SACRAMENTO -- Stunned. Shellshocked. Overwhelmed.
The Kings looked broken after their 127-101 blowout loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday, and it had nothing to do with the final score. It’s a young squad, and the two transactions that changed the look of their rotation seem to have taken a toll on the group.
For point guard De’Aaron Fox, losing Jackson as a teammate was especially difficult. The two played high school basketball together, and Jackson served as a big brother of sorts to the Kings star.
“I’ve got to get through it myself,” Fox said. “We’re off tomorrow and we’ve got to just let this roll off our back, especially this game. We’re not going to let this become the norm, but it’s just one of those days.”
Fox went through the deadline last season. He watched guards George Hill and Malachi Richardson walk out the door and not come back. He also saw Garrett Temple, the team’s leader, leave over the summer.
While Harry Giles was with the team last season, he didn’t play or travel with the group full time. This experience was new, and he gave a heartfelt answer when asked about what Jackson and Shumpert meant to the Kings.
“You can’t put a enough appreciation on those two,” Giles said. “The energy they brought was priceless in a way, very priceless. Something that shakes and you feel it when they leave.”
Fox was emotional. Giles was emotional. The entire room felt different. The vibe was off and the group knows that it’s still not over. The deadline doesn’t hit until Thursday at noon PT. There is time for another move or two.
Maybe it takes being traded to gain the necessary perspective.
Buddy Hield compared the feeling to switching schools and having to get used to a new environment, make new friends and figure out all the rules. After three trade deadlines, Hield knows what to expect.
"This is professional business and you've got to move on,” Hield said. “You can't dwell on it. If you dwell on it, you know, you get lost in the sauce."
Shumpert’s locker was next to Hield’s for the last year. They spent plenty of time together, and the banter between the two was comical at times. Saying goodbye to a friend like this just moments before a game is difficult.
“Today leaves a bad taste in your mouth,” Hield added. “Everybody’s mind is all messed up. It happened so quick. We lost some guys we’ve been to battle with.”
To add insult to injury, the Rockets came in and thumped the Kings. Houston was the agressor from the opening tip, and Sacramento looked lost.
Thursday should be a day to regroup. The Shumpert trade is not official through the league yet, although it is expected to go through the league office early on Thursday.
There is no early word as to whether Harrison Barnes or Alec Burks will be available to play Friday against the Miami Heat. All players from both trades have 48 hours to report and take physicals before the transaction can be finalized.