Kings trade Iman Shumpert to Rockets in three-team deal also involving Cavs

Kings trade Iman Shumpert to Rockets in three-team deal also involving Cavs

SACRAMENTO -- The Scores have left the building ... or at least the Kings’ locker room.

NBC Sports California confirmed Wednesday that the Kings traded veteran Iman Shumpert to the Houston Rockets as part of a three-way deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The teams later confirmed the transaction.

In return for Sacramento’s starting small forward, the Kings received shooting guard Alec Burks from the Cavs, along with a second-round draft pick.

Cleveland took on the remaining year of Brandon Knight’s contract, as well as Marquese Chriss, from the Rockets. For their troubles, the Cavs received a lottery-protected 2019 first-round selection from Houston.

In addition to Shumpert, the Rockets took on the contracts of guards Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin, both of whom were acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers earlier in the week.

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Shumpert, who came over from the Cavs last season in the trade for George Hill, missed all but 14 games of last season due to injury. He started 40 games for the Kings this season, averaging 8.9 points and 3.1 rebounds per game for the team. In an interesting twist, Shumpert only will have to walk to the visiting locker room of Golden 1 Center to join his new team.

Burks has struggled with injuries over the past few seasons, but has played well since joining the Cavs. The 27-year-old guard is averaging 11.6 points on 37.8 percent shooting from long range to go with 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists for Cleveland.

Shams Charania of The Athletic was first with the news.

Source: Former Kings big man Kosta Koufos agrees with European club

Source: Former Kings big man Kosta Koufos agrees with European club

Kosta Koufos is heading to Europe.

The former Kings big man has reached an agreement with European power CSKA Moscow on a two-year, $6 million contract, NBC Sports California's James Ham confirmed Friday. The deal will include options to return to the NBA.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes was first to report news of the agreement.

Koufos has played 11 years in the NBA, averaging 5.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in his career. He spent the last four seasons in Sacramento, where the Ohio State product was a consistent role player. But he saw a reduced role last season, as the Kings gave minutes to young big men Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles, forcing Koufos to the fringes of the rotation.

In a recent interview with James Ham, the 30-year-old veteran believes he still can contribute.

“I’ve been in the league for 11 years," Koufos said. "I’ve started a numerous amount of games, and when given time, I can put up numbers.”

He'll get that opportunity in Russia, where he'll join a CSKA Moscow team that just won its eighth EuroLeague championship.

[RELATED: Walton already has earned respect of Kings' veteran players]

In four seasons with the Kings, Koufos averaged 6.2 points and 5.6 rebounds in 18.3 minutes.

Harrison Barnes praises Luke Walton's ability to connect with players

Harrison Barnes praises Luke Walton's ability to connect with players

The Sacramento Kings worked quickly to make Luke Walton their new head coach. At the end of a season filled with turmoil, the Lakers' front office left Walton hanging for several days, as management disagreed over whether he should return as the Lakers' coach.

Eventually, the Lakers and Walton parted ways, and the Kings snapped up the former Warriors assistant.

Jason Jones of The Athletic spoke with several members of Walton's new team who have previous ties to the 39-year-old, including Harrison Barnes, who played under Walton from 2014-16 with the Warriors. Barnes spoke very highly of his new head coach, in particular praising how he can relate to players in a unique way.

"One of the greatest attributes as a coach is the ability to relate and connect with his players,” Barnes said. “If you can’t reach a locker room, no matter who you’ve got out there, this league has shown you that will not work. So I think his ability to have guys’ respect, to be able to coach in a way, like I said, gives everyone the opportunity to thrive, but also promotes a winning style of basketball."

Barnes also appreciates Walton's strategic mind when it comes to basketball. 

“It’s just not a free-for-all, a ‘Hey, let’s just go out there and gun for yourself,'" said Barnes. "I think that can really help us.”

Trevor Ariza was the other subject of the story. The veteran forward was a teammate of Walton with the Lakers between 2007-09, including winning the 2009 NBA Finals over the Orlando Magic.

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The swingman also is a big fan of Walton's ability to communicate, something that was a problem for the Kings with former head coach Dave Joerger.

“Straightforward, very honest,” the 16-year veteran explained. “It’s easy to get his word across because you know he’s not coming with ill intention. It’s all positive, for the betterment of the team.”

Walton gets a fresh start after a rocky four years as the head coach in Los Angeles, and with a roster that features former champions like Ariza and Barnes, along with three players who were named to the Rising Stars Challenge at All-Star weekend, the future is getting brighter and brighter in the state capital.