Keeping the Kings in Sacramento and building the new Golden 1 Center arena couldn’t have happened without Mayor Kevin Johnson, former NBA Commissioner David Stern and a host of others who deserve recognition.
The Kings open the season Wednesday night against the host Phoenix Suns, embarking on another campaign attempting to disprove the naysayers. The Kings have missed the playoffs 10 consecutive seasons, finishing with a losing record each time.
Thursday night’s historic opener against the San Antonio Spurs wasn’t a sellout as of Tuesday afternoon. Around 260 seats were still available, according to Ticketmaster, including about 145 seats in the lower bowl.
Entering training camp, the Kings had 14 players with guaranteed contracts, and Ty Lawson always was the favorite for the last spot. Even after Lawson was late to a shootaround Oct. 13 in Las Vegas and missed the team’s flight to Kentucky the next day, the organization said it was still behind him. Lawson will start at point guard while Darren Collison serves an eight-game suspension.
The Sacramento Kings have played home games in nine arenas, in five cities, since they were founded as the Rochester Royals in 1948. It probably comes as no surprise that arena No. 9 – Golden 1 Center, where the team plays its first NBA regular-season home game Thursday night – is the nicest of them all.
At 36, Kings forward Matt Barnes admits that it takes longer to recover from the rigors of basketball than it used to. With sore ribs, courtesy of a Draymond Green elbow, Barnes played in just one preseason game, but had a full, a live practice Sunday and will be ready for the season opener Wednesday at Phoenix.
After giving up the league’s most points per game last season, the Kings are learning a new defensive system under first-year coach Dave Joerger. They no longer just want to talk about playing good defense. They want to put the talk into action.
Dave Joerger has a chance to succeed with the Kings, or at least stick around for more than a couple of seasons, for one reason: Both principal owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Vlade Divac endorsed his hiring. But for Joerger to thrive, both owner and GM must have his back.
The Kings open the regular season Wednesday in Phoenix. But with so much to learn about new coach Dave Joerger’s system, the Kings aren’t putting much emphasis on the Suns, yet. The priority is still to understand the new system better.
Former Sacramento Kings forward Kenny Thomas is part of an ownership group that opened El Rey, a Mexican eatery. The location near Golden 1 Center was major factor in his decision to get involved. A third restaurant is under construction in the same building.
The Sacramento Kings said Thursday they’ve bought controlling interest in the Reno Bighorns, their affiliate in the NBA Development League. The Kings and Bighorns have been affiliated for eight years, since the founding of the Reno team, and Sacramento has controlled the Bighorns’ basketball operations since 2013. With the deal announced Thursday, “the Kings will now assume all business operations of the Bighorns,” the team said.