Cavaliers, Bobcats, Mavericks rumored to be interested in DeMarcus Cousins

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As the Kings enter a new era with what fans hope will finally be a competent ownership group, the franchise appears to want to enter next season with a completely clean slate.

Sacramento will look to bring in a new general manager and a new head coach, who will together need to decide what the best way is to go about building the team from essentially the ground up.

A big decision on the horizon is what to do with DeMarcus Cousins — a player whose talent borders on that of an All-Star, yet whose attitude and on-court demeanor has prevented him from achieving the level of success that most envision him capable of when watching him play.

If Sacramento does decide that it’s best to part ways with Cousins, there won’t be a shortage of teams interested in dealing for his services.

From Chad Ford of ESPN.com (via HoopsHype):

Sources say the Cavs have already begun to explore what they can get with the No. 1 pick. If they can get a young big or small forward in return, Gilbert will be pushing for them to trade the pick. Who can they get? The pickings will be slim. Teams aren’t dying to get the No. 1 pick. But one name that you shouldn’t totally rule out is the Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins.

The Cavs won’t be the only team calling the Kings once they get a new GM in place. Sources say that the Charlotte Bobcats and Dallas Mavericks will also have interest in Cousins if Sacramento’s new management decides to cut ties with Cousins.

Cousins would appear to need to be in an environment where his antics won’t be tolerated, and only a team with a veteran head coach who commands the respect of his players will be able to get the most out of the talent that Cousins brings.

That’s why young rebuilding squads like the Cavaliers or the Bobcats don’t really make any sense. Cousins would be in the same situation there that he’s in in Sacramento, as one of the best players on a losing team that’s trying to establish a direction for itself. We’ve already seen that Cousins doesn’t do well in that type of a situation.

The Mavericks are more interesting, considering the more steady coach in place in Rick Carlisle, as well as Dirk Nowitzki who is clearly in the team’s leadership position. Add another couple of veterans to that roster, and all of a sudden Cousins will be forced to fall in line with a more mature group that will have no tolerance for the nonsense he’s brought to the game during his first three seasons in the league.

Cousins averaged 17.1 points, 9.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in 30.5 minutes per game this season. He also led the league with 17 technical fouls.

Quinn Cook signing two-year contract with Hawks

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The Hawks began last season with just two point guards, one fewer than most teams – especially notable because neither starter Dennis Schroder nor backup Malcolm Delaney was experienced for his role.

Schroder and Delaney return, but Atlanta is adding another option – Quinn Cook.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Cook is a borderline NBA player. He might not make the regular-season roster. He also might supplant Delaney for a rotation spot.

A 24-year-old who has spent most of the last two years in the D-League (also getting stints with the Mavericks and Pelicans), Cook is a good outside shooter. He’s also steady, if unspectacular, in his lead-guard duties.

This is a solid flier at a position the Hawks could use depth.

Knicks sign Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Jamel Artis

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The Knicks signing Nigel Hayes leaked first.

But New York didn’t stop there.

Knicks release:

The New York Knickerbockers announced today that the team has signed forwards Jamel Artis and Nigel Hayes and guard Xavier Rathan-Mayes.

Like Hayes, Artis (Pittsburgh) and Rathan-Mayes (Florida State) went undrafted this year – making them eligible to be waived and assigned to the Knicks’ minor-league affiliate. That’s likely all three’s fate.

But first, each will have an opportunity to make the regular-season roster. The Knicks have just 14 players with guaranteed salaries, leaving one roster spot for someone on a standard contract. Chasson Randle (unguaranteed) is the incumbent choice, but these three could supplant him.

O.J. Mayo says abusing prescription painkillers triggered NBA ban

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Last year, O.J. Mayo was banned from the NBA for at least two years due to a drug violation. Aside from stating a plan to come back, Mayo didn’t say much publicly.

Until now.

Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

He acknowledged smoking marijuana and abusing a prescription pain medication that triggered his two-year ban because it is on the NBA’s “drugs of abuse” list. (He emphatically denied testing positive for hard drugs like cocaine.)

Mayo also concluded that he had been “overwhelmed” by a string of difficult life events: his father, high school basketball star Kenny Ziegler, was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for distributing crack cocaine, his brother was placed in juvenile lock-up, a close friend went to jail, and another was killed. “I was bred to play basketball and I thought I could balance everything,” he said. “I couldn’t.”

That’s part of an interesting feature on Mayo, who’s training for his come back. Golliver’s story makes it easy to pull for Mayo.

But the guard will be 30 when he’s eligible to apply for reinstatement, and he played lousily in his last three seasons with the Bucks.

Hopefully, Mayo has and keeps his personal life in order. But returning to the NBA will be an uphill battle.

James Harden throws alley-oop to Chris Paul, pair puts on show at Houston charity event

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What chemistry problem?

There are legitimate questions about how Chris Paul and James Harden will share the backcourt and ball with the Rockets, but none of those were on display on Sunday. That’s when CP3 joined his new teammate in Harden’s charity game (raising money for Harden’s charity, which helps children from single-family homes get a higher education), a kind of pro-am with some names thrown in to draw a crowd.

Harden and CP3 put on a show for the fans.

This is a charity event, not every team is going to defend like this or the Phoenix Suns. It’s going to be harder when the games matter.

But the Rockets are going to be entertaining to watch this season. No doubt.