Kings preseason schedule: Circle Oct. 8 on your calendars


Kings preseason schedule: Circle Oct. 8 on your calendars

SACRAMENTO -- The season is still months away, but the slow buildup has started. Thursday afternoon the Sacramento Kings announced their preseason schedule for the 2017-18 season and there is plenty of intrigue to look forward to.

The Kings open their preseason schedule on Oct. 2 at the Golden 1 Center against the San Antonio Spurs. Under head coach Gregg Popovich, the Spurs won 61 games last season before falling to the Golden State Warriors in four games during the Western Conference Finals. They didn’t land Chris Paul, like early rumors suggested, but they roll into Sacramento with former King Rudy Gay and a team chalked full of veterans.

Four days later, the Kings travel to the AT&T Center in San Antonio to face the Spurs again. San Antonio will start the season without point guard Tony Parker, who ruptured a quad tendon during the playoffs and is expected to sit out until January.

The Kings fly to Sin City on Oct. 8 for their annual matchup in Vegas against the Lakers. The game will certainly take on a more of a circus feel as the Lonzo Ball vs. De’Aaron Fox fanfare hits a fever pitch.

Following the Lakers game, the Kings travel back to Sacramento where the vaunted backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum await on the second night of a back-to-back. Portland took the season series 2-1 last year and come in with rookie Zach Collins, who Sacramento dealt away on draft night for opportunity to select Justin Jackson and Harry Giles at picks 15 and 20.

The Kings take on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 12 at the Staples Center. The backcourt of Chris Paul and J.J. Reddick is no more and veteran sixth-man Jamal Crawford is now with the T-Wolves. The additions of Patrick Beverley, Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic make the Clippers and intriguing watch.

Sacramento finishes out their preseason schedule Oct. 13 at Oracle Arena against the reigning world champs. The Warriors come back with most of their championship roster intact, but a few additions. Nick Young will come off the bench to add more offensive firepower and former Kings forward Omri Casspi will make his return to Sacramento after being traded away at the All-Star break last season.

Per NBA scheduling changes, the preseason and regular season have been moved up. Sacramento will finish their exhibition schedule five days ahead of last season’s schedule. With only two home games on the docket, plenty of Kings fans will have to wait until the regular season to get their first glimpse at the team’s five rookies and three free agent acquisitions.

Kings deny report that they are unhappy with head coach Dave Joerger


Kings deny report that they are unhappy with head coach Dave Joerger

Rebuilding a culture while winning isn’t enough? A report from Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, says it might not be for Sacramento Kings head coach, Dave Joerger. 

According to Haynes, “There appears to be a substantial disconnect between the Sacramento Kings’ front office and head coach Dave Joerger pertaining to the franchise’s priorities and direction, sources told Yahoo Sports.”

Citing a league source, Haynes writes that the rift between the front office and Joerger stems from his distribution of minutes. The article specifically points to Marvin Bagley’s role with the team and to a lesser extent, Skal Labissiere and Harry Giles, through the first 15 games of the season.

During Saturday's Kings-Rockets game, GM Vlade Divac issued a statement refuting the report by Haynes: 

“Dave has our full support and confidence. We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”

Bagley has yet to start a game, with Joerger choosing to start veteran Nemanja Bjelica over the rookie at the power forward position. Bjelica was signed to a three-year, $20.5 million deal by the Kings late in the offseason and has been a pleasant surprise for the team.

The No. 2 overall selection in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bagley is averaging 11.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in 22.3 minutes per game.

The former Duke star has shown signs of high-end potential, but he’s still learning on the defensive end. In Friday’s loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, the 19-year-old finished 1-of-3 from the field for seven points and one rebound in 20 minutes of action. 

Fellow rookie, Jaren Jackson Jr, who the Kings passed on in the draft, posted 27 points and six rebounds in 32 minutes as a starter for the Grizzlies.

Sacramento came into Saturday’s matchup with Houston at a surprising 8-7 record on the season. Joerger has relied on Bjelica and Iman Shumpert as the only two veterans receiving consistent playing time. Kosta Koufos is averaging 14 minutes over seven games and Zach Randolph has yet to suit up for a game this season. 

Joerger had his fourth year option picked up last summer and is under contract next season, but that hasn’t stopped the Kings from making a decision like this in the past.

Michael Malone was let go 24 games into the 2014-15 season after starting the year 11-13. The team was 9-5 at one point, but big man DeMarcus Cousins contracted viral meningitis and missed nine games. Sacramento went 2-7 over the stretch and Malone was relieved of his duties.

The Kings completely spun out of control. Tyrone Corbin lasted just 28 games at the helm, finishing with a record of 7-21. George Karl took over the team and finished the season 11-19, but the chemistry and culture of the team was completely destroyed in the chaos.

Sacramento finished the next season at 33-49 and Karl was dismissed shortly after the season with two years remaining on his contract.

Joerger has his team playing extremely well. His young group leads the league in pace and have defied the odds-makers at almost every turn this season. 

He is winning, while developing the club’s young core. Second-year point guard De’Aaron Fox is having a breakout campaign for the Kings and the improvements of both Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein is nothing short of remarkable. 

The players have talked repeatedly about the positive culture of the team and they love the style of play. Whether that’s enough to keep Joerger in Sacramento has yet to be seen.

Kings vs. Rockets live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

NBC Sports Bay Area

Kings vs. Rockets live stream: How to watch NBA game online on MyTeams

The Kings are continuing a six-game road schedule on Saturday night as they travel to Houston to take on the Rockets.

The Kings are currently 8-7 and ranked ninth in the Western Conference. They will be going up against a Rockets team that is fresh off a strong, 107-86, win over the Warriors on Thursday night. Houston took advantage of the Dubs by scoring 29 points on 17 turnovers which resulted in the Rockets boasting a .500 record for the first time this season.

Bogdan Bogdanovic, who has been on a minutes restriction, has been cleared to play in back-to-back games.

Here's how you can watch Kings-Rockets, as well as NBC Sports California's pregame and postgame coverage, live on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app. 

When: 5 p.m. PT on Saturday, Nov. 17 (pregame show starts at 4:30 p.m.)
Live Stream: MyTeams by NBC Sports app