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June 30, 2012
More Kings, Robinson, Rally, Free Agency ....


Today was an eventul day for the Kings, with the introduction of Thomas Robinson and rally at Arden Fair preceding the beginning of free agency by mere hours. So here's more notes, quotes, observations, etc., from the day's activities:
* Robinson said he was exhausted from the draft and ensuing cross-country trip to Sacramento. The flight arrived at about 11 p.m. Friday, about three hours late. Though he was fairly subdued during the press conference, before he joined basketball president Geoff Petrie and coach Keith Smart at the table, at one point he positioned his Kings baseball cap, looked at a friend, and said, "How do I look?"
* Petrie, before Robinson took the microphone: "He comes to us from Kansas, where everyone knows he had an exceptional career. He had an outstanding, almost incredible junior year, where he led his team to the finals of the NCAA Tournament, with 18 points and 17 rebounds. He is a very active player, a great rebounder, endured personal tragedy and still competed at the highest level of the game at which he played. I think (Jayhawk coach) Bill Self said it best, 'he said he's been remarkably balanced in an unbalanced situation.' That's a credit to his character. He's not only going to provide energy to the Kings, but he can be a great teammate, and we'll all looking forward to watching him play."
* Smart, who I don't think has stopped smiling since the draft, added: "Everything we've talked about this team, moving in the right direction, the words, comments he made on that stage really resonated with me, as far as coming to work. We got a great young man ... really humble young man focused on the team concept. We have the right situation her for him to continue his growth as a player, as a person .... When I talked with him on the phone, I kind of got a little emotional ...
* From Robinson: "I'm happy to be part of the Kings organization. I'm looking forward to getting ready for the season. I've heard a lot about the fans ... I was the fifth pick. I wasn't mad at all."
* Robinson will be No.0 - a number not worn since Olden Polynice. (Um, maybe he should reconsider?)
* Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof attended the press conference, with Gavin continuing on to the really. At the end of the rally at Arden Fair mall a few hours later, a sweat-soaked Gavin Maloof seemed dazed by large turnout, and the rowdy, emotional response of the crowd.


Free agency begins

Petrie reiterated that the organization's goal was to re-sign restricted free agent Jason Thompson. Teams were expected to begin making calls at 12:01 a.m, EST). The parties can reach verbal agreements, and begin signing contracts on July 11. But, interestingly, while most of the more intriguing free agents are restricted - meaning their current teams can match any offer - Petrie sounded as if the Kings planned to be aggressive. (They love Portland's small forward Nicholas Batum, for example, but who doesn't?) "Initially our thoughts are on Jason," he said. "We'll try to get an early feel on that. Then look around. There are a lot of players out there, a lot of restricted free agents. I think it will be a process over a number of days."

Moving forward

* DeMarcus Cousins joins the USA Select Team in Friday for training sessions against the 2012 Olympic team.
* Robinson, of course, will play for the Kings in the Las Vegas Summer League, which begins July 13. And despite the fact that Sacramento is a struggling franchise and located near the opposite coast, the Washington, D.C., native seemed to have no problems with where he was selected. His college coach, Bill Self, went so far as to say Robinson would benefit to exposure to a different part of the country.
* Unlike last year's Lottery pick Jimmer Fredette, who was physically smothered when he arrived at Sac International Airport, Robinson's late arrival created some breathing space.



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