NBA Gameday: Shorthanded Kings to face Harden, Rockets without Cousins

NBA Gameday: Shorthanded Kings to face Harden, Rockets without Cousins

The shorthanded Sacramento Kings take their show on the road Wednesday night when they begin a three-game trip with a stop in Houston to face the high-powered Rockets. The Kings are fresh off a blowout win over the Lakers and looking to build some momentum, but they'll have to do it without DeMarcus Cousins.

Due to Cousins' heavy workload so far this season, the Kings have decided to rest their starting center Wednesday night.

Forward Rudy Gay and guard Ben McLemore have both been ruled out due to injuries suffered against the Lakers.

When these two teams faced off in late November at Golden 1 Center, the Rockets put on an incredible shooting display. Houston shot an NBA record 51 3-pointers, making 21 on their way to a 13-point win.

James Harden led the way, nearly posting a triple-double in the victory, but it was veteran Trevor Ariza who did the real damage. Ariza knocked down 6-of-11 from long range on his way to 18 points.

Cousins led a late comeback, hitting a career-high five 3-pointers. Sacramento made it a game, but getting into a shootout with an offensive juggernaut like the Rockets isn’t advised.

Rockets by 9.5

Garrett Temple vs. James Harden -- With McLemore ailing, there is no word on who will start alongside Darren Collison in the Kings backcourt. But who starts and who plays the majority of the minutes might not be the same player. Temple is as close as the Kings have to a lockdown defender. He’s athletic and long, but guarding Harden takes a special kind of patience. Harden is averaging 28.1 points, 11.6 assists and 7.6 points per game. If his shot isn’t on, he finds ways to draw fouls, where he shoots 10.4 attempts per night making him one of the more difficult covers in the game.

Kings: 9-15, fourth place in Pacific

Rockets: 18-7, second place in Southwest

Kings: C DeMarcus Cousins (rest) out, SF Rudy Gay (hip flexor) out, SG Ben McLemore (quad contusion) out.

Rockets: No injuries to report.

Houston took game one of the season series when they lit Sacramento up from behind the 3-point line for a 117-104 victory. The Rockets hold a 125-88 all-time lead over the Kings and an 84-42 advantage in the Sacramento-era.

“I think we got more aggressive defensively. Shared the ball, played together - we had a good flow going towards the end of the game. I think we clicked as a team late down the stretch and that’s what helped us push through.” -DeMarcus Cousins on the Kings win over the Lakers on Monday night

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!