Kings

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

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USATI

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

SACRAMENTO -- After a big come from behind victory on Friday over the Miami Heat, the Kings have an opportunity to finish their homestand at 5-1 Sunday afternoon. They'll host a Phoenix Suns team that is struggling, but managed to hand the Kings a loss the last time the two teams faced off.

Sacramento trailed by 17 points in the late third quarter against the Heat, but stormed back in the fourth and finished the game on a 19-2 run. Newcomers Harrison Barnes and Alec Burks made nice contributions in their debuts, but it was a team effort that put the Kings over the top.

Without any incentive to win, Phoenix has dropped 13 straight and sit at the bottom of the Western Conference standings at 11-46. They have talent, but so far this season, they haven't figured out how to best utilize their young group of players.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 2:30 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 3:00. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

Sacramento concludes their pre-All-Star break schedule with a stop in Denver on Wednesday. They'll start the home stretch with three tough road games, beginning on Feb. 21 with their final match of the season against the Golden State Warriors.

Line

Kings by 9.5

Projected Lineups

Kings
PG De’Aaron Fox
SG Buddy Hield
SF Harrison Barnes
PF Nemanja Bjelica
C Willie Cauley-Stein

Suns
PG Elie Okobo
SG Devin Booker
SF Mikal Bridges
PF Josh Jackson
C Deandre Ayton

Injury Report

Kings 
No injuries to report.

Suns
PG Devin Booker (hamstring) probable, SF T.J. Warren (ankle) out, PG De'Anthony Melton (ankle) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings

Coach Dave Joerger's group is dealing with a flurry of trade deadline deals that reshaped a third of his roster. The team was able to meet and do some light work together on Saturday, but with little time in the schedule, the team will have to find a way to integrate the new players on the fly.

Barnes started at the small forward spot in his first game in Sacramento and finished the night with 12 points and seven rebounds. Joerger moved him to the power forward spot to open the second half and he played a team-high 37 minutes in the win. Expect more of the same over the next few games as Joerger searches for combinations of players that work well together.

Like Barnes, Burks saw minutes in his first game with the Kings. Joerger moved the veteran guard all over the place in his 15 minutes of court time. The Kings love his size and versatility and he will likely see plenty of time on the court as they move into the stretch run.

According to Joerger, Corey Brewer, who inked a 10-day contract on Friday, is not expected to see rotational minutes, although that could change. The 32-year-old forward matches up well against a team like Phoenix who has plenty of length and athleticism at the three and the four.

Suns

Booker is scheduled to make his return after missing two games with a hamstring issue. The high-scoring guard has yet to make an appearance against Sacramento in the previous three matchups between the teams.

Phoenix made a move at the deadline as well, bringing in combo-guard Tyler Johnson in a swap with the Heat. Johnson has burned the Kings a few times in his career and can be dangerous if he catches fire from the perimeter.

The Suns come into the game 24th in the league in scoring and 28th in points allowed. They also rank 30th in 3-point percentage, 30th in rebounding and 29th in turnovers per game.

Kings GM Vlade Divac reportedly didn't know of Luke Walton assault accusations

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USATSI

Kings GM Vlade Divac reportedly didn't know of Luke Walton assault accusations

The Sacramento Kings apparently were as surprised as anyone by Monday's reports that coach Luke Walton has been accused of sexual assault. And the team won't make any quick decisions because of it.

The Athletic's Sam Amick cited a source in reporting that Kings general manager Vlade Divac, who hired Walton last week on a four-year contract, didn't know about the accusations before they became public. Amick also reported that "it was too early in this fact-finding process to explore the possibility of terminating Walton’s contract." So, Walton will stay in Sacramento while the facts come out.

The Kings issued this statement after the news broke: "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."

Sports broadcaster Kelli Tennant, formerly of Spectrum SportsNet, filed a lawsuit Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accusing Walton of sexually assaulting her in his Santa Monica hotel room when he was an assistant coach for the Warriors. Tennant also cited further incidents, which the suit called a “pattern of mistreatment,” including when Walton was the Lakers' coach, starting in 2016.

Walton has retained attorney Mark Baute, who represented Minnesota Timberwolves star Derrick Rose in a rape lawsuit in which he was cleared, to defend him in the case.

