They transferred to the Sacramento, California in the 1985-86 NBA season.
Their first Sacramento season ending was in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs in 1986. The next several seasons were not so successful for the Sacramento Kings as they failed to qualify for the NBA playoffs up until the 1996 NBA Playoffs.
Their failure was connected to the some unfortunate incidents such as a car-crash suffered by a talented point guard Bobby Hurley and a suicide by Ricky Berry. Unsuccessful of the team was also linked to a poor management of the team.
They had tough seasons starting 1991 to 1996, as they won 60% of their home games, they had been struggling in the road. They made it to the playoffs in 1996 which is due to an All-Star effort by Mitch Richmond.
They began to rise to being a strong team with their draft selection of point guard Jason Williams, acquiring Vlade Divac, trading Mitch Richmond for Chris Webber before the 1998-99 season. Peja Stojakovic was also acquired within the trades. They became a prominent playoff contender led by head coach Rick Adelman. The team began to draw fans with their talented players such as Webber and Williams. Their lack of experience had led them in an early exits in the postseasons.
After 1999-00 season, they got the defensive specialist Doug Christie in exchange for Corliss Williamson. Stojakovic, Webber and the team showed chemistry and gradually improved as the season progress. In 2001 postseason, they won their first postseason series in 20 years, defeating the Phoenix Suns but later on defeated by the Los Angeles Lakers.
They traded Jason Williams for Mike Bibby to the Memphis Grizzlies. Their season improved with Mike Bibby finishing it with a 61-21, the league best and their best season to date. They advanced through the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers which has drawn rivalry with each other.
They lost in seven games. They won another division title in 2002-03 season as they had a 59-23 season. Webber missed the playoffs with a serious injury as the Kings would lose to the Mavs in the postseason and he would return midseason of the next year. As he returned, his skills and quickness were not 100% as the Kings had an exit against the Timberwolves in the postseason in seven games.
The next season was completely different for the Kings. As they traded most of their starters to other teams. They lost in the first round of the playoffs against the Supersonics. As they acquired Bonzi Wells and Shareef Abdur-Rahim leading the team, they started poorly. Stojakovic also was traded for Ron Artest.
With Artest leading them, they finished with a decent 44-38 record. They were the 8th seed for the postseason and was eliminated by the Spurs in the first round. Rick Adelman was not resigned for a contract extension, signing Eric Musselman as the head coach.
They finished the 2006-07 season with a 33-49 record and will fail to reach the postseason. Reggie Theus was hired to replace Musselman in the 2007 off-season. They finished the 2007-08 season with a 38-44 record but will not make it to the playoffs. The next season, they had hired Kenny Natt due to a firing of Reggie Theus. They finished it with a league worst 17-65 record.
On 2009, they acquired Tyreke Evans as the 4th overall pick and would be the Rookie of the Year for the next season. He joined Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, and Lebron James to average 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists a game.
On 2010 Draft, they acquired DeMarcus Cousins as the 5th overall pick who later on had a good contribution for the team.