Kings host Blazers with different team -- at least on paper
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- And for the next trick at Golden 1 Center, the home team will unveil a roster on paper that looks nothing like the one it presented the last time it took the floor there.
On the floor, though, they figure to look quite the same.
The Sacramento Kings -- coming off a nine-point first quarter that somehow did not prevent them from ending a five-game home losing streak -- were active at Thursday's trade deadline, dealing guard George Hill to the Cleveland Cavaliers and acquiring Cavs guard Iman Shumpert, as well as guard Joe Johnson from the Utah Jazz.
They also dealt guard Malachi Richardson to the Toronto Raptors and waived 2016 first-round pick Georgios Papagiannis
Their opponent Friday night, the Portland Trail Blazers, were maneuvering, too, trading forward Noah Vonleh.
The moves don't necessarily make either team better immediately as they prepare to face each other for the third time. The teams split a home-and-home set on back-to-back nights in November, with each winning at home.
Portland (30-25) beat the Charlotte Hornets 109-103 in overtime at home Thursday to end a three-game losing streak and stay ahead of the pack among a cluster of teams fighting for the seventh spot in the Western Conference. They did it despite letting a 17-point fourth-quarter lead evaporate over the final 7:14 of regulation.
Earlier Thursday, they traded Vonleh to the Chicago Bulls for the rights to Milocan Rakovic in a move that the Oregonian reported was designed to keep the Blazers from incurring the luxury tax. Rakovic, 32, currently plays in the Swiss league.
The Blazers had been rumored to be in the mix for Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan.
"We all know the business side of it," Blazers guard Damian Lilliard told Portland-based reporters. "Our job is just to show up ready to work and deal with what happens. That's all we can control."
Portland has controlled its business against the Kings in recent times, winning nine of their past 12 against Sacramento. Guard C.J. McCollum has been particularly tough on them in that stretch, averaging 20.9 points on 49 percent shooting in 11 games.
The loss of Hill doesn't figure to affect Sacramento (17-36) on the court that much. He'd been part of a veteran cast periodically sat down for entire games. The players they're getting for him might be doing even less.
Shumpert, a key piece in Cleveland's run to three straight NBA Finals and its title in 2016, hasn't played since November after having knee surgery, and media reports in Sacramento indicated Johnson may seek a buyout from his contract to seek a deal with a playoff contender.
The Kings are no closer to the playoffs than they've been in the dozen previous seasons that have followed their last appearance. Sacramento has lost eight of its past 10 at home and has not won consecutive contests on its home floor since a three-game winning streak there in November.
Hill's departure figures to mean even more minutes for rookie point guard De'Aaron Fox, who already is averaging nearly 27 in the 46 games he's played this season. He is expected to suit up against Portland after sitting out Monday's 104-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls with a sprained left ankle.
Sacramento was held to its lowest scoring quarter of the season in falling behind 28-9 in the first 12 minutes, but their 95 points over the final three periods was their best three-consecutive-quarter output since putting up 94 against the Clippers on Jan. 11, a span of 13 games.
The team did not comment immediately on its trades immediately but said general manager Vlade Divac will address the media before Friday's contest.
Updated February 9, 2018