Tag: Sacramento Kings

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Clippers

Team USA announces 34 expected minicampers: DeAndre Jordan and Michael Carter-Williams in, Derrick Rose out


Team USA started with a 28-player pool for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.

That was narrowed for the World Cup with two players added, bringing the total to 30.

A few more players were added during World Cup tryouts, increasing the pool to 33.

A report last month listed seven newcomers, giving the Americans 40 known candidates for Rio.

Today, Team USA announced 34 players – including two previously unknowns – were expected to attend next week’s minicamp, which USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called mandatory for Olympic consideration:

  • Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
  • LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
  • Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
  • Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
  • Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
  • Michael Carter-Williams (Milwaukee Bucks)
  • Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
  • DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
  • Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
  • DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
  • Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
  • Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
  • Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
  • Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings)
  • Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
  • Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
  • Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
  • James Harden (Houston Rockets)
  • Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic)
  • Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
  • Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets)
  • Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
  • Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
  • Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)
  • Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
  • Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
  • Mason Plumlee (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
  • John Wall (Washington Wizards)
  • Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)

At this point, there aren’t many surprise inclusions. The two big ones: Jordan and Carter-Williams, neither of whom had previously been mentioned for the player pool. Jordan has emerged as one of the NBA’s best centers, and he could definitely make the Olympic roster. The road will be much more difficult for Carter-Williams, who has a strong crop of point guards in front of him.

Carter-Williams’ additions probably has something to do with the players previously in the pool who aren’t expected to attend the minicamp:

  • Tyson Chandler (Phoenix Suns)
  • Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors)
  • Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
  • David Lee (Boston Celtics)
  • Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
  • Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
  • Deron Williams (Dallas Mavericks)

Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke was reportedly extended a minicamp invite but he’s not on the list of expected attendees. It’s unclear whether the report was inaccurate or Burke declined.

Lillard and Rose are the big losses. Lillard seems fed up with USA Basketball, so his no-show will be no surprise. Rose’s is a little less expected, though we saw the possibility coming. Rose played in the World Cup, and it seemed his relationship with Team USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau helped secure him a roster spot. Since the Bulls have fired Thibodeau, maybe that distanced Rose from USA Basketball. More time off could certainly help the point guard after his multiple serious injuries.

Bottom line: This player pool is strong, and Colangelo will have no trouble assembling the best roster in the world before the 2016 Olympics. The key is finding the ideal roster – the one that best blends talent and fit. This minicamp will be mostly ceremonial, but that process will continue there.

Kevin Garnett took Mason Plumlee’s crab cake, gave it to Reggie Evans because “veterans eat first”

Brooklyn Nets V Detroit Pistons

This is about the most Kevin Garnett story ever, as relayed by new Blazer and former Net Mason Plumlee on ESPN.

You heard that right. The Nets were on a team plane last year when Plumlee got to order food first because the youngsters boarded before the vets. KG was having none of that. He took Plumlee’s crab cake, gave it to Reggie Evans — because veterans eat first — and then made Plumlee play the role of flight attendant and serve all the vets.

And Plumlee laughs about it now.

Consider this a heads up, Karl-Anthony Towns. All the lessons are not on the court.

Kenneth Faried focused on defense this season

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets

Last season Kenneth Faried came in on a high — he had been the full Manimal for Team USA at the World Cup, and he rode that to a four-year, $50 million extension. But while Coach K liked and knew how to use Faried, Brian Shaw was a different story. Shaw asked Faried to do things on offense he couldn’t do well, kept changing his role, and the coach was understandably frustrated with Faried’s defense, so he jerked his minutes around. With that Faried’s trademark energy came and went.

Faried looked better under interim coach Melvin Hunt (after Shaw was let go), averaging 15.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and shooting 52.5 percent in the final 19 games of the season. Faried showed off an improved post-up game and that fueled his famous energy on the glass and around the court. New Nuggets coach Mike Malone needs to harness that Faried, the one Coach K found (although that USA team was loaded with other players that were a higher priority for defenses, giving Faried space to operate). If the Nuggets are going to get out and run more (as Malone has said) then Faried should thrive, he can finish the break or sprint to the post and be effective either way.

