The Sacramento Kings are a professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California. The Kings are members of the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
The team plays its home games at the Golden 1 Center. Their best seasons to date in the city were in the early 2000s, including the 2001–02 season when they had the best record in the NBA at 61–21 (a winning percentage of .744).
The Sacramento Kings are the latest and current version of one of the oldest continuously operating professional basketball franchises in the nation. They originated in Rochester, New York, as the Rochester Seagrams (a semi-professional team) in 1923, hosting a number of teams there over the next 20 years. They joined the National Basketball League in 1945 as the renamed Rochester Royals, winning that league's championship in their first season, 1945-46. They later jumped with three other NBL teams to the Basketball Association of America, forerunner of the NBA, in 1948. As the Royals, the team was often successful on the court, winning the NBA championship in 1951. The team, however, found it increasingly difficult to turn a profit in the comparatively small market of Rochester and relocated to Cincinnati in 1957, becoming the Cincinnati Royals. In 1972 the team relocated again, this time to Kansas City, Missouri, and was renamed the Kansas City-Omaha Kings because it initially split its home games between Kansas City and Omaha, Nebraska. In 1975, the Kings ceased playing home games in Omaha in 1977 and then simply became the Kansas City Kings. The team again failed to find success in its market and moved yet again to Sacramento in 1985, where they continue to reside today.
- Edgerton Park Arena (1949–1954)
- Rochester War Memorial (1955–1957)
- Cincinnati Gardens (1957–1972)
Kansas City–Omaha/Kansas City Kings
- Kansas City Municipal Auditorium (1972–1974)
- Omaha Civic Auditorium (1972–1978)
- Kemper Arena (1974–1985)
- ARCO Arena I (1985–1988)
- Sleep Train Arena (formerly ARCO Arena II/Power Balance Pavilion) (1988–2016)
- Golden 1 Center (2016–present)
The Rochester years: 1948–1957
The franchise that would become the Sacramento Kings initially started in the city of Rochester, New York, as the Rochester Royals of the National Basketball League.
At the conclusion of World War II, the United States lacked a major professional basketball league. The National Basketball League decided to fill that void by stepping up from a regional semi-pro league into the nation's premier professional basketball loop. One of the top professional teams in the country was the Rochester Pros, an independent barnstorming team run by Lester Harrison. They were invited to join the NBL for the 1945–46 season. The team, which had long been known as the Seagrams before briefly adopting the nickname "Pros", held a name-the-team contest and selected the nickname "Royals".
Success for the Royals was almost immediate. Founded in 1945 by owner/coach/general manager Les Harrison (Hall of Famer) and his brother and co-owner/business manager Jack Harrison, the team won the NBL championship in 1945-46. The team was led by Bob Davies, Al Cervi, George Glamack, and Otto Graham, a future NFL Hall of Famer, who, in his only season in professional basketball, won a league championship before moving on to football and leading the Cleveland Browns to ten straight championship games, winning seven.
The following season, NBL Governors voted that the regular season "Pennant Winner" would be declared as the official NBL Champion, and the post-season would consist of a separate, non-championship tournament. The Royals finished 31–13 (.705), capturing their second NBL Championship in as many years, but lost in the post-season tournament finals to the Chicago American Gears.
The following season the NBL scrapped their one-year "pennant" experiment, and from that point forward the post-season playoffs would determine the NBL Champion. The Royals again finished with the league's best overall record at 44–16, but lost to George Mikan's Minneapolis Lakers 3 games to 1 in the NBL Finals.
In 1948, the Royals moved to the Basketball Association of America along with the Fort Wayne Pistons, Minneapolis Lakers, and Indianapolis (Kautskys) Jets. A year later, the BAA merged with the NBL to become the National Basketball Association.
The Royals' twelve-year stay in Rochester featured the services of nine future members of the Basketball Hall of Fame, one member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and a Hollywood Walk of Famer: Al Cervi, Bob Davies, Alex Hannum, Les Harrison, Red Holzman, Arnie Risen, Maurice Stokes, Jack Twyman, Bobby Wanzer, Otto Graham, and Chuck Connors.
The Cincinnati years: 1957–1972
In 1957, the Royals were moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, by the Harrison brothers. Despite winning the NBA title in 1951, the Royals had drawn poorly and lost money for five straight years in Rochester and were under pressure to seek a larger market. Cincinnati, which had a strong college basketball fan base and no NFL franchise to compete with, was deemed the best choice. The fact that local college stars Jack Twyman, Dave Piontek and Tom Marshall were on the roster helped make fans quickly.
