Kings finalize Trail Blazers trade to add Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver

Kings finalize Trail Blazers trade to add Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver

The deal is done.

After a 72-hour delay, the Sacramento Kings and Portland Trail Blazers officially have completed a trade to swap Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second-round draft picks.

Due to Gabriel’s signing date, he couldn’t be traded until Jan. 21, which is why the trade was put on ice for a few days.

Gabriel, an undrafted combo forward out of the Sudan via the University of Kentucky, spent last season as a two-way player for the Kings. He played his way onto the roster through hard work over the summer and training camp.

Like Gabriel, Swanigan put in extra time with the team’s training staff during the offseason. He completely reshaped his body during his time with the Kings, losing massive amounts of weight and building muscle.

This pair worked together, along with second-rounder Justin James and big man Harry Giles, playing pickup games after practice. They were instrumental in helping Giles get back on the floor after a rough start to the season.

“They both work extremely hard and they’ve been with me through my process of getting back to where I need to be,” Giles told NBC Sports California. “I got nothing but love for them the whole way and I know they are going to be successful wherever they go.”

Swanigan and Giles were both part of the 2017 NBA Draft class. Giles was selected by the Kings at No. 20- overall, and Swanigan went six selections behind him at No. 26 to the Blazers. But the prep basketball circuit is a much smaller world than you would expect, especially when you are dealing with NBA prospects.

“Those are my boys, I’ve known them from before we got in the league so I have a special relationship with them,” Giles said. “I’m happy for them to get a new opportunity. They’re still in the NBA, so it’s a blessing for them.”

The players joining the Kings both have ties to Sacramento as well. Tolliver played with the Kings during the 2016-17 season, before being waived during the summer of '17. He averaged 7.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 65 games for the Kings in his lone season and shot an impressive 39.1 percent from 3-point range.

Bazemore played with Dewayne Dedmon over the last few seasons in Atlanta before he was traded to Portland during the offseason. In addition, he broke into the league as part of the Golden State Warriors' 2012-13 rookie class that included Festus Ezili, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes.

“Coming into the league, I think Kent really worked hard to establish himself as a good two-way player -- a guy who can knock down shots and defend at a high level,” Harrison Barnes told NBC Sports California.

Undrafted out of Old Dominion, Bazemore bounced back and forth between the Warriors and the D-League during his first two seasons, but he still managed to suit up and play 61 games alongside Barnes in his rookie season.

The two forged a friendship and have stayed in contact over the years despite no longer playing for the same team.

“We spent a lot of time together, developed a great friendship and we still have that,” Barnes said.

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There is no word on how coach Luke Walton will use either Bazemore or Tolliver. Of the two, Bazemore should be able to find a role in the Kings’ wing rotation. He is an energy player that can defend multiple positions and he can eat some of the minutes that Ariza was receiving.

Tolliver is lost in a sea of bigs on the front line, although Sacramento has struggled with injury woes all season long and there always is a chance the 12-year NBA vet will be needed at some point.

Both players are on their way to Detroit to meet up with the Kings. There is a good chance they will be eligible to play Wednesday night when Sacramento faces off with the Pistons.

Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night

Warriors' mistakes doom any chance of win in Damian Lillard's big night

PORTLAND -- In the final minute of Monday's matchup against the Trail Blazers, Warriors guard Alec Burks hit two free throws to put the Warriors up three points and in position for their 11th victory.

But 10 seconds later, Blazers guard Damian Lillard made a 3-pointer  to tie the game. D'Angelo Russell then missed a contested 3-pointer, sending the game into an overtime in which the Warriors were outscored 16-11, prompting another loss for the NBA's worst team. 

For a unit with winning ambitions, they've become especially creative in fading in clutch moments. On a night Lillard needed a career-high and an extra session to beat the battered Warriors, Golden State sees the loss as a game botched by untimely mistakes. 

"It was a game that got away from us," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said following the 124-129 loss. 

Three hours before Kerr's declaration, a win seemed feasible. In the second quarter, the Warriors held the Blazers to just 27 percent from the field, taking a 12-point lead, despite playing with only eight players. As the Warriors succeeded, Alec Burks shined, scoring 33 points with seven rebounds and eight assists. Along the way, mistakes crippled chances to blow the game open. 

When the Warriors went up 44-35 with four minutes left in the half, Damion Lee fouled Lillard behind the 3-point line, prompting three free throws. Fifteen seconds later, Eric Paschall fouled Mario Hezonja, leading to two more free throws. By the end of the second quarter, a 10-point lead was cut to four.  

