Source: Kings would help facilitate Jimmy Butler trade if it benefits them


Source: Kings would help facilitate Jimmy Butler trade if it benefits them

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA rumor mill is in full force. Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves are having a messy breakup, and it’s only going to get worse from here. 

According to an NBA source, the Kings are listening and even willing to participate in a large-scale trade involving the Timberwolves and others, but only if it benefits the team both in the short term and down the road. 

The Kings currently sit $11 million under the NBA’s salary cap. In addition to pure cap space, veterans Zach Randolph ($11.7 million), Iman Shumpert ($11 million), Kosta Koufos ($8.7 million) and Ben McLemore ($5.4 million) all have expiring contracts that could be used to acquire young players or future picks.

Sacramento has been reluctant to add major contracts beyond this season. The team has an estimated $60 million in cap room next summer and hopes to jump into the free agent market with both feet. But the time to strike might come earlier if the right package of players and assets come available. 

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Kings were dragged into the conversation when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added his latest update to the Butler saga, writing: "To facilitate a Butler trade, the sort of broader deal necessary to meet the financial needs of Minnesota and Butler's future team, circumstances will necessitate bringing the Sacramento Kings into the process.”

Wojnarowski went on to add that the Kings are the only team with real cap space to work with, and they have a bevy of expiring contracts as well. 

“Assistant GM Brandon Williams has informed teams that the Kings aren't opposed to parking contracts that extend into the 2019-20 season, including (Gorgui) Dieng,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Whatever happens with the Butler deal, the Kings are determined to use that $11 million in cap space and their expiring contracts to gather more assets for the future.”

This is a good place to be if you're the Kings. It’s also a position they have worked hard to create. The February trade of George Hill opened room for this season, and their preference for short-term contracts with an eye toward the summer of 2019 has them sitting pretty. 

Whether they would look at a deal that includes a player such as Dieng, who is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, is unknown at this time, but they already have a crowded frontcourt and have looked to avoid contracts like this in the past. 

The Kings are open for business, but they also know the Butler talks won’t be their only opportunity this season to get involved and that they are the only real option for a deal involving a third team with cap space. 

Stay tuned. It will be an interesting couple of days as the Timberwolves look to deal one of the best two-way players in the game.

Legal experts explain why Luke Walton's accuser didn't speak to investigators


Legal experts explain why Luke Walton's accuser didn't speak to investigators

The NBA and the Sacramento Kings announced Friday the conclusion of their joint investigation into former Los Angeles TV reporter Kelli Tennant's allegations of improper sexual conduct against coach Luke Walton. 

In a press release sent by the Kings, the investigation found insufficient evidence to support Tennant's claims against Walton and the case is considered closed unless new evidence becomes available.

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

But legal experts told the Sacramento Bee they weren't surprised Tennant and her legal team declined to sit down with investigators. 

“Lawyers generally don’t like it when their clients tell their stories multiple times,” Northwestern University law professor Deborah Tuerkheimer said. “I’m not surprised she decided to opt out.

Laura Beth Nielsen, a sociologist and legal expert at Northwestern who has studied the #MeToo movement also wasn't surprised. Nielsen says independent investigations of sexual harassment and assault cases by big companies such as the NBA have a reputation of taking sides of the employee. 

Nielsen described it as "a sort of circle the wagons, we want to have a defensive posture." 

According to the Kings, more than 20 individuals, including Walton, were interviewed during the course of the joint investigation, which was led by Sue Ann Van Dermyden, from the Sacramento law firm Van Dermyden Maddux, and Elizabeth Maringer, senior vice president and assistant general counsel of the NBA.

Tennant, at an April news conference, said that Walton sexually assaulted her at a hotel room in Santa Monica when he was then an assistant coach on the Warriors. 

Walton has denied the allegations. 

“I am 100% focused on coaching the Sacramento Kings, and energized to work with this incredible group of players and coaches as we start the preseason,” Walton said in a statement. "I will have no further comment."

Kings' Harrison Barnes makes final Team USA roster for FIBA World Cup

Kings' Harrison Barnes makes final Team USA roster for FIBA World Cup

Team USA will feature one member of the Sacramento Kings after all in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, as the final roster was made official Saturday.

Both Marvin Bagley and De’Aaron Fox were among the finalists before both withdrew, citing a need to prepare for the 2019-20 NBA season. 

Barnes has competed for Team USA before, as he was part of the national team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro.

There is, however, one more Northern California connection on the World Cup roster. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown played his one season of college hoops at Cal.

This team is a far cry from the initial roster projections, as just about every marquee player offered the chance to play seemed to withdraw from consideration due to injury or desire to rest, as the tournament will end just a few weeks before the start of NBA training camps.

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Barnes has started two of the three games during Team USA’s training trip in Australia, which included the program’s first international loss in more than a decade Friday night. 

Even with so many great players declining the opportunity to represent the Red, White, and Blue in the World Cup, Team USA is still favored, so look for Barnes to be bringing back some hardware to Sacramento.