SALT LAKE CITY - With straight faces, Nik Stauskas and Carl Landry said they did not have any hard feelings toward the Sacramento Kings.
It would be understandable and perhaps even a little bit more believable if they said otherwise.
Stauskas and Landry are 76ers for one reason: The Kings gave up them.
The Western Conference team basically wrote off Stauskas as a solid NBA talent less than a year after selecting him eighth overall in the 2014 NBA draft. And Sacramento sent Landry away so the team could free up salary-cap space to lure free agents.
So on July 10, the Sixers took the duo and Jason Thompson off the Kings' hands in exchange for 2015 second-round acquisitions Arturas Gudaitis (taken 47th overall) and Luka Mitrovic (60th). The Kings also threw in a 2018 protected first-round pick and the options to swap 2016 and 2017 first-rounders to complete the deal. The Sixers have since traded Thompson to the Golden State Warriors.
But Wednesday night marks the first time that Stauskas and Landry will face the team that didn't want them as the Kings (12-19) entertain the Sixers (2-31) at Sleep Train Arena.
"There's no hard feelings," Landry said. "The organization and the owner [Vivek Ranadive] and the vets, everybody in that organization gave me an opportunity. I am not going to go out there and try to score more points than needs to be scored. I'm just going to go out there and try to get a win. That's it. Nothing personal."
Stauskas agreed that there were no hard feelings. The shooting guard actually said he was disappointed in himself.
"I didn't play the way I wanted to my rookie year," he said, "and obviously they felt like they wanted to go in a different direction. That's the way the NBA works."
As he has done for much of this season, Stauskas struggled as a rookie in Sacramento. He averaged 4.4 points and shot 36.5 percent. The 6-foot-6 guard just made 48 of 149 three-pointers. He is averaging 7.1 points this season.
"They let me know at the beginning of June that they were putting me on the trading block and were going to pursue a veteran shooting guard in free agency," Stauskas said. "They kind of let me know I was probably going to be on my way out. So I knew [beforehand] that they were giving up on me and going with someone else."
Landry averaged 7.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 2013-14. When he was traded, Landry was recovering from wrist surgery that sidelined him until the road matchup against his hometown Milwaukee Bucks on Dec. 23.
Landry, 32, is averaging 8.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in his three games back.
The game also will be a reunion for Kings associate head coach Chad Iske and assistant coach Vance Walberg. The two were assistant coaches for the Sixers before heading to Sacramento.
Once again, Jahlil Okafor will be a game-time decision because of right knee soreness.
The rookie center has not taken part in the three practices or the first two games of this post-Christmas West Coast trip. The Sixers will see if he'll be able to compete in the shootaround Wednesday morning.
"It's just part of the NBA season," coach Brett Brown said of the cause of Okafor's injury. "It wasn't a single incident that made it be what it is now. It's just like the wear and tear of a 19-year-old figuring out the volume of games and frequency of games that the NBA gives us."
The 6-11, 265-pounder leads all NBA rookies in scoring at 17.6 points per game.