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Former Kentucky Wildcats and Phoenix Suns guard Tyler Ulis signs contract with Kings

Vlade Divac became the 15th player in Kings franchise history and the second in the Sacramento era to enter the Hall of Fame, joining Mitch Richmond.
Vlade Divac became the 15th player in Kings franchise history and the second in the Sacramento era to enter the Hall of Fame, joining Mitch Richmond. AP

Kings general manager Vlade Divac announced Tuesday the team has signed Tyler Ulis, a 5-foot-10 point guard who is expected to compete for the team’s final roster spot.

Terms of the agreement were not disclosed per team policy, but a league source told The Sacramento Bee that Ulis signed a partially guaranteed one-year, $1.67-million contract that does not include a clause that would pay him $50,000 to play in the G League if he doesn’t make the Kings roster.

The Kings now have 20 players on their training camp roster, the maximum number allowed by the league. They can carry 15 players once the regular season begins, plus two players on two-way contracts.

Ulis, 23, averaged 7.5 points, 4.0 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 0.9 steals in 20.9 minutes per game over his first three seasons in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns and Chicago Bulls. He signed a two-way contract with Chicago prior to the 2018-19 season but appeared in only one game for the Bulls before undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left hip in December.

Phoenix selected Ulis with the 34th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. He was named NBA Rookie of the Month in April 2017 after averaging 20.7 points and 6.8 assists in six games. He had a career-high 34 points against the Houston Rockets during that stretch.

Ulis spent two seasons at Kentucky, where he averaged 17.3 points, 7.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds as a sophomore in 2015-16. He was a college teammate of Suns guard Devin Booker, Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, former Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein and former Kings forward Skal Labissiere.

Ulis declared for the NBA Draft prior to Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox’s arrival at Kentucky. Kentucky coach John Calipari expressed his excitement on Twitter after Ulis signed with the Kings.

“Yeahhh!!,” Calipari tweeted. “They’ve got two GREAT points now. Proud of you both, @tulis3 and @swipathefox!”

He shot 42.9 percent from 3-point range as a freshman at Kentucky, but he made only 34.4 percent with increased volume the following season. He shot 26.6 percent from beyond the arc as a rookie and 38.8 percent in his second season with the Suns.

Ulis came to Sacramento for a workout last year but he opted to sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the Golden State Warriors instead. He signed with the Bulls after the Warriors released him.

Ulis and Yogi Ferrell will likely compete for Sacramento’s third point guard spot behind De’Aaron Fox and Cory Joseph. If Ulis makes the team, the Kings could also assign him to their G League affiliate in Stockton while he works his way back from injury.

Ulis is healthy now, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, and could be a good fit in Sacramento’s up-tempo system.

Kings are big in India

The Kings could be in for quite a sight when they arrive in India next week to play two preseason games against the Indiana Pacers.

A campaign designed to promote the NBA’s first visit to India features gigantic blimps made to look like players. The enormous figures tower over the streets while people on the ground use guide ropes to maneuver them against a backdrop of iconic buildings and landmarks in Mumbai.

Mumbrella, a website that covers media and marketing news in Asia, reported Wednesday the NBA has launched the “NBA In My Backyard” campaign to promote basketball in India. The Kings and Pacers will play Oct. 4-5 at NSCI Dome in Mumbai, marking the first time a North American pro sports league will play games in India.

According to Mumbrella, the campaign was created by the DDB Mudra Group, India’s largest integrated marketing communications and services network. It includes outdoor advertising, radio spots and a television commercial featuring striking footage of the giant blimps depicting Kings standouts De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes as well as Pacers standouts Aaron Holiday, Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner.

Sacramento Kings preseason schedule

Oct. 4 vs. Indiana Pacers, 6:30 a.m. (India)

Oct. 5 vs. Indiana Pacers, 6:30 a.m. (India)

Oct. 10 vs. Phoenix Suns, 7 p.m.

Oct. 14 at Utah Jazz, 6 p.m.

Oct. 16 vs. Melbourne United, 7 p.m.

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