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De’Aaron Fox, Richaun Holmes will not play against the Pelicans on Tuesday

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The Kings won’t have De’Aaron Fox available on Tuesday, but it’s not because they’re shutting him down.

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings won’t have De’Aaron Fox or Richaun Holmes for their matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, which is the first of their last two seeding games in Orlando.

Holmes missed the Kings’ last game against the Houston Rockets with a hip injury, and that same injury will keep him sidelined for Tuesday’s game. Meanwhile, Fox won’t be active due to shoulder soreness. Kent Bazemore (calf) is the only other name on the Kings’ injury report outside of Marvin Bagley III, who’s already been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

The overwhelming expectation is that Fox won’t play another game this season now that the Kings are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but it appears Luke Walton has different plans. In his postgame press conference on Sunday, Walton said he expects everyone to play if they’re healthy.

“I know that now that we’re out, it’s easier to give in but that’s something we have to change, so I fully expect our guys — our main guys — to continue to play and play at a hard level,” Walton said. “These are two more great opportunities for us, so we have to be ready to go and take advantage of this opportunity.”

Fox is a special case, though. While he didn’t look like a bonafide superstar in the Kings’ seeding games, he showed that he’s worth the max contract extension he’ll likely demand this offseason. Since the season restarted, Fox has averaged 26.2 points per game on 50.4% shooting from the field in addition to 7.3 assists and 1.7 steals per game. Fox still has room to grow, especially on the defensive end, but he can do that growing in the offseason, once he’s secured his long-term deal.

In Fox’s absence, Walton should consider giving meaningful minutes to Kyle Guy, who’s yet to make an appearance in the seeding games. Tuesday is actually the perfect opportunity to get some playing time because Jrue Holiday will be unavailable for the Pelicans. Additionally, Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson will be sidelined with injuries.

The season may be over, but the Kings can still make use of these next two games by playing their less-heralded young guys. Hopefully, Tuesday is the start of that.