Kings

Reports: Kings pursuing Hawks' Paul Millsap

millsap.jpg
AP

Reports: Kings pursuing Hawks' Paul Millsap

SACRAMENTO -- With the reported trade of 35-year-old sharpshooter Kyle Korver, the Atlanta Hawks appear primed as sellers nearly seven weeks before the NBA’s Feb. 23 trade deadline. What does that mean for veteran big man Paul Millsap?

According to multiple reports, the Kings have interest in the Hawks’ All-Star forward and are pushing hard to make something work.

The Atlantic Journal-Constitution’s Chris Vivlamare started the conversation with a tweet Thursday afternoon.

“The Sacramento Kings are a team very interested in Paul Millsap,” Vivlamare tweeted.

Minutes later, RealGM writer Keith Smith jumped into the conversation.

“Also, the Kings are getting deep on Millsap. Other teams involved, but SAC very motivated to get in the playoffs this year,” Smith posted on twitter.

Smith went on to say that DeMarcus Cousins would not be included in any deal for Millsap and that the Kings would love to pair the veteran with their All-Star center.

Millsap, 31, is in the middle of a three-year, $60 million deal that carries him through the 2017-18 season, but he has a $22 million player option for next year and could leave as an unrestricted free agent.

The three-time All-Star is posting solid numbers for the Hawks, averaging 17.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.6 steals in 33.9 minutes per game.

Known as a positive presence in the locker room and a quality defender on the floor, Millsap would fit nicely at the power forward position alongside Cousins.

Whether the Kings have the assets to land an All-Star caliber player is another question.

Sacramento has already committed their 2017 first round selection (top 10 protected) to the Chicago Bulls as part of the Omri Casspi/J.J. Hickson deal from 2011 and their 2019 pick is property of the Philadelphia 76ers from the Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, Carl Landry deal from 2015. The earliest selection the Kings could include is a 2021 pick per NBA rules.

If Atlanta is looking for prospects, the Kings have plenty of young options sitting on the bench from both the 2015 and 2016 NBA Draft. They also have plenty of moveable veteran pieces on short-term deals to make the money work.

Millsap’s value will be hampered slightly by his contract status. Dealing him in the first week of January would guarantee a team less than four months of service before he could exercise the option to enter free agency this summer.

It looks like trade season is starting early this season and the Sacramento Kings might be ready to jump in the action.

Marvin Bagley 'trying to stay patient' after limited minutes in Kings debut

Marvin Bagley 'trying to stay patient' after limited minutes in Kings debut

SACRAMENTO -- The bench is a lonely place. You’re surrounded by a group of teammates, but it’s isolating. It’s a tough place for a young player to be and on Wednesday evening, that is exactly where Marvin Bagley III stayed for much of the game.

The Kings used the second overall selection on Bagley in the 2018 NBA Draft. He played a total of 12 minutes and seven seconds in his pro debut, finishing with six points on 3-of-6 shooting and five rebounds.  

It was clear that the 19-year-old expected to play more against Utah. When asked whether he might learn from watching and taking the game in from the sidelines, Bagley didn’t exactly agree.  

“I obviously want to play, I’ve been playing this game a long time, but I’m just going to leave it at that,” Bagley said. 

Bagley is used to being a focal point. It’s good that he wants the challenge of playing major minutes early in his career, but that isn’t how every game will go.

“I’m just trying to stay patient, just continue to work hard and get better,” Bagley said of his minutes. “Just continue to learn and grow.”

It’s not the debut he expected, but it’s one of 82 games in what should be an extremely long career for the former Duke star. 

“It’s going to be tough,” coach Dave Joerger said of Bagley’s minutes in opener. “I thought he did fine - the game’s moving really, really fast for him, especially defensively.”

Bagley looked solid on the offensive end and he attacked the glass in his limited minutes. On the defensive side of the ball, Utah turned to Jae Crowder to test the rookie. The strategy worked for the Jazz. 

While Bagley had no problems scoring over the veteran in the post, Crowder hung around the perimeter on the other end. With Bagley sagging off him, Crowder knocked down an open three. A few possessions later, Bagley sagged again and was called for a foul on a long range attempt from Crowder.

The foul call was questionable, but Bagley has a lot to learn about guarding smaller players on the perimeter. No one is expecting him to learn the finer nuances of defending overnight. This is a marathon, not a sprint. 

Joerger will try to put him in positions to succeed and keep his confidence up. The coaching staff will continue to work behind the scenes to build his knowledge base.

“It just takes time and experience,” Joerger said. “There’s a lot of minutes left to be played.”

The Kings were competitive against a high quality opponent. They played well for much of the night, before falling to Utah by a final of 123-117. Bagley even played three minutes in the fourth while Sacramento continued to test the Jazz.

“I can only control what I can control,” the rookie said. “Whenever my number is called, I’ve got to go hard, I’ve got to go 100 percent and do whatever I can to try to help us win.” 

Bagley wasn’t the only young player stuck on the bench. Harry Giles III played just under 10 minutes for Joerger, finishing the night with two points, a rebound and assist while picking up four fouls. Skal Labissiere pulled a “Did Not Play, Coach’s Decision.”

On the positive side, Willie Cauley-Stein and Nemanja Bjelica combined for 41 points, 15 rebounds and six assists starting on the frontline. They both played well and helped keep the Kings within striking distance. 

Both Bagley and Giles will get another opportunity to earn minutes Friday against All-Star Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Kings takeaways: Three things we learned from season-opening loss to Jazz

Kings takeaways: Three things we learned from season-opening loss to Jazz

BOX SCORE

SACRAMENTO -- After taking one on the chin from the Utah Jazz last week, losing by 39 points in a preseason matchup, no one really knew what to expect coming into Wednesday evening’s Sacramento Kings season opener. 

It didn’t always look pretty, but the home team came out with a fire and energy, giveng the Jazz all they could handle for a full 48 minutes. In the end, the Utah found a way to squeak out a win, besting the home team by a final of 123-117.

While the final outcome wasn’t what Sacramento hoped for, it was a very nice effort for a young team trying to find their way. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings start 0-1 on the season. 

Cauley-Stein has dollar signs in his eyes  

After making the bold statement, “I’m ready to get paid,” during media day last month, Willie Cauley-Stein took his first step towards making that a reality. 

He was aggressive against Utah’s star big man, Rudy Gobert, dropping in 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two blocks in 36 minutes of action. He played with force and attacked the best shot blocker in the league. 

Willie put his money where his mouth is. Now he just needs to do it 81 more times. 

Quick like a Fox 

Kings management and coaching staff have raved about De’Aaron Fox’s development over the summer. It’s really early, but the 20-year-old looks ready for prime time. 

He pushed the tempo at every turn, finishing the night with 21 points, seven assists and three steals. Fox energized the crowd and had his teammates flying up and down the court. 

If this is the new brand of Kings basketball, they have a chance to be very entertaining this season. 

Bjelica is better than expected 

A late addition to the Kings roster, Nemanja Bjelica was almost an unknown coming into the season. He spoke about having a limited roll in Minnesota and promised that he was a more complete player. 

On Wednesday evening, he was all over the court. He’s a high basketball IQ player that can really shoot the ball and Joerger had a tough time keeping him off the floor. 

With all eyes focused on rookie bigs, Harry Giles III and Marvin Bagley III, it was the Serbian stretch four that managed to score 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds in the loss.