Kings fall to Timberwolves 92-80, start season 0-2

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Kings fall to Timberwolves 92-80, start season 0-2

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- J.J. Barea had 21 points and five assists in 28 minutes for Minnesota, helping the Timberwolves overcome a weak shooting performance in their season opener and beat the Sacramento Kings 92-80 on Friday night.Brandon Roy pitched in 10 points, six assists and five rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko added 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists as both players returned to NBA action for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season.Isaiah Thomas had 14 of his 20 points in the third quarter for the Kings, who trailed for most of the game but overtook the Wolves for a stretch after halftime. Reserve Marcus Thornton had 15 points, but DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans were quiet.Barea and his bench buddies led the way for the Wolves, who will be without stars Ricky Rubio (left knee surgery) and Kevin Love (broken right hand) for at least the first month of the season. Greg Stiemsma hounded Cousins around the basket and had nine points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 16 minutes.The Wolves shot 2 for 17 from 3-point range.Nikola Pekovic, who finished 2 for 8 from the field in a bruising matchup against Cousins, finally made his first basket with 4:10 left when he got loose on a fast break and dropped in a layup off a slick pass from Kirilenko to stretch the lead to 82-74 and finally give the home team a comfortable cushion again.Cousins led the Kings in almost every significant statistical category last season, but with Pekovic and Stiemsma bothering him in the paint he had just 11 points and four rebounds. Evans, who had 21 points and eight rebounds in the Kings' opener, finished with six points on 3-for-14 shooting.The Wolves built a 45-27 lead in the second quarter, but their inability to sink any outside shots caught up with them, and the lead shrunk to nine points by halftime. Then the Kings, with Thomas making three 3-pointers in the period, came surging out of the locker room. The Wolves missed 10 of their first 12 shots in the second half.The sharp-dressed men behind the bench - Rubio was in a charcoal suit coat; Love wore dark gray - could only watch while the errant shots piled up from all corners of the court. Some of it was simply bad luck, balls that rolled around the rim and inexplicably rolled out. Many of the misses looked like smart plays, but they just wouldn't go in.The Kings have a streak of six straight losing seasons that coincides with the amount of time since coach Rick Adelman was fired. Now he's with the Wolves, trying to turn them into the perennial playoff team he had in Sacramento.Any improvement for the Kings this season will start with defense. They were by far the easiest team to score against in 2011-12, allowing an average of more than 104 points per game. They've shown at least a few signs this week they're more willing and capable of distracting their opponent enough to stay competitive. They lost 93-87 in Chicago two nights before.After falling behind 61-56, the reserves led the Wolves on a 12-0 spurt to regain command of the game. With Stiemsma's long arms and soft touch in the post, Barea's quickness and confidence and the hustle by Chase Budinger and Dante Cunningham, the second group sure looked sharper than the first.Adelman was stingy with playing time for Derrick Williams in his rookie season. But the second pick in last year's draft has the ability to score in bunches and the Wolves will need that punch while Love is out, so he took the All-Star's place at power forward. Williams had all kinds of trouble finding an easy path to the basket and finishing his layups once he got there, but he wasn't the only one. Williams had eight points and seven rebounds.NOTES: Adelman said he'd prefer to keep his starting lineup the same while Love is out. Cunningham's energy off the bench was another factor, Adelman said, in giving Williams the start. ... Kings swingman John Salmons has rejoined the team after a two-week absence to be with his wife and newborn child, but he's not ready for game action yet. Coach Keith Smart said his conditioning needs to be built back up before he'll use him. ... Kings backup point guard Aaron Brooks broke a tooth diving on the floor for a loose ball against the Bulls. "He put it under his pillow, but he didn't get any money," Smart quipped. ... This was the fourth time in seven years that the Timberwolves opened their season at home against the Kings. Sacramento was the opponent for six of the franchise's 24 openers.

