Rewind: Kings' loss to the Blazers a 'good learning experience'

Rewind: Kings' loss to the Blazers a 'good learning experience'

When you are the Sacramento Kings, you don’t have the luxury of overlooking any team, especially a wounded group like the Portland Trail Blazers. Sacramento waltzed into the Moda Center looking for their fifth straight win Wednesday night and they came away with a 102-89 loss to a short-handed Blazers team.

“It was a game that we wanted and it’s a good learning experience for our guys,” coach Dave Joerger told the media following the game.

Sacramento has had plenty of ups and downs early in the season, but their climb back towards .500 was impressive. They took a step back against Portland, but the demeanor of this team continues to stand out.

“This is the NBA, we weren’t going to go undefeated the rest of the season,” DeMarcus Cousins said with a smile during post game. “That’s not even realistic.”

Sacramento struggled to find a rhythm, hitting just 31-of-79 (39.2 percent) from the field and 9-for-28 from 3-point range. They had plenty of wide open shots and couldn’t knock them down.

“The offense was stagnant at times and then when we were behind, we tried to make a 14 point shot,” Dave Joerger said. “At one point in the quarter, we got nine stops out of ten possessions and we took three one pass jumpers.”

Portland had no problem finding the net, shooting 47.3 percent from the field and a stellar 12-of-25 from three. Led by the sharpshooting C.J. McCollum, who finished the night with a team-high 20 points, Portland led by as many as 20 and never really let the Kings get within striking distance late.

“We weren’t physical enough with them, we played too soft, especially early on,” Garrett Temple told reporters in the locker room. “And they were able to knock down some shots.”

Six Blazers scored in double-figures as they turned to a team game to replace injured All-Star Damian Lillard’s 27 points per game.

“The shots won’t fall all the time, but you have to be able to compete and play hard on defense every possession,” Temple said. “If they were making tough shots, then it is what it is. But they were getting a lot of easy shots.”

While Portland was busy running their offense, Sacramento rushed their shots and the movement on the court all but stopped.

With Rudy Gay missing his seventh game in eight opportunities, the Kings needed someone to take up the scoring slack next to Cousins. Temple stepped forward to score 14 points on 6-of-13 shooting while providing solid defense against the Blazers wings.

Cousins went off for his customary 28-points, eight-rebounds, six-assist night, but Portland made life difficult on the Kings’ star center. Cousins shot just 8-for-19 from the field, although he hit an impressive 3-of-6 from long range.

“They really focused in on me,” Cousins told media members from his locker stall. “You could tell their game plan was to make everybody else have big games instead of myself. It was successful tonight -- it worked.”

In addition to Temple and Cousins, Matt Barnes added 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting, but Joerger needed more from his role players.

The point guard combination of Ty Lawson and Darren Collison scored just 14 total points on 4-for-15 shooting. Ben McLemore shot 2-of-9 from the field and Anthony Tolliver hit 1-for-6. It was a rough shooting night for Sacramento, but those game happen during an 82 game schedule.

The Kings return home where they will practice Thursday and possibly Friday leading up to Saturday’s mid-day game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Golden 1 Center.

They travel to Denver to face the Nuggets on Tuesday before settling in for seven straight at home beginning Wednesday against the Miami Heat.


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!