Kings

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

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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.

Buddy Hield delivers in clutch as Kings stun Pistons: 'I’m blessed'

Buddy Hield delivers in clutch as Kings stun Pistons: 'I’m blessed'

Buddy Hield probably still is running. The team will meet him Monday morning in Brooklyn when the Kings face the Nets as part of the NBA's Martin Luther King Jr. Day festivities.

After drilling a buzzer-beating 3-pointer Saturday night to give the Kings an improbable 103-101 win over the Detroit Pistons, the Bahamian Bomber made a victory lap around Little Caesars Arena and disappeared through the tunnel.

It was as big a shot as it gets. Hield’s heroics saved the Kings from an 0-2 start on their season-long six-game road trip and sent the Pistons away salty.

“I’m so happy for him and our whole crew,” Kings coach Dave Joerger told NBC Sports California via text after the win.

The Kings have become known for their big shots late in games. Willie Cauley-Stein hit a game-winner earlier this season, as did Bogdan Bogdanovic. This was the first one of his NBA career for Hield, who finished with a team-high 35 points on 7-of-9 shooting from behind the arc.

“I’m blessed,” Hield told reporters after the game. “I can say I got one in the NBA at the highest level. It’s fun, man. As a kid, you always dream of hitting one of those types of shots, especially at a high level like this. It’s something I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”

It was the shot that almost wasn’t. Hield bobbled the inbound pass. He even thought of firing the ball to center Willie Cauley-Stein, who was open on the play. But Hield stepped through a group of defenders and found a wide-open look at the basket.

“It slipped, but I was able to regain it, and after that was able to split three guys, and I put it up in the air,” Hield said with a smile. “It’s all she wrote after that. It went in.”

The shooting guard carried the scoring early for Sacramento, with 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting from the field in the first half. He vanished in the third quarter, missing all three of his shots from the field.

Joerger started the fourth quarter with his second unit. With 6:53 remaining in the final frame and his team trailing by 10, the Kings coach turned to Hield and his starters to make one last run.

“We hung in there long enough with our defense to make it close at the end,” Joerger said. “Buddy gets it going.”

The sharpshooter responded with an incredible 15 points down the stretch, hitting 5 of 10 from the field and a perfect 4 for 4 from downtown.

“He was hot,” backcourt mate De’Aaron Fox said. "You saw the ball go in a lot today, and I had no doubt it was going in."

[RELATED: How the Kings actually came out ahead after Cousins trade]

It was a huge win for the Kings. After battling through a three game homestand to hit the road with a three-game win streak, Sacramento fell apart in Charlotte. Another loss would have been tough to take, and it would have dropped the Kings (24-22)  back to .500 on the season.

Instead, they stole some momentum and put a smile on everyone’s face.

Sacramento doesn’t have long to bask in the glow of victory, though. Monday’s game in Brooklyn marks the halfway point of the trip, and the Kings will face a difficult end of a back-to-back Tuesday night against the Raptors in Toronto.

Watch Buddy Hield's one-legged, buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Kings' win

Watch Buddy Hield's one-legged, buzzer-beating 3-pointer in Kings' win

Just 3.4 seconds remained on the clock, and the Kings trailed by one in Detroit.

Buddy Hield received the inbounds pass, then bobbled the ball. He stepped through the Pistons' double team. He shot off one leg for the game-winner.

Yes.

“Buddy. Hield. Oh boy! The Kings come to Motown, and they steal the game,” was the call from play-by-play announcer Grant Napear on Saturday night as Hield sprinted around the court and into the tunnel after sealing Sacramento's 103-101 win.

The Kings are known for their late-game heroics. The young core seems to take turns hitting stunning game-winners. None was bigger than the one in Detroit.

Facing an 0-2 start to their season-long six-game road trip, Hield put the Kings on his back in the fourth quarter, dropping in 15 of his team-high 35 in the final frame.

Hield's shot moved Sacramento to 24-22 on the season and 1-1 on the trip.