The Sacramento Kings’ arena issues were tentatively resolved Monday, meaning the NBA franchise probably won’t be moving.
Bad timing for the Jazz.
Utah returns from the All-Star break Tuesday night and plays in Sacramento, where the Kings’ fans will surely be amped because their team’s future has resolved.
Coach Tyrone Corbin anticipates the energized crowd will make the Jazz’s task more difficult, but he’s pleased for Sacramento.
Corbin spent most of the 1995-96 season playing for the Kings.
“It’s a tremendous city,” he said. “They’ve always done a great job supporting the NBA team, even in years when the team wasn’t very good.”
Like the Jazz in Salt Lake City, Corbin knows the Kings’ impact on Sacramento involves more than civic pride.
The franchise “creates so many jobs for that community,” he said. “I know they’d hate for the franchise to leave. Folks would have lost jobs. It would have hurt beyond just a basketball team leaving town.”
Royal growing pains
The Kings are 9-17 since Keith Smart replaced Paul Westphal as head coach.
According to Corbin, however, Sacramento is playing better than when it suffered a 96-93 loss in Utah on Jan. 28.
“They’ve had [more time] together,” Corbin said. “They’ve gotten a chance to get used to what Keith wants them to do. ...
“It’s a talented group of guys, man, and they play better at home. If they get it going, they can score a lot of points.”
Rookie Jimmer Fredette, the Kings’ first-round draft pick out of BYU, averages eight points and 1.9 assists this season. But he played only 17 minutes in the last three games before the All-Star break.
“He can shoot it,” Corbin said. “His playing time has been a little sporadic lately, but he’s a kid who can come in, really spread the floor and make baskets. We can’t afford to let him get off against us.”
Bell still ailing
Despite a five-day break for All-Star Weekend, Jazz shooting guard Raja Bell continues to struggle with a strained adductor muscle.
His availability against the Kings will be a game-time decision, the team announced Monday afternoon.
If Bell can’t play, veteran Josh Howard will likely make his third straight start.
Before being injured, Bell had reached double figures and made 14 of 24 3-point shots in six straight games.
Howard replaced Bell in the starting lineup in losses to San Antonio and Minnesota. He finished with 12 points in 29 minutes against the Spurs and a season-high 19 points in 32 minutes against the Timberwolves.
Because Howard played so well, there’s a chance Corbin will start Howard even if Bell can play. Another option would be starting Howard and Bell and bringing Gordon Hayward off the bench.
“We had a couple of guys hurt going into the break,” Corbin said. “We’ll make sure everybody is healthy and then we’ll make an adjustment and see how it helps us.”
Jazz vs. Kings
P At Power Balance Pavilion
Tipoff • 8 p.m. MST
TV • ROOT Sports
Radio • 1320 AM, 98.7 FM
Records • Jazz 15-17, Kings 11-22
Last meeting • Jazz, 96-93 (Jan. 28)
Season series • Jazz, 1-0
About the Jazz • They have lost three straight and eight of their past 10. ... They have lost four straight on the road by an average of 12.5 points. ... In their past two games, they squandered 13- and 18-point leads (San Antonio, Minnesota). ... They have scored 100 points twice in the past 11 games.
About the Kings • They are 7-5 at home, where they play 21 of their final 33 games. ... They are led by G Marcus Thornton (18.2), G Tyreke Evans (17.3) and C DeMarcus Cousins (16.4). ... They rank last in the league in shooting percentage (.410) and points allowed (102.2).