Kings

Kings vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

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USATSI

Kings vs. Pistons watch guide: Lineups, injury report, player usage

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings are struggling. They've dropped five of their last six games and they find themselves back under the .500 mark at 20-21. They'll host a Detroit Pistons team Thursday night at Golden 1 Center in a similar downturn.

The Kings led by 19 at the half and 21 in the third quarter Tuesday evening against the Phoenix Suns and they let the game slip away. Sacramento turned the ball over 26 times, including a career-high eight from point guard De'Aaron Fox. Seldom used Ben McLemore provided a lift off the bench, scoring 20 points in 18 minutes of the bench, but it wasn't enough to pull out the win.

Detroit has lost three straight and six of their last seven games coming into Sacramento. They currently sit at 17-22 on the season and they're playing the second night of a back-to-back after dropping a game to the Lakers Wednesday evening in Los Angeles.

The Pistons will be without forward Blake Griffin, who is sitting out the game due to rest.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

Following the Pistons, the Kings play host to the Hornets on Saturday and Trail Blazers on Monday before heading out on a season-long, six-game road trip.

Line

Kings +5

Projected Lineups

Kings

PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Iman Shumpert
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Pistons

PG Reggie Jackson
SG Bruce Brown
SF Reggie Bullocks
PF Jon Leuer
C Andre Drummond

Injury Report

Kings 

SF Iman Shumpert (finger) probable.

Pistons

PF Blake Griffin (rest) out. C Zaza Pachulia (ankle) out, PG Ish Smith (abductor) doubtful.

Rotation Outlook

Kings: Dave Joerger's club comes into Thursday evening at full strength for the first time in a while. Rookie Marvin Bagley III will return to action after sitting out the second night of a back-to-back in Phoenix. Iman Shumpert is also expected back after missing the previous three games with a finger issue.

With Shumpert's return, Joerger will likely move Bogdan Bogdanovic back to the second unit, where he has stabilized the reserves all season.

Detroit comes in with the big frontline of Griffin and Drummond. Joerger will likely stick with his standard starters, but expect to see veteran Kosta Koufos see some action as he attempts to keep the Pistons off the glass.

Pistons: The Pistons score 107 points per game, but they yield 109.8. They are 20th in pace, but 29th in 3-point percentage. Detroit hits the offensive glass hard, which is an issue for the Kings, but they aren't all that impressive as a rebounding team overall.

With Griffin sitting this one out, Sacramento has a chance to get back on the winning path.

Source: Kings don't have 'remorse' over Harrison Barnes contract

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USATSI

Source: Kings don't have 'remorse' over Harrison Barnes contract

The Kings currently face a predicament that often befalls NBA teams possessing a litany of young talent after many years of consecutive lottery picks.

However, the Kings made a significant investment this summer in a player who was not one of those lottery picks when they extended former Warriors and Mavericks forward Harrison Barnes.

Sacramento ponied up $85 million over four years to lock Barnes up this offseason, but now the team reportedly is lamenting the decision with younger stars like Buddy Hield and De’Aaron Fox seeking their own financial windfall.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported Friday that the Kings have already “expressed some remorse” on the Barnes contract, citing league sources. 

However, a league source told NBC Sports California's James Ham that the Kings have no such feelings about the contract they gave the young wing this summer.

This feels like a case of an agent trying to create leverage over a team.

Hield has been vocal in recent weeks about his desire for a lucrative extension with Sacramento, but he and the Kings’ management reportedly remain millions of dollars apart.

The 26-year-old Hield certainly has played well enough to earn a significant payday, finishing last season shooting almost 43 percent from beyond the arc despite taking almost eight three-pointers a game.

General manager Vlade Divac has his hands full with Fox, Hield, Marvin Bagley, and Bogdan Bogdanovic all looking at a hefty pay raise when it’s all said and done. It's a young core the Kings no doubt want to keep together, with Barnes and Hield being a big part of their future plans.

[RELATED: Kings on the mend less than a week before opening night]

But there is little to no chance the Kings can afford to keep all of their talented young core together, and with Barnes locked up on a guaranteed deal for the next four seasons, look for either Hield or Bogdanovic to be on the outside looking in with regards to a new contract in Sacramento.

Damian Lillard isn't fan of how Buddy Hield is negotiating Kings contract

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AP

Damian Lillard isn't fan of how Buddy Hield is negotiating Kings contract

Buddy Hield wants to get the bag, but is he going about it the wrong way?

Damian Lillard seems to think so.

Hield desires a four-year contract worth $110 million, a number the young shooting guard and the Kings reportedly are $20 million apart on. The Oklahoma product has been making life tough on general manager Vlade Divac and owner Vivek Ranadive, telling the media he would go to another team if he isn't shown the loyalty he believes he has earned in helping grow the young Kings team since he arrived three seasons ago.

Hield is playing hardball with the Kings, hoping they see a bright future with a core that includes himself, De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, Harrison Barnes and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Lillard, who signed a massive four-year, $196 million contract extension with the Trail Blazers this summer, hopes Hield gets what he is worth, but doesn't think he's going about it the right way. 

Lillard, who arguably is the most popular Blazer in history, knows a thing or two about playing the contract game the right way. For years, it was postured that Lillard might leave the Pacific Northwest for the lights of Los Angeles or go back home to the Bay Area. Every time the possibility of him leaving Portland was broached, Lillard reiterated his love for the Blazers and desire to finish his career there.

He was rewarded handsomely for it.

[RELATED: Kings on the mend less than a week before opening night]

This isn't to say the Kings and Hield won't eventually come to an agreement, but Hield's rough approach might ruffle some feathers and cause the Kings to be less likely to give him what he wants.