Kings

NBA rumors: Kings interested in free agent Magic center Nikola Vucevic

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NBA rumors: Kings interested in free agent Magic center Nikola Vucevic

The Sacramento Kings have money to spend this summer, and they have their eyes on several big-time free agents.

The latest player to catch their attention is free-agent center Nikola Vucevic.

Arizona radio host John Gambadoro reported Thursday that the Kings have interest in the veteran Orlando Magic big man.

Willie Cauley-Stein, who has spent his entire four-year career with the Kings, is a restricted free agent this summer. Sacramento has the ability to match any offer Cauley-Stein gets from another team, but they might be ready to move on from the former first-round pick.

Vucevic, 28, was named to his first All-Star team this past season. In 80 games, he averaged a career-high 20.8 points and 12.0 rebounds.

Adding Vucevic would give the Kings a formidable starting lineup including De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, restricted free agent Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III.

[RELATED: Barnes gets advice on $25 million option]

Earlier in May, the Kings were linked to free agent forward Tobias Harris.

According to Spotrac.com, the Kings will have about $35 million in cap space this summer.

NBA admits Kings benefited from missed call late in win over Mavericks

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NBA admits Kings benefited from missed call late in win over Mavericks

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report has been unkind to the Sacramento Kings so far this season. On three separate occasions, a game-altering play in the waning moments of a loss was missed by the officiating crew and later acknowledged by the league.

Finally, Sacramento has had one go their way.

In Monday’s report, the league admitted another error by the officiating crew in the Kings’ 110-106 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday evening, this time in Sacramento’s favor.

With 5.6 seconds remaining and the Kings up 108-106, Luka Doncic drove the lane against Cory Joseph and came up short on his attempted floater. A review of the film has Joseph fouling Doncic, which would have put him at the line with a chance to tie the game.

“Joseph (SAC) makes contact with Doncic's (DAL) right elbow during his upward motion and affects his driving shot attempt,” the official report reads.

Richaun Holmes grabbed the rebound off the Doncic missed and head coach Luke Walton instantly called a timeout for Sacramento. After advancing the ball into the frontcourt, Bogdan Bogdanovic found a wide-open Nemanja Bjelica under the basket with the inbounds pass for an open dunk to seal the win for the Kings.

There is no remedy for the Last Two Minute Report, just a confirmation of a correct call or an acknowledgment of a mistake and sometimes multiple errors. Since there was no call on the play, the Mavericks couldn’t review the potential for a foul in real-time.

At the time of the play, the Mavericks were on a 16-2 run and had erased a huge 24-point third-quarter deficit. If a foul would have been called by the officials, Doncic would have received two free throws. If he hit both, the Kings would have had one last possession to score the winning basket on the other end.

[RELATED: Hield shines for short-handed Kings in win over Mavericks]

The Kings were dealt a loss on a suspect call against the Lakers on Nov. 15. Harrison Barnes was called incorrectly for a foul against LeBron James in the final seconds, which the league later confirmed.

In addition, the officials also admitted a mistake in the Kings’ Nov. 26 loss to the Celtics, as well as an error against Sacramento in their overtime loss to the Spurs on Friday.

Buddy Hield shines as Luke Walton shortens Kings' bench in big win

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Buddy Hield shines as Luke Walton shortens Kings' bench in big win

It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.

The Kings beat the Mavericks 110-106 Sunday night in Dallas -- after leading by as many as 24 points in the third quarter and falling apart late. Sacramento turned the ball over four times through three quarters before giving it away seven teams in the fourth, barely hanging on for the four-point win.

Luka Doncic missed a potential game-tying turnaround jumper in the lane with fewer than 10 seconds remaining. That play came up again later Monday, when the NBA's Two-Minute Report confirmed that Kings guard Cory Joseph fouled Doncic on the shot. 

Here are five notes that stand out from the Kings’ win.

Nemanja Bjelica was really good against Dallas

Often overlooked and sometimes highly debated, Bjelica has done a yeoman’s job of holding the fort with Marvin Bagley on ice. Against Dallas, EuroLeague MVP Bjelica came to play against Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis.

You can’t expect this type of performance from Bjelica every game, but he dominated the Mavs for 30 points, seven rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal in 34 minutes of action.

There is no word on what coach Luke Walton will do when Bagley returns sometime this week, but Bjelica is shooting 42.6 percent from 3-point range and posting career-highs in points, rebounds and assists in 21 games as a starter.

Cory Joseph is a warrior

The Kings understood the type of player they were getting when they signed Joseph to a three-year deal. He’s a hard-nosed defender who typically takes care of the ball. He has struggled with a lower-back injury over the last week and has come into each of the last two games as a huge question mark.

While he isn’t an offensive weapon, Joseph gives the Kings a grinder on the defensive end, which came in handy against Doncic. With De’Aaron Fox on the shelf, Joseph has played 31.8 minutes per game over the last 13 games as a starter, which isn’t ideal. But the Kings are 6-7 over that stretch and staying afloat until reinforcements arrive.

Eight

Walton wanted a win and in order to get one, he cut his rotation down to just eight players. This isn’t an ideal situation, especially with both Joseph and Bogdan Bogdanovic nursing injuries, but it worked against the Mavericks, who entered the night with a 16-6 record.

Sunday was the first "DNP-Coach's Decision" for veteran center Dewayne Dedmon. The same can't be said for Justin James, Harry Giles, Wenyen Gabriel or Caleb Swanigan. Dedmon is shooting just 40.8 percent from the field and 22.9 percent from 3-point range this season. When Bagley returns from injury, minutes may get even tighter for the 7-footer.

Buddy was locked in

Buddy Hield is the Kings’ leading scorer, but the plan was never for him to be the primary option. Like Bjelica starting and Joseph playing extra minutes, Walton has no choice but to ask more out of Hield.

Hield struggled with mental lapses in Friday's loss to the San Antonio Spurs, specifically on the final defensive play of regulation when his man got free for an open 3-pointer.

From Sunday's opening tip, Hield looked focused and ready to play against the Mavs. He knocked down 5-of-6 from long range to score 26 points, and he also added five assists and four rebounds. The last stat that stands out is that Hield didn’t turn the ball over in 34 minutes of action.

Hield is averaging 21.2 points per game, and his 3-point percentage is back up to 36.7 after sliding closer to 35 percent last week.

[RELATED: Bjelica's career night gives Kings big win over Mavs]

League leader

Richaun Holmes came within one rebound of his third straight double-double. He finished the night shooting 6-of-8 from the field for 12 points. 

With another solid shooting performance, the 26-year-old center now is leading the league in field goal percentage at 67.2 percent. Holmes' true shooting percentage (69.4 percent) and effective field goal percentage (67.2 percent) are also among the league leaders. Plus, Holmes is in the top 10 in the league in offensive win shares (2.0) and 13th in overall win shares (2.8).

Holmes has been a breath of fresh air for Sacramento. He is a rarity in a young player, knowing exactly who he is and playing to his strengths. In addition, he is a high-character, high-motor player who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work.