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Kings trade Cousins: 'Winning begins with culture and character matters'

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

The Kings acquired guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and 2017 first and second-round draft selections from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for forward/center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Omri Casspi, the team announced on Monday.

“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization, said Divac. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward. We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud.”

[RELATED: Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential]

A 6-5 guard and 2015-16 recipient of the John R. Wooden Award bestowed on the nation’s best collegiate basketball player, Hield joins the Kings in his rookie campaign after New Orleans tabbed him with the sixth overall selection in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Oklahoma. In 57 contests with the Pelicans this season, he accrued averages of 8.6 points (.392 FG%, .369 3pt%, .879 FT%), 2.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.2 minutes per game in 57 contests (stated 37). 

Evans returns to Sacramento where he earned 2009 Rookie of the Year honors after being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. An eight-year league veteran, he has amassed 16.3 points (.444 FG%, .289 3pt%, .757 FT%), 4.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals and 32.5 minutes per game in 459 NBA games (started 370). The Memphis Tiger enjoyed his most prolific seasons in a Kings jersey, registering 17.5 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals and 35 minutes per contest in 257 games (started 247).

In his third NBA campaign, Galloway averaged 8.6 points (.374 FG%, .377 3pt%, .769 FT%), 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.4 minutes per contest in 55 games for New Orleans this season. The St. Joseph’s alum previously spent parts of two seasons with the New York Knicks, where he saw action in all 82 games in 2015-16. 

Cousins departs the Kings ranked prominently in Sacramento-era annals as the leader in career rebounds (5,060), double-doubles (278) and free throws attempted (3,546) second in points scored (9,894), free throws made (2,604), and blocks (577), third in steals (661), field goals made (3,557) and attempted (7,747) and fifth in games played (470). Recently named to his third consecutive Western Conference All-Star team, he currently ranks fourth in the league in scoring, 11th in rebounds and 10th in double-doubles while averaging  27.8 points (.451 FG%, .354 3pt%, .770 FT%), 10.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks and 34.4 minutes per contest in 55 games (all starts). 

[RELATED: Isaiah Thomas' reaction to DeMarcus Cousins trade includes an 'LOL']

Originally drafted with the fifth overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft, Cousins posted 21.1 points (.459 FG%, .322 3pt%, .734 FT%), 10.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks and 31.9 minutes per contest in 470 games with Sacramento (started 448).    

Casspi was selected 23rd overall in the 2009 NBA Draft and played two seasons in Sacramento (2009-10 – 2010-11) with stops in Cleveland (2011-12 – 2012-13) and Houston (2013-14) before returning to the Kings prior to the 2014-15 season. Limited by injury this year, the 6-9 forward averaged 5.9 points (.453 FG%, .379 3pt%, .571 FT%), 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18 minutes per game in 22 contests (started 2).         

Additionally, Divac announced that the team has waived forward Matt Barnes. A 14-year NBA veteran, the UCLA alum is averaging 7.6 points (.384 FG%, .327 3pt%, .758 FT%), 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.3 minutes per contest in 54 games (started 13) for Sacramento after joining the team prior to the start of this season.

Sacramento Kings media services

Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential

Report: Vivek Ranadive thinks Buddy Hield has Steph Curry potential

Programming note: Watch Vlade Divac's press conference today at 12:30pm streaming live right here.

On Sunday night, the Kings agreed to trade DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans.

As part of the deal, New Orleans is sending Buddy Hield to Sacramento.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive believes Hield has Steph Curry potential, according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes.

Ranadive's feelings about Hield were reportedly a key driver in Sacramento's decision to hammer out a trade with New Orleans.

The Kings entered the 2016 draft with the eighth overall pick. They tried to trade up to take Hield, but the Pelicans selected the shooting guard sixth overall.

Hield is averaging 8.6 points and 1.4 assists per game this season, while shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 36.9 percent from 3-point territory.

Steph Curry is the reigning two-time MVP and last year he became the first unanimous MVP in NBA history.