Kings

Marvin Bagley III works out with Kings: 'I love it here'

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AP

Marvin Bagley III works out with Kings: 'I love it here'

SACRAMENTO -- The 2018 NBA Draft is just around the the corner and the action is heating up. Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadivé traveled to Spain last week to watch Luka Doncic suit up in a Real Madrid uniform. Sacramento’s front office made their way to Chicago on Friday to kick the tires on forward Michael Porter Jr. and they intend to visit the forward again later this week.

On Monday morning, power forward Marvin Bagley III dropped by Golden 1 Center to workout for the Kings. It’s an open race for the second overall selection and the Kings are doing their best to cast a wide net.

Media members were allowed in at the tail end of Bagley’s work out as he banged in the post against assistant coaches Phil Ricci and Bob Thornton. The athletic big out of Duke held his own, using a variety of moves with both his right and left hands to score over Ricci and Thornton.

“I can do a lot of different things, I’m not just one-dimensional,” Bagley said when asked why he thinks he’s the best player in the 2018 draft class. “I can go inside and out and create for my team. I can be a positive leader, lead by example. Most importantly, compete. I like to compete and win and just go hard every single day.”

Word coming out of Sacramento is that Bagley looked good in his workout. Known as a high-motor player, the 19-year-old showed ball-handling and shooting skills that he wasn’t able to showcase during his time with the Blue Devils. His incredible leaping ability and versatility shined through as well.

“I don’t want to label myself as a position, I want to be able to fit in where coach needs me and be able to do it well,” Bagley said. “I just try to go out and work on every aspect of my game and be ready for that moment.”

Whether he did enough to persuade the Kings into drafting him No. 2 is another story. Sacramento has plenty of options at the four and five positions, including another Duke product in Harry Giles. If the Kings decide to choose Bagley, there will have to be corresponding moves.

In his lone season at Duke, the 6-foot-11, 235 pound big posted huge numbers, including 21 points and 11.1 rebounds per game for coach Mike Krzyzewski. He’s relentless on the glass and would instantly improve a Kings team that ranked 28th in the NBA in rebounding last season.

Bagley has only worked out for the Kings and the Phoenix Suns, although he still intends to visit the Atlanta Hawks between now and next Thursday’s draft. While he hasn’t visited a lot of NBA cities, his initial impressions of Sacramento were good.

“I love it here, just being around all the people I’ve seen so far and met so far, just walking around the city, it’s a cool environment to be in,” Bagley said of his visit. “Not only that, on the court, I feel like it’s a place where I can definitely focus, lock in and get better. And that’s the main goal for me, to continue to grow as a player and get better.”

Bagley met and hung out with Giles and point guard De’Aaron Fox on Sunday evening. He stayed overnight in Sacramento before working out with the Kings on Monday morning.

The Kings will continue working out prospects throughout the week as they prepare for the draft. They’ve focused on a small group of players, but a lot can change between now and June 21.

 

Luke Walton's lawyer responds to assault allegations from Kelli Tennant

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AP

Luke Walton's lawyer responds to assault allegations from Kelli Tennant

Sports broadcaster Kelli Tennant and her attorney, Garo Mardirossian, laid out sexual assault allegations against Kings coach Luke Walton on Tuesday afternoon.

Now, in a statement obtained by NBC Sports California, Walton’s attorney, Mark Baute, has responded with a strongly worded statement of his own.

“These claims are false and Luke’s innocence will be proven in court," Baute said Wednesday. "Yesterday's press conference was a poorly staged attempt to portray the accuser as a viable spokesperson for an important movement. Her lawyers want to create a public circus to distract from their complete lack of evidence to support their outrageous claims. We will not try this case in the media or pay them a dime.”

The Kings have been quiet on the subject of Tennant's accusations against Walton since releasing a short statement Monday after the initial news broke.

“We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time,” the Kings said in an official statement.

The NBA released a similar statement on Wednesday: “We are coordinating with the Kings organization and are in the process of gathering more information.”

Kelli Tennant, lawyer publicly allege Luke Walton sexually assaulted her

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USATSI

Kelli Tennant, lawyer publicly allege Luke Walton sexually assaulted her

Sports broadcaster Kelli Tennant, one day after filing a lawsuit alleging Luke Walton sexually assaulted her in 2014, sat alongside attorney Garo Mardirossian on Tuesday afternoon and held a press conference to further state her allegations against the Sacramento Kings coach.

“I am no longer comfortable being silent about the things that have happened to me," Tennant told an assembly of reporters in Los Angeles, "and although this may come as a shock to many of you in this community, this is a reality that I have been living in for years, and I can no longer stand to not tell the story of what has profoundly affected my life in all of the events that we have alleged in our complaint."

According to Tennant, she has known Walton and his wife, Bre Ladd, for many years through ties with volleyball. In 2013, Tennant and Walton became colleagues at Spectrum SportsNet and developed a friendship. She also looked to him as a mentor.

Tennant was writing a book and asked Walton to write the foreword for her, which he agreed to do. They met and worked together on the book, and when she eventually published it, she wanted to give him a copy of the finished work. 

Tennant alleges the two agreed to meet up at his hotel in 2014, when Walton was in town to face the Lakers as part of the Warriors' coaching staff. But when she arrived at the hotel to give him a copy of the book, Walton told her that he didn’t want to hang out in the lobby because the players were around.

He then brought her up to his room, where Tennant claims an aggressive attack occurred.

“Out of nowhere, he got on top of me and pinned me down to the bed and held my arms down with all of his weight,” Tennant said. “He kissed my neck and my face and my chest. As I kept asking him to please stop and get off, he laughed at me.”

After the initial encounter, Walton allegedly grabbed her a second time from behind and started kissing Tennant’s neck. 

“I thought he was going to rape me,” Tennant said.

During the press conference, Tennant explained how she eventually was able to leave the hotel room, but that wasn’t the last encounter she had with Walton. 

Walton joined the Lakers as head coach in 2016, which resulted in Tennant working with him on a daily basis. According to Tennant, Walton was inappropriate with her on multiple occasions, including unwanted hugs and kisses.

“Every interaction with him that I had over that time made me incredibly uncomfortable and feel unsafe,” Tennant said.

Their last encounter was at a charity event in 2017, when Walton allegedly made a comment about her dress, followed by an uncomfortable hug. 

“Every feeling I had from that first experience of feeling disgusted and betrayed, came back,” Tennant said.

According to Tennant, she had been working for Spectrum SportsNet for just under one year when the initial incident occurred with Walton at his hotel. She was 25 years old at the time and feared for her job.

“I was scared,” Tennant said. “When someone assaults you and you think you’re going to be raped, coming forward is a scary thing. I have spent years now dealing with this. Trying to forget about it. Hoping I could push it to the side and bury it, and hoping that time would heal. That was not the case.”

According to Mardirossian, they haven’t taken the case to law enforcement, and outside of Tennant’s account, they have no other further evidence to support the claim. Tennant told family members of the event but did not discuss it with anyone in human resources at Spectrum or with either the Warriors or the Lakers.

The Kings, who hired Walton as their coach last week, have not released anything other than their initial statement, “We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information. We have no further comment at this time.”

The NBA added this statement, per multiple reports: “We are coordinating with the Kings organization and are in the process of gathering more information.”

According to league sources, Kings general manager Vlade Divac did not know of pending allegations when he signed the 39-year-old coach to a four-year contract.