Kings

Team USA 'understands' why Kings' De'Aaron Fox opted out of World Cup

Team USA 'understands' why Kings' De'Aaron Fox opted out of World Cup

It appears USA Basketball isn’t holding grudges against every player who withdrew from the program's roster prior to the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

On ESPN’s “The Jump” last week, analyst Amin Elhassan suggested that De’Aaron Fox would not be welcomed back to the program for future competitions, adding that he wasn’t sure what the Kings guard was “saving himself for.”

USA Basketball communications director Craig Miller took exception to the notion, telling The Sacramento Bee on Saturday that the program “understands De’Aaron’s decision” to withdraw. 

“Given De’Aaron was added into consideration for the World Cup team after originally being part of the USA Select Team in Las Vegas, USA Basketball understands De’Aaron’s decision,” Miller said.

Fox and Kings teammate Marvin Bagley originally were members of the USA Select Team, which was scheduled to practice against the national team as it prepared for the World Cup.

The duo was called up to the national team roster following a litany of player withdrawals, but ultimately, the Kings duo decided to withdraw from consideration to focus on preparation for the 2019-20 NBA season.

Skipping the event made sense for Sacramento’s players, as the team will play two preseason games in Mumbai, India, adding a significant amount of travel to what's already a grueling schedule for West Coast NBA teams. 

Harrison Barnes ended up being the only King who competed for the U.S. team in China, as the 27-year-old scored just under 12 points per game in 26.5 minutes through eight contests.

[RELATED: Team USA's cloak of invincibility has all but vanished on world stage]

Managing Director Jerry Colangelo voiced his frustration with the team's seventh-place finish this past week, and said he would remember all those who decided to withdraw.

Still, look for both Fox and Bagley to be in the mix for spots on the 2020 Tokyo Olympics roster.

Kings waive Tyler Ulis, Hollis Thompson, roster down to league max of 15

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AP

Kings waive Tyler Ulis, Hollis Thompson, roster down to league max of 15

SACRAMENTO -- The Sunday bloodletting is over and the Sacramento Kings’ roster is now set at 15, along with a pair of two-way players.

According to the team, both Tyler Ulis and Hollis Thompson have been waived, bring the team’s roster down to the league maximum before the Oct. 21 2 pm PST deadline.

After a promising start to his career with the Phoenix Suns, Ulis has struggled with hip injuries last season and then spent most of training camp on the sidelines with a groin injury.

The Kings are hoping he can get his career back on the right track and barring a waiver claim, they expect the 23-year-old point guard to join the team’s G League affiliate in Stockton.

The former Kentucky product has averaged 7.5 points, 4.0 assists, 0.9 steals and 20.9 minutes per game in 133 career games over three seasons with the Suns and Bulls.

Thompson was a late add to the roster. He played for the Kings during the California Classic and like Ulis he is likely headed to the Stockton Kings for the upcoming season.

The 28-year-old forward has seen action in 265 NBA games over his career, posting 7.7 points and 3.1 rebounds in over 6400 minutes of action. His G League rights were acquired by the Stockton Kings for a first round selection over during the summer.

A surprise addition to the roster is Tyler Lydon. The 6-foot-10 forward has played in just 25 NBA games since being selected with the 24th 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.

The former Syracuse Orangeman spent time in the G League in each of the last two seasons and is likely headed to Stockton to play for the Kings’ affiliate once he’s healthy.

General manager Vlade Divac has until Monday to finalize the roster, but here is how it looks as of Sunday afternoon.

Unofficial 2019-20 Sacramento Kings roster:

De'Aaron Fox

Cory Joseph

Yogi Ferrell

Buddy Hield

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Justin James

Harrison Barnes

Trevor Ariza

Marvin Bagley

Nemanja Bjelica

Tyler Lydon

Dewayne Dedmon

Richaun Holmes

Harry Giles

Caleb Swanigan

Two-Way Players

Wenyen Gabriel

Kyle Guy

How Buddy Hield-Kings situation is impacted by Pascal Siakam contract

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USATSI

How Buddy Hield-Kings situation is impacted by Pascal Siakam contract

The Toronto Raptors made a huge commitment to power forward Pascal Siakam on Saturday morning, locking up the 25-year-old big on a four-year, $130 million max money contract. 

Taken with the No. 27 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Siakam is just the fourth first-round pick from the 2016 class to garner an extension.

That’s a lot of money for a player who worked his way through the G League to become an NBA champion, although it’s well deserved. Siakam was an integral part of the Raptors squad, and with Kawhi Leonard bolting for the Clippers in free agency, he is now the centerpiece of Toronto’s title defense.

The Raptors have their man, but what does this mean for Buddy Hield, another 2016 alum, and the Sacramento Kings team he has been playing hardball with over the last two weeks?

Hield has made it his mission to get an extension before the clock strikes 2 p.m. PT on Oct. 21. He wants a four-year, $110 million contract, which he has been aggressive in trying to obtain. He has even taken a step or two out of bounds while trying to plead his case.

When Siakam’s deal was announced, Hield’s camp likely gave a silent fist pump. Another of Hield’s class got paid handsomely for his skills as a basketball player. But when the dust settles, Toronto’s decision might not be in Hield’s favor.

Sure, Siakam got a truckload of cash. That is what Hield is looking for, which he made sure general manager Vlade Divac understood Saturday afternoon at the team’s Fan Fest.

But the reality of Hield’s situation might begin to sink in very soon. Sacramento holds all the cards with regards to the restricted free agent. The Kings are setting their price now, and next summer might not hold any relief for Hield and his negotiating team.

With Toronto paying out Siakam, there are now just four teams with $20 million or more to offer next summer. That number could adjust slightly at the trade deadline, but it could also shrink, especially if the situation in China becomes more of an issue for the NBA.

If Hield is looking at the group of teams with money, Memphis, Atlanta, Charlotte and Cleveland are it. If that is what he wants, he’s taking a substantial step back when it comes to the win column, and that is if one of those teams deems him worthy of a long-term contract offer.

Maybe money is more important than wins, but that is not what the Bahamian-born shooter has spent the last two seasons promoting.

If he decides to hit the free-agent market, he’ll do so with the understanding that the Kings can (and in all likelihood will) match any offer. They’ll also likely get a discount, because any offer comes with a 5 percent raise, instead of the 8 percent that Sacramento can offer. 

Divac is willing to sit down at the table, but he’s playing with a royal flush, and he knows it. He would prefer an amicable conclusion to what has become a debacle. He would prefer to finish this saga by hugging Hield and welcoming him back into the fray with no hurt feelings.

Hield has an out. He can just play out this season and the 2020-21 campaign as well under a $6.5 million qualifying offer. He would then become an unrestricted free agent and the Kings would no longer have a hold over him, outside of his Larry Bird rights.

Hield would also give up anywhere from $16 to 21 million in salary during the 2020-21 season and enter free agency as a 28-, going on 29-year-old free agent. The chance of him recouping his lost wages would be minimal at best, but he could write his own ticket.

[RELATED: Lillard not a fan of Hield's negotiating tactics]

Siakam is a feel-good story. Hield could be as well. Like Siakam, he has made himself into a bonafide player in the NBA by working hard and finding his niche. But finding common ground with the Kings, instead of practicing a scorched-earth policy, might be his path to salvation.

In a Kings season focused on snapping a 13-year playoff drought, Hield’s situation is quickly becoming an unwanted distraction. There is still a chance for an amicable resolution. There is also a chance that he is creating a toxic situation. 

The two sides have a little over 24 hours to work things out. If not, this could drag on into the season and potentially beyond. There is common ground somewhere, and someone needs to find it quickly.