Kings

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

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AP

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

PORTLAND -- The end is here. The push for the postseason fell by the wayside, as did the hopes of finishing the season at .500. The Kings still have a chance to crest the 40-win plateau when they face the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday evening at the Moda Center.

The Kings suffered a disappointing loss to the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday evening in their season finale. Harrison Barnes posted 29 points and De'Aaron Fox finished with 24 points and 11 assists, but it wasn't enough to beat a shorthanded Pelicans team.

[RELATED: How to watch Kings-Blazers online and on MyTeams app]

Despite a few injuries, the Blazers are finishing the year on a high note after beating the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday evening. They'll make their sixth straight postseason appearance and are still in play for the third seed in the Western Conference, although they've decided to sit both of their star guards for the evening.

Kings Pregame Live on NBC Sports California begins at 7:00 p.m., with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. All coverage can be seen on the MyTeams by NBC Sports app.

Line

Blazers by 3

Projected Lineups

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

Blazers
PG Seth Curry
SG Rodney Hood
SF Al-Farouq Aminu
PF Maurice Harkless
C Enes Kanter

Injury Report

Kings 
C Harry Giles (thigh bruise) out, C Kosta Koufos (calf) out.

Blazers
PG Damian Lillard (load management) out, SG C.J. McCollum (load management) out, C Jusuf Nurkic (lower leg injury) out.

Rotation Outlook

Kings

Dave Joerger's group has run out of gas late in the season. They've dropped two straight and are just 6-10 over their previous 16 games.

The Kings' pace of play has suffered recently. They now rank fourth in the NBA in pace after leading for much of it.

After struggling with his 3-point shot in January and February, Bogdan Bogdanovic has found his stroke in March and April. The second-year guard is 40-for-91 (44-percent) from behind the arc over his last 20 games, raising his season average to 36.3 percent.

Hield is now tied with Lillard for the most 3-point makes through his first three seasons with 599.

Blazers

Lillard and McCollum are both expected to sit for Terry Stotts' team on Wednesday evening. The duo combine to score nearly 47 points per game this season and have given the Kings fits in the past.

With both of their guards out, Stotts is likely to turn to Curry and Hood to fill the void.

Nurkic is out for the season with a devastating lower leg injury, but Kanter has stepped in and made a nice impact. In five games in the month of April, the veteran big is averaging 19.6 points and 12.4 rebounds per game.

What Lakers' Anthony Davis trade could mean for Kings' offseason plans

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USATSI

What Lakers' Anthony Davis trade could mean for Kings' offseason plans

The wild, wild West.

With the strong smell of the Warriors’ blood fresh in the water, at least one Western Conference team is shooting its shot, and that definitely will impact the Sacramento Kings.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Saturday that the Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to acquire star center Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans for a package of Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and three first-round picks, including the No. 4 overall selection in the 2019 NBA Draft.

It’s an interesting trade for Davis, who has missed plenty of time over his NBA career because of myriad physical ailments. The six-time All-Star played in just 55 games this past season, although it was more a precautionary move by the Pelicans after Davis’ representation made a trade demand prior to the All-Star break.

Ball has yet to establish himself in the league after being selected No. 2 overall by the Lakers in the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s missed 63 total games in two seasons, and his shooting woes are monumental.

Hart is a solid rotational player with upside, but he’ll likely be lost in a crowded New Orleans backcourt with Ball, Ingram and veteran Jrue Holiday. His addition in the deal also puts Elfrid Payton’s return in question after his solid season for the Pelicans.

Ingram is a wild card. He had a breakout 2018-19 season, posting 18.3 points and 5.1 rebounds per game for the Lakers. But a late-season blood clot cost him time and is a concern moving forward.

So, what does this all mean for the Kings, their standing in the West and what they should do this offseason?

The Pelicans likely won’t be an immediate threat, since they’re starting over with a young core, which should include Zion Williamson, the expected No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. They’ve lost a star, but they could quickly reload, especially if they can move the No. 4 pick acquired in the Davis deal for another major piece.

The Lakers, meanwhile, are swinging for the fences, and at 34, LeBron James is getting long in the tooth by NBA standards. By adding Davis while retaining Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers put themselves back on the map and considerably changed their age arc.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka also has somewhere between $27 million and 32 million to play with in free agency, which is a good thing because his roster is filled with holes.

So, expect LA to add substantial pieces around James, Davis and Kuzma. Then the Lakers should come into the season as championship contenders and a tough matchup for the Kings.

The Pacific Division just became a lot more difficult, which isn’t good news for Sacramento, although Golden State likely will slip from its perch with Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson both entering free agency and having just suffered major injuries.

The Kings, however, have a young core in place and $38 million to spend in free agency. That gives them an opportunity to greatly improve their roster with the right moves this summer, but their rise in the standings still will depend on the growth of players such as De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Marvin Bagley.

This group needs more help, and this isn’t an offseason for the Kings to sit on their hands. Even before the Davis trade, general manager Vlade Divac hoped to upgrade at center, with a decision to make on Willie Cauley-Stein.

Now that the Kings will play against the Lakers and their new star big four times per season, whomever mans the position for Sacramento will become even more important. The team has been linked to Nikola Vucevic, DeAndre Jordan and Dewayne Dedmon in free agency rumor mills, and they could be a better fit against Davis.

[RELATED: Kings troll Warriors over Finals loss]

The Kings have high hopes for next season, including playoff aspirations. They can’t completely base their summer plans off what happens with the Warriors, Lakers or any other team, but it’s clear that one team in the Pacific just became a major player, and Sacramento needs to do the same with player development and smart free-agent signings.

Former NBA player turned Kings scout Predrag Drobnjak stops by Sacramento

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AP

Former NBA player turned Kings scout Predrag Drobnjak stops by Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA draft process is entering its final week, and that means it’s time for the Kings to call all of their scouts back from afar and whittle the list to a handful of prospects for pick Nos. 40, 47 and 60.

During Wednesday’s workout, former player-turned-European scout Predrag Drobnjak was seated courtside next to longtime friends Vlade Divac and Peja Stojakovic. Following the workout, he hit the floor, took some shots and showed off some of his old moves.

In his playing days, Drobnjak was known for his ability to knock down a long-range shot, and in Seattle, he became a bit of a cult hero for his television ads, which still can be found hidden deep on the internet.

There used to be an entire website devoted to Drobnjak and the Drobnjak Manjaks. Unfortunately, it no longer is available.