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.
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.
“We feel like we’re in a great position,” Fox said on ESPN’s First Take. “There’s been a lot of games that we’ve dropped that we probably shouldn’t have lost and there are games that we won, that we probably shouldn’t have won. But with 25 games left, I feel like we’re getting better and better.
"Marvin [Bagley] is growing throughout this year. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get the eight seed, if not, even the seven.”
Confidence has never been an issue with Fox. The 21-year-old has a moxie to him that makes him a natural born leader and he backs it up with a great work ethic.
With the Kings just a game out of the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff chase, Fox was asked about a potential matchup with the Golden State Warriors in the first round.
“I think every team can be beat,” Fox said. “We’ve played them three times this year already. I think we lost by a combined eight points and all three of those games, we probably had the game, but Boogie [DeMarcus Cousins] didn’t play. He adds an entirely different dynamic to that team, but like I said, everybody is human, so every team can be beat on any given day.”
Fox was off by a couple of points. The Kings have lost all three games this season to the Warriors by a combined 10 points, although they held leads in the fourth quarter in all of them.
The Kings were a Bagley tip-in from winning one game. Buddy Hield had shots in the final minute to either tie or win the other two games.
Sacramento will get one last look at the champs next Thursday coming out of the All-Star break.
In his sophomore season in the league, Fox has taken incredible strides. Going into the All-Star break, he’s averaging 17.2 points and 7.2 assists while shooting 36.6 percent from 3-point range.
After shooting just 30.7 percent from long range last season, Fox was asked about his improved shooting stroke by Max Kellerman.
“All summer, I just shot the ball, that’s all it is, it’s all about work, it doesn’t just come overnight,” Fox said. “All summer, that’s literally all I did. I didn’t work on ball handling, I had that. I didn’t work on athleticism, I had that. I just worked on my strength and shooting the ball. That’s all I did the entire summer.”
In a ranging conversation, Fox gave Giannis Antetokounmpo his nod for the NBA’s MVP award. He spoke on the 2017 NBA Draft and why he might have been the third point guard taken. Lastly, he was asked about the Kings future and whether he and his teammates have spoken on sticking together for the long haul.
“It definitely comes up,” Fox said. “With Buddy in his third year and Marvin in his first year, me in my second and what we’re able to do already - we’re definitely competing. We go out every game, we’re competing against some of the best.”
Kellerman, a renowned Lakers fan, finished the interview by loudly proclaiming, “I can’t wait until you’re a Laker.”
Fox replied quickly, “I don’t know about that one.”
Sacramento has put Fox as the centerpiece to their rebuild and through the first season and a half, he’s exceeding expectations. Sacramento fans can have confidence going out and buying a No. 5 jersey, Fox isn’t going anywhere for a long time.