SACRAMENTO -- Despite a poor showing in their season opener and an injury to big man Marvin Bagley, the Sacramento Kings believe they are a team on the rise.
The Kings posted a surprising 39-43 record last season and the conversations behind the scenes continue to focus on competing for a playoff spot. In order to do that, the young core wants to stay together and grow as a unit.
"Looking at the teams that win nowadays, most of the time it's teams that have been together for a while," point guard De'Aaron Fox said during the taping of the Purple Talk Podcast earlier in the week. "It's teams that started off young, obviously, played their way into the playoffs and as they got older, started playing as title contenders."
Sacramento is still trying to get to step one of the process, but they have a ton of talent. There are hopes that Fox, along with Bagley, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic and Harrison Barnes is a group to build around, and that the franchise is heading in the right direction.
"Just knowing that we're on that slope," Fox added. "It's a process going through it and we feel like we're on the right track. Just knowing that we want to stay together, just ‘cause we know that's probably our best opportunity to win."
Hield became the first of the group to sign an extension with the team. He inked a four-year, $86 million deal that will likely keep him in a Kings uniform for the next five years.
It wasn't an easy negotiation. Hield was emotional and on more than one occasion voiced his frustrations with the situation to the press.
Fox will go through a similar process that Hield just endured next summer, although he believes he'll take a different approach to negotiations.
"I won't talk to the media the way he's talking to them," Fox said with a laugh. "I won't do that, but obviously at the end of the day, we all know it's a business and to each his own."
According to Fox, his starting backcourt mate left the angst of his contract squabble off the court. When he walked into the gym, the focus was on hoops.
"He comes out here, he's still the same goofy dude who likes to play around," Fox said. "Obviously when they were in the office, it was all business."
It's likely the Kings have earmarked one of their two designated player extensions for Fox next summer. It would extend his current rookie-scale deal an additional five seasons, keeping him in Sacramento for six more years after the 2019-20 season.
Sacramento has an offer on the table for Bogdanovic as well, although he may wait until the summer when his contract limitations are lifted. While he'll be a restricted free agent, he can get an offer that exceeds the current four-year, $51.7 million max deal he can earn if he signs between now and June 30.
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Bagley is eligible for an extension during the summer of 2021, which isn't nearly as far away as it seems. Like Fox, he is likely heading for a max-money designated player contract.
General Manager Vlade Divac and his staff have plenty of work to do if they hope to retain all five players for the foreseeable future, but they've already got a jump on the process by locking up the first two of the group.