Kings

Why Larry Bird hopes Kings end 13-year playoff drought this season

Why Larry Bird hopes Kings end 13-year playoff drought this season

MUMBAI, India -- The Kings believe they have the team that can end their 13-year playoff drought.

So does Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

The Celtics legend attended the 2019 NBA India Games, and he discussed the high-flying Kings with NBC Sports California before their game against the Pacers.

"I don't follow them that much, but I do know they do have a lot of great outside shooters that can score the ball, they've got an excellent backcourt, they've got a pretty strong bench," Bird said. "I know they haven't made the playoffs in a while, and obviously they'll be fighting for the seventh or eighth seed because they are talented and they are young.

"Things don't happen overnight. They've come a long way, and they are getting better. I hope they make it because they are fun to watch."

After finishing with a 39-43 record last season, the Kings hope to take the next step in 2019-20. Sacramento re-signed Harrison Barnes, and added free agents Dewayne Dedmon, Trevor Ariza and Cory Joseph.

[RELATED: Kings, Pacers give Mumbai a night it won't forget]

But the Western Conference is as deep as it has ever been, so it won't be easy for the Kings to end their drought. But they certainly have the talent to do it.,

Kings' Marvin Bagley cleared for contact, getting closer to return

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USATI

Kings' Marvin Bagley cleared for contact, getting closer to return

The Sacramento Kings finally got some good news on the injury front. According to an official press release from the team.

Marvin Bagley has been cleared to resume full-contact basketball activities on Thursday after missing the last 19 games with a broken right thumb.

Bagley stayed back in Sacramento to have his hand re-evaluated, but according to a league source, the 20-year-old power forward is on his way to San Antonio to rejoin the team. While he is medically cleared, that doesn’t mean he will suit up when the Kings face the Spurs on Friday evening.

The No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft has continued to work on his game during his absence, but he has yet to go through a full-contact practice with the team and the early word is that he is doubtful to play against San Antonio.

Bagley posted solid numbers in his rookie season, finishing the year averaging 14.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and a block in 25.3 minutes per game. He missed a combined 20 games last season while dealing with two separate knee injuries.

With Bagley out, Nemanja Bjelica has stepped into the starting lineup and played well for Sacramento. The Serbian forward is averaging 10.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 26.3 minutes per game alongside starting center Richaun Holmes.

Head coach Luke Walton will have to make some adjustments to fit another big back into the rotation, but Bagley is low post threat and one of the better rebounders on the team. He also has fresh legs after sitting out the last six-plus weeks.

[RELATED: Woman who accused Walton of sexual assault drops lawsuit]

There is no early word on Bogdan Bogdanovic, who missed Sacramento’s loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday evening due to a right knee contusion, although the Kings’ super-sub was confident he would play and told NBC Sports California that his left hamstring is feeling much better.

Starting point guard De’Aaron Fox stayed back in Sacramento to rehab his injured left. The 21-year-old injured himself at the end of practice on Nov. 11. He has missed the last 11 games for the Kings and will be re-evaluated in two-to-three weeks.

Report: Woman who accused Luke Walton of sexual assault drops lawsuit

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USATSI

Report: Woman who accused Luke Walton of sexual assault drops lawsuit

Kelli Tennant, the woman who accused Luke Walton of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2014, is dropping her lawsuit against the Kings coach, TMZ Sports reported Thursday morning.

Tennant sued Walton after claiming he forced himself on her in a Santa Monica, Calif., hotel when she was a sports reporter. Walton was a Warriors assistant coach at the time.

TMZ reported that Tennant now has filed new court documents calling off the suit, asking a judge to dismiss with prejudice, which means she can't refile.

TMZ reached out to Tennant's attorney for comment but did not receive a response.

Walton, for his part, is ready to move on.

“I remain 100 percent focused on coaching the Kings and will have no further comment," Walton said when asked about the dismissal. 

In August, the Kings and the NBA concluded their joint investigation into Tennant's allegations. The investigation found insufficient evidence to support the claims against Walton. 

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

"Based on this and the available evidence, the investigators determined that there was not a sufficient basis to support the allegations made against Coach Walton," a statement by the Kings and NBA read.