Walton and the Lakers parted ways on April 12, but the team reportedly was open to keeping the coach. Walton was offered the chance to stay in LA after president Magic Johnson abruptly resigned on April 9, but he was ready to leave for various reasons, Amick reported. Just days later, he had a new job in Sacramento.

Kings coach Luke Walton reportedly sued over alleged sexual assault

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USATSI

Kings coach Luke Walton reportedly sued over alleged sexual assault

Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton is being accused of sexual assault in a lawsuit filed by sports broadcaster Kelli Tennant, according to court documents first obtained Monday by TMZ and confirmed by the Los Angeles Times.

TMZ, which originally reported that the incident occurred in May 2017, later corrected the timing to "sometime before Walton became head coach of the Lakers." The Times' Tania Ganguli reported the alleged assault happened when Walton was a Warriors assistant coach, a position he held from 2014 to 2016 before leaving for LA.

Walton's lawyer denied the allegations against his client in a statement released late Monday night.

"Luke Walton retained me to defend him against these baseless allegations," said Mark Baute, whom the Times noted also represented Minnesota Timberwolves star Derrick Rose in a lawsuit in which he was accused of raping a woman. "The accuser is an opportunist, not a victim, and her claim is not credible. We intend to prove this in a courtroom."

KCRA-TV's Michelle Dapper tweeted four pages from the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, which outlined Tennant's relationship with Walton and detailed the alleged sexual assault, although it didn't provide the exact date of the incident.

According to the suit, Tennant knew Walton and his wife through the competitive volleyball circuit, as both women played in college. Tennant also worked with Walton when he was a Lakers analyst on Spectrum SportsNet and later covered him when he started coaching. Tennant, according to the suit, received "mentorship and advice" from Walton, whom she viewed as "a trusted colleague, mentor and even friend."

Tennant asked Walton to write the foreword to her book, "The Transition: Every Athlete's Guide to Life After Sports," which he did. The book was published July 8, 2014, just before Walton's first season as a Warriors assistant coach, and she later wanted to give him a copy when he was in Los Angeles for a Warriors-Lakers game.

Tennant met Walton at his Santa Monica hotel, where he told her to park her car so they could "catch up." Tennant did, but she was surprised, the suit says, when Walton went to the elevators to the rooms instead of the lobby, and told her: "It's fine. Come on up. It's me." 

Once in Walton's hotel room, Tennant and Walton talked about the book, his job with the Warriors and their families (Tennant knew Walton was married and had children). Then, the suit alleges, Walton "suddenly and out-of-nowhere" assaulted Tennant, pinning her to the bed, groping her and forcibly kissing her.

Tennant told Walton to stop, but he "laughed at her pleas," the suit alleges. Walton eventually let go, and after being restrained again, Tennant left the room once he finally released his grasp.

Tennant did not report the incident, though "she confided in certain people," the suit says. She also still had to interact with Walton because of her job, and he "would impose him" on Tennant with "with a big hug or kiss," instead of a handshake, according to the document.

Ganguli and ESPN's Ramona Shelburne confirmed via sources that Tennant's allegations never were reported to the Lakers. The team later said in a statement that the incident occurred before Walton was an employee and it indeed wasn't reported to them.

Tennant worked for Spectrum SportsNet in Los Angeles for five years, and covering the Lakers was among her many duties. An August 2018 profile of Tennant in The Press-Enterprise noted she had left Spectrum after the Dodgers' 2017 season ended and "shut down her social media accounts for a few months, and regrouped even as viewers wonder[ed] where she went."

The Times cites a second incident, months before Tennant's departure from the TV network, in the suit. According to the paper, Tennant spoke at a May 24, 2017, charity event in which Walton and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss were honored, and the then-LA coach "made lewd noises and looked at her suggestively before hugging her in an unwanted way." The Times said the suit used that incident as an example of a “pattern of mistreatment.”

[RELATED: Kings reportedly didn't know about accusations against Walton]

The Kings, who hired Walton last weekissued a statement after the news broke: "We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time."

The Warriors also provided a statement: "We became aware of the alleged incident and story this evening and are in the process of seeking more information. We’ll have no further comment at this time."

ESPN cited sources in reporting that the NBA opened an investigation into the case, although the league hasn't officially commented.