Kings name Smart head coach

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Kings name Smart head coach

Former Warriors coach Keith Smart has been named the head coach of the Kings, hours after the dismissal of Paul Westphal in Sacramento.

Initially, the Kings indicated that Smart would coach the team for tonight's game against Milwaukee, but they delivered a press release shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday making the hire full-time.

Official press release:
The Sacramento Kings today named Keith Smart as the teams 24th Head Coach, according to President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Keith will bring a new perspective to the team as we try to move forward with the season, said Petrie. Hes very well prepared and will assume the job with some new ideas and new approaches of his own. Were all excited and looking forward to working with him.

Smart, who spent last season as head coach of the Golden State Warriors where he compiled a 36-46 record, brings over 22 years of professional basketball experience as either a coach or player. Prior to his appointment as head coach for Golden State, Smart served seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Warriors, giving him the longest tenure of any assistant coach in Golden State history.

I had a chance to work for Paul Westphal in the brief time that Ive been here and really enjoyed it, explained Smart. He was very supportive every step of the way. I want to thank Geoff Petrie and the Maloof family for giving me this opportunity. Im looking forward to implementing a few new things with what we want to try to do with our basketball team. Hopefully, theyll respond to what I want them to do, and I believe they will. I think our players will be excited with some of the ideas that I have for our team moving forward.

The 47-year-old Smart originally joined the Warriors prior to the 2003-04 campaign after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was named the Cavaliers interim head coach in the middle of the 2002-03 season upon taking over for John Lucas. At the time, he was the second-youngest head coach in the NBA.

When I asked Geoff to add Keith Smart to our staff, I knew that he would be a tremendous asset going forward, said Westphal. Keith has my respect and blessing as he assumes the position he is exceptionally qualified to fill.

Before joining the Cavaliers, Smart spent three seasons as the head coach of the CBAs Fort Wayne Fury, compiling a record of 85-83 (.506) and guiding the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history in 1997-98 and 1998-99. In his first campaign as a head coach at any level in 1997-98, he guided the Fury to a franchise-record 31-win season and a trip to the playoffs. The club made the playoffs again in 1998-99, despite having a single-season franchise record nine players signed to NBA contracts. He was awarded the American Conference Coach of the Month Award five times during his tenure with Fort Wayne and had a CBA-high 21 players signed to NBA contracts.

During his professional basketball playing career, Smart spent six seasons in the CBA, two seasons in France and one in Venezuela. He also played briefly with the San Antonio Spurs during the 1988-89 season.

Smart was originally drafted by the Warriors in the second round (41st overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft out of Indiana University. He is widely remembered for his Final Four heroics in 1987, in which he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after leading Indiana to a National Championship with his game-winning shot versus Syracuse in the title game.

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.