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Kings’ odds of keeping first-round pick improve

The Kings received their first bit of good news of the offseason.

They will have the No. 8 spot in the NBA draft lottery on May 17, increasing the odds they will keep their first-round pick on June 23.

The Kings, Milwaukee and Denver finished the season with 33-49 records, so the NBA used a tiebreaker Friday to determine the eighth through 10th spots. Denver will be No. 9 and Milwaukee No. 10.

If three teams move ahead of Sacramento to drop it to 11th in the draft order, Chicago will claim the pick. The Bulls acquired the top-10 protected pick in a deal with Cleveland, which had acquired it and small forward Omri Casspi from the Kings for power forward J.J. Hickson in 2011.

But the odds of even one of team moving ahead of the Kings range from 0.7 percent for the No. 14 team to 2.7 percent for the No. 9 team.

Only the top three picks are drawn through the lottery; the rest of the draft order is determined by records.

The Kings also have one second-round pick, 59th overall. Sacramento acquired the pick from San Antonio when Ray McCallum was traded to the Spurs last summer.

The Kings’ other second-round pick is owed to New Orleans from the three-team trade with Portland and New Orleans in 2013 that brought Greivis Vasquez to Sacramento.

Having a top-10 pick is also something Kings general manager Vlade Divac can pitch as he begins his search for a new head coach to replace George Karl, who was fired Thursday. The Kings have yet to set up any meetings with candidates but are expected to do so soon. Karl, it has been reported, has shown interest in UNLV’s coaching vacancy.

Minnesota, which also has a vacancy, reportedly has scheduled meetings with Tom Thibodeau and Jeff Van Gundy.

Thibodeau is someone the Kings are interested in, but isn’t considered a realistic target. Minnesota will be a highly coveted job largely due to its core of young talent, which includes last year’s Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, and this year’s frontrunner, Karl-Anthony Towns.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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