Caleb Swanigan

Kings exercise options on Marvin Bagley, De'Aaron Fox, pass on Harry Giles

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AP

Kings exercise options on Marvin Bagley, De'Aaron Fox, pass on Harry Giles

SACRAMENTO -- October 31 is the deadline for teams to make difficult decisions on team options for rookie-scale contracts. Most options are a mere formality, others require plenty of conversation.

The Sacramento Kings announced that the team has exercised fourth-year contract options on De’Aaron Fox and the third-year option on Marvin Bagley, as expected. The Kings passed on Caleb Swanigan’s fourth-year option and in a surprise move, they also declined to pick up Harry Giles’ fourth season.

According to an NBA source, the Kings love Giles and will continue to support his development. This decision also doesn’t preclude Giles from being an important part of their future.

Giles has missed the first five games of the 2019-20 season due to a sore left knee. The 21-year-old big man has undergone three surgeries on his knees, including ACL tears in both knees as a prep athlete.

After redshirting his rookie season, Giles averaged 7.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists over 58 games last season. His year ended with a quad contusion and he missed both summer league and all of training camp due to a sore knee.

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With the Kings passing on Giles’ $4 million option, he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer and has the ability to sign with any team in the NBA. Swanigan, who has played sparingly since coming over in a deadline deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, also fall under the same set of circumstances.

Can Kings extend Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic before deadline?

Can Kings extend Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic before deadline?

With the 2019-20 season just around the corner, the Kings have a series of decisions facing them with regard to some of their young players. Most of the items on the agenda are easy and won’t take long to determine, but there are a few more complex issues to deal with.

The NBA collective bargaining agreement can be confusing, especially when it comes to rookie scale contracts. It’s a standardized process for most first round selections, although shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic’s situation is unique.

Bogdanovic, along with Buddy Hield, is eligible for a contract extension that would kick in before the 2020-21 season. Both are considered major pieces of what the Kings are building and the team would like them to stick around long term.

Sacramento also has decisions to make on option years for De’Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley, Harry Giles and Caleb Swanigan. Each of these players has a team option for at least next season.

The Kings have until Oct. 21 to finalize decisions on all six of these players. Here is a look at where things stand a little over two weeks before decisions have to be finalized.

Rookie Options

Fox ($8.1 million), Bagley ($8.96 million) and Giles ($3.98 million) are all locks to have their options picked up for the 2020-21 season. Fox and Bagley were both top five picks and so far, they have lived up to their draft position.

Giles is a slight risk with his history of knee issues, but the team has invested heavily in the 21-year-old big and they’ll need at least one more season of pressure-free evaluation before making any final decision on where he fits in.

Sacramento acquired Swanigan for Skal Labissiere at the deadline last season. The Kings liked the 6-foot-9 bruiser coming into the 2017 NBA Draft, but he jumped up to the No. 26 pick in the first round.

While Swanigan has done a tremendous amount of work to get himself in shape coming into camp, it’s unlikely that the Kings pick up Swanigan’s $3.7 million option for next season. His 2019-20 roster spot might be up for grabs as well if the team decides to keep a player like Tyler Ulis or Tyler Lydon instead.

Prediction

Fox, Bagley and Giles are safe. Swanigan is on the bubble to make the roster, let alone have his 2020-21 contract picked up. The Kings are likely to decline that option and then decide his fate with the team over the next two weeks.

Extensions

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Bogdanovic is a rookie scale anomaly. The 27-year-old Serb waited a full three years after being selected with the 27th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. That allowed him to sign a contract outside of the constraints of the rookie scale salary slot.

Vlade Divac convinced the European star to join the Kings on a 3-year, $27 million declining value contract. He made $9.5 million in year one, $9 million in year two and the Kings are on the hook for $8.5 million this season.

Like every other first-round pick, Bogdanovic is still a restricted free agent after his third NBA season as long as the Kings extend his $10.7 million qualifying offer ($16.2 million cap hold) if the two sides fail to reach an agreement before the Oct. 21 deadline.

The maximum extension Sacramento can offer Bogdanovic is 4-years, $51.7 million. This figure is based on an estimated NBA average salary of $9.56 million for the 2019-20 season. He is eligible for 120 percent of that figure with eight percent raises each season.

Prediction

Sacramento would love to lock up Bogdanovic long term and the figure above is extremely appealing. With Bogdanovic coming off a big FIBA World Cup, he and his agent may be looking for something more lucrative. The safe move for all parties is to sign the deal, but we predict that Bogdanovic will forgo the security and hit the open market as a restricted free agent next summer.

Buddy Hield

What a difference a year makes. Hield blew up in his third NBA season, averaging a team-best 20.7 points per game. He transformed his game from a three-point specialist to a scoring machine, and that bodes well for his bank account.

Hield is an elite shooter, but he’s still a work in progress with other aspects of his game. He’s shown improvement as a passer and rebounder and he is a perfect fit for the Kings’ uptempo offense. His defense still needs a lot of work.

Unlike the complexities of Bogdanovic’s contract, Hield is eligible for a massive extension up to 25 percent of the team’s salary cap. With the 2020-21 cap expected to come in at $116 million, down $2 million from earlier projections, Hield is eligible for a maximum 4-year deal around $130.7 million or a 5-year, designated player extension, right around $170 million.

