Kings

Randolph makes statement to Cousins as Kings' leader: 'Bullies get bullied'

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USATSI

Randolph makes statement to Cousins as Kings' leader: 'Bullies get bullied'

It’s a new day in Sacramento. With five rookies, four second-year players and a lone third-year guy, the Kings are going the route of building through the draft on nitro. 

Despite hitting a hard reset button at the trade deadline last season, the Kings are only one game off their pace from a season ago. An 8-17 record is nothing to brag about, but it’s a better start than anyone should have expected.

Friday night’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans shows growth in a youthful team. The Kings competed well in their previous two games against the Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers, only to come up short in crunch time. 

First compete, then learn how to win. That is the mantra for any young team. Sacramento is slowly grasping the concept.

The victory over the Pelicans was a stark reminder of the world the Kings once lived in. DeMarcus Cousins, the team’s former All-Star big, put on a show. He punished Sacramento’s depleted front line for 38 points and 11 rebounds, but like so many nights with the Kings, he came up short. 

Where the Kings were and where they are heading was captured in one moment in the fourth quarter. With 3:19 remaining and Sacramento trailing 100-91, Frank Mason III went to the rack and was fouled. When his teammates went to pick him up off the floor, Cousins started chirping.

Always ready to talk, Cousins said something to Buddy Hield and tempers started to flair. 

During his last few seasons in Sacramento, Cousins was Sacramento’s de facto leader. On more than one occasion, this exact scene played out and it rarely worked out for the Kings.

But the climate has changed in Kingsland. Hield didn’t even need to say a word. Veteran Zach Randolph stepped in and handled the situation. No one in the league wants a piece of Z-Bo, including DeMarcus Cousins. 

Randolph fielded questions following the game, but the real meat was hidden in the NBC Sports California television broadcast.

Following the dust up in the fourth quarter, Randolph and Cousins lined up while Mason shot free throws. With cameras rolling, Z-Bo defined the new direction of the Sacramento Kings franchise. 

“Where we’re from, bullies get bullied,” Randolph said to the official. Then looking directly at Cousins, Randolph continued, “In my hood, bullies get bullied.”

Sacramento outscored the Pelicans 11-2 in the final minutes of the fourth. Hield scored eight of those 11 points, including a 3-pointer to tie the game with 36.3 seconds remaining. 

On a team filled with players under the age of 24, the 36-year-old Randolph has quickly become the Kings’ rock. On the court, he’s strung together an incredible run of games, including a 35-point, 13-rebound performance against New Orleans. 

Over his last four games, Randolph is averaging 25 points and just under 11 rebounds per game. More importantly, the Kings are 2-2 over the stretch and they’ve competed with NBA heavyweights. 

“We just came out and played hard, it was a team win,” Randolph told NBC Sports California’s Kayte Christensen following the game. “My young fellas, hey, they’re amazing.” 

The 17-year NBA vet hit two huge 3-pointers in overtime and the young guys finished off the win. Randolph’s output on the floor carried the Kings, but his handling of Cousins made a statement to everyone on the team. When he’s on the floor, he is big brother and the team’s enforcer. 

Kings' Marvin Bagley cleared for contact, getting closer to return

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USATI

Kings' Marvin Bagley cleared for contact, getting closer to return

The Sacramento Kings finally got some good news on the injury front. According to an official press release from the team.

Marvin Bagley has been cleared to resume full-contact basketball activities on Thursday after missing the last 19 games with a broken right thumb.

Bagley stayed back in Sacramento to have his hand re-evaluated, but according to a league source, the 20-year-old power forward is on his way to San Antonio to rejoin the team. While he is medically cleared, that doesn’t mean he will suit up when the Kings face the Spurs on Friday evening.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft has continued to work on his game during his absence, but he has yet to go through a full-contact practice with the team and the early word is that he is doubtful to play against San Antonio.

Bagley posted solid numbers in his rookie season, finishing the year averaging 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block in 25.3 minutes per game. He missed a combined 20 games last season while dealing with two separate knee injuries.

With Bagley out, Nemanja Bjelica has stepped into the starting lineup and played well for Sacramento. The Serbian forward is averaging 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 26.3 minutes per game alongside starting center Richaun Holmes.

Head coach Luke Walton will have to make some adjustments to fit another big back into the rotation, but Bagley is low post threat and one of the better rebounders on the team. He also has fresh legs after sitting out the last six-plus weeks.

[RELATED: Woman who accused Walton of sexual assault drops lawsuit]

There is no early word on Bogdan Bogdanovic, who missed Sacramento’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday evening due to a right knee contusion, although the Kings’ super-sub was confident he would play and told NBC Sports California that his left hamstring is feeling much better.

Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox stayed back in Sacramento to rehab his injured left. The 21-year-old injured himself at the end of practice on Nov. 11. He has missed the last 11 games for the Kings and will be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks.

Report: Woman who accused Luke Walton of sexual assault drops lawsuit

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Report: Woman who accused Luke Walton of sexual assault drops lawsuit

Kelli Tennant, the woman who accused Luke Walton of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2014, is dropping her lawsuit against the Kings coach, TMZ Sports reported Thursday morning.

Tennant sued Walton after claiming he forced himself on her in a Santa Monica, Calif., hotel when she was a sports reporter. Walton was a Warriors assistant coach at the time.

TMZ reported that Tennant now has filed new court documents calling off the suit, asking a judge to dismiss with prejudice, which means she can't refile.

TMZ reached out to Tennant's attorney for comment but did not receive a response.

Walton, for his part, is ready to move on.

“I remain 100 percent focused on coaching the Kings and will have no further comment," Walton said when asked about the dismissal. 

In August, the Kings and the NBA concluded their joint investigation into Tennant's allegations. The investigation found insufficient evidence to support the claims against Walton. 

The Kings said that Tennant, through her counsel, chose not to participate in the investigation, despite numerous attempts.

"Based on this and the available evidence, the investigators determined that there was not a sufficient basis to support the allegations made against Coach Walton," a statement by the Kings and NBA read.