During the team's first NBA draft in Cincinnati, the team netted future Hall Of Famer Clyde Lovellette and former star guard George King. They teamed with the 1-2 punch of Maurice Stokes and Twyman to produce a budding contender in the team's very first season in the Queen City. Injury to Marshall and the loss of star guard Si Green to military service dropped the team into a tie for second place in the NBA Western Division during the 1957-58 season's second half.
In the season's finale, All-Pro star Maurice Stokes struck his head when he fell after pursuing a rebound. He shook off the effects of the fall, even as he had briefly been unconscious. After Game One in the playoffs three days later, Stokes' head injury was greatly aggravated by airplane cabin pressure during the flight back to Cincinnati for Game Two. He suffered a seizure and was permanently hospitalized, a tragedy that greatly shook the team. Stokes, a tremendous talent who could play center, forward and guard, was 2nd in the NBA in rebounds and 3rd in assists, a double-feat only Wilt Chamberlain has matched for a full season. Without Stokes, the team nearly folded.
Fellow All-Star Twyman rose to All-Pro level the next two seasons for Cincinnati, even as the team posted two 19-win seasons. The 1958-59 Cincinnati team featured five rookies, with Lovellette, King and other key players having left the team in the wake of Stokes' tragic injury. The Harrisons, under pressure to sell to a local group, sold to a local ownership headed by Thomas Woods. The fact that Stokes was simply dumped by the team and the new ownership infuriated many.
Jack Twyman came to aid of his teammate and even legally adopted Stokes. Raising funds for Stokes' medical treatment, Twyman helped his fallen teammate until his death in April, 1970. The 1973 feature film Maurie, which co-starred actors Bernie Casey and Bo Svenson, later dramatized their story.
Shootng often for the beleaguered team, Twyman was the second NBA player ever to average 30 points per game for a full NBA season. Both Twyman and Stokes were later named Hall of Famers. In 1960, the team was able to land local superstar Oscar Robertson. Robertson led a team that included Twyman, Wayne Embry, Bob Boozer, Bucky Bockhorn, Tom Hawkins and Adrian Smith over the next three seasons. The Royals reversed their fortunes with Robertson and rose to title contender. An ownership dispute in early 1963 scuttled the team's playoff chances when new owner Louis Jacobs booked a circus for Cincinnati Gardens for the week of the playoff series versus the champion Boston Celtics. Jacobs, an aloof owner, would prove no ally to the team's title hopes.
In late 1963, another local superstar, Jerry Lucas, joined the team. The Royals rose to second-best record in the NBA. From 1963-66, the Royals contended strongly against Boston and the Philadelphia 76ers, but fell short of their title hopes. The team's star players throughout the 1960s were Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas. Robertson met with individual success, averaging a triple-double in 1961-62 and winning the Most Valuable Player award in 1964. Robertson was a league-leading scorer and passer each season. Lucas was Rookie Of the Year in 1964, led the league in shooting, and later averaged 20 rebounds per game over three seasons. Both were All-NBA First Team selections multiple times.
The Royals were an also-ran throughout the era anyway. The team failed to keep promising players and played in the tough NBA East division, dominated by the Boston Celtics, even as a Baltimore team played in the West Division for three years, denying the team likely visits to the NBA Finals.
In 1966, the team was sold to a pair of brothers named Max and Jeremy Jacobs. That same season, the Royals began playing some of their home games in neutral sites such as Cleveland (until the Cavaliers began play in 1970), Dayton & Columbus, which was the norm for the rest of the Royals tenure in the Queen City.
New coach Bob Cousy, a loyal Boston Celtic, traded Lucas in 1969. Robertson was traded to Milwaukee in 1970, where he would immediately win an NBA title. The declining franchise left Cincinnati shortly thereafter, moving to Kansas City in 1972.
The Kansas City–Omaha/Kansas City years: 1972–1985
The Royals were renamed the Kings because Kansas City already had the Royals baseball team. The basketball team agreed to change its nickname, even though it had used the name for 25 years before the baseball team was established. The team initially divided its home games between Kansas City and Omaha until 1975, when it abandoned the Omaha market. During that time the team was officially called the "Kansas City-Omaha Kings". The team netted a new superstar in Nate Archibald, who led the league in scoring and assists.While still in Cincinnati, the Kings introduced a most unusual uniform design, which placed the player's surname below his number. The design remained intact through the first several seasons of the team's run in Sacramento, even when the shade of blue on the road uniforms was changed from royal blue to powder blue, and the script "Kansas City" which adorned the road jerseys was scrubbed after the move in favor of a repeat of the "Kings" script on the home shirts.The Kings had some decent players throughout. Tom Van Arsdale, the shooting forward, "Jumpin" Johnny Green, and Matt Guokas helped Archibald in the first year in Kansas City. Toby Kimball was a fan favorite. Jimmy Walker teamed with Archibald as the Kings made the playoffs the second year. Sam Lacey, an effective passing center, became one of the most dependable players in the league. Archibald became the first player to lead the league in scoring and assists in the first season in Kansas City. However, the management traded Archibald, and wasted high draft picks. Bob Cousy gave way to Phil Johnson, who was fired midyear in 1977 and replaced by Larry Staverman, a player on the team on two separate occasions when it was in Cincinnati and who later became the Cleveland Indians groundskeeper.
