Kings' Trevor Ariza excited to reunite with former teammate Luke Walton

Kings' Trevor Ariza excited to reunite with former teammate Luke Walton

LAS VEGAS -- The Sacramento Kings' newest signee, Trevor Ariza, will enter his 16th season in a new environment, but with a familiar face. 

Kings coach Luke Walton -- who was hired in April -- played two seasons with the veteran wing, a distinction Ariza believes will help his transition.   

"Just knowing him, knowing how he works, the relationship that we have definitely made it easier to try or go to a new situation," Ariza said during his introductory press conference alongside Dewayne Dedmon, Cory Joseph and Harrison Barnes in Las Vegas Monday afternoon. 

"Just his style of play. You know, the understanding that his basketball, how his basketball mind works is similar to my game," Ariza added. "So, I just thought that it was a great fit for me. Whatever the role is I felt like being here we'll have a better understanding of what we're doing, what we're working towards."

Ariza -- who signed a two-year, $25 million contract with the Kings -- played with Walton from 2007-2009, winning the 2009 NBA title as members of the Kobe Bryant-led Los Angeles Lakers. Since his time in Los Angeles, Ariza has played two stints with both the Rockets and Wizards. Last season, he averaged 12.5 points, 5.4 assists and 3.7 rebounds for the Phoenix Suns before a midseason trade sent him to Washington.

Ariza's arrival comes during a critical time in Sacramento's trajectory. Last season, the King won 39 games -- their most in more than a decade -- displaying a fast-paced unit led by De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Barnes. 

Though a team on the rise, the Kings' ascent comes just as the Western Conference is gaining strength. During the same period Ariza signed with the Kings, perennial All-Star Kawhi Leonard joined the LA Clippers alongside fellow All-Star Paul George, while the Lakers traded for center Anthony Davis. Adding to the degree of difficulty, Walton is only in his third month on the job. Still, Ariza has faith in the new group. 

"This is basketball," Ariza said. "It doesn't matter who's on the team, you still gotta go out there and win and play. You know, of course, everything looks good in the beginning. Everything looks good on paper, but you still gotta go out and play the game. And every time you go out and play, you give yourself a chance to win."

Ariza's addition is welcome for a team that trotted out the league's fifth-youngest roster last season. Fox -- their best player -- is just 21 years old. The roster construction is similar to Ariza's time in Phoenix last season, when the average age of the team was 25.2 years. Entering his 16th NBA season, Ariza believes he and his former teammate can help the Kings be successful. 

[RELATED: Barnes preaching 'culture of family' to young Kings in Vegas]

"There's guys that have a ton of experience. So all the wisdom or whatever wouldn't just be coming from me," Ariza said. "It'd be coming from a different group of guys. And I think it's easier when you don't have to hear the same voice over and over and over again. That's key for us."

Buddy Hield contract extension talks cast momentary dark cloud over Kings


Buddy Hield contract extension talks cast momentary dark cloud over Kings

SACRAMENTO -- "Hello darkness, my old friend. I’ve come to talk with you again."

Whether it’s the soothing harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel or the powerful bellowing of Disturbed frontman David Draiman, the opening lines of the "Sound of Silence" are ringing in my ears.

For more than a decade, drama finds the Sacramento Kings, whether they are looking for it or not. Often times the wounds are self-inflicted. Every once in a while, the issues are nothing more than the complexities of the NBA playing out in real-time.

Buddy Hield wants his money. His agent says so. He says so. Twitter says so.

Hield’s team has gone on the record with the number of $110 million over four-years to seal the deal. The Kings will not confirm whether the reported four-year, $90 million figure that has been put out there is top end for the team.

Sacramento had a similar situation last season when big man Willie Cauley-Stein went public with his wishes to get paid. Again, the two situations are similar ... but really they aren’t.

Hield accomplished last season what Cauley-Stein never could in purple and black. He lived up to his lottery billing and became a consistent impact player on the court for the Kings.

