De'Aaron Fox sends message on potential Kings-Warriors playoff series

With a trip to All-Star weekend comes the barrage of media conversations. The Kings are a hot topic and De’Aaron Fox might be the belle of the ball.

After a brutal 120-118 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday evening, Fox was already sitting in front of a camera having conversations Thursday morning.

“We feel like we’re in a great position,” Fox said on ESPN’s First Take. “There’s been a lot of games that we’ve dropped that we probably shouldn’t have lost and there are games that we won, that we probably shouldn’t have won. But with 25 games left, I feel like we’re getting better and better.

"Marvin [Bagley] is growing throughout this year. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the eight seed, if not, even the seven.”

Confidence has never been an issue with Fox. The 21-year-old has a moxie to him that makes him a natural born leader and he backs it up with a great work ethic.

With the Kings just a game out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff chase, Fox was asked about a potential matchup with the Golden State Warriors in the first round.

“I think every team can be beat,” Fox said. “We’ve played them three times this year already. I think we lost by a combined eight points and all three of those games, we probably had the game, but Boogie [DeMarcus Cousins] didn’t play. He adds an entirely different dynamic to that team, but like I said, everybody is human, so every team can be beat on any given day.”

Fox was off by a couple of points. The Kings have lost all three games this season to the Warriors by a combined 10 points, although they held leads in the fourth quarter in all of them.

The Kings were a Bagley tip-in from winning one game. Buddy Hield had shots in the final minute to either tie or win the other two games.  

Sacramento will get one last look at the champs next Thursday coming out of the All-Star break.

In his sophomore season in the league, Fox has taken incredible strides. Going into the All-Star break, he’s averaging 17.2 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 36.6 percent from 3-point range.

After shooting just 30.7 percent from long range last season, Fox was asked about his improved shooting stroke by Max Kellerman.

“All summer, I just shot the ball, that’s all it is, it’s all about work, it doesn’t just come overnight,” Fox said. “All summer, that’s literally all I did. I didn’t work on ball handling, I had that. I didn’t work on athleticism, I had that. I just worked on my strength and shooting the ball. That’s all I did the entire summer.”

In a ranging conversation, Fox gave Giannis Antetokounmpo his nod for the NBA’s MVP award. He spoke on the 2017 NBA Draft and why he might have been the third point guard taken. Lastly, he was asked about the Kings future and whether he and his teammates have spoken on sticking together for the long haul.

“It definitely comes up,” Fox said. “With Buddy in his third year and Marvin in his first year, me in my second and what we’re able to do already - we’re definitely competing. We go out every game, we’re competing against some of the best.”

Kellerman, a renowned Lakers fan, finished the interview by loudly proclaiming, “I can’t wait until you’re a Laker.”

[RELATED: Breaking down Kings' chances to break 12-year NBA playoff drought]

Fox replied quickly, “I don’t know about that one.”

Sacramento has put Fox as the centerpiece to their rebuild and through the first season and a half, he’s exceeding expectations. Sacramento fans can have confidence going out and buying a No. 5 jersey, Fox isn’t going anywhere for a long time.