The Kings finally achieved some success in their new home when they hired Cotton Fitzsimmons as coach. Coach Fitzsimmons won the Midwest Division in 1978-79 with rookie point guard Phil Ford. Kansas City was led by shooting guard Otis Birdsong, strong on both offense and defense, all around shooting forward Scott Wedman, and passing center Sam Lacey, who had a trademark 25 foot bank shot. They also drew an average of 10,789 fans to Kemper Arena that season, the only time during their tenure in KC that average attendance was in five figures. The Kings made the playoffs in 1979-80 and again in 1980–81, despite finishing the regular season at 40–42. The Kings made a surprise run in the NBA Playoffs, reaching the Western Conference Finals. Big Ernie Grunfeld played the point in this run, as KC used a slow half court game to win the first two rounds. Power forward Reggie King had a remarkable series, dominating the opposition.
However, a series of bad luck incidents prevented the team from building on its success. Ted Stepien, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers lured Wedman and Birdsong away with big contract offers, the roof literally fell in at Kemper Arena because of a winter storm, forcing the team to play most of the 1979-80 season at Municipal Auditorium, and the ownership group sold the team to Sacramento interests for just eleven million dollars. The general manager was fired in a bizarre scandal in which he was found to be reusing marked postage stamps. When the Kings rehired Joe Axelson as general manager, they brought back the man who had previously traded superstars Oscar Robertson, Norm Van Lier, Nate Archibald and Jerry Lucas, and used the third pick in the ABA dispersal draft on Ron Boone. Axelson would stay on after the Kings left Kansas City where, in their last game ever, fans wore Joe Axelson masks. Axelson later would say he hoped his plane would never touch down in Kansas City.
Axelson later would be the first general manager in the history of sports to fail with the same franchise in four different cities: Cincinnati, Kansas City, Omaha and Sacramento. He would not be fired for good until he rehired as coach Phil Johnson, whom he had fired in midseason in Kansas City ten years before. The Kings also had the misfortune of entering this period competing with the Kansas City Comets for the winter sports dollar, when the Comets were led by marketers - the Leiweke brothers. Their final season, 1984-85, resulted in a dismal 31–51 record as fans stayed away from Kemper Arena in droves, with average attendance of just 6,410. The writing was on the wall for Kansas City.
The Sacramento years: 1985–present
Move to Sacramento
The Kings moved west to their current home of Sacramento, California, in 1985. Much of their early tenure in Sacramento was spent in the NBA's cellar, and the team made the playoffs only once between 1985 and 1995. Some of their failure was attributable to unimaginable misfortune, such as the career-altering car crash suffered by promising point guard Bobby Hurley and the tragic suicide of Ricky Berry; some was attributable to poor management such as the over-long tenure of head coach Garry St. Jean and the ill-fated selection of "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison with the first overall pick in the 1989 NBA Draft.
Cellar Dwellers (1991–1996)
The early 1990s were not kind to the Kings. Sacramento was known for having strong fan support, which helped them win over 60% of its home games. But it never had a good team and always struggled on the road, going 1–40 on the road in one single season alone, and its owner James Alford Thomas rarely paid for top talent. The Kings squeaked into the playoffs in 1996 largely due to the effort of star player Mitch Richmond, but they did not distinguish themselves in the postseason. Eventually the team was sold to the Maloof Family, who finally changed the direction of the team.
Ownership Change (1997–1999)
The Kings emerged from years of mediocrity with the draft selection of Jason Williams, the signing of Vlade Divac, and the trade of Mitch Richmond for Chris Webber prior to the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season. These acquisitions coincided with the arrival of Peja Stojakovic, who had been drafted in 1996. Each of these moves was attributed to general manager Geoff Petrie, who has won NBA Executive of the Year several times. Following these acquisitions, the Kings rose in the NBA ranks, becoming a perennial playoff contender. Led by new head coach Rick Adelman, and aided by former Princeton head coach and Kings assistant Pete Carril, their so-called "Princeton offense" turned heads around the league for its run-and-gun style and superb ball movement. Some criticized the Kings for their poor team defense, Williams's "flash over substance" style of play with its many turnovers, and Webber's failure to step up his game in important matchups. Still, they quickly became NBA darlings, garnering many fans outside of California, and even around the world, many of which were enthralled by Williams's amazing passing abilities and Webber's sharp all-around game. Despite their tremendous successes, they were still a young team, and were ultimately defeated by more experienced teams in the playoffs, losing to the Utah Jazz in 1999 (in a thrilling five-game matchup), and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2000.
