Kings

Kings move up to No. 5 pick, keep No. 10 pick in 2017 NBA Draft

Kings move up to No. 5 pick, keep No. 10 pick in 2017 NBA Draft

The ping pong balls have spoken. There is some good news and some bad. The lottery gods smiled down on the Sacramento when the team jumped from the eighth overall all the way to the third pick in the draft. Unfortunately, the Philadelphia 76ers had the right to swap picks, costing Sacramento two spots.

Sacramento now officially own both the fifth and 10th overall selections after the Pelicans failed to move up into the top three of the draft. While a top three selection would have been a huge boon for the team, the Kings have to be ecstatic with a top five selection in a highly regarded draft class.

The Kings GM Vlade Divac issued a statement shortly after the conclusion of the NBA Draft Lottery.

"We are pleased with the outcome tonight and excited to have secured two top 10 picks in a very strong draft. We’re in a great position to improve our team and we look forward to the draft this summer."

It could have been much worse for Sacramento. After six years, the J.J. Hickson transaction is finally off the books. By staying inside the top 10 with their own selection, the Kings will now relay their second round selection (pick No. 38) to the Chicago Bulls to complete the 2011 trade that sent Omri Casspi and a protected pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Hickson.

Hickson didn’t make it through the season before being waived, but the pick restrictions remained in place, hampering the Kings’ ability to make trades involving picks for ever since.

Sacramento also received good news when the New Orleans Pelicans card was flipped at No. 10. The Kings landed a top three protected pick from the Pelicans as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade over All-Star weekend. With New Orleans failing to move up into the top three spots, their picks is now officially property of the Kings.

It wasn’t a banner night. The team moved up into the top end of the lottery where a bevy of young point guards are waiting. But the fact that the Kings walk into a very strong draft night on June 22nd with No. 5 and No. 10 and an early second rounder obtained in the Cousins deal, is good news for a franchise in rebuild mode.

Here is the complete lottery:

14. Heat
13. Nuggets
12. Pistons
11. Hornets
10. Kings
9. Mavericks
8. Knicks
7. Timberwolves
6. Magic
5. Kings
4. Suns
3. 76ers
2. Lakers
1. Celtics

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.