In midst of skid, young Kings learning how to win games all over again

In midst of skid, young Kings learning how to win games all over again

SACRAMENTO -- The Sacramento Kings spent a good part of the season learning how to win games. That process started all over again with the trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.

After falling to the Washington Wizards 130-122 in overtime Friday night, the Kings have lost seven in a row. They are competitive, but for the second straight game, they blew a monster lead late.

“It doesn’t feel good when you miss shots down the stretch, it doesn’t feel good when you’re up 25 or 15 or whatever, but we’re maturing,” Arron Afflalo said. “We’ve got a lot of young guys and we’re still trying to learn how to win.”

Sacramento opened the fourth quarter with a 15-point lead over Washington, but John Wall and Bradley Beal kept playing. With Wall breaking down the Kings defense, Beal got fat on the perimeter, scoring 16 of his 38 points in the fourth and another five in the extra frame.  

“We’ve just got to find a way to hold our leads, we’ve been giving up these big leads,” Darren Collison said. “You figure we close these teams out early, they may just throw in the towel.”

The Wizards outscored the Kings 34-19 in the fourth to force an overtime session. Collison and Willie Cauley-Stein kept the Kings in the game with a series of pick-and-roll dunks. But the defensive stops never came.

“We’re not getting blown out,” Afflalo said. “We’ve lost six or seven in a row now, but we’re coming in here every game thinking we should have won. It doesn’t mean much in the standings, but we are getting better and trying to do the right thing.”

Since the Cousins trade, the Kings are 1-7. They’ve lost twice in overtime over that stretch and they have held leads in plenty of those games.

“It’s really tough, it’s really tough,” rookie Buddy Hield said. “We’ve just got to keep working, keep learning. In this league, you’ve got to learn how to win. It doesn’t come easy.”

You have to have a short memory in the NBA. The Kings return to the court looking to snap their skid on Saturday evening against the Denver Nuggets. It’s a work in progress, but at least they are competing while they transition to a young group of players.

 

Source: Kings decline to extend qualifying offer to Ben McLemore

Source: Kings decline to extend qualifying offer to Ben McLemore

After four years in the Capitol City, Ben McLemore's time is up.

The Kings have declined to extend a qualifying offer to McLemore, making him an unrestricted free agent, a league source confirmed to NBCSportsCalifornia.com's James Ham

The former No. 7 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Kansas, McLemore played in 61 games this past season. He averaged 8.1 points and 2.1 rebounds in 19.3 minutes.

McLemore's best season with the Kings came in 2014-15 when he averaged 12.1 points in 82 games.

But the 24-year-old saw his role cut back in 2015-16 under former head coach George Karl. His minutes dropped from 32.6 to 21.2 in 2015-16.

All-Rookie First Team shooting guard Buddy Hield projects as the Kings' starter heading into the 2017-18 season. Sacramento has several other options at shooting guard including Malachi Richardson and Garrett Temple.

The news was first reported by ESPN.

Report: Kings agree to three-year deal with Bogdanovic

Report: Kings agree to three-year deal with Bogdanovic

The Sacramento Kings continue to add young talent to their growing roster.

Serbian star Bogdan Bogdanovic is primed to join the Kings this summer on a three-year deal, league sources confirmed to NBC Sports California.

The deal will reportedly be worth between $30 and $36 million.

Bogdanovic, 24, is fresh of a European championship with Fenerbahçe of the Turkish super league and a silver medal at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.

The team is restricted from confirming the reports until July 6, when the NBA’s free agent moratorium ends, but there has been a growing optimism over Bogdanovic joining the Kings for some time.

Sacramento acquired the rights to Bogdanovic as part of a 2016 draft night trade that sent the eighth overall selection (Marquese Chriss) to the Phoenix Suns for picks No. 13 (Georgios Papagiannis) and No. 28 (Skal Labissiere). The Suns selected Bogdanovic with the 27th pick of the 2014 NBA Draft, but had failed in their attempts to lure the young shooting guard to the US.

Bogdanovic is expected to compete with Buddy Hield, Garrett Temple and Malachi Richardson for minutes at the shooting guard position this season. The 6-foot-6, 194-pound guard averaged 14.6 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 27.9 minutes per game while shooting 43 percent from behind the arc this season for Fenerbahçe.