The Kings assigned forward Skal Labissiere to the Reno Bighorns, their development league affiliate, on Tuesday and recalled center Georgios Papagiannis.
Sacramento’s frontcourt will also be without forward/center Willie Cauley-Stein for at least two games. The third-year big man will not travel with the Kings to Cleveland and New Orleans. He is listed as day-to-day after suffering a lower back strain in the second quarter at Milwaukee on Saturday.
Labissiere averages 7.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in 17.1 minutes over 23 games, 10 as a starter, in his second season with the Kings. He joins rookie forward Justin Jackson, who started the Kings’ first five games, on the Bighorns roster. Second-year guard Malachi Richardson is also with the Bighorns.
Sending Labissiere to Reno at a time Cauley-Stein is out is an indication the Kings will lean on two-way player JaKarr Sampson, who filled in at Milwaukee when Labissiere quickly picked up three fouls.
“He was ready for the moment and I think we’ll be seeing more of him,” said Kings coach Dave Joerger after Monday’s practice.
Sampson also started the second half at Milwaukee with Cauley-Stein out.
Sampson impressed the Kings with his energy and effort during summer league to earn a two-way contract, which means he cannot spend more than 45 days with Scramento while playing the rest of the time for Reno.
Sampson and power forward Jack Cooley, the Kings’ other two-way player, were both with the team for last weekend’s back-to-back games at Chicago and Milwaukee.
“(Sampson) has a body that we need,” Joerger said. “An athletic, 6-8 guy that can play a couple of positions so it’s a little easier for him to stand in front of some of these versatile dudes, some drivers, some physical guys. Against those kinds of players, guys don’t face you, raise up and shoot 3s.”
Papagiannis figures to be the third center behind Zach Randolph and Kosta Koufos. In the G League, Papagiannis averaged 14.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in six starts with the Bighorns.