Buddy Hield

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Report: Trevor Ariza headed to Sacramento, agrees to two-year, $25 million contract

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The Sacramento Kings, your entertaining league-pass favorite from last season, is serious about making the playoffs this season (and ending the longest postseason drought in the NBA).

To that end, they are adding wing depth and veteran leadership in the form of Trevor Ariza, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Ariza averaged 14.1 points per game after being traded to the Wizards last season. He’s a solid veteran that new coach Luke Walton can trust with minutes.

The Kings have re-signed Harrison Barnes, who played more at the three last season for the Kings but may be pushed into service at the four considering Bogdan Bogdanovic and now Ariza also need minutes on the wing. That said, the Kings now have a lot of athletic depth to go with the speed of De'Aaron Fox and the shooting of Buddy Hield. The Kings also have added Dewayne Dedmon at the five to pair with the improving Harry Giles and anyone else they might sign.

The Kings are going to be fun again next season. And good.

Report: Kings signing Harrison Barnes (four years, $85M), Dewayne Dedmon (three years, $40M)

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The Kings will re-sign Harrison Barnes to a huge contract… and still have enough money left to get a starting center in Dewayne Dedmon.

Sam Amick of The Athletic:

That’s a lot for Barnes, but at least the Kings did it in a smart way – spending more now, when their money doesn’t go as far. This franchise is only beginning to shed its reputation as “basketball hell.” Free agents frequently spurn Sacramento. As De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic lead the next era, the Kings could become far more appealing down the road. And because of Barnes’ contract structure, they’ll have more flexibility then.

If Barnes’ deal is as frontloaded as possible

  • 2019-20: $24,147,727
  • 2020-21: $22,215,909
  • 2021-22: $20,284,091
  • 2022-23: $18,352,273

That’s also a lot of money for Dedmon. But the fit looks strong, and again, I’m not sure the Kings had a better way to use their cap space.

The 29-year-old Dedmon should provide an immediate upgrade at center. If his young teammates are ready to take the next step, he could make the difference between making the playoffs and not. Dedmon is a good defender who shoots 3s and just generally plays hard.

This makes it more likely incumbent starting center Willie Cauley-Stein will get his wish with Sacramento pulling his qualifying offer and making him an unrestricted free agent. But the Kings have enough cap room to sign Barnes and Demon and keep Cauley-Stein restricted.

Report: Kings to offer Harrison Barnes four-year contract worth about $88 million

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Harrison Barnes declined a $25,102,512 player option with the Kings.

He wasn’t doing that without assurances of a bigger deal.

Carmichael Dave of KHTK Sports Sacramento:

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

That’s a lot of money for Barnes, who’s a fine starting forward but hardly a standout.

He’s comfortable with the ball in his hands, shoots well from distance and capably defends bigger players in small-ball lineups. He’s also a legitimate small forward in a league thin at that position.

But his defense at small forward is mediocre. He rarely draws fouls. He doesn’t create much for others. For all his touches, he just generates passably efficient shots for himself – a skill that raises a team’s floor but limits its ceiling.

His role was reduced after Sacramento traded for him last season. He showed he could fit in and raise his shooting percentages with less usage. But is that player worth $22 million per year?

Maybe for the Kings. They’ve had such a hard time luring free agents and have plenty of money to spend. The 27-year-old Barnes can still fit with their younger core of De'Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

If Barnes gets $88 million over four years, his starting salary could range from $19,642,857 to $25 million. That’d leave Sacramento with about about $35 million-$41 million in cap space. Can the Kings spend that much productively now? It might make sense to frontload Barnes’ contract. Paying him more this season would allow greater flexibility down the road.

Of course, this is all relative. Signing Barnes for $88 million over four years doesn’t exactly show Sacramento is overly concerned with long-term flexibility.

He showed why in playoffs, Toronto’s Pascal Siakam wins NBA Most Improved Player

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Even before the NBA pushed the release of its regular-season awards back until after the playoffs (so TNT can give us Shaq dancing and NBA players reading from teleprompters), there have been times when one player won a regular season award only to have another player step up in the playoffs and look like he deserved it.

Not this season — Pascal Siakam was the Most Improved Player in the regular season and Spicy P was a force for the Raptors in the playoffs.

Siakam has officially won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award.

Siakam broadened his game this season, doing a little bit of everything better. He averaged 16.9 points per game, shot 36.9 percent from three, grabbed 6.9 rebounds a game, and became an important part of the Raptors’ defensive plans.

Siakam stepped up his game and averaged 19 a night in the playoffs. Now he’s got a ring to show for it.

Brooklyn’s D'Angelo Russell, who had a breakout season, finished second, with Sacramento’s De'Aaron Fox third, his teammate Buddy Hield fourth, and Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic fifth. Here are the full voting results.

Sacramento adds Joe Dumars as advisor go GM Vlade Divac

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Joe Dumars got a bad wrap as the GM of the Detroit Pistons. He certainly made some mistakes at the end (hello Darko Milicic) but he also built a roster that went to six straight Eastern Conference Finals and won the title in 2004.

The Sacramento Kings — a young team with promise entering a few critical years in their development — are bringing Dumars in as an advisor to GM Vlade Divac. Sam Amick of The Athletic first reported the story, and Friday the Kings confirmed it.

“Joe and I played together in the league and is a legend in our sport,” Divac said in a statement. “As an experienced and talented basketball executive, I’m excited to have him serve as a special advisor and expert resource for our incredible front office team.”

“I’ve known Vlade for decades, and I’m thrilled to work with him and the Sacramento Kings at such an exciting time for the franchise,” Dumars said.

This has the potential to be a good thing — in the best front offices it’s not a dictatorship and more of a collaboration. The Warriors are famed for debating everything internally and letting everyone have a voice. The Clippers poached Jerry West from Golden State to be part of their brain trust that includes future GMs such as Michael Winger and Trent Redden, Doc Rivers, and Steve Ballmer encouraging the discussion. David Griffin got hired in New Orleans and instantly brought in people such as Trajan Langdon to build a smart front office. Those are just three examples of an NBA that is moving more toward a collaborative front office model.

Dumars knows the game and has an eye for talent. Adding his voice to Divac, assistant GM Peja Stojakovic, now coach Luke Walton and others has the potential to be a good thing. Plus, Dumars may be able to talk to owner Vivek Ranadive in a way others cannot (in Los Angeles, West can be the Ballmer whisperer).

The Kings won 39 games last season as De'Aaron Fox exploded on the scene, Marvin Bagley impressed as a rookie, Buddy Hield knocked down shots, and players like Harrison Barnes and Bogdan Bodanovic found a comfort level. The Kings found an identity in pace and became one of the most entertaining teams in the league.

But the next steps in development, and adding the right players to the mix, will be tricky. The Kings want to work out a long-term deal with Barnes (who just opted out as a free agent) and bring in some free agents that fit their mix. How to spend that money will be an interesting decision for the Kings.

Having another bright basketball mind in the mix to discuss it makes a lot of sense.