Kings

Popovich effusive in praise of Kings rookie

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USATSI

Popovich effusive in praise of Kings rookie

SACRAMENTO -- The San Antonio Spurs are a model professional franchise. For nearly four decades, they have set the NBA standard of excellence and they are well on their way to another season of playoff basketball.

The Sacramento Kings would love to emulate the San Antonio’s run of success. They have gone as far as to bring in former Spurs players Garrett Temple and George Hill to help build a new foundation.

While the core of San Antonio's dynasty began with top picks David Robinson and Tim Duncan, the Spurs have mined the world for talent and more often than not, come up with diamonds.

Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Bruce Bowen and Kawhi Leonard are only a few of the pieces the Spurs have discovered as they prolonged their stretch of greatness. They’ve drafted star level players, but they’ve also created them with a system of stability and development.

Listening to head coach Gregg Popovich in pregame of the Kings/Spurs matchup Monday evening, the future Hall of Fame coach spoke glowingly of one of Sacramento’s young players. It was almost as if he was reciting a scouting pre-draft scouting report.

“He’s a pretty good enough athlete, but he’s a fantastic basketball player,” Popovich said of Kings rookie Bogdan Bogdanovic. “He really understands innately how to play the game. He’s just built for it mentally, whether it’s shooting the ball or understanding spatial arrangements on the court, who he’s playing with, what shot’s good, what shot’s not, how to play with his teammates. He’s really got a high basketball IQ. On top of that, he’s got good skills. He handles the ball, he passes, he shoots. He doesn’t have any fear, he’s not intimidated by the NBA and he comes right in and plays.”

While Popovich didn’t come out and say it, Bogdanovic would fit perfectly on his club. Fortunately for the Kings, that’s not going to happen anytime soon.

“It’s an amazing thing,” Bogdanovic told NBC Sports California Monday evening. “That’s such a great coach to have such comments for me as a rookie coming over to the NBA. I’m trying to work every single day to be better and to play basketball the right way. That’s the part I think he likes.”

After acquiring his rights on draft night 2016, the Kings signed the 25-year-old Serbian to a three-year, $27 million deal during the offseason. Once his deal expires, he still falls under restricted free agent status, allowing the Kings to match offers for the talented young wing.

In their first matchup this season against San Antonio on Dec. 23, Bogdanovic dropped in 15 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting for the Kings. Monday night at Golden 1 Center, he led the bench unit, finishing the night with 16 points five rebounds and five assists in the Sacramento’s 107-100 loss.

Kings' 2018-19 schedule has fewer back-to-backs, but start is road heavy

Kings' 2018-19 schedule has fewer back-to-backs, but start is road heavy

Basketball season is just around the corner. Well, maybe not. We’re still nearly five weeks away from the opening of training camp for the 2018-19 season, and the regular season doesn’t begin until mid-October. 

On Friday, the NBA announced the 82 game schedule for all 30 teams, including the Sacramento Kings, who will open the season at home Oct. 17 against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.

Here are some of the nuts and bolts from this season’s campaign.

•    For the second season in a row, the Kings will play only one set of five-games-in-seven-nights, and that comes at the tail end of March and into early April. This is part of the NBA’s new plan of allowing players more time to rest. The league has eliminated the dreaded four-games-in-five-nights grouping from the schedule as well.

•    Sacramento will have 14 sets of back-to-backs, two shy of last season’s total of 16 sets. Of those 14 sets, one is home-and-home, seven are away-and-away, two are away-and-home and four are home-and-away.

•    After a balanced November and December schedule, the Kings will hit the road for their longest trip away from home in mid-January, stopping in Charlotte, Detroit, Brooklyn, Toronto, Memphis and Los Angeles (Clippers) from Jan. 17 to Jan. 27. 

•    The Kings’ longest homestand will be six games and come on the heels of their longest road trip. From Jan. 30 through Feb. 10, Sacramento will host the Hawks, 76ers, Spurs, Rockets, Heat and Suns at Golden 1 Center. 

•    Sacramento will play seven of its first 10 games away from Golden 1 Center. With plenty of new faces expected to see time in the rotation, the young Kings will have to learn on the fly while traveling around the NBA landscape.   

[RELATED: Five most intriguing games on Kings' 2018-19 schedule]

There are plenty of games to look forward to as well, beginning with opening night. There are old faces in new places and plenty of intrigue.

•    Sacramento will match up with the two-time reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors four times this season. The initial battle is set for Nov. 24 at Oracle, with a follow-up three weeks on Dec. 14 at Golden 1 Center. The teams will meet again Jan. 5 at Golden 1 and then finish the series in the first game coming out of the All-Star break on Feb. 21. It likely won’t happen early in the season, but at some point, former Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins will make his debut as a member of the Warriors, which should be fun to watch.

•    The Kings will face off with the new-look Los Angeles Lakers four times as well, beginning on Nov. 11 at home. The Lakers have made substantial changes to their roster, including the addition of LeBron James. These teams will play each other again twice in late December before completing the series March 24 in L.A. 

•    Isaiah Thomas joined forces during the offseason with former Kings coach Michael Malone in Denver. Sacramento will play the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on Oct. 23 and then again on Jan. 3 at Golden 1 Center and Feb. 13 back in Denver.

•    The Kings will have to wait until Dec. 4 to get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton when they travel to Talking Stick Resort Arena to face the Suns. They’ll see No. 3 overall selection Luka Doncic on Dec. 16 when they stop over in Dallas for a game against the Mavs.

Below is the complete Kings 2018-19 schedule, with all times local to where the game is played:

Report: Lil Wayne is suing Kings guard Frank Mason III

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AP/USATSI

Report: Lil Wayne is suing Kings guard Frank Mason III

Second-year Sacramento Kings pro Frank Mason III is being sued by rap star Lil Wayne. Seriously. 

The 24-year-old guard is being sued for $92,000 and must give back his Young Money diamond chain, according to TMZ Sports.

Before the Kings selected Mason in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, Lil Wayne's agency, Young Money APAA Sports Group, signed the former Kansas star. The agency reportedly gave Mason $40,000 in advance, paid his pre-draft expenses which totaled $52,000 and gave him an $11,000 diamond chain. 

However, Mason's contract reportedly stated if he left the agency, Mason would have to repay the money and give back the chain. This past April, Mason left the agency. 

Mason signed a three-year, $4,181,147 contract with the Kings after the 2017 draft. He is guaranteed $2,562,627.