Kings

NBA draft lottery 2019: Kings' five worst-case scenarios that could play out

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AP

NBA draft lottery 2019: Kings' five worst-case scenarios that could play out

For over a decade, Sacramento Kings glue themselves to a television set watching the NBA’s Draft lottery. More often than not, the ping pong ball betrayed Kings fans, leaving them cursing and the team sliding down the draft board.

The last two draft, the Kings miraculously moved up the board, where the team selected De’Aaron Fox at No. 5 in 2017, followed by Marvin Bagley at No. 2 last summer. 

Sacramento improved this season, moving all the way down to the last team in the lottery, but the selection is long gone. One of Vlade Divac’s first moves as an executive was to deal Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson and Carl Landry to the Philadelphia 76ers in a salary dump. The cost was a pair of potential pick swaps and a 2019 unprotected first round pick.

It wasn’t a good deal at the time and it looked even worse when the Kings jumped from No. 8 to No. 3 in the lottery, but were forced to swap the No. 3 pick to the 76ers for the No. 5 pick in the 2017 Draft. While it could have hurt the team greatly, Divac still landed the player he wanted in Fox and it looks like he made the right move.

While the excitement of the lottery is all but extinguished in Sacramento, there is still plenty of reasons to watch.

Here are five of the worst-case scenarios that could play out and leave Kings fans distraught on Tuesday evening. 

1. The Revenge of Sauce Castillo

Dealing a future first-rounder in any trade is treacherous, but the Kings’ improved record helps take the sting off of the 2015 Nik Stauskas aka Sauce Castillo salary dump deal. Sacramento’s pick currently sits at No. 14, putting it at just a .5 percent of moving into the top spot in the draft. If the pick lands at No. 1 overall, the Sixers keep it. If lands in any other spot, it belongs to the Boston Celtics, who acquired the pick in a 2017 draft day deal. 

The pick is gone either way, but if by some miracle it moves into the top three, Divac’s nightmare starts all over again. If it stays at No. 14, the trade has a much lower chance of being rehashed for the next month leading up to draft night.

2. LA Story

The Kings and Lakers had an incredible rivalry early in the 2000s, whether the good people of Los Angeles believe it or not. With Luke Walton leaving the Lakeshow and joining the Kings, the rivalry may heat up again. The two teams finished the year just two games apart in the standings, leaving LA with just a two percent chance of moving into the top spot. If the Lakers boast a starting lineup that includes LeBron James and Zion Williamson for the next few season, it’s a blow to Sacramento’s chances of breaking their 13-season playoff drought.

3. Getting Hot in Phoenix

As a young team, the Kings are looking around and wondering who might be a team to beat in the coming decade. Phoenix is a hot mess, but they have a ton of young talent from their recent history of drafting at the top of the lottery. The Suns have a 14 percent chance of landing a top spot in the lottery. Pairing Williamson with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton could create a young super team. 

4. Luka and the Unicorn

Dallas made a bold move last summer, handing over a top five protected 2019 first rounder to move from No. 5 to No. 3 in the draft. They selected Luka Doncic with the third selection and the early returns point towards stardom. There is six percent chance that the Mavs jump to the top selection and a 26 percent chance they land in the top four. If they do that, Dallas keeps their pick and adds another major piece to their expanding treasure chest that includes Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis. Adding talent to young Western Conference teams is not a good thing for the KIngs.

[RELATED: Ham's NBA mock draft]

5. KAT Scan

Like Dallas and Phoenix, the Minnesota Timberwolves have young talent and a lot of issues. Thibs is gone, but Karl-Anthony Towns is about as strong a building block as you can find in the league. Minny made the postseason during the 2017-18 season, so they aren’t that far away. There is a three percent chance of pairing Towns and Williamson, but a 14 percent chance of the T-Wolves stealing away a top four pick. The best case scenario is Minnesota, Dallas, Phoenix and Los Angeles all losing out on a top spot and having to build through free agency like the Kings and plenty of other teams.

Buddy Hield jokes about Kings contract situation with GM Vlade Divac

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USATSI

Buddy Hield jokes about Kings contract situation with GM Vlade Divac

Buddy Hield has made it crystal clear. He wants to get paid. He's set his value and he doesn't want to budge. The Kings appear to have set their limits and don't want to budge either.

The shooting guard's contract situation has added a bit of tension to what was supposed to be an exciting Kings season.

But despite the gap in salary numbers, Hield and general manager Vlade Divac have been all smiles when the cameras are rolling. The latest moment between the two came during Kings Fan Fest at Golden 1 Center on Saturday.

During a light scrimmage, Hield threw down a dunk off a backboard pass from point guard De'Aaron Fox. Hield then turned to Divac, who was sitting courtside and made a money gesture with his hands.

A few moments later, the two were embracing and laughing about the whole situation.

A day earlier, Hield and Divac were seen talking cordially after Kings practice.

All of this started last week when Hield aired his grievances with the media following a Kings preseason game. Hield reportedly is looking for a four-year contract worth $110 million, while the Kings would prefer to give him around $90 million.

The two sides have until Monday to work out a contract extension. If they don't, the 26-year-old would become a restricted free agent next summer, assuming the Kings make the $6.5 million qualifying offer to him.

[RELATED: Kings reveal court to honor Sacramento move]

The comments from Hield to the media make it sound like there's bad blood between the two sides.

But based on the video coming out of Sacramento the last two days, things might not be as bad as we think.

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Kings reveal special court to honor 35th anniversary of Sacramento move

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Ali Thanawalla

Kings reveal special court to honor 35th anniversary of Sacramento move

It was 35 years ago when the Kings relocated from Kansas City to Sacramento. On Friday night, they honored the move by unveiling their "Classic Court."

The fan-favorite classic royal blue and red uniforms which the team sported from 1991 to 1994 while on the road are the color schemes for the floor. The court will also sport the original logo that was first used when the Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985.

"The new court is a near-identical recreation of the 1993-94 court used during the Mitch Richmond era," the Kings said in a press release. "The words “Sacramento Proud” runs along the sideline as a salute to the city and the fans the team plays for every night."

[RELATED: Kings on mend less than week before opening night]

This special court will be featured in 17 select games (the blue uniforms on the schedule) during the upcoming anniversary season and will be paired with the Classic and City Edition uniforms.