Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

September 30, 2013
Vasquez says he's almost 100 percent for training camp

The Kings wrapped up Media Day in the last hour and are preparing to fly to Santa Barbara for training camp, which opens tomorrow at UC Santa Barbara.

There were a lot of laughs. DeMarcus Cousins jokingly begged John Salmons for a hug because he hadn't seen him all summer.

Travis Outlaw was "dunked" on by Ben McLemore (see video below) with the help of Patrick Patterson.

And there was a bit of news on the health of new point guard Greivis Vasquez, who had surgery to clean up loose particles in his right ankle in the offseason.

"I'm 85-90 percent ready," Vasquez said. "I'm going to go through camp for sure, I'm going to do everything we have to do but I'm probably going to play limited minutes through the first coupile of games because I want to be playing in April. I don't want to overload my ankle right now and not be able to play later on. Coach Malone is very aware of that."

Tomorrow's practice will begin the debate over who should be the starting point guard - Vasquez or returning starter Isaiah Thomas.

Other position battles to monitor will be who starts at power forward and how coach Michael Malone looks to use his shooting guards.



September 30, 2013
Ranadive banks on DeMarcus Cousins to build Kings' future

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

The Kings held a press conference to announce the team signed center DeMarcus Cousins to a four-year contract extension worth $62 million, the maximum allowed by NBA rules.

The contract takes effect after this season.

"I usually have a lot to say, but I'm short on words today," Cousins said.

September 29, 2013
Kings release training camp roster

Num Player Pos Ht Wt DOB Prior to NBA/Country Yrs
15 DeMarcus Cousins C 6-11 270 08/13/1990 Kentucky/USA 3
7 Jimmer Fredette G 6-2 195 02/25/1989 Brigham Young/USA 2
42 Chuck Hayes F 6-6 250 06/11/1983 Kentucky/USA 8
0 DeQuan Jones F 6-8 230 06/20/1990 Miami (Fla.)/USA 1
24 Carl Landry F 6-9 248 09/19/1983 Purdue/USA 6
20 Trent Lockett G 6-5 210 12/10/1990 Marquette/USA R
33 Luc Mbah a Moute F 6-8 230 09/09/1986 UCLA/Cameroon 5
3 Ray McCallum G 6-3 190 06/12/1991 Detroit/USA R
16 Ben McLemore G 6-5 195 02/11/1993 Kansas/USA R
55 Hamady Ndiaye C 7-0 235 01/12/1987 Rutgers/Senegal 2
25 Travis Outlaw F 6-9 207 09/18/1984 Starkville HS (MS)/USA 10
9 Patrick Patterson F 6-9 235 03/14/1989 Kentucky/USA 3
5 John Salmons F-G 6-6 207 12/12/1979 Miami (Fla.)/USA 11
22 Isaiah Thomas G 5-9 185 02/07/1989 Washington/USA 2
34 Jason Thompson F-C 6-11 250 07/21/1986 Rider/USA 5
23 Marcus Thornton G 6-4 205 06/05/1987 Louisiana State/USA 4
10 Greivis Vasquez G 6-6 211 01/16/1987 Maryland/Venezuela 3

September 26, 2013
Stern to attend Kings home/season opener

While speaking with league sources about the four-year contract extension DeMarcus Cousins has agreed to with the Kings in principle, I learned another interesting bit of information: NBA Commissioner David Stern plans to attend the Kings home/season opener Oct. 30 at Sleep Train Arena. I am assuming Stern will be in Miami the previous night for the championship ring ceremony at the Heat-Bulls game, and then just hop onto his private jet for the 3,000-mile flight to California.

No one should be surprised. Keeping the Kings in Sacramento has been on Stern's 'to do" list for at least a decade. And, obviously, his relationship with Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, and former Golden State Warriors minority owner Vivek Ranadive - who had been itching to become a majority partner - facilitated the sale of the team and the proposed downtown arena. After this ordeal, there is no way the Commissioner, who retires Feb. 1, misses out on the emotional opening night celebration.