"The Greatest Show on Court" era (2000–2005)
Following the 2000 season, the Kings traded starting small forward Corliss Williamson to the Toronto Raptors for defensive shooting guard Doug Christie, opening a starting spot for sharpshooter Stojakovic. Stojakovic and his dead-eye long range shot served as the perfect complement to Webber's smooth inside game, taking the Kings' already-potent offense to new heights. With their continued success on court came their continued rise in popularity, culminating in their gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated in February 2001, with the title "The Greatest Show On Court". In 2001, they won their first playoff series in the Webber era (and their first in twenty years), defeating the Phoenix Suns 3–1, before being swept in four games by the Lakers, who went on to win the NBA championship, accomplishing a three-peat.
In July 2001, Petrie traded starting point guard Jason Williams to the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies for point guard Mike Bibby. The trade solved needs on both sides: the Grizzlies, in the process of moving to Memphis, wanted an exciting, popular player to sell tickets in their new home, while the Kings, an up-and-coming team, sought more stability and control at the point guard position. Although questioned by some Kings fans at the time, NBA officials and experts proclaimed Bibby as the better player in the deal, as well as a better leader, having led the Arizona Wildcats to an NCAA championship in 1997. This move was complemented by the crucial re-signing of Webber to a maximum-salary contract, securing the star power forward for years to come.
With the addition of Bibby, the Kings had their best season to date in 2001-02. The team finished with a league-best record of 61-21, going 36-5 at ARCO Arena, and stormed through the first two rounds of the playoffs. The Kings then faced the L.A. Lakers, the two-time defending champions in the western conference finals. In what has been widely acclaimed as one of the greatest playoff series of all time, the Kings were able to jump out to a 2-1 lead. Just when it appeared the Kings would be heading back to Sacramento with a 3-1 series lead, Lakers forward Robert Horry burried a game-winning three-pointer (to win the game 100-99)on a play where Vlade Divac batted the ball to get it out from under the rim. Needless to say, the play backfired. However Game 5 saw Mike Bibby return the favor with a game-winning shot of his own with 3.7 seconds left, the Kings won 92-91. In a highly contested game 6 at the STAPLES Center, the Lakers bested the Kings by four points in a seemingly one-sided game. A statistic of note in this game was that the the Lakers shot 27 fourth quarter free throws compared to the Kings 9.
The seventh and final game is considered by many to be one of the NBA's all-time best game 7s. No team gained a double-digit lead in the game. But it was particularly poor free throw shooting that would doom the Kings; missing 14 of their 30 free throw attempts (53.3% shooting). This Kings team wouldn't get a better chance to get to the NBA Finals.
After winning another division championship by going 59-23 in 2002–03, the Kings lost Webber to a knee injury in the playoffs, ultimately losing to the Dallas Mavericks in a seven game series. Webber's knee required major surgery. Although he would return mid-season in 2003–04, he had lost much of his explosiveness and athleticism. The Kings would end the season with a playoff defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves in seven games.
The 2004–05 season marked another season of dramatic change for the Kings, who lost three of their starters from the 2002 team. In the offseason of 2004, Divac opted to sign with the rival Lakers, giving Brad Miller a starting spot at center. Early in the season, Christie was traded to the Orlando Magic for shooting guard Cuttino Mobley. But the most dramatic change came in February, when Webber was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for three relatively unheralded forwards: Corliss Williamson, Kenny Thomas, and Brian Skinner. The Kings ultimately lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Seattle SuperSonics. The 2005 offseason continued the team transformation, with the Kings trading fan favorite Bobby Jackson for Bonzi Wells and acquiring free agent forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
The 2005-06 season started off poorly, as the Kings had a hard time finding chemistry in the team. Newcomers Bonzi Wells and Shareef Abdur-Rahim made major contributions early in the season, but both fell victim to the injury bug and missed a significant number of games. As the Kings' dismal season continued, the Maloofs decided to make a major move.
Popular sharpshooting small forward Peja Stojakovic was traded for Ron Artest, long known for his volatile temper. With this trade, the Kings begin the Artest era until its ultimate end. With Artest in the lineup, the Kings had a 20-9 record after the 2006 NBA All-Star Weekend, which was the second best post-All-Star break record that season. The Kings finished the regular season with a 44-38 record, which placed them 4th in the Pacific Division. The Kings obtained the 8th seed of the Western Conference playoffs, and were matched up in the first round against the San Antonio Spurs in a seven-game series. The Spurs beat the Kings in the first round 4-2.
