De'Aaron Fox

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De’Aaron Fox on Kings: ‘I see myself being here. I want to be here.’

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The NBA restart in Orlando — however long it lasts for the Kings — will be the end of the third season for De'Aaron Fox, which means its time to talk about him getting paid.

Except nobody is talking about that because we are all trying to adjust to his new hairstyle:

However, we should be talking payday. The end of his third season makes eligible for a contract rookie extension this offseason — which always brings up talk of “does this player want to stay?” The Kings have yet to make the playoffs in his tenure, and are a longshot to end that playoff drought in Orlando.

Fox has been clear: He wants to stay and build something with the Kings. The coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the season does not change that, he said during a media conference call this week (via James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area).

“It’s all the same, it’s all the same, I don’t think there’s much to say about that,” Fox said. “I see myself being here. I want to be here. Obviously, you know we want to win and right now, I think last year, we put ourselves in a good position. This year, we’re sort of in the same position to still make the playoffs. So that’s what we all want and then continue to take the next step forward.”

The Kings see him as a franchise cornerstone. Fox is not going to turn down a max — and he expects the 25% of the cap max — rookie contract extension. He’s going to grab the bag. Expect a deal to get done.

The questions Sacramento should ask: Is Fox the point guard they want to build around? If so, are they building out a roster that maximizes his talents?

Fox averaged 20.4 points and 6.8 assists a game for the Kings this past season playing at a near All-Star level. The Kings’ offense was +5.2 points per 100 possessions better when he was on the court. However, Fox is not a great defender, and he took a step back and shot 30.7% from three this season. He doesn’t space the floor, what he does do is attack the rim — 59.4% of his shot attempts came within 10 feet of the rim. He is a blur in transition and finished 63% of his shots at the rim, so this works for him.

Fox’s attacking style fits well with Buddy Hield at the two, but how it will mesh with Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III (who missed a lot of time due to injury this season) are the bigger questions. Do they all fit in Luke Walton’s slower offensive system? How the whole plan comes together in Sacramento remains to be seen.

But whatever it becomes, Fox wants to be part of it.

Report: NBA and union agree to revised CBA, including enhanced insurance

Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell
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The National Basketball Players Association only “approved further negotiations with the NBA” on a 22-team resumption. It wasn’t a done deal.

But with the planned Disney World restart approaching, the union, as expected, has approved all relevant details.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Talk of players boycotting the resumption en masse never turned into reality. Some individuals – Wizards forward Davis Bertans and Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza so far – will decide to sit out. But that will be a personal choice. As a collective, players are playing.

Of course, many still have concerns – from coronavirus to injury to standard of living in the bubble to social justice.

The enhanced insurance is designed to assuage players worried about injury. Several players entering their contract-extension window – Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Heat big Bam Adebayo, Kings guard De'Aaron Fox and Lakers forward Kyle Kuzmapushed for this. These young players have been relatively modestly paid so far and stand to land major paydays this offseason. Of course, a question: Who will foot the cost of this enhanced insurance? It can be expensive.

Not playing would have been far more costly for players.

Which is why we’re here.

No, Jayson Tatum will not sit out Orlando restart due to injury concerns

Jayson Tatum Orlando
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Jayson Tatum is going to get a max contract extension this offseason.

So is Donovan Mitchell in Utah. There are big paydays coming fall for Bam Adebayo in Miami, De'Aaron Fox in Sacramento, and Kyle Kuzma with the Lakers. Which is why the five of them spearheaded a negotiation with the NBA to set up some injury insurance for the restart in Orlando.

This led to a report the Celtics’ Tatum was “reluctant to return” and might sit out the restart. That is not the case, he’s playing reports A. Sherrod Blakely at NBC Sports Boston.

Jayson Tatum is not considering sitting out the restart of the season due to contract concerns, according to two league sources familiar with the Celtics All-Star’s plans…

“Not true,” a source told NBC Sports Boston. “He’s concerned like every other player about returning to play. There’s a lot … going on in the world that players need to be more concerned about. But sitting out because of the contract? Hell no!”

Another league source indicated the concern over the coronavirus and the league’s plans on addressing it within the bubble-like atmosphere of Orlando, Fla. whose positive test results for the COVID-19 virus have been on the rise, were the bigger concerns for the 22-year-old.

Those latter two issues — Black Lives Matter/social justice issues, and the rise in coronavirus cases in Florida and the Orlando area — exist for a lot of players, as well as for the NBA.

