The NBA regular season has come to a close and the Sacramento Kings have missed the playoffs for the eleventh straight year. But, the team's head coach and general manager say things are headed in the right direction.
The Kings' record of 32-50 was the eighth-worst in the NBA. But that wasn't the storyline of the year. The trade of All-Star center Demarcus Cousins was.
In exchange for Cousins and Omri Casspi, the Kings received three players and two draft picks, one a first-rounder.
General Manager Vlade Divac says having three picks in a deep draft helps make the trade a success, as does the development of the team's young nucleus.
"A lot of people saw in the last 20 games, we are in direction that we really want to be, you know, excitement, a young team that develops every game, every day moving forward. It's a bright future. I'm excit(ed)."
The Kings won just seven of its last 20, but did win five of its last ten.
Head Coach Dave Joerger says the addition of Buddy Hield and the improvement of other young players should give fans hope for the future.
"The younger guys didn't get free minutes. Ok? Did we play a shortened rotation? Yes. But we were playing to compete to win. You watch what Willie Caulie-Stein went through at different points in the season. He was out or his minutes were limited. He earned his way back in to be competitive and to be in a competitive situation and that's how you improve"
He and Divacs will now focus on the draft and finding quality free agents to come to Sacramento.
"We pivoted from where we were. Now we're going in a different direction. So, the conversations, we're gonna wrap up the season in the next couple days of what our needs are. But, we've been talking about it for two months. I think one of the things that's very important that we talk about, I don't want to be talking out of school, but it's very important the veterans that we bring in. You know, we have some veterans that can stay. But, what kind of people do we bring in?"
Joerger and Divacs said they would like to see Ben McLemore and Rudy Gay return.
McLemore is a restricted free-agent, meaning the team could match any offer he receives.
Gay could opt out of his contract. He is recovering from an injury.
There is also no word on whether Euroleague player Bogdan Bogdanovich will join the team.
The NBA draft is June 22nd. Free agency begins July 1st.