Kings

Source: Kosta Koufos to exercise player option, return to Kings for 2018-19

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USATSI

Source: Kosta Koufos to exercise player option, return to Kings for 2018-19

The Sacramento Kings walked into the summer of 2018 with plenty of questions to answer. Somewhere near the top of that list was the fate of two of their long-term veterans. 

Kosta Koufos and Garrett Temple both have decisions to make with their player options for the 2018-19 season. While we haven’t received confirmation yet on Temple yet, Koufos has decided to stick around, at least for one more season.

An NBA source has confirmed to NBC Sports California that the 29-year-old center will forgo free agency and pick up his $8.7 million player option with Sacramento

The 10-year NBA veteran inked a four-year, $33 million contract with the Kings in the summer of 2015. He played in 71 games this season for the Kings, including 13 starts for coach Dave Joerger. 

The 7-footer out of Ohio posted 6.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game this season and helped provide a veteran defensive presence for the club.

Koufos is known for his professionalism and team first mentality behind the scenes. His decision to stick around provides depth on the frontline for Sacramento as they move through the early stages of the summer schedule.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes was first with the news.

Kings takeaways: What we learned from first win of the season over Thunder

Kings takeaways: What we learned from first win of the season over Thunder

BOX SCORE

The search is over.

After dropping their first two games of the NBA season, the Sacramento Kings jumped all over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Russell Westbrook's return. 

The Thunder kept it close, but the high-powered Kings offense kept rolling, coming away with a shocking 131-120 win on the road.

Iman Shumpert came up huge for Sacramento, but it was a team effort. Seven Kings players scored in double figures, including a big -time double-double from De’Aaron Fox. 

Westbrook and Paul George combined for 61 points, but it wasn’t enough for the still-winless Thunder to keep up with a young Kings team. 

Here are three takeaways as the Kings start 1-2 on the season.

Shumpert wants minutes

The easiest way to earn minutes in the NBA is to take advantage of every opportunity. After playing just 14 games last season, Shumpert started Sunday for the Kings and made the coaching staff take notice. 

Shumpert scorched the Thunder for 16 points in the first quarter to get the Kings off to a fast start. He finished the evening with 26 points on 9-of-13 shooting. He added four assists, three rebounds, three steals and two blocks in 30 minutes. 

That’s how you earn more minutes. 

Fox vs. Westbrook 

Fox grew up idolizing Westbrook. After averaging 11 points and 7.7 assists versus against the Thunder last season, the second-year pro went to work in OKC. 

Fox scored 22 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added 10 assists in 42 minutes of action. More importantly, he helped lead the team to its first win on the season.  

Westbrook returned from injury after missing the first two games and put up a typical 32-point, 12-rebound, eight-assist performance.  

Harry and Marv

The rookie bigs will have struggles some nights, and on others, they’ll find ways to help the team win. Against the Thunder, Harry Giles came in and found a way to slow NBA strongman Steven Adams, finishing with eight points, six rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a solid 17 minutes of action. 

Marvin Bagley got his scoring game going late, dropping in 13 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. He was active on the glass and earned some crunch-time minutes. 

The young guys are showing signs of improvement every time they step on the floor.

Russell Westbrook will make his season debut for Thunder against Kings

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AP

Russell Westbrook will make his season debut for Thunder against Kings

Things just got a little more difficult for the Sacramento Kings. After starting the season 0-2, they headed into Sunday without knowing whether former league MVP, Russell Westbrook, would be able play against them or not. As game time approached, the Thunder made the announcement.

Westbrook, 29, sat out Oklahoma City’s first two games after undergoing surgery on his right knee back on Sept. 12. It was the fourth knee surgery for Westbrook since 2013. 

The seven-time All-Star is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he averaged a triple-double. In four games against Sacramento last season, Westbrook posted 18.3 points, 13.2 rebounds and 9.3 assists in 36 minutes per game. 

According to ESPN’s Royce Young, Westbrook has no minute restrictions tonight against the Kings. He’ll start alongside Terrance Ferguson, Paul George, Patrick Patterson and Steven Adams as the Thunder look for their first win of the season.