In 2006-2007, the disappointing play of the Kings had been coupled with the distraction of legal troubles. Coach Eric Musselman pleaded no contest to DUI charges early in the season, while star Ron Artest got in to trouble for neglect of his dogs, and was later arrested for domestic assault. The Kings dismissed Artest of basketball duties, pending more investigation in to the matter, and was later reinstated. The Kings finished the 2006–07 NBA season with an overall record of 33-49 (their worst in 9 years) in which they were 20-21 at ARCO Arena for the first time since 93-94 and 13-28 on the road; fifth place in the Pacific Division. This season record included a seven game losing-streak that started on January 4 and ended on January 19. Consequently, the Sacramento Kings went on to miss the 2007 NBA Playoffs, the first time in eight seasons. Coach Eric Musselman was fired on April 20, 2007. The Kings' future appears to rest on the shoulders of breakout star Kevin Martin, who was a leading candidate for 2007 NBA Most-Improved Player of the Year.
The 2007 off season was a time of change for the Kings. Kings coach Eric Musselman was replaced by former Kings player, Reggie Theus for head coach. Fans and sports analysts were puzzled by the hire, especially with Larry Brown expressing great interest in coaching the team. On [June 28, 2007, the Kings selected center Spencer Hawes as the 10th overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.
In addition to these changes, the Sacramento Kings acquired center-forward Mikki Moore from the New Jersey Nets. Kevin Martin signed a contract worth $55 million, extending his period with the team for five more years.
However, the Kings also lost some key players over the offseason, with backup point guard Ronnie Price leaving for the Utah Jazz, and Corliss Williamson retiring.
The team claimed fourth-year point guard Beno Udrih off waivers from Minnesota. Udrih quickly assumed the starting point guard job, as Bibby was injured.
It was announced on February 16, 2008 that the Kings had traded longtime point guard Bibby to the Atlanta Hawks for Tyronn Lue, Anthony Johnson, Shelden Williams, Lorenzen Wright and a 2nd round draft pick. The move was done mostly to clear cap space for the future. Bibby was the last remaining original player that got the Kings to the Western Conference Finals back in 2002.
The Kings improved by 5 games and finished the 07-08 season with a 38-44 missing the playoffs by a much bigger margin (12 games) than the previous season (8 games). They went 26-15 at home and 12-29 on the road. After selling out every home game since 1999 the Kings only sold out the three home games (against the Celtics and Lakers) during the 07-08 season averaging 13,500 fans per home game, almost 4,000 below capacity. Many home games struggled to put 15,000 in with empty seats common.
Following a quiet 2008 offseason, it was confirmed on July 29, 2008 that the Kings would trade forward Ron Artest and the rights to Patrick Ewing Jr and Sean Singletary to the Houston Rockets in exchange for former King Bobby Jackson, Donté Greene, a future first round draft pick, and cash considerations .
Change and Transition (2008–2009)
With new pressures on the Kings to rebuild and return to their glory days, General Manager Geoff Petrie is assembling a new younger more talented squad to hopefully carry the team. With the youthful faces of Kevin Martin, who averages over 20 points and is known for his consistent shooting, and the likes of Francisco Garcia, Bobby Brown, and Beno Udrih, the Kings are optimistic for their future.
A main concern at the moment is their coaching position with the firing of Reggie Theus earlier in the 2008-09 season. With Interim Head Coach Kenny Natt, the Kings have continued to struggle, which leaves the franchise with many questions on the coaching role for next season.
"Here we Rise" Period (2009–2012)
Despite having the best odds to win the top overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, the Kings obtained the 4th overall pick, the lowest they could possibly pick, to the outrage of many fans. Along with new head coach Paul Westphal, they selected Tyreke Evans. With the 23rd pick, they selected Omri Casspi from Israel.
On April 27, 2010, Evans was the first Sacramento era player to receive the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Evans also became the 4th player in NBA history, joining Oscar Robertson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James, to average 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per game as a rookie.
On June 24, 2010, the Kings selected DeMarcus Cousins with the 5th pick of the 2010 NBA draft. They also selected Hassan Whiteside, with the 33rd pick of the 2010 NBA draft.
Despite the excellent play of Cousins and Evans, both of whom were front-runners in Rookie of the Year voting and received All-Rookie First Team honors, the Kings still ranked near the bottom of the NBA, going 25–57 in Evans' rookie year, and 24–58 in Cousins' rookie year. Much of this was due to the poor fit of the roster around Evans and Cousins, and the uninspired coaching of Westphal.
The 2010–11 season was marked with uncertainty towards the end of the season. Frustrated by the lack of progress towards an arena and dwindling profits from other businesses, the Maloofs sought an immediate relocation of the franchise to Anaheim. The move seemed certain towards the end of the year, with Grant Napear and Jerry Reynolds emotionally signing off at the final home game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers. But after a vote by the NBA board of Governors, the relocation effort was ended, to the glee of the fans.
