Kings

Kings look to snap skid vs. lowly Hornets

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Kings look to snap skid vs. lowly Hornets

After the Sacramento City Council and Mayor Kevin Johnson took care of the financial details that should help the team break ground on a new downtown arena, the Kings have plenty of upcoming business to attend to at their current home.
NEWS: Sacramento approves arena plan to keep Kings
Sacramento will try to snap a four-game losing streak on Wednesday night when it opens a franchise-record nine-game homestand against the Western Conference-worst New Orleans Hornets.The Kings and the NBA reached a tentative agreement during last week's All-Star break to finance a new arena in Sacramento, and the City Council approved the measure Tuesday night.

That facility would open in 2015-16, but in the meantime fans who've been fighting to keep the Kings (12-26) from relocating to Anaheim would certainly like to see a better product on the court.Sacramento returns home with just two victories in its last 12 games. The Kings were seconds away from salvaging a win to close their three-game road trip, but lost 119-116 in overtime to Denver on Monday.Kings guard Marcus Thornton hit a career high-tying six 3-pointers and finished with 27 points, but he fouled Arron Afflalo on a 3-point attempt with 0.6 seconds left. Afflalo hit all three free throws, and Ty Lawson's 3 with four seconds left in OT handed Sacramento another defeat."It's on me. I can't do that. I take this loss. I have to be smarter," Thornton said.Kings coach Keith Smart, whose contract was extended through 2012-13 earlier Monday, had a more positive spin to the latest loss."We are growing and moving in the right direction," he said. "It just came down to micro moments of management and we didn't come through at that time."Sacramento has come through in both contests versus New Orleans this season.Even after DeMarcus Cousins was told to stay away from the team by then-coach Paul Westphal for apparently demanding a trade, the Kings defeating the visiting Hornets 96-80 on Jan. 1.Tyreke Evans led Sacramento with 27 points in that victory, while Thornton, a former Hornet, added 25 with five steals.Thornton had just 12 points in the teams' Feb. 6 matchup, but Evans scored 11 of his 20 in the fourth quarter to help Sacramento complete its rally from 18 down and end a five-game skid in New Orleans with a 100-92 victory.That duo could cause plenty of problems for the slumping Hornets (9-29).With points guards Jarrett Jack and Greivis Vasquez each recording just six total assists in the last two games - both losses - New Orleans has averaged 79.0 points on 41.1 percent shooting."A lot of that goes on our guards," coach Monty Williams said following Monday's 86-74 loss at Portland. "They have to be able to get us into offense."Trevor Ariza returned Monday after missing two games with an illness, but the Hornets could again be without Carl Landry (sprained knee ligament), Jason Smith (concussion) and Emeka Okafor (sore left knee).Hornets center Chris Kaman, who has started the last 11 games for Okafor, is averaging 13.5 rebounds against the Kings in 2011-12.Cousins scored a season-best 28 points with 19 boards in last month's meeting.

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

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AP

DeMarcus Cousins: 'Take all them motherf****** down'

Some professional athletes take a stand by kneeling on the sidelines or raising a fist into the air. Some write succinct tweets expressing their dismay with the current political climate in the United States of America. Others just get right to the point with a poignant off the cuff statement to a waiting camera.

Former Sacramento Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins has certainly mastered the art of the cryptic tweet, but he’s also never been one to shy away from a direct question when asked. When an inquiry was thrown his direction about confederate statues in New Orleans and his home state of Alabama, Cousins was brief with his words, but very clear.

"Take all them mother****ers down," Cousins told TMZ while navigating a security line at the airport. "Take 'em all down.”

Cousins may not have chosen the most eloquent words, but his point of view is shared by plenty of others. He isn’t the first athlete to take a stand with regards to race in America over the last week as racial tensions have spilled out into the streets in Charlottesville, Virginia. Social media is filled with professional athletes adding their thoughts to the conversation.

The Warriors’ Kevin Durant has made it clear that he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump, a visit most teams make following an NBA championship.

"Nah, I won't do that," the 8-time All-Star told ESPN on Thursday. "I don't respect who's in office right now.”

"I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” Durant continued. “That's just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they'll all agree with me."

Garrett Temple has used Twitter to make his thoughts known as well. Recently named the Kings’ Players Voice Teammate of the Year by the National Basketball Players Association, Temple has used his position as an NBA player to speak out multiple times.

Over the last week, he’s fielded questions and had plenty of discussions through social media on the issues of race and equality. His Twitter timeline is littered with thoughtful replies and some not so thoughtful ideas as well. Plenty of fans thanking him for using his position to further the conversation and of course, there is the occasional, “stick to sports” comment.

Agree or disagree, today’s athletes have huge platforms to share their opinions. From Cousins to Temple, there are varying degrees of engagement, but the time of players staying out of the discussion is long gone.

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

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AP

The Maloofs' colossal charity bet on Mayweather-McGregor circus act

Gavin and Joe Maloof have gambled plenty in their lives, which is in part how they ended up losing the Sacramento Kings. They ran big, they hit a dry well, and they ended up selling the works.

So their decision to bet $880,000 on Floyd Mayweather in his “thing” with Conor McGregor for a $160,000 payout seemed the perfectly daft idea for two guys who were painted as perfectly daft when they were running the Kings and their other businesses into a freeway abutment on I-80.

In fairness, they are planning to donate their winnings to a number of charities in the name of their hangover drink (Never Too Hungover, although I might have gone with the more lyrical HurlNoMore), so it’s not like their hearts aren’t a place close to the mythical “right place.”

But it does beg the question, “Why don’t they just give $160,000 and skip the scam?” Because it wasn’t about charity, it was about promotion, and while there’s nothing wrong with promotion, attaching it to one of the seediest carnival events of the modern era makes it seem, well, kind of creepy.

Or maybe “creepy” is too strong. Maybe’s it’s just opportunism, which is more, well, Vegas-y.

Kings fans will remember the Maloofs as the family that saved the foundering team from the clutches of owner Jim Thomas, and then remember them as the family whose clutches Vivek Ranadive had to save the team from 15 years later. It’s the nature of most ownerships – you do good to eliminate a prior evil, and eventually become evil yourselves when the fans turn on you.

But the Maloofs aren’t evil – even their most strident critics will say that. They just saw an opportunity to scratch a bunch of itches at once – good-heartedness, advertising, gambling and Vegas’ most important product – selling you things you could never imagine wanting.

It almost makes you wonder if they harbor a secret itch to take the $160,000 and double down on behalf of the charities for another of their pet projects – the Vegas Golden Knights. If they put it on the Knights to win the Stanley Cup at 200-1, that’s $32,000,000. Then if they took that and . . .

. . . and before you know it, they’re trapped in the fantasyland of Las Vegas at its weirdest. Maybe it’s just performance art with more money than most of us can eat.