The nuttiest moment of the NBA offseason came two days before the draft, when the Kings and Bucks appeared to agree to a sign-and-trade to send Bogdan Bogdanovic to Milwaukee in exchange for Donte DiVincenzo and D.J. Wilson. The deal then fell through, the Bucks received a tampering penalty, and Bogdanovic ended up in Atlanta via free agency.
Bogdanovic didn’t seem to be too happy with the Kings about the whole affair, as he told Sam Amick back in January. He claimed that the Sacramento front office had kept him out of the loop, and he felt “betrayed” by the process.
The Kings have fared pretty well with Bogdanovic’s nominal replacement, Tyrese Haliburton, while Bogdanovic hasn’t had the easiest start to his Hawks tenure. He missed 25 straight games with injury and has shot 5-of-19 in the three games since he returned. For the season, Bogdanovic is averaging 8.6 points and 2.3 assists per game, not exactly the stabilizing bench force that Atlanta was hoping for.
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, GA
When: Saturday, March 13 at 4:30 p.m. PT
How to watch/listen: NBC Sports California, KHTK Sports 1140 AM
Opposing perspective: Peachtree Hoops
Projected Starting Lineups
Kings (15-22): De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Marvin Bagley III, Richaun Holmes
Hawks (17-20): Trae Young, Kevin Huerter, Tony Snell, John Collins, Clint Capela
Kings: Chimeze Metu (wrist), Hassan Whiteside (health and safety), Robert Woodard II (left hamstring) — OUT
Hawks: Onyeka Okongwu (right adductor) — PROBABLE; Kris Dunn (right ankle), De’Andre Hunter (right knee), Cam Reddish (right achilles) — OUT
However the season has gone till this point, expect Bogdanovic to come out guns blazing for this particular matchup. He has spoken in the past about how much rivalry matchups mean to him, whether that was Partizan/Red Star when he played in Europe or Kings/Lakers during his NBA career. Sacramento/Atlanta isn’t a rivalry, but there’s certainly extra incentive for Bogdanovic to prove that he’s a player the Kings should have invested in.
The Kings are coming off one of their more complete performances of the season against the Rockets. However, the Hawks are obviously a tougher opponent than a team on a 14-losing streak. De’Aaron Fox will have to be locked in on Trae Young from the get-go. Atlanta also makes a living on the offensive glass and at the foul line, so the onus will be on the Kings centers — and defenders as a whole — to crash the boards and defend cleanly.
This is the start of a six-game road trip for the Kings, one which could dictate how the team chooses to approach the rest of the year. Hopefully it’s a fun start in Atlanta.