Kings

Kings name Smart head coach

633660.jpg

Kings name Smart head coach

Former Warriors coach Keith Smart has been named the head coach of the Kings, hours after the dismissal of Paul Westphal in Sacramento.

Initially, the Kings indicated that Smart would coach the team for tonight's game against Milwaukee, but they delivered a press release shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday making the hire full-time.

Official press release:
The Sacramento Kings today named Keith Smart as the teams 24th Head Coach, according to President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Keith will bring a new perspective to the team as we try to move forward with the season, said Petrie. Hes very well prepared and will assume the job with some new ideas and new approaches of his own. Were all excited and looking forward to working with him.

Smart, who spent last season as head coach of the Golden State Warriors where he compiled a 36-46 record, brings over 22 years of professional basketball experience as either a coach or player. Prior to his appointment as head coach for Golden State, Smart served seven seasons as an assistant coach for the Warriors, giving him the longest tenure of any assistant coach in Golden State history.

I had a chance to work for Paul Westphal in the brief time that Ive been here and really enjoyed it, explained Smart. He was very supportive every step of the way. I want to thank Geoff Petrie and the Maloof family for giving me this opportunity. Im looking forward to implementing a few new things with what we want to try to do with our basketball team. Hopefully, theyll respond to what I want them to do, and I believe they will. I think our players will be excited with some of the ideas that I have for our team moving forward.

The 47-year-old Smart originally joined the Warriors prior to the 2003-04 campaign after spending the previous three seasons as an assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was named the Cavaliers interim head coach in the middle of the 2002-03 season upon taking over for John Lucas. At the time, he was the second-youngest head coach in the NBA.

When I asked Geoff to add Keith Smart to our staff, I knew that he would be a tremendous asset going forward, said Westphal. Keith has my respect and blessing as he assumes the position he is exceptionally qualified to fill.

Before joining the Cavaliers, Smart spent three seasons as the head coach of the CBAs Fort Wayne Fury, compiling a record of 85-83 (.506) and guiding the team to its first back-to-back winning seasons in franchise history in 1997-98 and 1998-99. In his first campaign as a head coach at any level in 1997-98, he guided the Fury to a franchise-record 31-win season and a trip to the playoffs. The club made the playoffs again in 1998-99, despite having a single-season franchise record nine players signed to NBA contracts. He was awarded the American Conference Coach of the Month Award five times during his tenure with Fort Wayne and had a CBA-high 21 players signed to NBA contracts.

During his professional basketball playing career, Smart spent six seasons in the CBA, two seasons in France and one in Venezuela. He also played briefly with the San Antonio Spurs during the 1988-89 season.

Smart was originally drafted by the Warriors in the second round (41st overall) of the 1988 NBA Draft out of Indiana University. He is widely remembered for his Final Four heroics in 1987, in which he was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four after leading Indiana to a National Championship with his game-winning shot versus Syracuse in the title game.

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

cousins-demarcus-davis-anthony-arms.jpg
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

maloof-courtside-kings.jpg
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.