The opening days of NBA free agency have been filled with moves that will make the Western Conference tough on a young team like the Kings.
There’s not much they can do about that as the front office is trying to find veterans to supplement what will be one of the youngest rosters in the NBA.
The majority of the Kings already on the roster were in Sacramento on Monday for the first practice prior to summer league, which opens Friday in Las Vegas. This will be the introduction to the NBA for Sacramento’s four recent draft picks and a refresher course for four second-year players.
As the bulk of the team prepares for the summer, management was still sifting through free agents, meeting with veteran Vince Carter, league sources told The Bee. The Kings have yet to land a commitment from a free agent besides Bogdan Bogdanovic, whose draft rights they held.
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The Kings are awaiting word on if Washington forward Otto Porter, a restricted free agent, will sign an offer sheet with Sacramento, which has already missed out on forwards Andre Iguodala and P.J. Tucker.
Sacramento’s search for a veteran power forward has led to interest in Zach Randolph, but league sources have indicated Randolph, 36, is more likely to land with Cleveland, which is closer to winning a championship and is pursuing him intensely.
The Kings still need a veteran point guard and the second of three point guards from last season has reportedly found a new home. Darren Collison is going to Indiana on a two-year contract worth $20 million, according to multiple reports. Langston Galloway has agreed to a three-year deal reportedly worth $21 million with Detroit.
Ty Lawson is the lone point guard from last season that has not committed to a team.
So while the Kings look for experience at the position, their two rookie point guards, De’Aaron Fox and Frank Mason III, are preparing for summer league.
Fox might be a rookie, but even he knows it’s unusual to have eight players from the regular-season squad playing in the summer.
“That’s crazy,” Fox said after Monday afternoon’s practice. “It just shows how young we are but the game is faster, a lot more physical. Something I feel I’ll get used to over time.”
What Fox will also become used to is the off-court chatter and rumors in the NBA, especially this time of year. Fox said he doesn’t follow much basketball news on social media, but does see the updates from friends and when he watches television.
The rookie from Kentucky said none of the free-agency news affects him or the Kings heading into summer league play.
“We’re focused on ourselves,” Fox said. “ ... We don’t really worry about what’s on the outside of us.”
Second-year forward Skal Labissiere said seeing the rookies in their first practice brought back memories of his adjustment to the pros.
“Watching them a little bit, I just remember being there and how fast things were for me and now things have slowed down for me a little bit more,” Labissiere said. “Time flies, time flies.”
Summer league results usually mean nothing, but with eight players from next season’s roster, it would be encouraging to see some success on the court. The Kings are especially interested in how the second-year players look and expect them to show progression.
“We’re definitely trying to win every game that we go out there and play in,” Labissiere said. “But it’s all about us getting comfortable for next year.”
Still there will be reminders of just how young this Kings team is. Sometimes it will come in their word choice, as when Fox talked about adjusting to new terminology.
“A whole lot terminology that’s different from college and that’s really the adjustment that me and ... the rookies had to make (Monday).”