Part of the team’s exciting young core, Hield has made it his offseason mission to get locked up long term. In doing so, he is making things as uncomfortable as possible for general manager Vlade Divac and his staff.

Will it work? Will slaying the drama mean more to the franchise than the long term financial flexibility they have worked so hard to build? That is the $110 million question.

The Kings are on the clock and Hield has started to get personal.

The talented shooting guard has asked for what he believes is fair, but the value is in the eye of the beholder. During his post-game comments on Wednesday evening, he invoked two separate ideas that take aim at not only the franchise but his standing amongst his teammates as well.

"Name one big free agent that came to Sacramento," Hield told the larger media scrum. "I've been here three years trying to grow the program, grow the organization and I feel like I could be rewarded close to that. But that's just me. That's my gut feeling."

Long an NBA outpost, the good people of Sacramento, regardless of who is running the franchise, know where they stand in the tall pecking order of the league. Landing an 'A list' free agent has never been on the table.

While it’s a matter for some debate, Divac himself is likely the top free agent the team has brought in during the team’s 35 years in Sacramento. The franchise has found success bringing back their own big-name free agents, like Mitch Richmond, Chris Webber and Mike Bibby. But they haven’t been able to crack into the superstar free-agent market.

That leaves the franchise with two options: Draft potential stars and hope for the best or acquire talent via trade and hope for the best.

Hield is a combination of both. Sacramento didn’t draft him, but they traded for him during his rookie season and spent the last three seasons helping to develop him into the player he is today.

In addition to taking a shot at a sensitive issue for the franchise he plays for, Hield went where most players don’t want to go. He compared himself to his teammates and what might happen for them in the near future.

“It’s all about value and where they see me as a player and of course, if another young player comes up and they give them what they want, it shows how much they value me,” Hield told NBC Sports California following the main media scrum.

Hield is pointing directly at the franchise and how they might value De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley. Creating a list of who mom and dad like the best doesn’t work for siblings. In the NBA world, it’s a good way to get your feelings hurt.

Speaking to people within the walls of the Golden 1 Center, they understand that all of this is part of the process.

They still love Buddy Hield. They still view him as a big part of the franchise. This is just another day out of many in the history of the Kings and it too shall pass.

It should also be noted that Hield is fighting to stay in a Kings' uniform. He is asking the team to lock him up for the next five seasons in Sacramento so he can put permanent roots. He has visions of buying a house in the area and making this his NBA home. 

Between now and Oct. 21, Hield will either get an extension or he won’t. He is emotional about the process. He wants financial stability. He wants respect. He wants to know that he is just as important to the recent success of the franchise as anyone else. All of this is understandable.

[RELATED: Kings, Hield $20M apart in contract extension talks]

At the end of the day, this is a negotiation. The NBA is a business and it shouldn’t get personal. If a deal doesn’t get done now, the two sides have another bite at the apple at the end of the season.

The next few days building to the deadline could get wild, but like so many other situations with the Kings, the darkness will pass soon enough. A resolution, one way or another, will happen and the focus will shift to basketball and the task at hand.

Kings' De'Aaron Fox voted fastest, most likely to break out by NBA GMs


Kings' De'Aaron Fox voted fastest, most likely to break out by NBA GMs

The 2019-20 NBA season is closely upon us, which has general managers around the league voting for their favorites to lead in respective categories.

The Kings were not left unnoticed. Especially with De'Aaron Fox, who is anticipated to have a coming out party.

The young point guard received 19 percent of votes as the player most likely to have a breakout season, as well as an impressive 64 percent of votes saying Fox was the fastest with the ball.

Fox's speed has been the highlight of what he brings to the court. He even put weight on this summer and consumed 4,000-5,000 calories because he would burn through them so fast.

[RELATED: Kings social media takes shot at Lakers]

The Kings themselves are a team that wants to push the ball, so it's a win-win scenario all around.

Fox is being called the fastest guy in basketball, both by himself and his peers, and it's nice to see him getting the recognition he deserves.