Instant Replay: Kings start strong, can't slow down Spurs

Instant Replay: Kings start strong, can't slow down Spurs

BOX SCORE

The Sacramento Kings hadn’t won in San Antonio since January of 2012, a span of eight games coming into Sunday’s matchup. While they jumped out to an early lead, the Spurs had no trouble reeling the Kings in and making it nine straight at the AT&T Center. 

Tony Parker put in a vintage performance in the 118-102 victory for San Antonio. Playing in his 16th NBA season, the 34-year-old guard managed to post 16 points on 8-for-10 shooting and chipped in seven assists in just 20 minutes of action. 

Big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who rested the last time these two teams met, scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds. 

Pau Gasol added 22 points and nine rebounds off Gregg Popovich’s bench. David Lee added 11 points and All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard finished the night with 12 points, but shot just 3-for-12 from the field as the Spurs won their 53rd win of the season..  

Rookie Buddy Hield shook off back-to-back sub-par performances to post solid numbers. The 23-year-old broke down the Spurs defense to hit runners in the lane, finishing the night with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting and added five rebounds and five assists.  

Garrett Temple got hot from the perimeter, knocking down 3-for-3 from long range on his way to 15 points and four assists. 

Willie Cauley-Stein finished with 18 points, five assists and four rebounds. Skal Labissiere chipped in 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting and hit the glass for seven rebounds and Georgios Papagiannis grabbed 10 rebounds and scored six points in 24 minutes of action. 

STANDOUT PERFORMER

Parker isn’t the same player that helped lead the Spurs to four championships over his storied career, but he can still get to the rim with the best of them.  

TURNING POINT

It was a competitive game early, but the Spurs outscored the Kings by 15 in the second quarter and 16 in the third to run away with the victory.

INJURY UPDATE 

Ben McLemore and Arron Afflalo both missed the game to to personal issues. Tyreke Evans missed his second straight game with a sore left ankle. Rookie Malachi Richardson is out another week or two with a right hamstring thickness tear. Rudy Gay is out for the year with a torn left Achilles. 

WHAT'S NEXT 

The Kings travel back to Sacramento following the game where they will face the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday before heading back out on the road to face the Warriors Friday.

Kings head into free agency with money to burn, but limited roster spots

Kings head into free agency with money to burn, but limited roster spots

Draft night is over and done with and the Sacramento Kings filled plenty of holes in their roster for the 2017-18 season. They added a pair of young point guards and a small forward to help fill their two biggest roster needs. They also took a gamble on Duke’s Harry Giles with the 20th overall selection which adds depth in the post long term.

Step one of the summer calendar is done and now the focus shifts to free agency which begins July 1. The Kings have limited roster space, but truckloads of cap space to work with. The NBA has reduced their projected cap for the 2017-18 season to $99 million and the Kings are way below that figure. While the cap is more complicated than just a raw spreadsheet, here is a look at where the Kings currently stand.

2017-18 Salaries - $28.9 million
Projected Rookie Salaries - $9.7 million
Dead Money - $6.1 million
Total - $44.7

Sacramento opted out of both Anthony Tolliver’s $8 million contract ($2 million buyout) and Arron Afflalo’s $12.5 million ($1.5 buyout). They also waived Matt Barnes mid-season, stretching his salary for the 2017-18 season over the next three years ($2.1 million per season).

In addition to Tolliver, Afflalo and Barnes, Rudy Gay informed the team earlier this month that he opted out of his $14.3 million contract for this season and Langston Galloway walked away from a guaranteed $5.4 million to become an unrestricted free agent.

The Kings begin free agency roughly $54.3 million under the cap and after adding four rookies, they have just four standard NBA roster spots and two two-way contracts with the NBA’s G-League. They are also required to spend 90 percent of the $99 million, but they have the entire season to do so and they are allowed to redistribute any shortage back to their own players.

There is hope that European sharpshooter Bogdan Bogdanovic will join this team this summer as well. Although he hasn’t played in the league, his contract is not restricted by the rookie scale. Early projections have him making anywhere from $5-10 million per season with Sacramento.

If Bogdanovic signs for the upper end of his projection - $10 million - the Kings would still have upwards of $44 million to spend, but just three roster spots to work with.

The team still has deficiencies to fill with the roster. Sacramento has two rookie point guards, but no veteran to show them the ropes. Garrett Temple can play in a pinch, but he is better at both wing positions.

Sacramento added Justin Jackson at the small forward spot, but they have little depth behind him and he could use time to develop. Temple can eat some minutes at the position and both Malachi Richardson and Bogdanovic can likely steal time at the three as well. A starting level player is needed, but the market is thin at the position.

There is hope that Skal Labissiere is the answer at the power forward spot, but with Tolliver waived, the team needs more at the position. Willie Cauley-Stein can play in spot duty, but a veteran stretch four is needed.

In addition to position of need, the Kings need more talent and veteran leadership on the roster. Temple is the only player over 30. Big man Kosta Koufos is 28 and everyone else on the roster is 24 and under when the season opens in October.

Expect the Kings to be active on the open market. They also make an attractive trade partner with their ability to absorb contracts. It should be a wild couple of weeks in Sacramento as the Kings look to improve their roster.

Kings' Buddy Hield named to 2016-17 NBA All-Rookie First Team

Kings' Buddy Hield named to 2016-17 NBA All-Rookie First Team

A rollercoaster rookie season for Buddy Hield has ended on a high note.

A very high note.

The Kings shooting guard was named to the 2016-17 NBA All-Rookie First Team on Monday.

Hield is joined by Milwaukee's Malcolm Brogdon, New York's Willy Hernangomez and Philadelphia's duo of Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.

The Kings acquired Hield in February as part of a trade that sent All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.

Before the trade, Hield averaged just 8.6 points in 57 games with the Pelicans. But he stepped up his game once he got to Sacramento as he averaged 15.1 points in just 25 games with the Kings. In total, the No. 6 overall pick out of Oklahoma averaged 10.6 points and 3.3 rebounds during his rookie campaign.

Fellow Kings rookie Skal Labissiere received one First Team vote and five Second Team votes, finishing with seven total points.

The NBA All-Rookie First and Second Teams are shown below.