September 26, 2013
Kings, Cousins reach agreement on contract extension

By Jason Jones and Ailene Voisin

The Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with center DeMarcus Cousins for four years worth approximately $62 million.

The most Cousins was eligible for under the collective bargaining agreement was five years and $80 million.

The contract takes effect for the 2014-15 season.

The deadline for first-round draft picks from 2010 to agree to contract extensions is Oct. 31. If the Kings had not reached an agreement, they could not sign Cousins until an agreement until after this season.

Cousins joins Washington guard John Wall and Indiana swingman Paul George as members of the Class of 2010 to sign maximum extensions.

Cousins was the fifth overall pick in 2010 after one season at the University of Kentucky. He led the Kings in scoring and rebounding last season, but also had run-ins with coaches, teammates and even television commentators that led to questions about his maturity and worthiness of max deal.

But new Kings ownership said immediately Cousins was the cornerstone of the franchise. Chairman Vivek Ranadive's first call after closing the deal for the Kings was to Cousins.

Cousins averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last season.

September 25, 2013
Lakers GM Kupchak weighs in on Shaq as a Kings owner

JV_092313_SHAQ 171.JPGLakers general manager Mitch Kuphcak met with the Los Angeles media today and was asked about Lakers legend Shaquille O'Neal becoming a minority owner of the Kings.

Thanks to my buddy, Ben Bolch at the L.A. Times, for passing this along to me.

REACTION TO SHAQ BECOMING PART OWNER OF KINGS?

"I think it's great. Obviously, it's a little bit surprising, Sacramento and Shaquille. But the ownership there, they've got a new ownership with a lot of energy and excitement and they've made some changes, a new general manager (Pete D'Alessandro and) Chris Mullin getting involved. Shaquille and the new arena, just a passionate fight for years that went on for years to keep the organization in Sacramento and then yesterday bringing Shaquille on as an investor. So I think it's all good. I think it's great. I'm glad I'm not DeMarcus Cousins, though, I'll tell you that."

WHAT WILL SHAQ DO TO HIM?

"I'm not sure how that's going to work out, but if Shaq told me to do something I would do it and I wouldn't argue."

PHOTO: Shaquille O'Neal and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins embrace outside Zocalo restaurant in Midtown Sacramento on Monday, September 23, 2013. O'Neal joins the Sacramento Kings ownership group led by majority owner Vivek Ranadive. Jose Luis Villegas/Sacramento Bee

September 24, 2013
VIDEO: What Shaq thinks about Sac, DeMarcus and more

The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones interviews Shaquille O'Neal on Tuesday in Sacramento:

September 24, 2013
Update on DeMarcus Cousins contract; Shaq meets 'Shaqramento' media

Amid the pageantry of introducing new minority owner Shaquille O'Neal, there is some serious front office work still to be done.

DeMarcus Cousins is eligible for a contract extension and it sounds as if he'll receive the maximum allowed under the collective bargaining agreement - five years worth approximately $80 million.

The Kings aren't saying much, but it won't be a surprise if the deal is done well before the Oct. 31 deadline.

September 24, 2013
Shaq introduced as part of Kings ownership group

NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal has signed on as a part owner of the Sacramento Kings. He was introduced today. Here is The Bee's story on today's news conference.

Sacramento Kings introduce Shaq, reveal new arena as 'indoor-outdoor' facility

September 23, 2013
Shaq still with TNT, but plans to be in Sacramento often

I caught up with Shaquille O'Neal after he had finished eating his appetizers at a midtown restaurant (Zocalo) earlier tonight, and he was his usual charming, teasing self. For anyone who might have slept throughout the day Monday, the Kings old Lakers nemesis is joining the Kings ownership group headed by Vivek Ranadive. The dinner was hosted by Ranadive - his arm in his sling because of shoulder injuries suffered in his recent bicycling accident - and attended by minority owner Mark Mastrov (Shaq's close friend), head coach Michael Malone, consultant Chris Mullen, and Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

The former Lakers star, who famously tweaked Kings fans with his hilarious verbal digs about Queens and flopping and Rick Adelman and poetry during the spectacular Western Conference finals in 2002 - all of which I write about in Tuesday's print edition of The Bee - sounded serious about mentoring Cousins, who was seated to his left, and planned on spending significant time in Sacramento. He also said he remain with TNT and continue as an analyst on their award-winning studio show.

