Demarcus Cousins

Keith Smart “leaning toward” playing Cousins Friday

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Sacramento is hosting the New York Knicks on Friday night. The question is will we see a Tyson Chandler vs. DeMarcus Cousins battle in the paint. Chandler will be there ready to go.

But will Kings coach Keith Smart put his best player on the court?

He’s leaning toward playing Cousins, Smart reportedly said on a Sacramento radio show (as tweeted by our own Aaron Bruski).

Cousins was suspended by the team for a game following a profanity-laced halftime argument with Smart. But even when the organization allowed him to rejoin the team coach Keith Smart left Cousins at home when the Kings traveled up to Portland to face the Blazers Wednesday.

Cousins probably goes on Friday night, but don’t think the whole situation in Sacramento is solved and over.

Fortunately, there is strong ownership in Sacramento that will step in and… oh, wait, forget that.

LeBron says “get it done” message was for both Cavaliers, Thompson

LeBron James
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Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.

So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.

Get it done!!!! Straight up. #MissMyBrother @realtristan13

A photo posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on

LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.

When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.

At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.

The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.

China basketball qualifies for 2016 Olympics

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China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.

China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.

Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.

This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.

The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.