Kings

Why Kings should hold on to Bogdan Bogdanovic past NBA trade deadline

Why Kings should hold on to Bogdan Bogdanovic past NBA trade deadline

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA trade deadline is looming, and all but a few Kings are going to hear their names floated around the league.

De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley are untouchable, according to a league source. After that it gets a little murky.

One of the names that will continue to come up leading to the Feb. 6 deadline is Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Kings’ newly-promoted starting shooting guard. Bogdanovic, 27, is a player who can fit on any team, and his restricted free-agent status this summer makes him a short-term addition with long-term potential for any suitor.

Why would the Kings contemplate dealing their most versatile player?

It’s complicated.

Big-money extensions to Harrison Barnes (four years, $84 million) and Buddy Hield (four years, $86 million) are only the beginning. Fox will need an extension this summer, and Bagley is eligible the year after.

This money is already budgeted, but it was based on the Kings being a team on the rise, rather than the 18-31 team they are this season. Can Sacramento keep spending on a core that might not develop into a playoff contender?

Technically, the Kings can keep all five players, but it won’t be easy. Bogdanovic has a free-standing extension offer of four years, $51.7 million. But with a weak free-agent class, he likely is to get more than that on the open market.

Sacramento can match any deal this summer, but no one really knows what type of offer sheet Bogdanovic will receive. The Kings, according to a league source, understand that Bogdanovic might cost $15 million to 18 million a season, and Sacramento is willing to match a deal in that range and perhaps even a little higher.

If ever there was a player worthy of making a case for keeping, it’s Bogdanovic. The Kings are 3-2 since inserting him into the starting lineup five games ago. They are just 2-9 in games that he has missed this season.

He can play off the ball, work as a primary ball-handler, create for himself and others and score at all three levels. While he isn’t an outstanding individual defender, he is a solid team defender with an incredibly high basketball IQ.

The biggest argument that could be made for Bogdanovic is that all 29 other teams in the league would gladly take him. They would play him major minutes and move him all over the court.

The Kings aren’t in a position to overpay everyone who needs a raise. They also aren’t at a place where they can allow talent to walk out the door, especially if the player doesn’t bring back equal value.

There will come a point when the Kings have to make difficult decisions with their roster, but this isn’t that moment.

They can reset the roster in plenty of different ways this summer if the team needs financial breathing room. They can reevaluate the entire roster and make adjustments, potentially even shopping Hield or Barnes if they have to.

If they can’t deal center Dewayne Dedmon in the coming days, they can try to attach second-round picks to his contract this summer when he is entering the last year of his deal. They can even waive his $13.3 million contract and clear up nearly $9 million in cap space this summer via the league’s stretch provision.

This is a lost season for the Kings, but that doesn’t mean that it’s time to panic. Sometimes the best move is just to accept your fate and wait until the summer to work everything out.

Sacramento will have a lottery pick to work with and four second-round selections in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Kings also will have more flexibility when it comes to other contracts on the roster, and they can make the tough decisions then.

[RELATED: Kobe's death still with Kings, who can't escape the pain]

The Kings aren’t going to find a replacement for Bogdanovic in the draft and they aren’t going to find a better player willing to ink a deal in free agency, even if they had available cap space.

Barring an incredible offer that instantly improves the Kings’ roster today and moving forward, holding onto Bogdanovic and waiting for more clarity this summer is the move that makes the most sense. That might not be what the team does, but sometimes stepping back and gaining some much-needed perspective can make all the difference.

Five things to watch from Kings’ emotional comeback over Timberwolves

Five things to watch from Kings’ emotional comeback over Timberwolves

Programming note: Watch the re-air of the Kings’ victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves from Jan. 27, 2020 this afternoon at 3 p.m. on NBC Sports California.

To pass the time while the NBA figures out it’s next moves, NBC Sports California is bringing fans some of the best games from the last few seasons.

In our ninth installment, we go back to earlier this season when the Kings fell behind huge and pulled off an improbable comeback on the road against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This was an emotional night for both teams. NBA legend Kobe Bryant had passed away the day before. The Timberwolves opened the game with an eight-second violation and the Kings gave it back on a 24-second shot clock violation to pay tribute to Bryant.

While we know the final outcome, sometimes the details are forgotten. Here are five things to watch from the Kings’ 133-127 overtime win over the Timberwolves at the Target Center.