Those numbers are the maximum Hield can earn. It’s unlikely the Kings will come close to either of those figures. It’s also unlikely that Hield lands one of the team’s two designated maximum player contracts. Those are likely earmarked for Fox and Bagley.

Prediction

The former No. 6 overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft is living up to his potential and will likely want a huge payday. Sacramento could wait and make sure he can repeat last season’s numbers. They could also let him walk into next summer as a restricted free agent and let the market set his price.

There is a lot of excitement coming into this season and locking Hield into a long term deal would help build on that. If the Kings can get him on a 4-year, $85-95 million contract, the deal gets done.

If Hield’s people start talking max money, Sacramento has to consider the future deals of Fox and Bagley, as well as a potential in-house replacement in Bogdanovic.

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The Kings want Hield to stick around. Hield likes Sacramento. There has to be common ground. If the two sides can quickly find a number that balances a breakout season, long term security and future salary responsibilities, a deal gets done.

If Hield plays hardball, the Kings have no choice but to see if Hield can repeat his big season and then play the restricted free agent game next summer.

Kings open abbreviated 2019-20 training camp with plenty of new faces

Kings open abbreviated 2019-20 training camp with plenty of new faces

The Kings open training camp Saturday morning at their practice facility in the heart of Downtown Sacramento. It’s a new season, and thus the team has high hopes and a slew of new faces.

Friday’s media day kicked off the festivities, but the Kings will hit the ground running in short order. They’ll have an abbreviated three days of training camp before boarding a 20-hour flight to play in a pair of preseason games in India. The Kings will then fly back to the States for a very quick preseason schedule leading up to the regular-season opener on Oct. 23.

Coach Luke Walton will focus on setting a base defense and doing a lot of teaching over the weekend before the Kings break camp. They’ll have plenty of time together to build team chemistry as they fly halfway around the world.

Here is a look at where the team stands entering training camp for the 2019-20 season.

Additions on the court ...

Cory Joseph, Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon, Richaun Holmes, Justin James, Kyle Guy, Tyler Lydon, Tyler Ulis, Eric Mika, Isaiah Pineiro 

Kings general manager Vlade Divac aggressively rebuilt his roster, shelling out big money to Joseph, Ariza, Dedmon and Holmes.

Dedmon is expected to start at center while Joseph, Ariza and Holmes are fighting for rotational spots. The Kings drafted James and Guy in June, and both are expected to play major roles with the Kings’ G League team in Stockton. Lydon signed a two-year, non-guaranteed deal and is fighting for a roster spot along with Ulis, who signed a one-year non-guaranteed contract earlier this week.

Mika and Pineiro signed Exhibit 10 contracts, and the Kings hope to use them in Stockton as well.

... And on the sideline

Sacramento shook things up over the offseason, resetting its coaching staff with only Bobby Jackson remaining from the former group.

Walton enters his first season as the Kings’ head coach. He brought in Igor Kokoskov, Bob Beyers and Jesse Murmuys as his front-row assistants. Roy Rana will act as his chief of staff, while Stacey Augman and Lindsey Harding join Jackson as assistant/player development coaches. Rico Hines will also work as a player development coach, and Will Scott holds the dual title of player development coach and head video coordinator.

Departures

Willie Cauley-Stein, Kosta Koufos, Alec Burks, Corey Brewer, Frank Mason, B.J. Johnson, Troy Williams

Cauley-Stein entered last season wanting to “get paid.” That didn’t happen in Sacramento and he settled for a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Warriors. Burks joined Golden State as well, inking a one-year, $1.6 million contract. K

oufos took his talents to Russia, Mason signed a two-way deal with the Milwaukee Bucks and Brewer, Johnson and Williams are all unsigned at this time.

Battle to Watch

Harry Giles vs. Richaun Holmes

Giles played 58 games for the Kings last season in his rookie year and has a ton of potential. Holmes joined the squad over the summer on a two-year, $10 million deal. They’ll battle it out for who gets to share minutes with Dedmon at center.

Both Giles and Holmes are extremely athletic and play a physical style. Giles is a high-post big with incredible instincts, while Holmes is a force rolling to the basket. It should be a spirited competition.

Player on the Rise

Marvin Bagley posted big numbers in his rookie season and made the NBA’s All-Rookie first team. He’s likely getting a promotion this season from the second team to the starting lineup as the Kings move to capitalize on his tremendous potential.

Player on the Mend

For the first time in a while, the Kings walk into camp completely healthy. They’ll keep a close eye on Bogdan Bogdanovic, Nemanja Bjelica, Cory Joseph and Harrison Barnes, who all spent time with their respective countries at the FIBA World Cup earlier this month.

Which way to the gym?

The Kings players all appeared to be in great shape walking into camp.

Caleb Swanigan, who has battled weight issues in the past, looked extremely trim. Two-way player Wenyen Gabriel bulked up his upper body, weighing in at 220, which is 12 pounds heavier than his playing weight last season. Even De’Aaron Fox managed to add weight, coming into camp at a rock solid 186 pounds.

Sacramento is going to push the tempo, which will melt some of these pounds away, but it’s good for the players to come into camp in good shape and then try to maintain it.  

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Hungry for a Chance

Sacramento has a collection of young players who enter camp with hopes of making the final cut. Of the group, Gabriel is the one who might have the best shot of standing out. The Kings are heavy at the forward position, which might force the 22-year-old to spend another season in Stockton, but there is a buzz around the former Kentucky Wildcat.