Marvin Bagley reminds Phoenix Suns what they passed on in 2018 NBA Draft

Marvin Bagley reminds Phoenix Suns what they passed on in 2018 NBA Draft

SACRAMENTO -- You could see it coming. It was only a matter of time before rookie Marvin Bagley III had a true breakout game. On Sunday afternoon, it finally came against the team that passed him over in the 2018 NBA Draft.

“Yeah, I love playing against the Suns, I don’t know what it is,” Bagley said with a smile.

Bagley was extremely vocal about his belief that he was the best prospect during the pre-draft process. Phoenix went a different direction, instead selecting Deandre Ayton, a one-time high school teammate of Bagley’s.

“It’s fun playing against Deandre and the whole organization, everybody involved,” Bagley said. “I got to meet them when I went for my pre-draft workout. I met a few of those guys so it was good competing against those guys and always beating them.”

Sacramento’s prized rookie finished the Kings' 117-104 win with a career-high 32 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go with seven rebounds. He attacked the Suns in the post, setting new bests for free throws and attempts when he went 11-of-13 from the line.

“He’s getting the time, he’s put in the work and it’s showing,” Willie Cauley-Stein said.

At 6-foot-11, Bagley can run the floor like a guard and he isn’t afraid to push the tempo and take the ball coast-to-coast. Where he really thrives is with his back to the basket.

“He’s making progress game-by-game,” Fox said. “He was out there comfortable, he was getting to his spots and just raising up.”

Bagley has started just one game so far this season for Sacramento. Coach Dave Joerger is using veteran Nemanja Bjelica as his starting power forward to stretch the floor. Bagley is improving as a perimeter shooter, but he needs more time to develop his range.

Fox was in a similar situation last year. Joerger brought him off the bench early in the season behind veteran George Hill. Watching and learning from the sidelines while playing against second team players helped Fox develop into the player he is today.

“I think it lets you learn the game a lot better instead of some people that are just thrown in the water,” Fox said. “For us, it definitely helped both of us. He’s going to continue to get better and the sky’s the limit for him.”

There will likely come a point in the season when Bagley makes his way into the starting lineup, but with the Kings entrenched in a playoff race, there’s no rush. He is getting plenty of touches with the second unit and since returning from injury, he is finding a niche with the team.

[RELATED: Kings swing for fences at NBA trade deadline, add depth to rotation]

Through five games in the month of February, Bagley is averaging 16.6 points and 9.4 rebounds in 28.6 minutes a game.

Bagley’s big night helped secure the Kings’ 30th win of the season. They finished their current homestand at 5-1 and they are in the thick of the playoff hunt in February for the first time in more than a decade.

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.

Buddy Hield's four-year contract extension with Kings win-win for all

Buddy Hield's four-year contract extension with Kings win-win for all

SACRAMENTO -- If you are looking for winners, you have come to the right place. The Kings signed shooting guard Buddy Hield to a multi-year contract Monday.

A source told NBC Sports California the deal is a four-year, $86 million contract extension. The Athletic's Sam Amick first reported the news hours ahead of Monday's contract extension deadline.

In an NBA rarity, the early takeaway is that the deal is a win-win for everyone involved.

After a breakout season, Hield gets paid handsomely for ascending to elite shooter status. He also has an additional $20 million in motivational incentives over the next four seasons.

Some of those items are obtainable and some aren’t. Either way, Hield has plenty of reasons to back up his strong play, as well as focus on team goals.

The structure of the contract also allows Hield and his management team to claim victory. While he was looking for something in the neighborhood of $110 million, Hield can come close to that number if everything goes perfect.

According to a league source, a few of his contract incentives are very attainable. There are others that are almost impossible for the 26-year-old to reach. On the low-end, he’s still looking at between $86-94 million over the length of the deal.

The contract puts the onus on Hield to not only perform personally, but to achieve team goals like playoffs and even the NBA Finals.

Sacramento keeps the first of their young core players in the fold. They also structured the deal in the same way they handled Harrison Barnes’ extension over the summer. Hield will start with a base salary of $24 million, which will then decline by eight percent in the following three seasons.

Declining value contracts have become an earmark of the Kings’ cap conscious build. The players get plenty of upfront money, but eventually, both Hield and Barnes will represent a smaller percentage of the projected cap when money becomes tight and the team has to pay out for young stars like De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley.  

[RELATED: Source: Kings don't have 'remorse' over Harrison Barnes]

Like Barnes’ deal, Hield’s cap figure will drop below $19 million a year in the final year and represent just 13.5 percent of the team’s total projected salary cap.

Instead of allowing Hield’s contract to become a potential landmine during the season and bleed into next summer, the team now is moving into opening night with a clean slate and a very happy leading scorer.

Programming Note: Get ready for the 2019-20 Warriors and Kings seasons with the NBA Tip-Off Show, streaming live on the MyTeams app at 1 p.m. PT on Tuesday, Oct. 22. Download MyTeams and tune in to the show by clicking here!