TODAY'S PAPER
Good Evening
Good Evening
SportsBasketball

Marco Belinelli, Sacramento Kings agree to three-year deal, AP source says

Marco Belinelli of the San Antonio Spurs shoots

Marco Belinelli of the San Antonio Spurs shoots during the three-point contest during the skills competition at NBA All-Star Weekend, Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, in New Orleans. Credit: AP / Bill Haber

The Sacramento Kings and guard Marco Belinelli have agreed to a $19 million, three-year contract, a person with knowledge of the deal said Friday.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because contracts can't be completed until the moratorium on free agency ends Thursday. ESPN first reported the agreement.

Belinelli gives the Kings the shooting guard they've been searching for to stretch the floor for All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins. Wesley Matthews turned down Sacramento's $64 million, four-year offer Thursday to accept a deal with Dallas.

Belinelli has played the past two seasons with San Antonio, helping the Spurs win the NBA championship in 2014. He is shooting 43 percent in his eight-year career, including 39.2 percent from 3-point range.

Belinelli averaged 9.2 points and 22.4 minutes in 62 games with the Spurs last season. He was drafted 18th overall by Golden State in 2007 and also has played for Toronto, New Orleans and Chicago.

The agreement was the first major move on a busy day for the Kings. They also met with free agent point guard Rajon Rondo in Sacramento.

In the meantime, Belinelli provides a boost to what has been a head-scratching week for a Kings team still trying to come together under coach George Karl -- hired after Michael Malone and Tyrone Corbin were fired last season.

Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac started free agency by trading last year's first-round pick, Nik Stauskas, along with Jason Thompson and Carl Landry to Philadelphia to clear more than $16 million in salary cap space next season.

The Kings reportedly received the rights to two international players and a second-round pick in the deal but also gave up a first-round pick in 2018 that is top-10 protected plus the right to swap first-round draft choices in 2016 and 2017.

All of it was done to create more money to entice players such as Matthews, Rondo and Monta Ellis to come to California's capital city. Instead, the Kings struck out on Matthews and Ellis, who agreed to a deal with Indiana, and are left trying to court Rondo and second-tier free agents now.

Rondo is trying to recover from a brief but tumultuous tenure in Dallas. The 29-year-old was benched several times by Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle after coming over in a December trade from Boston, where he helped the Celtics win the 2008 title and return to the NBA Finals in 2010.

Rondo sat out the final three games in Dallas' first-round loss to Houston with what the team called a back injury -- though he had already been benched by Carlisle again in the Game 2 loss. That ended a saga that started when Dallas dealt for Rondo hoping he'd boost its championship chances.

Rondo was a four-time All-Star with the Celtics, who were led by Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce when they won the 2008 title under coach Doc Rivers. The Mavericks gambled that they were getting the player Rondo was before missing large parts of two seasons because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

Instead, Dallas ended up with a bad fit for an offense that regressed after being among the league's best at the time of the trade. Rondo also missed six games because of a broken bone near his left eye.

Rondo is averaging 10.8 points, 8.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds in nine seasons.

It's also unclear what Rondo's addition would mean for point guard Darren Collison, who signed a three-year, $16 million deal with the Kings last summer. Collison played well until missing the final 33 games with a core muscle injury that required surgery.

New York Sports