Jason Thompson is staying in Sacramento.The Kings and their starting power forward agreed inprinciple to a new contract on Wednesday, locking down the restricted freeagent on the first day free agents could sign contracts.We are all very excited about Jasons return, Kingspresident of basketball operations Geoff Petrie said in a statement. He is avery important young veteran for our team and style of play going forward.Jason brings experience, energy and an improving all-around game to the floorevery night.The Kings did not disclose the length of the deal nor howmuch money Thompson will receive, but the Sacramento Bee reported that Thompsonwill likely receive an average of 6 million per season.The Kings had extended a qualifying offer to Thompson tomake him a restricted free agent. Petrie said Thompson was the Kings toppriority of the free agency period before it began.The 6-foot, 11-inch power forward contributed 9.1 pointsand 6.9 rebounds per game for the Kings last year.With Thompson re-signed, Sacramento now has three dynamic big men.Center DeMarcus Cousins averaged 18.1 points and 10.9 rebounds in his sophomoreseason and has spent the summer practice against the Olympic mens basketballteam as a member of the USA Mens Select Team. Thomas Robinson, thefifth-overall pick in this years NBA Draft, scored 17.7 points and grabbed11.9 boards per game for Kansaslast year.With 15 million in cap space entering the offseason, theKings likely still have some money throw around in free agency after bringingback Thompson and signing Robinson.That money might be useful to address three-point shootingwoes. The Kings 31.6-shooting percentage was second-to-last in the NBA last season.
Trouble in New York. Not only did the Sacramento Kings drop a game to the Knicks Sunday evening at Madison Square Garden, but they found a way to land on TMZ as part of their postgame activities.
A report surfaced Monday morning that the NYPD was looking to question Matt Barnes after nightclub patrons accused him of choking someone. The veteran wing has since been in contact with authorities to give his account of the events.
"Matt is cooperating with NYPD's investigation," Matt Barnes' attorney Matt Spiro said in a statement to CSN California.
Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins went out to a New York City nightclub following the game, which by all means is well within their rights. While information is still being gathered, it appears that Barnes got into an altercation after bumping into a woman and Cousins had to come to his aid.
According to TMZ, Barnes claims to be the victim in this incident and has taken pictures of his injuries that he believes support his account of the events.
“Barnes claims the woman reacted by slapping him in the face, hard -- and that’s when all hell broke loose.
Barnes claims the woman’s crew -- which included several men -- jumped in and began to get violent. Barnes was knocked to the ground in the melee and one of the men began to choke him.
We’re told Barnes got physical in an effort to protect himself. Cousins jumped in to defend Barnes.”
Spiro told TMZ, “We do not believe a crime was committed and are hopeful no charges will be pressed.”
The Kings are scheduled to fly to Dallas sometime on Monday where they will face the Mavericks on Wednesday evening.
Sometimes your shot won’t fall. The Sacramento Kings tried everything. Their 3-pointers went halfway down before popping out. Mid-range jumpers found the back iron of the rim. Fastbreak layups rolled out. Tip-ins bounced three times before jumping off the rim.
Sacramento shot just 14-of-49 in the first half and 31-for-96 overall for a horrifying 32.3 percent from the field. And they still had a chance to win.
“I thought we got good looks all night,” coach Dave Joerger told media following the game.
The New York Knicks built a 21-point first half lead, but with 4:51 remaining in the fourth, the Kings trailed by just two. And then the shots stopped falling again for Sacramento.
“When you have to come back from that amount down, it takes a lot of energy and I think we ran out of legs,” Joerger added.
The Kings shot 7-of-29 from the field (24.1 percent) in the fourth quarter and 1-of-10 from deep as the Knicks clung to the lead.
Carmelo Anthony dropped in six of his 20 down the stretch and Brandon Jennings hit all four of his free throw attempts in the final few minutes as the Knicks survived for the 106-98 win.
DeMarcus Cousins had a big night, scoring 36 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, but he shot just 9-of-30 from the field, including 4-for-10 from long range.
While his team was struggling to hit anything in the first half, Cousins completely carried the team. But when the Kings drew near, be it Cousins or one of the other Kings players, they took ill-advised shots looking for the home run instead of methodically running their offense.
It’s nearly impossible to win an NBA game when you shoot 32.2 percent, but Sacramento had plenty of opportunities to complete the comeback and squandered them.
With the game out of control early, Joerger turned to unconventional lineups in an attempt to mix things up. Willie Cauley-Stein got an extended look in the second half and may have played himself into more time moving forward.
The second-year big finished the game with nine points on 4-of-7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in 23 minutes of action. He brought energy on the offensive end and played strong defense against the best the Knicks had to offer.
“I think his versatility and length to be able to have to step out and play Carmelo or step out and have to play (Kristaps) Porzingis, where maybe that’s not Kosta’s strength as much,” Joerger said.
The former Kentucky star agreed with his coach’s assessment after the game.
“I like to play dudes like that anyways,” Cauley-Stein told reporters. “That kind of goes into to my strengths instead of trying to play a five man that’s just bigger than me and outweighs me by 30 or 40 pounds.”
Cauley-Stein has played more than 20 minutes in a game just once this season and he’s sat out three of the Kings' 20 contests as a healthy scratch. He came into the night averaging just 4.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 11.9 minutes per game.
“You’ve just got to remember this is my second year and a new coach, so it’s like being in a rookie year all over again,” Cauley-Stein said. “You’ve got to prove yourself to them that you can make plays, that you can knock down shots.”
There's no question the Kings can use a defensive-minded hustle player off the bench, but Joerger has often turned to 36-year-old Matt Barnes for those minutes instead of the Kings' first-As theround pick from a season ago.
With the loss, Sacramento fell to 1-3 on the road trip and 7-13 on the season. They have a two day break before facing off with the 4-15 Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night at the American Airlines Center.