Kings Rumors

Kings Notes: Bagley, Fox, Harding, D. Jones

The Kings‘ decision to let Marvin Bagley III stay away from the team while he recovered from a broken bone in his left hand raises questions about his future with the organization, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic. Bagley, who hasn’t played since March 15 when he suffered a fracture of his fourth metacarpal, rejoined his teammates Thursday on their road trip.

Jones states that letting Bagley be on his own for so long with an injury that wasn’t season ending appears to be “more of the coddling and enabling of players” that the Kings have gotten a reputation for. Team officials stayed in touch with Bagley during his absence, but Jones suggests he could have benefited from taking part in game preparation and other day-to-day activities.

Bagley still has a splint on his hand and is not close to returning to action, according to coach Luke Walton (Twitter link). When he does return, his performance over the remainder of the season may help the Kings determine his future. Bagley will be eligible for a rookie scale extension this summer, but he has only played 50 combined games over the past two seasons. League sources tell Jones that Sacramento made Bagley available before this year’s trade deadline, but the front office didn’t receive any offers it liked.

There’s more on the Kings:

  • De’Aaron Fox has been the one constant on a Sacramento team that has posted a five-game winning streak and a pair of nine-game losing streaks this season, notes Spencer Davies of Basketball News. Fox is carrying the Kings’ offense every night and averaging a career best 25.2 PPG. “Just from the hours that he puts in and watching him this summer, (we knew) that something different was about to happen — we saw how locked in he was,” teammate Richaun Holmes said. “It’s honestly been amazing to watch. … He’s so vocal on and off the floor, and just his mindset is to attack.”
  • Lindsey Harding, who is in her second season as an assistant with the Kings, has been named head coach of the South Sudan Federation women’s team, Jones tweets.
  • In case you missed it, the Kings have signed Damian Jones to a second 10-day contract. His first one expired Friday night. With Holmes injured, Jones has been the team’s starting center in the past two games.

Kings Sign Damian Jones To Second 10-Day Deal

APRIL 17: The Kings have made it official, announcing Jones’ second 10-day deal in a press release.

APRIL 16: The Kings are signing center Damian Jones to a second 10-day contract, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Jones’ first 10-day contract with Sacramento is set to expire on Friday night.

Jones began the season with the Suns before being waived in February, then signed a pair of 10-day deals with the Lakers. He played 14 games with Phoenix and eight with L.A., averaging a combined 3.0 PPG and 2.0 RPG. Since his arrival in Sacramento, Jones has started three games and averaged 2.3 PPG and 2.3 RPG in 13.3 MPG.

Sacramento will have another decision to make on Jones later this month, since teams can only sign players to two 10 days in a season.

The Kings’ usual starting center, Richaun Holmes, is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury.

Injury Notes: Holmes, Bagley, Butler, Augustin, Hayward, SGA

Kings center Richaun Holmes will miss at least three games with a strained right hamstring, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. After suffering the injury in Monday’s game, Holmes underwent an MRI that revealed the extent of the damage.

He will be held out of tonight’s game against the Wizards and won’t accompany the team on a two-game road trip to face the Suns and Mavericks. Holmes is averaging 14.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game this season.

“We’ll see how he’s doing as we get back into town,” coach Luke Walton said. “Clearly, we’ll miss him. He’s had an incredible year for us so far and he’s a big part of what we’re trying to do.”

There are more injury updates from around the league:

  • The Kings got good news about Marvin Bagley III, who will rejoin the team Thursday in Phoenix, according to Jason Jones of The Athletic (Twitter link). Bagley has been away from his teammates while rehabbing a fracture in his left hand, and there were plans for him to return to the club when he was close to being able to play again.
  • Heat forward Jimmy Butler had an injury scare involving his ankle in Tuesday’s game, but he will be in the starting lineup tonight in Denver, tweets Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. “There’s no doubt about it, that Jimmy will always want to go,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But we evaluated him today and he passed all the tests with the trainers and that allowed him to where we all feel comfortable, him going tonight.”
  • Rockets guard D.J. Augustin had an MRI today on his sprained left ankle, tweets Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston. Coach Stephen Silas said Augustin is using crutches and a walking boot and has been ruled out at least through Monday. Danuel House, who hasn’t played since April 4 due to a sprained ankle, and Eric Gordon, who has been sidelined since March 11 with a groin strain, are also both expected to miss another week or so.
  • Hornets forward Gordon Hayward still has a protective boot on his strained right foot, according to Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer (Twitter link). He is expected to be re-evaluated early next month.
  • Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was projected to be out through at least mid-April with plantar fasciitis, but his condition hasn’t been re-evaluated yet, coach Mark Daigneault told Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link).

Haliburton Irked By Losing Streak

  • Kings rookie shooting guard Tyrese Haliburton acknowledged his frustration over his team’s current seven-game losing streak, according to James Ham of NBC Sports California“We know we’re better than this, we’ve proven we’re better than this throughout the year,” Haliburton said. “But obviously, consistency has plagued us our whole season.” With a 22-32 record, the Kings are currently four games behind the tenth-seeded Warriors for a chance at a play-in tournament berth.

Kings Notes: Haliburton, Fox, Golden 1 Center

After coming off the bench in 31 of his first 33 games this season, rookie guard Tyrese Haliburton was moved into the Kings‘ starting lineup on March 17 and remained there for the team’s next 12 games. However, he has once again been a reserve for the last two, with head coach Luke Walton explaining that he likes having Haliburton lead the second unit. The 21-year-old is taking that decision in stride, as he tells Sam Amick of The Athletic.

