Kings: Ariza Out For Preseason, Could Shumpert Be In?

Iman Shumpert Kings (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Iman Shumpert Kings (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings are suddenly thin at the wing position, and depth might come by finding a way to sign a familiar face.

The Sacramento Kings preseason depth chart took a hit on Friday as backup small forward Trevor Ariza was ruled out of the final two exhibition games. The 34-year-old had a procedure on his back to remove a lipoma.

A lipoma is a lump under the skin that occurs due to an overgrowth of fat cells, which doctors consider to be benign tumors. If they go untreated for long enough, they can cause pain, complications, and other symptoms.

Thoughts and well wishes are certainly with Ariza as he recovers, but the show must go on for the Kings who find themselves suddenly thin at the wing position. Ariza was slated to be the small forward for the Sacramento’s second unit, someone who could provide stability and a veteran presence for the young squad.

While Harrison Barnes has the starting small forward spot locked down, the situation behind him is murky. Bogdan Bogdanovic is listed as the third small forward, though he is already Buddy Hield’s backup coming off of the bench.

Now What?

So where does Sacramento go from here? There is one name out there that the Kings organization should be very familiar with.

The Kings were one of the biggest surprises in the league last year, which had a great deal to do with a change in culture. One of the veteran locker room presences that helped in that culture change was Iman Shumpert.

While his production on the court was erratic at times, he was the heart and soul of a young and inexperienced Sacramento team. He was the creator of the “Scores” nickname, which gave the Kings a slogan and identity. He was not only a fan favorite, but his teammates had nothing but praise to throw at the eight-year veteran.

Shumpert has plenty of playoff experience, and a championship ring to boot, having played in 54 games for the 2016 champion Cleveland Cavaliers. The Kings are no longer devoid of veteran talent after adding the players that they did this summer, so Shumpert’s locker room presence is no longer a glaring necessity.

That doesn’t mean that the Kings couldn’t use him, however. He is indeed listed as a shooting guard, but has played 18% of his career minutes at the small forward position. Depending on the severity of Ariza’s operation and his recovery time, Shumpert could be used as a stop-gap until Sacramento figures out another option.

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The Kings would have to make some roster changes in addition to the ones they made on Friday when they waived Isaiah Pineiro and Eric Mika while adding Hollis Thompson to the roster.