The Decision

99 times out of 100, an NBA head coach pulls his starters when they are down 22 points with six minutes remaining in the fourth. That is not what coach Luke Walton did.

Showing some faith in his team, Walton left his starters in the game and they responded with a 33-11 run over the final 5:42 of the fourth to force overtime.

With momentum on their side, the Kings put the T-Wolves away in the extra five minutes to come away with one of the most stunning recoveries in team history. Sometimes you just have to play out the entire 48 minutes and show respect to the basketball gods.

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Buddy goes big

Buddy Hield can fill it up, but against the T-Wolves, he was on a different level.

In 38 minutes off the bench, Hield posted a career-high 42 points on 14-of-24 from the field and 9-for-14 from behind the arc.

With the Kings trailing big in the fourth, it was Hield who caught fire, scoring 20 points on a perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field in the final 10:30 of the game.

With his teammates feeding him the ball at every opportunity, Buddy Buckets put on a show. A lifelong fan of Bryant, Hield had a little extra motivation in this game as well.


Fox misses ... and then doesn’t

It looked like the game was over in the third quarter and the Kings were barely breathing late in the fourth. The team got hot, played defense and had a little luck on their side to help claw back into the game, but they still needed a special play to get over the hump.

With three seconds remaining on the clock, De’Aaron Fox was fouled and sent to the line with his team trailing by three points. The Kings’ starting point guard nailed the first free throw and before the Timberwolves knew what hit them, he threw the ball off the front of the rim, caught it on the way up and scored a layup to tie the game.

Fox finished the game with 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. He closed out the game with six points in the overtime session to give the Kings the shocking comeback win.

Revenge game

Nemanja Bjelica spent his first three seasons in the NBA playing in Minnesota. He had all but given up on the league after that experience before the Kings talked him into signing a three-year deal.

In the overtime victory, the Kings power forward did a lot of everything. Bjelica knocked down 4-of-6 from long range on his way to 20 points. He added eight assists, nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 41 minutes of inspired basketball.

When Bjelica is on, the Kings are a different team.

[RELATED: Former Kings arena turned into coronavirus surge hospital]

Laws of averages

The Timberwolves aren't a great 3-point shooting team, but they were on in this game. The 'Wolves shot an incredible 23-of-46 from 3-point range and that almost carried them to victory.

Andrew Wiggins knocked down seven triples and Robert Covington added six of his own.

Unfortunately for the T-Wolves, they went cold when it mattered, hitting just 2-of-6 from behind the arc in the fourth quarter and 1-of-7 during the overtime session. As quickly as they shot themselves out to a huge lead, the Timberwolves shot themselves right out of the game.

Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes lose early in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Kevin Durant, Harrison Barnes lose early in NBA 2K Players Tournament

Kevin Durant and Harrison Barnes are skilled on the court, but they need some work with the sticks.

Both NBA stars were knocked out in the first round of the NBA 2K Players Tournament on Friday.

Durant, the No. 1 overall seed in the 16-player tournament, was knocked out by Miami Heat high-riser Derrick Jones Jr. in the first matchup of the night.

Playing as the Los Angeles Clippers, Durant lost 78-62 to Jones, who was controlling the Milwaukee Bucks.

Durant did have a couple of noteworthy moments, though.

As for Barnes, he served as the No. 15 seed and took on No. 2 seed Trae Young. This matchup was never really close.

Barnes played as the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors, while Young controlled the Bucks.

The Hawks star went on to win 101-59. After falling behind 10-0 early, Barnes cut the deficit to 13-11. But Young went on a 12-0 run, turning the game into a blowout.

During the game, both players were connected via headsets and exchanged banter while also asking each other questions.

While Young left Atlanta and went to his hometown of Norman, Okla., Barnes revealed that he decided to remain in Sacramento during the global coronavirus pandemic.

"I'm optimistic, man, that we're going to get in a few more games, so I'm staying close," Barnes said.

Young is close friends with Kings point guard De'Aaron Fox, and he asked Barnes what it's like playing with the former No. 5 overall pick.

"He's the best. Great dude, great point guard," Barnes said. "Unfortunately he got hurt early on, so it put us in a tough situation. If he had been healthy all year, I think we would have had a better year than we had."

[RELATED: Former Kings arena converted to hospital]

With the NBA on hiatus due to the pandemic, Durant and Barnes will have plenty of time at home to work on their 2K skills.