Kings

Why the time is ripe for Kings to take a major swing in free agency

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AP

Why the time is ripe for Kings to take a major swing in free agency

Get the bat off your shoulder and take a swing. 

Hours before the 2018 NBA free agency period is set to begin, the Sacramento Kings have a major dilemma. Should they open up the coffers and chase one of the handful of attractive players hitting the market? Or, should they stand pat and wait for next season when they (and the rest of the league) will have even more money to spend?

It’s not an easy decision. Most of the players in this year’s free agent class fall into one of two categories - star-level players or restricted free agents. There are a few unrestricted players that fall below star level, but not many.

Sacramento has never been a hotbed for stars looking for a landing spot, so you can pretty much cross off LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and even DeMarcus Cousins off that list. 

What is left? 

There are some nice young players that fit the Kings’ team trajectory, but most of them are restricted. Sacramento would likely have to overpay one of these players in order to steal them away from their current team and even that might not work.

The team currently lacks a starting-level small forward and they could also use a combo forward to help out as a stretch four. There are players out there that can fill these needs. 

Jabari Parker is an injury risk, but he can play both the three and the four. Zach LaVine is coming off an injury as well and would require the team to shift Bogdan Bogdanovic back to the small forward position. 

At 6-foot-8, Rodney Hood is a player that makes sense at the wing. Aaron Gordon is more of a four and he would take a max deal, but his talent is undeniable.

All four of these players are restricted free agents. They are also talent upgrades and fit the team’s age arc. 

They won’t come cheap. They might not want to come to Sacramento at all. But at some point, the objective has to be about winning more games. 

The Kings continue to gush over their bevy of cap space for the summer of 2019. As of today, they project to have $65-70 million in room. If they ink a player to a long-term deal this summer, that dollar figure would drop.

Vlade Divac and his group might not love the free-agent class, but in the NBA, talent wins. The perfect player might not be available. The perfect player may never be available. But that doesn’t mean the Kings shouldn’t participate in the madness. 

If Sacramento plays its cards right, there is no reason to think they can’t improve the talent on their roster. In the end, that should be the objective for any team, especially one that has missed the playoffs 12 straight seasons and doesn’t have a draft pick in 2019.

There isn’t some magical player coming up in the 2019 free agent class that can fix everything and make the Kings a contender. No, Klay Thompson isn’t walking away from the Warriors to make more money in Sacramento and even he can’t fix the hole at the wing.

So what are the Kings waiting for? Cap flexibility only matters if you have the power to make a move when the right opportunity arises. 

This is that moment. Sacramento is one of a very small group of teams with meaningful cap space. They also have the ability to stretch provision one or two of their veterans on one-year deals, deferring money for a time when they have even more cap space.

They should be prudent in their spending, but this is a moment to take advantage of a league-wide cash flow issue and jump at the opportunity to potentially accelerate their decade long rebuild.

There is no reason not to take a major swing if you are Sacramento. The lack of competition on the market is unheard of. And even if they land a major piece, they still have plenty of cap space next season. 

Improve the club. Make yourself a more desirable location by adding talent and showing future free agents that you are committed to spending if it helps create a winning culture.

Kings lead nonpartisan voter registration drive

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AP

Kings lead nonpartisan voter registration drive

SACRAMENTO -- Bigger than basketball. It’s a mantra that has played out many times in Sacramento and the Kings are dusting off the message again for National Voter Registration Day with their “Rally the Vote” push.   

The Kings are one of nine professional franchises teaming up for a nonpartisan coalition urging their fans to register to vote before the November primaries.

Joining the Kings in the effort are the Chicago Bulls, Chicago White Sox, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks, Oakland Athletics, San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Giants. 

As of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 87.9 million Americans eligible to vote who are not registered. Through teams mobile apps, websites and social media channels, a platform for fans has been created to register fans to vote. 

“If we can make buying a ticket to a sporting event accessible in a few clicks, there is no reason why registering to vote shouldn’t be the same,” Vivek Ranadivé, Owner and Chairman of the Sacramento Kings said via a prepared statement. “Voting is one of the most important things we do as Americans and is central to our democracy, yet tens of millions of people are not registered to vote. Sports teams have a responsibility to enact positive change in their communities, and I’m proud to see so many of us coming together to help fans register to vote so that they can have a voice in elections.”

The group of franchises have partnered with Democracy Works, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses technology to make voting easier. 

Marvin Bagley III has filmed a PSA for the registration drive which will air in the arena during the Kings’ preseason matchups against Maccabi Haifa on Oct. 8 and the Utah Jazz on Oct. 11 and again during the season opener against the Utah Jazz on Oct. 17.

The deadline to register in the upcoming election in California is Oct. 22. To register to vote through Rally the Vote, visit RallyTheVote.TurboVote.org.

Source: Kings would help facilitate Jimmy Butler trade if it benefits them

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USATSI

Source: Kings would help facilitate Jimmy Butler trade if it benefits them

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA rumor mill is in full force. Jimmy Butler and the Minnesota Timberwolves are having a messy breakup, and it’s only going to get worse from here. 

According to an NBA source, the Kings are listening and even willing to participate in a large-scale trade involving the Timberwolves and others, but only if it benefits the team both in the short term and down the road. 

The Kings currently sit $11 million under the NBA’s salary cap. In addition to pure cap space, veterans Zach Randolph ($11.7 million), Iman Shumpert ($11 million), Kosta Koufos ($8.7 million) and Ben McLemore ($5.4 million) all have expiring contracts that could be used to acquire young players or future picks.

Sacramento has been reluctant to add major contracts beyond this season. The team has an estimated $60 million in cap room next summer and hopes to jump into the free agent market with both feet. But the time to strike might come earlier if the right package of players and assets come available. 

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Kings were dragged into the conversation when ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski added his latest update to the Butler saga, writing: "To facilitate a Butler trade, the sort of broader deal necessary to meet the financial needs of Minnesota and Butler's future team, circumstances will necessitate bringing the Sacramento Kings into the process.”

Wojnarowski went on to add that the Kings are the only team with real cap space to work with, and they have a bevy of expiring contracts as well. 

“Assistant GM Brandon Williams has informed teams that the Kings aren't opposed to parking contracts that extend into the 2019-20 season, including (Gorgui) Dieng,” Wojnarowski wrote. “Whatever happens with the Butler deal, the Kings are determined to use that $11 million in cap space and their expiring contracts to gather more assets for the future.”

This is a good place to be if you're the Kings. It’s also a position they have worked hard to create. The February trade of George Hill opened room for this season, and their preference for short-term contracts with an eye toward the summer of 2019 has them sitting pretty. 

Whether they would look at a deal that includes a player such as Dieng, who is owed $48 million over the next three seasons, is unknown at this time, but they already have a crowded frontcourt and have looked to avoid contracts like this in the past. 

The Kings are open for business, but they also know the Butler talks won’t be their only opportunity this season to get involved and that they are the only real option for a deal involving a third team with cap space. 

Stay tuned. It will be an interesting couple of days as the Timberwolves look to deal one of the best two-way players in the game.