In the 2011 NBA draft the Kings traded for the draft rights of Jimmer Fredette in a three-team deal with the Charlotte Bobcats and the Milwaukee Bucks, with the Kings receiving John Salmons sending Beno Udrih. This move was heavily panned by fans and media; by moving down in the draft and losing longtime starter Udrih for the unproductive Salmons, most found it difficult to find a bright spot in the deal. Westphal would shortly be fired, with Warriors assistant Keith Smart hired as his replacement. Around this time, the team took the slogan "Here we rise!" for its marketing campaign. Amidst various relocation rumors and locker room tensions, the Kings had yet another unsuccessful season. One of their few bright spots was rookie Isaiah Thomas. Due to criticisms about his height (5'9" in shoes) and playmaking ability, Thomas slipped to the 60th and final pick of the draft. Despite this, and the presence of college superstar Fredette, Thomas earned the starting spot, finishing the season with averages of 11 points and 4 assists per game and earned a selection to the NBA All-Rookie team. In the 2012 NBA draft they selected Thomas Robinson out of Kansas.
Because of an unproductive rookie season by Robinson, he was traded with Francisco García and Tyler Honeycutt to the Houston Rockets in exchange for Patrick Patterson, Toney Douglas and Cole Aldrich.
Franchise restructuring (2012–2015)
On May 16, 2013, the Maloof family reached agreement to sell the Kings to a group led by Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur Vivek Ranadivé for a then-record NBA franchise valuation of $535 million. Ranadivé, 55, named Raj Bhathal, 71, founder of Tustin-based Raj Manufacturing, one of the largest swimwear companies in the nation, as one of the investors in a consortium to buy a majority stake in the Kings from the franchise's longtime owners, the Maloof family, for a reported $348 million. The group fought off a rival bid that would have moved the team to Seattle after the NBA's Board of Governors rejected investor Chris Hansen's bid to relocate the team. The new owners intend to keep the team in Sacramento. On May 28, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved the sale, ending several years of efforts by other cities to take possession and move the Kings out of Sacramento. On May 31, 2013, the Kings closed escrow, finalizing the sale to the Ranadivé group at a record valuation of $534 million, beginning a new era for the franchise. Plans were already underway to move forward on an arena, as the Downtown Plaza was reportedly being sold to the Sacramento ownership group. A month later, on July 30, Turner Construction was selected to be the builder of the arena.
Once the sale had closed and ownership was transferred to Ranadivé, the Kings began making changes to the management and staff. Geoff Petrie and Keith Smart were released; Mike Malone and Pete D'Alessandro were brought in to replace them. Corliss Williamson, Brendan Malone, Chris Jent, and Dee Brown were brought in as assistant coaches. On July 10, NBA executive Chris Granger was hired as team president. On September 23, 2013, Shaquille O'Neal purchased a minority share of the team, jokingly dubbing the team's new organization the "Shaqramento Kings".
These hires coincided several roster moves. In the 2013 NBA draft on June 27, the Kings selected Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore, who was widely projected to go top-five, with the seventh overall pick. They also selected point guard and former McDonald's All-American Ray McCallum, Jr. from the University of Detroit with the 36th pick. One week later, on July 5, the Kings sent former NBA Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans to the New Orleans Pelicans in a three-team deal involving Robin Lopez, Greivis Vásquez, Jeff Withey, Terrel Harris, and picks. On July 9, the Kings traded a future second-round draft pick to the Bucks in exchange for defensive small forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, and on July 15, the Kings signed Carl Landry, who had played a stint with the team in its previous ownership, to a 4-year deal worth $28 million.
The 2013–14 season was widely anticipated by Kings fans. Playing their first game on October 30, against the Nuggets, the Kings won 90–88, despite being without projected starters Landry and Mbah a Moute. They were led by a 30-point, 14 rebound performance from DeMarcus Cousins, and a putback dunk by Jason Thompson with under a minute to play which sealed the victory for the Kings.
After the poor play of starting forwards John Salmons and Patrick Patterson through November, the Kings sought a change. On November 26, newly acquired Luc Richard Mbah a Moute was traded for power forward Derrick Williams. Nearly two weeks later, on December 8, they acquired Rudy Gay in a blockbuster seven-player deal that sent the struggling Patterson and Salmons to Toronto along with Chuck Hayes and off-season acquisition Greivis Vásquez. Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray were also sent to the Kings. The organization sought to add depth to their lineup during the 2014 off-season to complement the Kings' star duo DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. Sacramento added Darren Collison, Ryan Hollins and Ramon Sessions through free agency signings, as well as drafting Nik Stauskas prior to the start of the 2014–15 season.
