The Kings will be a bigger team and make history today when Sim Bhullar signs a 10-day contract.
The 7-foot-5, 360-pound center will be the first player of Indian descent on an NBA roster.
Bhullar, 22, was with the Kings in summer league in July and was on their training camp roster before being cut. He joined the Kings’ NBA Development League affiliate in Reno, and he averaged 10.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 39 games for the Bighorns.
Bhullar’s weight and lack of experience made him a long shot to make an NBA roster. After going undrafted out of New Mexico State, he was unable to earn much playing time in the summer league or preseason with the Kings.
Nevertheless, the Kings issued a news release when Bhullar signed a deal for training camp with a quote from principal owner Vivek Ranadive, who also is of Indian descent. Most training camp invitees receive little fanfare, much less a team statement with a quote from the owner.
Ranadive, the first Indian-born NBA owner, served as grand marshal for the world’s largest India Day Parade in New York City in August. Bhullar joined him for the festivities.
A lack of conditioning has has held Bhullar back. Given his size, if Bhullar is in good shape, he could make a roster for an entire season.
Kings coach George Karl admitted Bhullar is a mystery to him.
“I can’t deny, I know very little about him other than I think their season has been a very interesting season,” Karl said of the Bighorns. “I’ve watched some of their games. My son (Coby) plays for their team now. My son had a triple double (Tuesday) night.”
Bhullar will be available when the Kings host the New Orleans Pelicans at Sleep Train Arena on Friday.
“He adds a very interesting dimension to the game, and our game is becoming an international game, and India is becoming one of the greatest, largest democracies in the world,” Karl said. “I think it’s a good story, and hopefully, we’ll find some minutes for him.”
Wear out – To make room for Bhullar on the roster, the Kings will not re-sign Bhullar’s Reno teammate, forward David Wear.
Wear joined the Kings last week on a 10-day contract and appeared in one game.
The Kings also have called up forward Quincy Miller and guard David Stockton from the Bighorns this season.