Faried said his focus this season is on the other end of the ball. From Chris Dempsey of the Denver Post.

“My defense, I’ve focused on that,” Faried said in a phone interview from Johannesburg, where he played in NBA Africa Game 2015 on Saturday. “I’ve been watching film on guys that I consider my toughest matchups, and I’ve been able to dissect them so that when the season comes around I’m able to guard those players — and become the player I want to be, and that’s hopefully defensive player of the year one day and first-team all-defense.”


Faried has the physical tools to be a solid defender, but the manic energy that served him well on the other end of the court was both missing and just misguided on defense. It improved last season, and if Faried can continue to turn that around he becomes a much more valuable player.

And a more valuable trade asset.

Faried was shopped around all summer, and you can be sure Denver isn’t done seeing if there is a suitor for him. The Nuggets want a locker room culture change and moving Ty Lawson was just step one, Faried could be on the move as well. He makes a lot of money and is an undersized four — one who has started to show he can be more than an energy glue guy — and the Nuggets think there will be a market for him.

In the past, when Faried has been on the trade block his play has noticeably dipped — he’s not been able to compartmentalize his life and keep the off-the-court stuff from impacting his play on it. Maybe he has matured and gotten used to that side of the NBA business.

Malone got the most out of DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento, he may be able to do the same for Faried. If so his trade value goes up — as will the difficulty of the decision for the Nuggets because maybe he will fit with their future.

Especially if his defense improves.

DeMarcus Cousins puts his arm around George Karl, wants you to talk about it (photo)

Boston Celtics v Sacramento Kings

Give them something to talk about….💯

A photo posted by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins and his coach, George Karl, had a bad relationship. Kings vice president Vlade Divac admitted as much.

You could even see the discord.

Now, you can see the harmony – which Cousins wants you to see. See it. Get a good look. Soak it up.

So we’re all good here?


If Cousins and Karl (pictured with Divac and Kings general manager Mike Bratz) can’t get along now – in the summer and removed the strain of a long regular season – when can they? If Karl helps Sacramento win, that could improve their relationship, but the Kings aren’t good enough to avoid bumps along the way.

Keep in mind, Cousins fueled the talk of a feud with Karl. Just because Cousins is now fanning flames on the other side publicly doesn’t mean everything is alright in Sacramento.

But things look better, and even if the amount of progress is questionable, progress is still positive.

Nancy Lieberman says DeMarcus Cousins happy Kings hired her

Nancy Lieberman


DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl had an awkwardly short meeting at summer league

The Kings’ latest hire – Nancy Lieberman as assistant coach – said her summer-league interaction with Cousins went a bit better.

Lieberman, via David Aldridge of NBA.com:

Even when I went in the first day of practice, I’m sure a lot of these guys had no clue who I am, which is fine with me. But the next day it was, ‘Coach, I Googled you.’ ‘Coach, my dad told me who you are.’ We’re walking into the hotel after the first practice. I had not met DeMarcus (Cousins). And he held the door and I walked in, and he put his arm on my shoulder and said ‘you gonna be with us this year?’ And I said ‘I hope so. You want me to?’ And he said, ‘uh huh. Super.’ I connect to guys. I can laugh with them. I can be sarcastic with them. I have a son. I’ve been with this my whole life. What I am going to be is me…I’m consistently consistent. I’m a goofball. I’m a lifer. I’m demanding, because I demand that you be great. I demand that you be the best of who you are every day. I’ll give you reasons to show up and make the details matter. I want to inspire you, because I care. I want to pour love, kindness, passion, teaching into you every day. And I want you to know why Coach Karl has you on this team every day.

If Lieberman helps break barriers and opens doors for women in coaching, that would be fantastic.

But I think the people that pay her care a bit more about how she could help Cousins and Karl get along.

Cousins is the Kings’ best player, and he’s just 24 and signed long-term. He’s incredibly valuable – especially if he buys in.

Sacramento clearly wants to win now, and Karl has the tactical proficiency to maximize a limited roster. He won’t get far with Cousins’ support, though.

The Kings desperately need Cousins and Karl to click to avoid yet another step back. Any help Lieberman provides in that realm would be huge.