After an 11–13 start to the 2014–15 season, head coach Michael Malone was fired by the Sacramento Kings organization. Tyrone Corbin filled in for the Kings until Hall of Fame coach George Karl replaced him in February 2015.
On January 30, 2015, DeMarcus Cousins was named to replace the injured Kobe Bryant as a Western Conference All-Star in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game. Cousins' selection marked the first time a Kings player earned All-Star honors since Brad Miller and Peja Stojaković represented Sacramento in 2004.
Divac as general manager, new arena, departure of DeMarcus Cousins, Rebuilding (2015–present)
On March 3, 2015, the Kings announced former Sacramento center Vlade Divac as the new vice president of basketball operations. Following the end of Sacramento's 29–53 season for 2014–15, The Kings made aggressive off-season moves in drafting Willie Cauley-Stein and acquiring Rajon Rondo, Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli, and Caron Butler in preparation for the 2015–16 season. To free up cap space, Divac traded Nik Stauskas, Carl Landry, Jason Thompson, a future top 10 protected first round pick, and the right to swap two future first round picks to the Philadelphia 76ers for the rights to second round picks Artūras Gudaitis and Luka Mitrović. While the 76ers gave up nearly nothing to acquire draft assets that would result in the selection of number 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, the Kings have remained one of the worst teams in the NBA. It is regarded by many as one of the most lopsided trades in NBA history.
On April 14, 2016, after a 33–49 season, the Kings fired head coach George Karl. Karl compiled a record of 44-68 with the Kings.
The 2016–17 season brought several changes. The Kings moved into their new arena, the Golden 1 Center. On May 9, 2016, the Kings hired former Memphis Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger as head coach. During the 2016 NBA draft, the Kings traded the 8th pick to the Phoenix Suns for the 13th and 28th pick in the draft, as well as the rights to Serbian guard Bogdan Bogdanović. Later in the evening, the Kings traded Marco Belinelli to the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for the 22nd pick in the draft. The Kings selected four players in the 2016 NBA draft – Greek center Georgios Papagiannis with the 13th pick, Syracuse shooting guard Malachi Richardson with the 22nd pick, Kentucky forward Skal Labissiere with the 28th pick, and Oklahoma guard Isaiah Cousins with the 59th pick. In free agency, the Kings signed Anthony Tolliver, Garrett Temple, Arron Afflalo, Matt Barnes, and Ty Lawson.
On February 20, 2017, the Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins, alongside Omri Casspi to the New Orleans Pelicans for Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway and two future draft picks. The Kings finished the 2016–17 season with a 32–50 record.
In the 2017 NBA draft the team selected Kentucky point guard De'Aaron Fox with the fifth pick. They also selected North Carolina forward Justin Jackson with the 15th pick, Duke center Harry Giles with the 20th pick, and Kansas point guard Frank Mason III with the 34th pick. With four rookie pickups, Divac wanted to add veteran presences on the roster. On July 10, 2017, the team signed three veterans – Vince Carter, Zach Randolph, and George Hill.
The team finished the 2017–18 season with a 27–55 record, placing 12th in the Western Conference. Giles sat out the entire season due to a leg injury despite previous reports that he would make his rookie debut in January. Hill was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Greek center Papagiannis, who was selected in the first round of the 2016 draft, averaged only 2.1 points in the 16 games played.
During the 2018 NBA draft, the Kings selected Duke center Marvin Bagley III. The team was criticized following the draft for not selecting Luka Dončić, while Divac would go on to say he was confident in Bagley. Prior to the 2018–19 season, multiple analysts picked Sacramento to finish last in the Western Conference, calling their recent draft a "missed opportunity to build" and their lack of a veteran presence to offset their rookie lineup. The Kings lost to the Utah Jazz 123–117 in their season opener on October 17, 2018. Despite starting the season 1–3, including a loss to the Pelicans in which they gave up 149 points, the team would go onto win their next five games to hold a winning record. By December 30, the team held a 19–16 record. Ultimately, the Kings finished the season in ninth place in the Western Conference posting a record of 39–43; they again missed the playoffs. However, this was the team’s best regular season record since their last playoff appearance in the 2005–06 season. In spite of this, head coach Joerger was fired after the conclusion of the season, and Luke Walton was hired as his replacement three days later.