As for the reaction of Kings fans who will never forget 2002? Their arch rival is impossible not to like. It's only a matter of time before Shaq is completely embraced by the community, say, one press conference and 24 hours or less.

September 23, 2013
Shaq joins Kings ownership group

Shaquille O'Neal will be introduced as the newest member of the Sacramento Kings ownership group Tuesday morning at the Kings practice facility.

O'Neal, the four-time NBA Champion and 2000 league MVP, is best known for tormenting the Kings during his run of dominance with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The future Hall of Famer retired prior to the 2011-12 season and has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons. He met with majority owner Vivek Ranadive in June and offered to tutor DeMarcus Cousins, who he believes has the talent to be the best center in basketball.

O'Neal is biggest name among high-profile former players Ranadive can lean on in the ownership group.

Kings legend Mitch Richmond is already part of the ownership group. Hall of Famer Chris Mullin serves as a consultant to Ranadive.

September 18, 2013
ESPN ranks Kings last among major sports franchises

Considering earlier this year there was a real chance there would be no more Sacramento Kings basketball, I can't imagine fans would put much stock in where the Kings rank in the latest ESPN Franchise Ultimate Standings.

But since rankings are out there for fodder, it is worth noting ESPN ranks the Kings last, 122nd overall, among all franchises in the four major sports leagues.

According to a press release, this was the criteria used to put the Kings behind the NFL's New York Jets (121) and MLB's Miami Marlins (120):

"Every year, ESPN The Magazine compiles the results of fan surveys and financial analysis to determine which teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL offer the greatest rewards for all the emotion, money and time that fans invest in them. ... In all, 122 teams from the NFL, NBA, NHL and Major League Baseball were ranked in order, based on a weighted average of scores in eight areas ranging from the quantitative to the emotionally subjective:

• Fan relations (25.2%)
• Affordability (17.4%)
• "Bang for the buck" (16.8%)
• Stadium experience (12.4%)
• Players (11.30%)
• Ownership (10.2%)
• Title track (3.6%)
• Coaching (3.1%)"

With Vivek Ranadive taking over the Kings, some of the subjective categories should be on the upswing in Sacramento.

But we'll have to give everything some time before knowing if the perception of the Kings is changing.

Here are the Top 10 overall franchises in the ESPN Ultimate Standings for 2013:

1. Memphis Grizzlies (NBA)
2. San Antonio Spurs (NBA)
3. Indiana Pacers (NBA)
4. Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
5. Green Bay Packers (NFL)
6. Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
7. Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
8. Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
9. Ottawa Senators (NHL)
10. Baltimore Ravens (NFL)

September 13, 2013
Kings sign DeQuan Jones for training camp

The Kings have signed forward DeQuan Jones to a contract for training camp.

Training camp begins Oct. 1 in Santa Barbara.

Jones (6-8, 221) spent his rookie season with the Orlando Magic, appearing in 63 games last season. He averaged 3.7 points in 12.7 minutes per game after playing at the University of Miami.

The Kings already have 14 guaranteed contracts for the 2013-14 season. Ideally the 15th spot would remain unfilled to provide flexibility for possible transactions during the season.


September 11, 2013
Kings to open training camp Oct. 1 at UC Santa Barbara

By Jason Jones
jejones@sacbee.com

The Kings announced they will open training camp Oct. 1 with a 10 a.m. practice on the campus of UC Santa Barbara.

The Kings will practice at Pavilion Gym through Oct. 6 before returning to Northern California for their preseason opener Oct. 7 at Golden State.

