Kings

Kings sign Bulls guard Zach LaVine to offer sheet

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AP

Kings sign Bulls guard Zach LaVine to offer sheet

After a quiet first six days of free agency, NBC Sports California has confirmed that the Sacramento Kings have signed restricted free agent Zach LaVine to a 4-year, $78 million offer sheet.

The Chicago Bulls, who extended a qualifying offer to the high-flyer, have 48 hours to decide whether to match or allow LaVine to head to Sacramento.

LaVine was in Sacramento on Thursday where he met with the team’s training staff and front office. He was cleared medically by the Kings after missing parts of the last two seasons with a torn ACL. 

While the addition complicates the Kings backcourt, LaVine is considered a top flight athlete with a tremendous upside. At 23 years old, he fits the player arc of the rest of the roster and he has the versatility to play minutes at the one, two or three. 

According to a source, LaVine is excited about playing for Sacramento. He played in 24 games last season with Chicago after coming over from the Minnesota Timberwolves during the summer of 2017 in a trade for All-Star Jimmy Butler.

In 27.3 minutes per game last season for the Bulls, LaVine averaged 16.7 points, 3.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 34.1 percent from behind the arc.

If Chicago refuses to match, LaVine’s starting contract will eat most of Sacramento’s cap space for this season, but still leave them with enough space to sign a max level player in the summer of 2019.

Kings takeaways: What we learned in stunning 133-129 win vs. T-Wolves

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AP

Kings takeaways: What we learned in stunning 133-129 win vs. T-Wolves

The early focus of the Kings' game Monday against the Minnesota Timberwolves wasn't on the court as much as it was on NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday at the age of 41 on Sunday along with eight others in a tragic helicopter accident. 

Sacramento looked listless from the opening tip. Maybe it was the emotions of the previous 24 hours. Maybe it was the end of the long road trip. Whatever the reason, the effort wasn’t there early. 

And then, the Kings started playing. 

In a wild contest that spilled into overtime, the Kings (17-29) battled back and came away with an incredible 133-129 victory over the Timberwolves (15-32).

Here are three takeaways from the Kings' second straight win.

Buddy was ready

Buddy Hield grew up idolizing Bryant, and he paid homage to the legend the way Bryant would have wanted Monday at Target Center. 

Hield lit the T-Wolves up in the first half and continued his assault in the second, finishing the night with 42 points on 24 shots. Twenty-four, of course, was Bryant's number for much of his Los Angeles Lakers career and is Hield's now in Sacramento.

Since being sent to the bench two games ago, the Kings’ leading scorer looks more like himself. He’s hitting his shots, playing with confidence and making good decisions. 

Sneaky like a Fox

With his team trailing by three points in the final seconds of regulation, De’Aaron Fox was fouled before he could get off a game-tying 3-point attempt. 

He went to the line and hit the first free throw. With the Kings down two, Fox threw the ball off the front rim, grabbed his own miss and put it back up for an improbable comeback with 3.6 seconds remaining. 

Fox came up huge late, finishing with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in the Kings' win. 

[RELATED: Kings' Walton reflects on loss of his close friend Kobe]

Guard somebody

Clearly the Kings’ plan coming into the game was to double big man Karl-Anthony Towns and make the Timberwolves shooters beat them. That is exactly what they almost did.

Andrew Wiggins hit 7-of-11 from deep. Robert Covington knocked down 6-of-10, and six other T-Wolves dropped in a triple as Minnesota hit a franchise-record 23 3-pointers. 

There was a plan. It didn’t work. The adjustment came late, and somehow the Kings pulled off the win.

Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves pay tribute to Kobe Bryant

Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves pay tribute to Kobe Bryant

The NBA world is a very small world and it feels like it got a whole lot smaller over the last day and a half.

The shocking passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others on Sunday morning is still reverberating around the league.

Before tipoff, between the Sacramento Kings and the Minnesota Timberwolves, center Karl-Anthony Towns took the microphone and addressed his home crowd.

“Yesterday, the NBA world lost one of the greatest players to ever play the game in Kobe Bean Bryant. All of us at the Timberwolves and obviously, the Sacramento Kings, our hearts and our condolences are with the families of everyone involved in the accident. Kobe was a trailblazer. He was someone that I looked up to my entire childhood, wanting to be like him, wanting to hit the last second shots like him and not only as a basketball player, but to see how he maturated as a father, I think all of us on this court really strive to be like that in our second careers. Thank you so much for being here with us in this time with all of us mourning as a brotherhood and I really appreciate everyone coming out everyone just wrap your hands and your arms around and pray for the family of Kobe and everyone involved.”

Following KAT’s address, the Timberwolves ran a tribute video on the main board, followed by a moment of silence for all nine individuals who lost their lives.

After winning the tip, the Timberwolves started the game with an eight-second violation in honor of Bryant’s No. 8. The Kings returned the favor moments later when they took a 24-second violation in honor Bryant’s second number, 24.

Head coach Luke Walton spent nine of his 10 seasons in the NBA playing alongside the 18-time All-Star with the Los Angeles Lakers. They were more than friends, they were family, which an emotional Walton addressed earlier in the day following shootaround.

"It's hard to think about playing," Walton told media members. "But I also laugh thinking about what Kobe would say and it goes back to his mentality: 'So what, what's next?' No matter what he was looking down, no matter what the odds were against, he took on every single challenge -- he would want us out here playing."

Buddy Hield had the words, “Rest in Paradise #24” written across the side of his shoe. Hield grew up idolizing Bryant from the Bahamas and even wears No. 24 out of respect for the former Laker star. He is Kobe disciple that worked tirelessly to not only make it to the league, but succeed once he got there.

You could read, “RIP 8 4” on the sole and “24” on the toe of Bogdan Bogdnaovic’s shoe. On Sunday, Bogdanovic posted a Tweet that read, “I just lost my basketball father, there is no one that has impacted my game more than you Kobe... so sad and tragic. #restinpeace #8 #24”

[RELATED: Kings lose greatest adversary in Kobe]

The Kings will play the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday in what will be the first game played at Staples Center since Bryant’s passing. The Clippers were supposed to play a game against the Lakers on Tuesday, but that game has been postponed until a later date.