Note: W = Wins, L = Losses, % = Percentage
|1948-49||45||15||.750|| Won Division Semifinals|
Lost Division Finals
| Rochester 2, St. Louis 0|
Minneapolis 2, Rochester 0
|1949-50||51||17||.750||Lost Division Semifinals||Fort Wayne 2, Rochester 0|
|1950-51||41||27||.603|| Won Division Semifinals|
Won Division Finals
Won NBA Finals
| Rochester 2, Fort Wayne 1|
Rochester 3, Minneapolis 1
Rochester 4, New York 3
|1951-52||41||25||.621|| Won Division Semifinals|
Lost Division Finals
| Rochester 2, Fort Wayne 0|
Minneapolis 3, Rochester 1
|1952-53||44||26||.629||Lost Division Semifinals||Fort Wayne 2, Rochester 1|
|1953-54||44||28||.611||Lost Division Finals||Minneapolis 2, Rochester 1|
|1954-55||29||43||.403||Lost Division Semifinals||Minneapolis 2, Rochester 1|
|1957-58||33||39||.458||Lost Division Semifinals||Detroit 2, Cincinnati 0|
|1961-62||43||37||.538||Lost Division Semifinals||Detroit 3, Cincinnati 1|
|1962-63||42||38||.525|| Won Division Semifinals|
Lost Division Finals
| Cincinnati 3, Syracuse 2|
Boston 4, Cincinnati 3
|1963-64||55||25||.688|| Won Division Semifinals|
Lost Division Finals
| Cincinnati 3, Philadelphia 2|
Boston 4, Cincinnati 1
|1964-65||48||32||.600||Lost Division Semifinals||Philadelphia 3, Cincinnati 1|
|1965-66||45||35||.563||Lost Division Semifinals||Boston 3, Cincinnati 2|
|1966-67||39||42||.481||Lost Division Semifinals||Philadelphia 3, Cincinnati 1|
|Kansas City–Omaha Kings|
|1974-75||44||38||.537||Lost Conference Semifinals||Chicago 4, Kansas City–Omaha 2|
|Kansas City Kings|
|1978-79||48||34||.585||Lost Conference Semifinals||Phoenix 4, Kansas City 1|
|1979-80||47||35||.563||Lost First Round||Phoenix 2, Kansas City 1|
|1980-81||40||42||.488|| Won First Round|
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
| Kansas City 2, Portland 1|
Kansas City 4, Phoenix 3
Houston 4, Kansas City 1
|1983-84||38||44||.463||Lost First Round||Los Angeles 3, Kansas City 0|
|1985-86||37||45||.451||Lost First Round||Houston 3, Sacramento 0|
|1995-96||39||43||.476||Lost First Round||Seattle 3, Sacramento 1|
|1998-99||27||23||.540||Lost First Round||Utah 3, Sacramento 2|
|1999-2000||44||38||.537||Lost First Round||LA Lakers 3, Sacramento 2|
|2000-01||55||27||.672|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Sacramento 3, Phoenix 1|
LA Lakers 4, Sacramento 0
|2001-02||61||21||.744|| Won First Round|
Won Conference Semifinals
Lost Conference Finals
| Sacramento 3, Utah 1|
Sacramento 4, Dallas 1
LA Lakers 4, Sacramento 3
|2002-03||59||23||.720|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Sacramento 4, Utah 1|
Dallas 4, Sacramento 3
|2003-04||55||27||.672|| Won First Round|
Lost Conference Semifinals
| Sacramento 4, Dallas 1|
Minnesota 4, Sacramento 3
|2004-05||50||32||.610||Lost First Round||Seattle 4, Sacramento 1|
|2005-06||44||38||.537||Lost First Round||San Antonio 4, Sacramento 2|
- 0 - Trevor Ariza
- 35 - Marvin Bagley
- 40 - Harrison Barnes
- 88 - Nemanja Bjelica
- 8 - Bogdan Bogdanović
- 13 - Dewayne Dedmon
- 3 - Yogi Farrell
- 5 - De'Aaron Fox
- 32 - Wenyen Gabriel
- 20 - Harry Giles
- 7 - Kyle Guy
- 24 - Buddy Hield
- 22 - Richaun Holmes
- 10 - Justin James
- 19 - DaQuan Jeffries
- 9 - Cory Joseph
- 50 - Caleb Swanigan
All of the Kings retired numbers are hanging in the rafters of the Golden 1 Center.
- — ARCO Arena/Sleep Train Arena, Home of the Sacramento Kings, 1988–2016
- 1 Nate Archibald, G, 1970–1976
- 2 Mitch Richmond, G, 1991–1998
- 4 Chris Webber, F, 1998–2005
- 6 Fans ("The Sixth Man"), 1985–present
- 11 Bob Davies, G, 1945–1955
- 12 Maurice Stokes, F, 1955–1958
- 14 Oscar Robertson, G, 1960–1970
- 16 Peja Stojaković, F, 1998–2006
- 21 Vlade Divac, C, 1998–2004
- 27 Jack Twyman, F, 1955–1966
- 44 Sam Lacey, C, 1970–1981
1949 & 1950
| Succeeded by|
1952 & 1953 & 1954