NBA admits officials made incorrect call late in Kings' loss to Magic

NBA admits officials made incorrect call late in Kings' loss to Magic

SACRAMENTO -- Death by a thousand cuts. That is what the first half of the 2019-20 Kings season feels like.

After another demoralizing loss at the buzzer, the Kings received the league’s hollow excuse of an apology when the NBA’s Last Two Minute Report hit the wire one day after falling to the Orlando Magic, 114-112.

Aaron Gordon hit a circus shot with 1.1 seconds remaining to give Orlando a 113-112 lead. On the play, Cory Joseph was called for a personal foul, which sent Gordon to the free throw line. 

“Joseph (SAC) has his defensive position established against Gordon (ORL) but he does not deliver contact as he begins his upward shooting motion,” the Last Two Minute report states.

With 1.1 seconds remaining the Kings had one more shot to tie the game. De’Aaron Fox sent a lob to Harrison Barnes at the rim. The replay clearly shows Markell Fultz bump Barnes on the left arm. Wesley Iwundu then flies in and hits Barnes in the right bicep and chest area as he attempts to get a shot off.

The league refused to acknowledge the foul on Iwundu, which would have put Barnes at the line with a chance to tie the game and send it to overtime.

“During the inbound pass Iwundu (ORL) and Barnes (SAC) both reach for the ball and as Barnes receives the pass and attempts the shot Iwundu makes marginal contact to his front,” the Last Two Minute report states.

Without question, Iwundu’s actions affected Barnes’ balance and rhythm as he attempted to hit the tying bucket.

This is the 18th time the Kings have shown up on the Last Two Minute report this season. They are 7-11 in those contests, including seven straight losses in games decided in the final two minutes of a game.

In five of the 11 losses, the league acknowledged a mistake in the final minute of play that had a direct impact on the Kings’ ability to win the game. In two of their wins, the league singled out a missed call that favored Sacramento.

[RELATED: Bagley's best game of season unable to lift Kings to win]

There is no recourse. The league’s replay system is flawed and doesn’t allow teams to challenge plays where no foul is called, like the loss Monday night to the Magic.

Every close game is an opportunity for the Kings to gain valuable experience, but the current trend indicates Sacramento might not be learning from mistakes. At 15-25, the Kings are running out of time to turn their season around.

Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic ready to return following six-game absence


Kings' Bogdan Bogdanovic ready to return following six-game absence

SALT LAKE CITY -- He’s back.

After missing the last six games with right ankle soreness, Bogdan Bogdanovic participated in Saturday’s shootaround in Utah and confirmed that he is ready to play when the Sacramento Kings take on the Jazz later in the evening.

Bogdanovic is a stabilizing force for the Kings this season, averaging 14.5 points and 3.6 assists in 28.1 minutes of coach Luke Walton’s bench.

The 27-year-old out of Serbia has missed 11 games due to a variety of leg injuries this season. Without him in the lineup, the Kings are just 2-9.

Bogdanovic has a lot riding on the final 41 games of the season. He has a standing maximum extension offer from the Kings, but the number jumps on July 1 when he becomes a restricted free agent.

With a soft free agent class, Bogdanovic is likely to have plenty of suiters, although the Kings can match any offer.

What Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver trade means for Sacramento Kings

What Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver trade means for Sacramento Kings

The Kings swung a deal with the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday afternoon, sending Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan and Wenyen Gabriel to the Pacific Northwest in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Toliver and a pair of second-round draft picks.

It’s an interesting deal that requires an advanced degree in capology to truly understand. Here are the nuts and bolts and why the deal made sense from the perspective of each team:

Why did the Kings make the trade?

At 15-26, not a lot has gone well for Sacramento this season. The team needs something to shake things up and change the composition of the roster. The Kings know Tolliver well from his time in Sacramento during the 2016-17 season. They also know he is unlikely to see time on the court with bigs like Marvin Bagley and Nemanja Bjelica playing minutes at the four.

In taking on Bazemore, the Kings add a younger player than Ariza who brings energy on both ends of the court. Bazemore is in the final year of a massive four-year, $70 million deal he signed in 2016. He’ll be motivated to play well in hopes of landing another contract next season. With Bogdan Bogdanovic returning Saturday night, minutes at the two and the three will be slim, but as a change of pace, Bazemore might be a nice veteran addition for the second half of the season.

The real value the Kings received in this deal is the pair of second-round picks. Sacramento has been hoarding seconds for the last few seasons and it wasn’t a surprise to see more added on the back end. The team now has four second-rounders next season and another three in 2021. The Kings have their own picks in 2022, 2023, 2024 and 2025 and now they have Portland’s picks in 2024 and 2025 as well. That makes 13 second-rounders over a span of six seasons.

They’ll need to be creative in moving these assets around, but second-round selections have value, especially if and when the NBA changes its age requirement back to 18. That move is expected by the 2022 NBA Draft, which will expand the draft pool and potentially increase the value of second-rounders.

In the grand scheme of everything, the Kings lost a young prospect in Gabriel, but they gained future assets and opened up a roster spot.

[RELATED: Fox's development is silver lining in tough Kings' season]

Why did the Blazers make the trade?

This one is easy. Bazemore and Tolliver were owed a combined $21.9 million. Ariza, Swanigan and Gabriel make a combined $15.6 million. Portland saves a prorated amount of that salary exchange, but the real value for the Blazers is it drops their luxury tax bill from an estimated $19.2 million to just $7 million. Between salary and the luxury tax, the Blazers will clear more than $18 million in savings during a season that is quickly spinning out of control.

The future value of two second picks is worth it for Portland when you consider the upfront savings. The Blazers could even stretch Swanigan’s salary over three years and save more upfront cash in salary and luxury tax owed. They’re on the hook for Ariza's $1.8 million buyout for next season, but that’s a small price to pay.

Overall analysis

It’s a good deal for both the Kings and the Blazers, which is rare. In reality, both teams gave up fringe player assets. Sacramento added more bullets for the future, while Portland feels immediate financial relief.

The Kings are actively shopping center Dewayne Dedmon and the extra roster spot could come in handy in that endeavor. Roster spots can also have value in larger deals, which the Kings will explore as they have in past seasons.

This trade cannot be officially completed until Jan. 21 due to contractual issues for Gabriel, but according to league sources, it is a done deal.