Nigel Hayes signed with the Kings for basketball reasons.
The rookie from Wisconsin doesn't view himself as controversial. He'd rhetorically ask what is controversial about saying all Americans deserve to be treated equally, fighting racism or suggesting college athletes be paid.
Hayes just happened to sign with the Kings while they are building partnerships in the to help black youth in the wake of the shooting death of Stephon Clark, whose case has gained worldwide attention as the latest unarmed black man killed by police.
It also just happened that Hayes joined the Kings on Saturday, the same day former King and Sacramento native Matt Barnes was holding a rally as a call to action in response to Clark's death.
"The way the universe works, everything happens for a reason," Hayes said. "And I'm eager to find out what that reason is."
It seems fitting Hayes would land with the Kings, given the recent protests and players like Vince Carter and Garrett Temple lending their voices to move for social action.
The reasons the Kings brought in Hayes make sense on the court. It's nice to sit around and hope for luck in the NBA draft lottery, but the team also needs to actively build the roster through player development.
Hayes, a 6-foot-8 forward who is listed at 254 pounds, played 43 G League games this season, where he's worked to transition from college power forward at Wisconsin to more of a 3-and-D small forward in the NBA.
Social issues aside, Hayes seems to be the kind of young player the Kings need to find and groom. Coach Dave Joerger said he'd been told Hayes is a player who picks up concepts quickly (raising the overall basketball IQ has been a goal for years) and can be around to compete for a roster spot next season.
Hayes' deal for next season is not guaranteed. But, with the focus on youth and veterans Temple, Kosta Koufos and Zach Randolph likely to begin next season with the Kings, it's not time for the team to sign more veterans aged 30 or older. Instead, find young players and see if they can be molded into what the Kings want in the future..
"You're trying to find the right fit for somebody," Joerger said. "We have a culture where we want our guys to work together. I think it's ... a lot more fun to do it together."
Hayes has been called up from the G League twice this season, once with the Los Angeles Lakers and most recently with the Toronto Raptors.
Hayes said the message from the Kings has been to be himself on the court. He is looking forward making the most of the final four games this season and seeing what happens in the offseason.
"That's all you can ask for is an opportunity," Hayes said. "In the talks my agent had with the organization, it was a great place for me to try to showcase what I can do, an opportunity to play in NBA games, play on a team to see what I can do to help contribute to a winning culture."
Two-way player Jack Cooley has no problem getting physical.
He clearly irked some Golden State Warriors on Saturday, including All-Star forward and noted irritant Draymond Green when he caught hold of Green's arm while going for a rebound.
One things that's certain with Cooley on the court for the Kings is someone is going to feel his presence.
The excuses for why Chris Webber is not in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame yet are getting tired.
When Webber arrived, the team had its only run as a title contender in Sacramento, and his statistics are certainly Hall-worthy. He basically averaged a double-double (20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds) to go with 4.2 assists for his career.
There's no logical explanation why Webber continues to be snubbed. This year was his third of eligibility.
For all the fans of tanking wars, the Kings face two teams below them in the standings this week in the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday and the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.
How many Kings fans will be hoping for two losses? A lot.