DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins described Maloof-era Kings as “an AAU team.”


Wednesday night’s Sacramento Kings home opener wasn’t your standard home opener — it was a celebration of a team and the community that came together and fought to keep them. It was a celebration of all things Sacramento and the new owners there, Vivek Randive and his team.

The game was broadcast locally (without commercials) on News10, and they interviewed DeMarcus Cousins — who had his filter off when asked about he Maloof ownership (via SI’s The Point Forward):

“It felt like an AAU team. Everything [critics] were saying before, I believe it’s true. We were the worst. We weren’t building for the future, we were just living in the moment. That’s why we were that bad. … Honestly, I feel like I wasted time. I hate the fact that it took everything we went through to get to this. I guess you could say it makes that much better.”

What was great about the Kings event was that it looked forward — the focus was on building a new future, from the team on the court to the new building in downtown. While Cousins was Cousins, there were not a lot of looking back and taking shots at the Maloofs (who early on were good owners but mismanaged the business long term).

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $25,000 Fantasy Basketball league tonight (Friday). It’s just $10 to join and first prize is $3,500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here’s the link.

Plus, the Kings beat the Nuggets 90-88. Cousins was in beast mode and dropped 30. It was a great night.

Check out the opening ceremony from the Kings’ first game this season.

Thabo Sefolosha’s lawyer: White police officer targeted black Hawks forward

Thabo Sefolosha
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NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer representing a professional basketball player arrested outside a New York City nightclub has told a jury his client was targeted because he’s black.

Attorney Alex Spiro said Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court that a white police officer saw a black man in a hoodie when he confronted the Atlanta Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha on April 8.

Sefolosha was arrested while leaving a Manhattan nightclub following a stabbing. He subsequently suffered a season-ending leg fracture after a confrontation with police.

A prosecutor said in opening statements that Sefolosha called an officer who repeatedly told him and others to leave a “midget.”

Sefolosha pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges. The Swiss citizen declined a plea deal from prosecutors.


DeMar DeRozan says he hates talking about free agency, takes pride in Raptors longevity

DeMar DeRozan
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DeMar DeRozan has a $10,050,000 player option for 2016-17. Given the rapidly escalating salary cap, it’s a practical certainty DeRozan will opt out and get a major raise.

But he says he doesn’t want to talk about it.

DeRozan, via Eric Koreen of the National Post:

“I hate that, honestly,” DeRozan said in a one-on-one interview. “I never speak about it. With me, I’ve always been that one player: I’ve been loyal. I’ve been every single thing you can think of here. I think people don’t understand how much pride I take in playing (in Toronto). A lot of times when I do get asked that, it kind of frustrates me.

“Everyday I wake up, I take pride in being the longest Raptor here. People bring up third or whatever in franchise scoring — there is so much stuff like that.”

This sounds awfully similar to LaMarcus Aldridge, who stated his desire last year to become the great Trail Blazer ever and then signed with the Spurs this summer.

Things change, and the impracticality of an extension ensures DeRozan will hit free agency. I believe he’s devoted to the Raptors right now, but his loyalty might change in the next nine months – especially once he sees contract offers from other suitors.

Toronto’s interest in DeRozan might fluctuate, too. He’s a nice player, but the Raptors haven’t won a playoff series with him despite winning the division the last two years. Depending how this season goes, Masai Ujiri might want to rework the roster significantly next summer, and letting DeRozan walk could create major cap space.

I believe DeRozan wants to return to the Raptors, and I believe they want to keep him. But so much can change between now and when both sides must make that call.