More troubling was Golden State's late-game execution. After taking a six-point lead in overtime, the Blazers ended the evening on a 14-3 run as Lillard swished in his 61st point with four seconds left. At night's end, the Blazers made 27 free throws, 16 of which came from Lillard, much to Kerr's chagrin. 

"The game was there for the taking," Kerr said. "You could feel it in the first half. That game was right there for us. You've got to be better. Our effort was good but our execution was not." 

Kerr's frustrations are legitimate and derive from a troubling trend. Of the team's last 11 losses, three have come despite the team leading in the fourth quarter. Dating back to last season, the Warriors have lost their last nine overtime games. 

Five days ago, the team lost to the Nuggets in overtime despite entering the fourth quarter with a 12-point lead. Over the final two quarters, Golden State was outscored 61-46. Six days before the loss to Denver, the Warriors were outscored 36-17 in the fourth quarter by the Clippers, losing their seventh straight.

Following his team's latest demise, Kerr passed blame around the locker room. 

"A lot of mistakes down the stretch in the second quarter and again down the stretch -- a lot at the end of the game and regulation and overtime," he said. "And I didn't help the guys much, I could've helped the guys out as well. It was a group effort. They're competing, they're playing together, they're playing hard. It's just frustrating."

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A silver lining in Golden State's troubles can be seen along its sidelines Friday evening. With franchise pillar Steph Curry in a suit and former All-Star Draymond Green on the end of the bench, the listless Warriors nearly pushed Portland to the brink. But, as Kerr and his team know well, success is measured by wins over development. 

"I think we played well," Warriors forward Marquese Chriss said. "There are little things that we can fix that might change the way that the game turned out. All we can do at this point is to learn from it and talk about it and try not to let it happen again." 

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-124 OT road loss to Blazers

Warriors takeaways: What we learned in 129-124 OT road loss to Blazers

BOX SCORE

PORTLAND -- The Warriors and Blazers matchup has provided plenty of memorable moments in the last decade. 

Now, even with both teams out of the playoff picture, they provided another thriller Monday night, with the Blazers (19-26) winning 129-124 in overtime at Moda Center. 

Along the way, Oakland-native Damian Lillard scored career-high 61 points, overcoming a balanced offensive effort from Eric Paschall, Alec Burks and D'Angelo Russell. 

After Lillard hit a 3-pointer to force overtime, the Blazers outscored Golden State 16-11 in the extra session, capped by two free throws from Lillard to seal the loss. In a season defined by injury, Monday's loss provided several lessons for the young core.

Here are the takeaways from a loss that gives the Warriors a 10-35 record:

Burks shines

With Russell struggling early and the Warriors failing to make any 3-pointers in the first quarter, an offensive spark was needed. By the end of the night, Burks provided that, scoring 33 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out eight assists. 

Burks started early, scoring Golden State's first nine points of the contest, becoming the lone bright spot in a quarter the Warriors shot 32.1 percent from the field. Down the stretch, he hit timely shots to combat Lillard's huge night. 

The performance was on brand for Burks, who came into Monday's game averaging 16.4 points over his last eight games. With most of Golden State's reputable scoring options on the bench, Burks will need to continue his current level of play for the team to have a chance. 

Marquese Chriss flies around

For the last week, Chriss has been adjusting to life as a two-way player, skipping most practices to preserve his active days on the roster. On Monday, he showed little sign of rust, scoring 14 points and pulling down six rebounds. 

Chriss was especially good in the second quarter, scoring six points in seven minutes, helping the Warriors take a 12-point lead. As he's shown throughout the season,  Chriss can be a difference-maker, especially as a lob threat. Under his current contract, he can prove to be a long-term difference maker. At his current pace, he's on track to do so. 

What rookie wall?

Recently, Paschall has been hearing questions about the drop from his early-season performance, prompting murmurs that he's hitting a "rookie wall." In the last week, he's momentarily quelled the noise, providing another strong display against the Blazers.

In 42 minutes, he scored 22 points and secured 13 rebounds. Paschall was especially good in the third quarter, scoring 10 points during the stretch, helping the Warriors take a five-point lead into the fourth quarter. 

The performance was indicative of Paschall's recent play. Entering Monday's game, he averaged 17.3 points and 5.7 rebounds over his last three games. If his latest output was any indication, he looks to be right back on track in his rookie season.