Kings

Kings' Vlade Divac to be enshrined in Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

divachofusatsi.jpg
USATSI

Kings' Vlade Divac to be enshrined in Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

It's been a good year for Vlade Divac and the Kings. Not great, but good.

And for Divac, it just got a whole lot better.

The Kings general manager will be enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame later this year through the International Committee, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday. The Hall confirmed the news Saturday.

Divac played six of his 16 NBA seasons with the Kings, making the playoffs in all six, and he's now the team's GM, responsible for a remarkable turnaround this season. He's one of just seven players in NBA history with at least 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocks in his career.

“I’m overwhelmed by this honor,” Divac said in a statement released by the Kings. “As a young man, I never would have believed the opportunities afforded to me by this great sport.

"Basketball has looked after me for most of my life, and I’ve always done what I can to give back to this special community. It’s been an unforgettable journey and I want to thank my family for their support. I also want to express my appreciation to my teammates, coaches, staff, colleagues and fans who have played a significant role in helping me achieve this incredible recognition.”

Added Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé: "Vlade has been a transformational leader on and off the court for his entire career. As an international basketball pioneer and global ambassador for the game, he has used his platform to make the world a better place for over three decades. From his efforts to start Basketball Without Borders to his lasting impact on how the game is played, he continues to serve as an inspiration and role model for players of all ages around the world. Congratulations to Vlade, Ana and his family on this prestigious distinction."

Joining Divac in the Basketball Hall Class of 2019 will be former Kings coach Paul Westphal, Warriors ambassador Al Attles, former Bucks guard Sidney Moncrief, former 76ers forward Bobby Jones and basketball pioneer Chuck Cooper. Other honorees include Bill Fitch, Jack Sikma, Teresa Weatherspoon and the Tennessee A&I teams of 1957 to 1959.

Divac and Co. will be enshrined into the Basketball Hall on Sept. 5-7 in Springfield, Mass.

Buddy Hield happy Kings extension is done: 'Sacramento is home for me'

hieldusatsi.jpg
USATI

Buddy Hield happy Kings extension is done: 'Sacramento is home for me'

SACRAMENTO -- Contract negotiations can be brutal. Things are said. Information finds its way into the media. Lines in the sand are drawn.

And then with a flick of a wrist, the contract is signed and all is forgiven.

Buddy Hield is the proud recipient of a new four-year, $86 million contract extension with the Sacramento Kings. He’ll have an opportunity to make another $20 million in incentives over the course of the contract, which could push the deal over the $100 million mark.

While the talks were contentious at times, the two sides eventually came to an agreement. On Tuesday morning, Hield sat alongside general manager Vlade Divac to express relief that the situation is over.

“Sacramento is home for me,” Hield said. “I think the way I’ve been elevating my career in the past couple of years, I don’t think it would be the same going somewhere else.”

Hield was set to enter the final year of his rookie contract. The 26-year-old had a breakout season with the Kings last season where he led the team in scoring at 20.7 points per game and set a new franchise record with 278 3-point makes.

“I’m so happy that we came to the agreement that both sides are happy and we still are going the way we planned a few years ago to keep our young core,” general manager Vlade Divac said. “Buddy is one of the most important pieces of our core moving forward and (we’re) building something special here in Sacramento.”

Hield is the first of four members of the Kings’ young core to go through the extension process. It was clear over the last week that negotiations were heating up, but there were times where Hield allowed his emotions to spill out into the media.

In the end, Hield and Divac stayed up until 2 am hammering out details, with the Kings’ shooting guard pitching his case to the team’s front office.

“I was just trying to plead my case to them, but that’s done with,” Hield said. “I’m here as a King now, so I’m just wanting to win games now and just try to take us to the playoffs, that’s the main focus.”

Divac greeted Hield after practice almost every day over the last week. The two could be seen joking around, but there was a clear tension in the gym.