“I’m not tripping off that,” Haliburton said. “At the end of the day, I’m a basketball player. I’m not just saying this because it’s a media answer. Like, Buddy (Hield) yelled at me yesterday because I told him this and he was like, ‘Oh, don’t give me the media answer.’ But it’s the truth. I’m a basketball player at the end of the day, so I’m coming out here to compete every night. If you put me off the bench or start me or however many minutes, I’m going to value those minutes and compete.”

Haliburton spoke to Amick about a handful of other topics, including how he ended up falling to No. 12 in last November’s draft. The rookie guard said he thought briefly that he’d be picked by the Wizards at No. 9, but they opted for Deni Avdija instead.

Addressing a rumor that he had a hand in orchestrating his draft-day slide because he was focused on playing for the Kings, Haliburton acknowledged that he liked the idea of playing in Sacramento and that he didn’t see a fit with the Hawks, who had the sixth pick. However, he dismissed the idea that he discouraged the top 11 teams from selecting him.

“There’s all these stupid rumors going around that I told everybody not to pick me because I wanted to go to Sac at 12. Like, come on now, are you crazy? I would never,” Haliburton said. “These teams just didn’t pick me, you know? It is what it is.”

Here’s more on the Kings:

  • De’Aaron Fox has been hit by the NBA with a $20K fine for his public criticism of the officiating, the league announced in a press release. Fox’s comments came after Sacramento’s 128-112 loss to Utah on Saturday, as Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee details.
  • The Kings will welcome fans back to the Golden 1 Center for the first time this season beginning on April 20, per a team release. Approximately 1,600 frontline workers will attend that first game — subsequent games will be open to more fans, with the capacity gradually increasing.
  • Sacramento is one of many teams around the NBA with a player currently on a 10-day contract. Damian Jones will be eligible to sign a second 10-day deal with the Kings when his current contract expires on Friday night. If one side or the other wants to end the relationship, Sacramento will open up a spot on its 15-man roster.

Damian Jones Notes Similarities Between Kings, Warriors Plays

  • New Kings center Damian Jones, inked to a 10-day deal with the team, has observed similarities between Sacramento’s plays and those of his former team in Golden State, tweets Jason Jones of The Athletic. Kings head coach Luke Walton was an assistant coach on the Warriors bench before departing for his first head coaching opportunity with the Lakers.

Luke Walton: “No Interest” In Coaching At Arizona

Kings head coach Luke Walton isn’t interested in taking over at Arizona, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Two decades ago, Walton was a star player for the Wildcats, who created a vacancy by firing Sean Miller today.

“No, no interest,” Walton said. “I love Arizona. I think Sean Miller did an amazing job there in his time, but I have a job. I have a job that I love. I have a group I love working with, so I’m very committed to being here in Sacramento and keeping this going in the direction that we want it to go and getting this team back into the playoffs.”

Walton is in his second season running the Kings and still has two years and $11.5MM left on his contract. There was speculation about his future after Sacramento got off to a slow start, but a report last month indicated his job is safe, at least through the end of the season. The Kings have edged back into the race for a spot in a play-in game and are 12th in the West at 22-29.

Walton spent four seasons at Arizona from 1999-2003, playing for legendary coach Lute Olson. He earned First-Team All-Pac 10 honors two times.

Several other Arizona alumni have been mentioned as possible replacements for Miller, Anderson adds, including Lakers assistant coach Miles Simon, who has been with the team since 2017. Other rumored names include former NBA player and current Pacific head coach Damon Stoudamire and Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner.

Kings Sign Damian Jones To 10-Day Deal

APRIL 7: The signing is now official via the Sacramento Kings official team page

APRIL 3: Free agent center Damian Jones will sign a 10-day contract with the Kings, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Jones will fill the roster spot the team created when it waived DaQuan Jeffries earlier today.

The exact date of Jones’ signing remains uncertain, Anderson adds (via Twitter). He has to clear all the NBA’s testing protocols before he’s eligible for a contract.

The Kings will be the third team of the year for Jones, who started the season with the Suns before being waived in February, then signed a pair of 10-day deals with the Lakers. He played 14 games with Phoenix and eight with L.A., averaging a combined 3.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per night.

The 25-year-old offers another option in the middle if the Kings decide to part with Hassan Whiteside, who has been rumored as a potential buyout candidate.

Rockets Claim DaQuan Jeffries

7:29pm: The Rockets have officially claimed Jeffries, according to a team press release.

4:28pm: The Rockets will claim former Kings forward DaQuan Jeffries off waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Jeffries, a 23-year-old shooting guard, is under contract through next season. He was placed on waivers Saturday by Sacramento. 

The Rockets had an open roster spot after waiving Ben McLemore.

Jeffries signed a two-year, $3MM contract in November which included a $1.7MM team option on the second season. Houston can take a look at Jeffries the rest of this season and see if it wants to exercise that option.

Jeffries missed time this season due to a Grade 3 ankle injury and fell out of Sacramento’s rotation. He averaged 3.1 PPG and 1.6 RPG across 17 games for the Kings this season after appearing in 13 games as a rookie on a two-way contract last season.

He had a season-high 18 points against Milwaukee on February.