Kings

Kings rookie Harry Giles can find motivation in Joel Embiid's monster deal

Kings rookie Harry Giles can find motivation in Joel Embiid's monster deal

SACRAMENTO -- Pregame locker room buzz centered around Joel Embiid and the mega-deal he inked Monday in Philly. After just 31 games played over three years, the 76ers paid their 23-year-old center a whopping $148 million over five years.

Embiid’s talent has never been in question. Taken with the third overall selection in the 2014 NBA Draft, the 7-footer out of Kansas can do it all. In his limited action, he’s posted 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.5 blocks in just 25.4 minutes per night.

But a series of injuries, beginning with a stress fracture in his lower back during his lone season with the Jayhawks has put his career in a holding pattern. While going through the draft process, Embiid broke his right foot and needed a second surgery on the same foot a year later when the break didn’t heal.

He was the odds on favorite to win the Rookie of the Year trophy last season before a knee injury shut him down in late January. Back, foot and knee ailments are the big man trifecta, but still, the Sixers are banking on his tremendous potential.

Sacramento has a rookie that is watching the Embiid situation closely from afar. Despite going through warmups with the team on Monday night and being healthy enough to make it through training camp, 19-year-old Harry Giles won’t suit up in a game for the Kings until January at the earliest.

“Congrats to him, he’s an amazing player and he deserves every bit of it,” Giles said of Embiid. “For a guy who’s been through injury like myself and understand how hard it is to bounce back and have the performances he’s had is incredible.”

Giles has a unique perspective. He was the no. 1 high school player in the country and on his way to superstardom when a series of knee injuries hit. First, an ACL and MCL tear in his left knee between his freshman and sophomore season put him on the shelf. One game into his senior year, he tore the ACL in his left knee and before his freshman year at Duke, he underwent a scope on the left knee to clean it up.

Embiid’s path isn’t one that anyone would choose, but the outcome is encouraging for a young player like Giles.

“For me, how can I not be motivated,” Giles said. “I’m in the same kind of position as him in a way, coming off of injuries and kind of having a slow and having to be patient and thinking long-term.”

With plenty of time to watch for the bench, Giles is working with the Kings’ medical and training staff to build strength in his core and legs. They will re-examine his knees in January, which is the two-year mark from his second ACL injury.

“I’m going in, just working hard to just develop myself the best I can - my body and my game,” Giles said.

While the trainers are doing their work, the coaching staff will attempt to build his knowledge and understanding of the game. He will participate in practices, where the club can control as many variables as possible and there is hope that he will see court time before the season is done.

For now, Giles will have plenty of time on his hands to think about his path forward. He see’s the value in the Kings’ cautious approach and looks forward to proving himself the same way that Embiid has.

Source: Kings in recruiting phase with forward Nemanja Bjelica

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USATSI

Source: Kings in recruiting phase with forward Nemanja Bjelica

After a slow start to free agency, a source has confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings are in the recruiting phase with unrestricted free agent Nemanja Bjelica. 

No contract has been discussed, but the team is attempting to convince the Serbian forward that there is value in staying in the NBA.

News of potential interest between the parties first broke Wednesday afternoon.

Bjelica agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on July 5, but he never signed on the dotted line and informed the team earlier this week of his decision to return to Europe this season.

The 6-foot-10 combo forward spent the last three seasons coming off the bench for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He posted 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game under coach Tom Thibodeau, but his opportunities were limited in the T-Wolves' system.

At 30, Bjelica is older than most of the Kings’ recent targets, but he potentially could fill a glaring hole in the roster as a shooter at both the three and the four. Bjelica split his minutes between both forward positions in Minnesota last season, knocking down a career-best 41.5 percent on 2.7 attempts per game from behind the arc. 

There is no word yet on the exact dollar figure offered by the Kings. Sacramento has a whopping $20.5 million in salary-cap space to work with, and the free agent market is nearly dried up. 

While four years older, Bjelica compares favorably as a player to the Spurs’ Davis Bertans, who signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract to return to San Antonio earlier this month as a restricted free agent. 

According to a source, Sacramento likes Bjelica’s versatility and believes he can eat minutes at small forward this season, as well as shifting over to play the four.

It will be a surprise if Ben McLemore or Deyonta Davis actually wear a Kings uniform

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AP

It will be a surprise if Ben McLemore or Deyonta Davis actually wear a Kings uniform

We have a trade. Garrett Temple is on his way to the Memphis Grizzlies. In return, the Sacramento Kings receive former King Ben McLemore, along with big man Deyonta Davis, cash considerations and a 2021 second round draft pick.

Temple opted in to the final year of his 3-year, $24 million deal in late June and was due $8 million this season. Lost in the shuffle of young players at shooting guard, Sacramento made it clear to the 32-year-old wing that he was not part of the plan for the 2018-19 season before he picked up his option.

Known for his work in the community and presence in the locker room, the eight-year NBA veteran posted 8.4 points on 39.2 percent shooting from long range in 65 games last season in Sacramento. 

After being drafted with the seventh overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft by Sacramento, McLemore spent the first four seasons of his career in a Kings uniform. He signed a two-year deal with the Grizzlies last season and will make $5.4 million this season. 

Davis struggled to find court time with the Grizzlies in his first two seasons out of Michigan State. The 6-foot-11, 237 pound center has potential, but he’ll join a crowded frontcourt in Sacramento. He averaged 5.8 points and four rebounds in 15.2 minutes per game in his sophomore season in Memphis. 

Why Temple?

Sacramento has struggled to find strong veteran leadership over the last decade, but Temple fit the bill. After working his way into the league on 10-day contracts and trips overseas, the LSU grad seemed to find a home with the Kings.

But the emergence of shooting guards Bogdan Bogdanovic and Buddy Hield made Temple the odd man out in the rotation this season. The Kings were able to break his contract up into smaller pieces in this deal, which opens the door for more transactions. 

In a perfect world, the Kings may have looked to move Iman Shumpert instead of Temple, but his injury history and $11.4 million contract for this season is a tough sell in a cash strapped market.

Why McLemore and Davis?

It’s hard to see either of these players sticking around for very long. McLemore struggled to find playing time in his final two seasons in Sacramento and that’s before they had emerging players at his position. It’s unlikely he’ll get another shot at competing for minutes. He makes $5.4 million this season, which can be bought out and either stretched over three years to open more space or paid out in one lump sum this season.  

Davis is owed $1.5 million this season, making him an affordable reserve option if the Kings choose to keep him around. He’s on the final year of his rookie contract and is a restricted free agent after this season.

What’s next?

The Kings saved roughly $1 million in cap space with the deal, pushing their available total to approximately $20.5 million. 

This deal was more about adding another second round pick and clearing Temple’s $8 million off the books, while finding the veteran a soft landing spot. While the team has yet make their plans known, it would be a surprise to see either McLemore or Davis in a Kings uniform this season.