LAS VEGAS - Kings co-owner Joe Maloof said that Brad Miller "apologized profusely" for violating the league's substance abuse policy and promised to have another solid season.
"We have to believe him," said Maloof. "A year ago, he said he would come in and give us a great year, and he kept his word. Some of his comments the other day ... I think he really opened some eyes. He came clean. I expect him to be there for us again this year. With the way Spencer (Hawes) is playing, and from what it looks like Jason (Thompson) can give us, if Brad plays well, maybe we can surprise some people this year. We're young, but we're getting there.''
A little baseball history for basketball fans
The men's U.S. Olympic basketball team gathered earlier today in preparation for the week-long, final preparation before the trip to Beijing. But so much for the accommodations. While the Olympic and Select teams (other NBA players enlisted for the workouts) are housed in a five-star hotel, the practices will be held at Valley High School, one of the area's older campuses. The reason is simple: Valley is one of few schools with the regulation 94-foot court.
In terms of sports, the Vikings are best known for producing future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux and his older brother, Mike.
The grunt work
Former NBA journeyman Haywoode Workman is attempting to become only the third ex-player to join the league's officiating staff. Bernie Fryer and Leon Wood are the only two former players to make the, ah, leap.
Workman, who officiated the Kings-Rockets game, has been involved with the NBDL and the Summer League for five years.
If you can believe it, Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson flirted with the possibility of becoming a referee after his playing career ended, but wisely came to his senses. Hard to imagine Nellie running the baselines at this pace ...
Seen and heard
* Kings media relations assistant Darryl Arata approached Maloof before the Kings-Rockets game and said, "No Q (Quincy Douby) today. He's got food poisoning." Then, in another example of his terrific sense of humor, Arata added with a grin, "Don't worry. He didn't eat at the Palms."
* Hawes, who admittedly still is bummed about his hometown Seattle SuperSonics relocating to Oklahoma City, lists former Sonics owner (and struggling Starbucks mogul) Howard Schultz as the biggest villain in the matter. "Schultz, absolutely," said Hawes. "It's like my Dad said. People in Seattle won't really feel the loss until the season starts and there's no team to follow. Really, in the winter, when its's cold, and there's nothing to do. That's when it will really hit that they're gone."
* Milwaukee Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson, the former Indiana University head coach who was released by the school because of repeated NCAA recruiting improprieties, is looking forward to teaching and coaching without concerning himself with home visits and sales jobs. "It's just basketball," said Sampson, who joins an impressive staff that includes head coach Scott Skiles and assistants Jim Boylan, Lionel Hollins - for former NBA head coaches - and longtime CBA and NBDL coach Joe Wolf. Before the scandal at IU, Sampson was among the core group of coaches consistently involved with USA Basketball's increasingly active international work.
* My Fab Five (rookies) from Vegas, in no particular order: Jerryd Bayless, Kevin Love, Anthony Randolph, Donte Greene and Jason Thompson.
* For those familiar with the old, old, old Las Vegas entertainment scene, comedian Sammy Shore sat with Joe Maloof for the Kings-Rockets game. During one timeout, Shore, who has to be somewhere in his 80s, stood up and started dancing. He wasn't too bad, actually.