Kings praise departing Iman Shumpert's leadership after Rockets trade


SACRAMENTO -- #PurpleTalk just got a lot quieter in Sacramento. Veteran wing Iman Shumpert, was dealt to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night in a three-team, six-player swap, a source confirmed to NBC Sports California.

It’s a jarring move for a young locker room that had relied heavily on the 28-year-old to both lighten the mood, and help build a winning foundation.

"He was great, especially for the culture he helped create,” De’Aaron Fox told NBC Sports California. “It was great chemistry, but in this business, a lot of things happen. Guys get traded, guys get moved around, but you still have to go out and perform."

The timing of the trade couldn’t have been worse for the Kings. News broke around 5 p.m. as players were arriving at Golden 1 Center to take on the Rockets. Against a team like Houston, focus is a must and the team looked distracted early.

While he’d struggled on the offensive end as of late, Shumpert was a big part of Sacramento’s perimeter defense and his mentorship behind the scenes was extremely valuable.

“He was a big part of the team, he brought the energy every night - night in and night out,” rookie big man Marvin Bagley said. “When things weren’t going to well for us, he was always being positive and picking us up. He was a big part of the team. It was sad to see him go. It was like family.”

Head coach Dave Joerger wasn’t allowed to address the trade directly during his pregame comments since it had not yet been announced, but he did speak on what Shumpert has meant to the team this season.

“He’s been a terrific pro for us,” Joerger said. “He’s also given us some personality. We have a lot of nice guys that are young and still developing who they are as a player and who they are personality wise.”

Knowing he was going into the game short handed against James Harden, the best scorer in the league, Joerger said he was well aware of what was happening and what his team was up against.

“Obviously, Vlade and I are lock in step so I’ve been informed the whole way in this process,” Joerger said. “The next guy has to step up.”

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Following the Shumpert news, the Kings front office was at it again just hours later. Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson were sent to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for forward Harrison Barnes.

This is the reality of the NBA. It’s a business. In case the young Kings didn’t know that before, they do now.

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