Kings

Kings, Pacers to play two 2019 NBA preseason games in Mumbai, India

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ALI THANAWALLA

Kings, Pacers to play two 2019 NBA preseason games in Mumbai, India

The NBA is trying to grow the game of basketball in India, and the league will take a big step in 2019.

The Sacramento Kings and the Indiana Pacers will play two preseason games in the country with nearly 1.4 billion people, the team and the league announced Thursday morning.

The games will take place Oct. 4 and 5 at the NSCI Dome in Mumbai.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, an Indian-American born in Mumbai, issued a statement regarding the announcement: “The Sacramento Kings are proud to be playing in the first NBA games ever held in India. As an Indian-American, it is an honor to help bring this historic moment to the country where I was raised. The sport is experiencing tremendous growth in India and we are excited about continuing to expand the NBA’s reach to fans across the globe. The world wants to watch basketball and India is a fast-growing new frontier."

Ranadive has pushed the NBA to play games in India for the last few years, and he's finally received his wish.

Al Horford's reported Celtics exit has some thinking he'll join Kings

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USATSI

Al Horford's reported Celtics exit has some thinking he'll join Kings

The Al Horford era in Boston reportedly is over.

After three seasons with the Celtics, the All-Star big man reportedly has decided to opt out of his contract and will look to sign a longer-term deal elsewhere, The Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett reported Tuesday, citing league sources. 

Horford arrived in Boston ahead of the 2016-17 season, viewing the C's as a team that was about to take the leap into NBA Finals contention. Three years later, Kyrie Irving's expected departure has made Danny Ainge's giant asset Jenga board crumble, and now Horford appears to be on the market, looking for a chance to win a title during the latter stages of his career. 

This news, naturally, sent Twitter into a tizzy, and it had some pinpointing the Kings as a likely destination for Big Al.

The Kings, fresh off a 39-43 season where they showed they were one of the up-and-coming young teams in the league, are projected to have the cap space to sign Horford to the long-term deal he reportedly is seeking.

Horford, obviously, would be a great veteran piece on what is a young, inexperienced team. The Florida product has been the model of maturity and consistency during his NBA career and would be a respected veteran voice for a young Kings team. With Sacramento looking to make a leap into the playoffs next season, Horford could serve as a steadying force -- the same way he was in Boston -- and help the Kings navigate the rigors of the NBA season.

Putting Horford next to Marvin Bagley III also would give the Kings a loaded frontcourt that would have the ability to dominate the glass. Also, Horford's intelligence and veteran savvy on the defensive end of the floor is something that could help the Kings go up a level as they look to move above the .500-mark next season. 

Now, are the Kings in a position to take a leap and potentially win a title during the next few seasons? That part's a little iffy.

[RELATED: What Barnes' decision to opt out means for Kings]

NBA free agency begins June 30.

What does Harrison Barnes' choice to become free agent mean for Kings?

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USATSI

What does Harrison Barnes' choice to become free agent mean for Kings?

SACRAMENTO -- Harrison Barnes, unrestricted free agent.

The news certainly came as a surprise Tuesday morning when the Kings forward chose to walk away from the final year of his contract that would have paid him $25.1 million next season.

While it might have been slightly unexpected, it wasn’t for Kings general manager Vlade Divac and his team. It might have even been the plan all along.

At 27 years old, Barnes has plenty of basketball in his future, and the Kings would like him to remain a part of that. According to multiple sources, the Kings are confident they can lock up their starting small forward to a long-term deal.

There's always a risk that Barnes will find the open market enticing and leave without compensation for Sacramento. That would be bad news for the Kings’ offseason plans, but it also would open up a massive amount of salary-cap space for the team to aggressively pursue other options.

Don’t be shocked if Barnes and the Kings move quickly on a four-year deal once free agency opens June 30. Barnes follows the age arc of most of the roster, and he instantly fit in as a veteran leader with deep playoff experience.

Barnes had the option of accepting his player option and then working on an extension with the Kings later in the offseason. By opting out, there is a possibility that he is willing to forgo some of the $25.1 million this season for a long-term stability.

Is Barnes worth a four-year, $72 million to $80 million contract? To the Kings, the answer is yes. And a contract like that immediately would impact Sacramento’s bottom line.

With Barnes, the Kings have approximately $67 million in guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season. That doesn’t include a $6.3 million qualifying offer for Willie Cauley-Stein, $1.6 million in non-guaranteed money for Frank Mason, or a team option on Yogi Ferrell at $3.1 million.

Without Barnes’ $25.1 million, Sacramento has $41.9 million in guaranteed deals and $67.1 million in available space. The Kings have another $6.3 million in minimum salary-cap holds, giving them roughly $60.8 million in available space, again, without Ferrell, Cauley-Stein or Mason.

There are further cap implications, like massive holds for Barnes and Cauley-Stein, but those are complicated and require far more explanation. The short answer is that the Kings can eliminate those holds by renouncing their rights to either player.

While nothing is locked up with Barnes as of June 18, this might be a perfect world scenario for the Kings. If he takes a longer-term deal, but with a reduced salary in Year 1, it gives the team additional resources up front while retaining an important part of their core.

A starting salary of $18 million to $20 million would open an extra $5 million to $7 million in cap space for this summer, giving Divac and his staff the ammunition necessary to chase a major free agent and still have enough to make one or two major additional improvements.

[RELATED: Kings get good look at two guards in final pre-draft workout]

This likely is the Kings’ road map for this summer, although there are no guarantees that they can pull it all off. Step one now is to retain Barnes. Step two is to swing for the fences and fill the voids in the rotation.