The Kings also began training camp away from Sacramento last year, practicing in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Kings will hold their media day Sept. 30 at the team practice facility.

September 11, 2013
What would Mullie average today?

Jimmer Fredette? My pennies are on Mullie. Chris Mullin, 50, the latest addition to Vivek Ranadive's basketball operations staff, still looks like could drop 50 on an NBA opponent on any given night. Buzz cut. Trim physique. A fitness fanatic, to this day. While chatting with Vivek Ranadive's new consigliere after Tuesday's formal press conference, it was hard to believe that it has been 21 years since a small group of us journalists spent the summer of 1992 touring the world with the Warriors small forward and other members of the original Dream Team. On a team that included Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Charles Barkley, Mullin was one of the late Chuck Daly's favorite players, partly because he was such a skilled, seamless addition, with such was an ease to his game. He was terrific at moving without the ball - a lost art in today's game - and he entered the Hall of Fame as one of the NBA's all-time great shooters.

During a pregame conversation several years ago when Bird and Mullin were teammates with the Indiana Pacers, we chatted abouy the best shooters of their generation. To the best of my recollection, their list included Bird, Mullin, Reggie Miller and the late Drazen Petrovic. On Tuesday, Mullie added another entry: Mark Price, the superb Cleveland Cavaliers point guard whose career was hampered by injuries.

• • •

Mullin and Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro, who worked together previously with the Golden State Warriors, have been friends since 1988, when D'Alessandro worked for Mullin's agent Bill Pollak. They also are New York natives who attended St. John's - years apart - and maintain a strong bond with the legendary Lou Carnesecca. As D'Alessandro said Tuesday, beaming, "Chris is my guy."

• • •

Ranadive, whose face was bruised and discolored from a weekend bicycle accident, pulled out his cell phone after the press conference and showed photos of his other injuries, including patches of open wounds on his shoulder. Fortunately, he said, he was wearing a helmet. "And there was a really nice couple that pulled over and helped me," said the Kings majority owner, adding that he didn't go to the hospital, but was checked out by a physician later in the day at his home.

September 10, 2013
Kings add Chip Schaefer as strength and conditioning coach

The Kings have also hired Robert "Chip" Schaefer as their new strength and conditioning coach.

Schaefer spent 11 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers (1999-2011) after working for the Chicago Bulls (1990-98).

Schaefer was a part of 11 NBA Championship teams over that time, six in Chicago and five with the Lakers.

Schaefer replaces Daniel Shapiro, who accepted a similar position with the University of Washington.

During the Kings' press conference for Chris Mullin, the new adviser to chairman Vivek Ranadive, Ranadive said he asked Mullin to do some research on the possible addition,

Mullin checked with two people that know Schaefer well -- Phil Jackson and Michael Jordan.

Schaefer joined UC Santa Barbara as assistant athletics director for Sports Performance after not being retained by the Lakers after Jackson's retirement.

September 10, 2013
Kings introduce new adviser Chris Mullin

The Kings introduced Naismith Hall of Fame player Chris Mullin as adviser to owner and chairman Vivek Ranadive on Tuesday morning.

The Kings approached Mullin about joining the organization in some capacity in June. Ranadive said Mullin's role would be similar to the role Hall of Famer Jerry West has with the Golden State Warriors as an adviser to ownership.

"Chris has been helping me throughout this process," Ranadive said. "I was finally able to twist his arm and convince him to become a full-fledged member of this organization."

September 3, 2013
Peja's #16 retired soon? McLemore looking at #17


Rookie Ben McLemore must be a little prescient. A short while ago on Twitter, he alerted Kings fans that he was changing his jersey from No.16 to No.17 "for a good reason." Like the fact the organization plans to retire Peja Stojakovic's No.16 jersey in the near future? No confirmation yet - and nothing is imminent - but that's very likely the plan.

Meantime, McLemore will stick with No.16 at least for the upcoming season.

"We have considered retiring Peja's number," said team president Chris Granger, "and he certainly deserves that honor. (But) at this time, that's all I will say."



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