With pending long-term extension, Cousins needles local media

With pending long-term extension, Cousins needles local media

SACRAMENTO -- What appeared to be a typically mundane night was turned on its head Tuesday night in Sacramento. As the Kings were struggling through another tough home game, the mood was somber in Golden 1 Center. 

The angle wrote itself: “The sky is falling: Kings drop fourth straight as doom and gloom consumes Sacramento.”

And then the weather changed with an 18-point lead erased, a possible contract extension for the team’s franchise player, a win, and a very curious postgame interview.

In case you missed the news, Cousins is in line for a massive contract extension this summer and it appears that he and the Kings front office are on the same page. There is still work to be done, but Cousins is ready to sign on the dotted line for a $207 million contract that will keep him in Sacramento for the next six seasons. 

“This is where I want to be. Hell yeah, I’m good with it,” Cousins told CSNCalifornia.com when asked about the potential deal.

The All-Star center was in a very good mood. His 3-pointer with 56 seconds remaining gave the Kings a four-point lead and helped seal a big win over the Pistons. His 24-point, 13-rebound, six-assist night snapped a three-game skid as the Kings kept pace in the race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff.

In great spirits, Cousins followed an impulse and took the night to a new level. As the talk centered around his long-term future in Sacramento, Cousins snatched a microphone from CSN’s Kayte Christensen and turned the tables with a few choice questions of his own.

The beef between Cousins and local newspaper reporters spilled over into print in December, so he took the opportunity to needle his naysayers. 

“I love Sacramento, it’s where I want to be," Cousins said before asking his first question. "You want me to be here?” he directed at one reporter. 

“Always have,” the reporter responded twice.

Cousins then shifted to another reporter who had engaged in a verbal altercation with Cousins following a game earlier this season.

“Would you like me to remain here?” Cousins said with a smile.

The reporter took the opportunity to make his case against Cousins remaining in Sacramento.

“It’s not my call, but I would say, for me, I would say no,” the reporter responded.

Cousins handed the microphone back to Christensen and with a huge smile and a bit of a chuckle.

“Okay, okay," he said. "Well, guess what? Guess what people? I’m here!”

It wasn’t mean spirited. If anything, it provided some much needed levity to a potentially uncomfortable situation.

All in all, it was a good night for the star big man as his team came away with a huge victory to stem the tide. Top form will again be reqired Friday night when the NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers visit the Golden 1 Center.

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

Kings finish 2017 NBA Draft with night that can turn franchise around

SACRAMENTO -- The Kings had a big draft night. The kind of night that might turn a franchise around. They entered the evening with three picks, including two in the top 10. With their first selection, they filled the franchise’s biggest need when they drafted De’Aaron Fox and then they went to work.
Vlade Divac and his team of front office execs jumped on an early trade, dealing the No. 10 overall selection to the Portland Trail Blazers for No. 15 and No. 20. North Carolina’s Justin Jackson was too appealing to pass on, and like Fox, he fit a major position of need. 
Sacramento came back with the 20th selection, taking one of the biggest risk/reward picks in the draft. Duke’s Harry Giles is playing on rebuilt knees, but before that, he was one of the top prospects in all of basketball. If he can stay healthy, the Kings may have drafted the biggest steal of the night. 
They topped off the evening with the selection of Wooden and Naismith Award winner Frank Mason III with the 34th overall pick. The Kings entered the night without a single point guard and they ended it with two very exciting options. 
“I’m very excited about the talent that we brought here tonight,” Divac said. “They’re going to just be an addition to what we’re trying to build here in the second half of the season.”
The Kings turned down overtures to move up to draft Fox. The 19-year-old speedster will step in and immediately compete for the starting point guard spot and he’s very excited to be a King.
“It’s just the vibe that I got when I was out there,” Fox told local Sacramento media via phone. “I felt like they really wanted me.” 
John Calipari is known for his bevy of All-Star bigs throughout the league, but he’s also produced a long line of big-time guards. Sacramento is hoping that Fox can live up to the billing of other former Calipari guards like Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall. According to Divac, the Kings were so high on Fox, they would have taken him higher. 
“Screaming,” Divac said about the reaction in the room to Fox falling in their lap. “It was a guy that we all loved and in some way, if we had the number 1 pick, he would’ve been our guy.”
“De’Aaron is our future,” Divac added.
Without a perfect fit at 10, Divac made an adjustment on the fly to add more assets. The decision to trade 10 for 15 and 20 was very similar to the last season when the Kings dealt the eighth overall pick for No. 13, 28 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic. By splitting the pick in two, the Kings were able to land two talented pieces that mesh with the current roster build.
Jackson and Fox know each other well. The duo played AAU ball together and Fox says he considers Jackson an older brother.  He is friends with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere from their Kentucky connection.
“I feel like we can grow together,” Fox said of the Kings’ young core. “Of course, it’s going to take some time, but every franchise takes time.”
Fox is the jewel of the night and Jackson will compete for time at the wing, but Giles is the wildcard. The 19-year-old big can play the four and the five and has elite potential. 
“I’m so excited he was there for us at the 20,” Divac said. “That kind of talent you can’t pass.”
The Kings have done their homework on Giles. The type of knee injury that he sustained is similar to former NBA players Danny Manning, Amaré Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin. Manning and Martin each played 15 years in the league and Stoudemire lasted 14 seasons before retiring in 2016. After meeting him in person in Sacramento and working him out, they are very confident that he will be able to overcome his injuries and have a successful career in the NBA. 
Mason III will remind Kings fans of Isaiah Thomas, another undersized point guard that fell to the second round. The Kansas star posted 20.9 points, 5.2 assists and 4.2 rebounds for the Jayhawks last season. He’s a hard-nosed leader that can jump out of the gym and will instantly become a fan favorite in Sacramento. 
It’s a huge haul. Sacramento added two points guards, a wing and a big from some of the best basketball schools in the country. More than that, they added high character winners to a changing culture. 
For the first time in a while, the Sacramento Kings have accumulated assets. They have hit the ground running in their attempted rebuild and for one night, they are the talk of the NBA.

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

Kings select PG Frank Mason III No. 34 overall in the 2017 NBA Draft

With the No. 34 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, the Kings selected the 2016-17 Player of the Year in point gaurd Frank Mason III.

Mason averaged 20.9 points and 5.2 assists per game as a senior at Kansas. 

The Kings wrapped up the 2017 NBA Draft with point guard De'Aaron Fox at No. 5, small forward Justin Jackson at No. 15, power forward Harry Giles at No. 20 and Mason at No. 34.