“Me and Vlade have a great relationship, it goes back to when he first traded for me,” Hield said. “Just seeing the vibe around him and Peja [Stojakovic] and just being around the organization and [owner] Vivek [Ranadivé]. There was nothing directly or insulting to Vlade, that’s our relationship.”

It was clear that while negotiating a contract extension, Divac was still focused on making sure that Hield wasn’t taking anything personally. The business side of basketball can be ruthless. With the season just days away, the two sides wanted to get a deal done without feelings getting hurt.

“I felt pretty good that either way, what we built here is special,” Divac said. “This is something that we had to figure out, but we know where we want to be and we worked together to get there. This is one step forward.”

Acquired as part of the trade that sent All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans, Hield was not even slated to start for the Kings last season. A late summer knee injury to Bogdan Bogdanovic opened a door and Hield took full advantage.

In his third NBA season he blossomed next to point guard De’Aaron Fox. In one year, he turned himself into a viable starter moving forward and a player worthy of a huge contract extension.

Born in Freeport, on the island of Grand Bahamas, Hield has come a long way in his journey to become an NBA regular. With a tireless work ethic, he successfully turned himself into one of the game’s best perimeter shooters and he still has more room to grow.

“Where I came from, 10 years [ago], who would have thought I would sign an $86 million [contract],” Hield said. “If I would have told a friend that, he would have said you’re talking BS.”

Hield now has financial security moving forward and can return his focus to the court.

“I’m just extremely blessed, I’m happy to be here and happy to get things rolling,” Hield said.

Hield sighted the low-key environment of Sacramento as one of his selling points. He has a young daughter and Sacramento has become his home away from home during the last two and a half seasons.

The drama is over. It’s time to get back to the game of basketball where the Kings will open the season Wednesday evening in Phoenix against the Suns.

Sacramento is looking to snap a 13-year playoff drought and a happy and healthy Buddy Hield could go a long way towards making that a reality.

Source: Kings add Wenyen Gabriel to 15-man roster, waive Tyler Lydon

Source: Kings add Wenyen Gabriel to 15-man roster, waive Tyler Lydon

SACRAMENTO -- After signing Buddy Hield to a new four-year, $86 million contract extension Monday morning, the Sacramento Kings finished off their roster with some final housekeeping measures.

A league source has confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings elevated Wenyen Gabriel from this two-way contract and added him to the main roster on a new deal Monday afternoon.

Gabriel went undrafted out of Kentucky in the 2018 NBA Draft. He signed a two-year, two-way contract with Sacramento last season, but failed to make a single appearance with the club.

The 6-foot-9 forward has played mostly at the small forward position during the preseason for Luke Walton’s squad. Over his four contests, he averaged 4.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 12.9 minutes per game.  

With Harry Giles on the shelf, at least to start the season, Gabriel will act as organizational depth at both forward positions. He is a big-time athlete that can get out in the open court and even hit an occasional 3-pointer. 

In 42 games with the Stockton Kings last season, Gabriel averaged 10.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and a block in 20.8 minutes per game. He shot 49.3 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from 3-point range.

To make room for Gabriel on the roster, the Kings waived third-year pro Tyler Lydon. 

The 6-foot-10 forward has played in just 25 NBA games since being selected with the No. 24 overall pick of the 2017 NBA NBA Draft. He was limited in camp due to a hip injury and played just one eight minute stretch for the team.

In addition to the Gabriel and Lydon moves, the Kings claimed DaQuan Jeffries off waivers from the Orlando Magic and converted his non-guaranteed deal to a two-way contract.

[RELATED: Gabriel making family proud by making NBA]

Jeffries averaged 13 points and 5.6 rebounds per game last season at Tulsa. He went undrafted during the 2019 NBA Draft, but according to an NBA source, the Kings were high on him coming out of college. 

The 6-foot-5, 230 pound guard/forward is will likely spend most of his time playing for the Stockton Kings of the G League this season.