Boston may be the team in the East best poised to knock off Milwaukee. With a balanced and switchable 1-4 or Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, and Tatum, plus Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter at the five, the Celtics are a dangerous offensive team that was top five in defense this season before the interruption. Tatum knows that and he will be back to play.

He’s just got concerns. Like a lot of players.

Report: Young stars of NBA want insurance in case of injury in Orlando

NBA young stars insurance
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Jayson Tatum is going to get a max contract extension from the Celtics. Same with Donovan Mitchell from the Jazz. Brandon Ingram will get a max extension or close to it from the Pelicans, who also may extend Lonzo Ball. Bam Adebayo is going to get paid by the Heat. Same with De'Aaron Fox in Sacramento. Kyle Kuzma is up for an extension with the Lakers.

That’s just a partial list of players expected to get hefty extensions to their rookie contracts this coming offseason. It’s the kind of money that will set their families up for generations.

Which is why some of the young stars of the NBA want insurance in case they suffer an injury at the NBA’s restart, reports Adrain Wojnarowski of ESPN.

On the cusp of hundreds of millions of dollars in contract extensions, several of the NBA’s top young stars had a Friday call with Players Association officials about the possibility of league-financed insurance policies to protect against career-threatening injuries in the bubble restart in Orlando, sources tell ESPN…

The increased risk of injury, based on a three month-plus league shutdown and a shortened training camp, has intensified concerns that the players are taking on heightened personal risk with the season’s resumption.

Mitchell reportedly talked about this and his concerns about an injury during the restart on a players-only Zoom call Friday night, led by Kyrie Irving.

The league and players union have talked about insurance or some other form of security for players heading to Orlando who could either suffer from COVID-19 or an injury. Exactly what that would look like is still being figured out (like many things around the restart).

Players take a risk every time they step on the hardwood to play. However, the three months without games followed by a relatively quick ramp-up to playoff intensity has more than just players concerned about injuries, team trainers are as well. Conditioning and getting players in game shape will be the focus of coaching and training staffs from the start of camps.

Providing the young stars of the NBA insurance to protect a future payday seems fair. As always, the devil is in the details, but the league needs to find a way to make this happen.

 

Down three in final seconds, Kings leave Buddy Hield on bench (video)

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Kings guard Buddy Hield has barely veiled his frustration this year.

Last night became another glaring, though overblown, symbol of Hield’s reduced stature in Sacramento.

The Kings – trying to hang in the playoff race – trailed the Raptors by three points with 13.7 seconds left. Sacramento’s lineup:

Bjelica forced a difficult 3-point attempt and air-balled. Toronto went on to win, 118-113.

As Sacramento was intentionally fouling, a fan was clearly heard on the NBA Sports California telecast criticizing Kings coach Luke Walton.

Afterward, Walton defend his personnel choice:

Walton, via James Ham of NBC Sports California:

“We were scoring, we really were scoring on every play, we scored 39 points in the [fourth] quarter,” Walton said Sunday. “You score 39 in a close game, and you’re doing enough to win offensively. Buddy, I thought was playing a good game and we were going to get him back in there, and then Bogi (Bogdan Bogdanovic), he started really turning it on and then that group that was out there was really in a good rhythm. So, we stuck with them.”

“Multiple guys made good plays,” Walton added. “Fox stepped up, hit free throws, hit threes. Bogi hit some. Bjeli’s (Nemanja Bjelica) hit game winners for us before. So, we have faith in all our guys and I’ve said before that when a group is rolling, we’re going to stay with them. And you score 39 points in a quarter, then we’re most likely going to stay with that group.”

Walton is right: Sacramento’s offense was clicking without Hield. Bjelica has hit a game-winner before.

But this situation didn’t call for generally efficient offense. The Kings needed a 3-pointer, and Hield is their best 3-point shooter. That he won the 3-point contest at All-Star Weekend only drew more attention to his unused long-range ability.

Fox and Holmes were curious lineup inclusions over Hield. Fox struggles beyond the arc, though his passing could make something happen for a teammate. Holmes flat out doesn’t shoot 3-pointers, though his screening could free a teammate. Still, including two minus shooters over Hield made Sacramento far easier to defend.

That said, teams down three points late in the fourth quarter usually lose. It’s extremely hard to make a 3-pointer when the defense knows what’s coming. The Kings probably would have lost even if they played Hield.

Still, in part due a loud fan, this also turned into a memorable moment representative of larger concerns about the Sacramento-Hield dynamic.