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Kings of Las Vegas

The Sacramento Kings celebrate after defeating the Houston Rockets in the NBA summer league championship basketball game Monday, July 21, 2014, in Las Vegas.
Associated Press | AP

The NBA free agency fun bag is almost empty and once again the Kings were losers when it came to attracting top tier talent, but it’s not all bad in Sacramento.

It’s no surprise the Kings were not on Lebron James’ short list or any other big name players’ for that matter. Sacramento hasn’t exactly been a hot spot for big name free agents.

The Kings did manage to re-sign Rudy Gay, and sway journeyman point guard Darren Collison to move north from the Clippers.



But other teams faired far better.

The Lakers refueled with Carlos Boozer and Ed Davis; the Heat brought back Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade and added Loul Deng; the Bulls added Pau Gasol and Aaron Brooks; the Knicks wooed Carmelo Anthony back to New York; and Lebron James is home with the Cavaliers and looking for some additional Love – Kevin Love, that is.




And, while all the big name free agents have been plucked and prognosticators are crowning their 2015 champions already, the most recent NBA team to raise a trophy is, believe it or not, the Sacramento Kings.

The boys of summer from Sacramento won the Summer League title in Las Vegas Monday beating the Houston Rockets 77-68.

Sure the Summer League’s are meant for young, developing players, but what the win provides is a little hope, something Kings fans desperately need.

Point guard Ray McCallum may have eased the pain of losing Isaiah Thomas to the Suns, with his MVP performance in the title game. The second-year player scored 29 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the championship. McCallum averaged 12 points, five rebounds and 4.1 assists as the Kings went 6-1 in Summer League action.

McCallum averaged just under 20 minutes per game in his rookie season, scoring 6.2 points per game with 2.7 assists. He will see a lot more time with Thomas gone and performances like the one he had against the Rockets.

Kings fans also got a glimpse of 2014 first round pick Nik Stauskas who chipped in 10 points in the title game.

“We’ve always talked about trying to change our culture,” Sacramento coach Mike Malone said to reporters after the game. “A team that has lost so much in recent years. This isn’t the regular season by any means, but for us to come here and play as well as we did and win a championship, I think that’s a step in the right direction to create a winning a culture.”

A step in the right direction, yes. But, there will need to me 1,000 more steps in that direction if the Kings are to be a contender in the west.

The Kings finished 28-54 last season, better than just five other teams in the league.

So, what does this Summer League victory means for the Kings? Well, it means they are the best team in the NBA as long as none of the stars are playing.

But, what it means for the future is more important.

The fantastic Summer League run means the Kings have a boat load of young talent that will be worth developing and keeping.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email wford@theunion.com.


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