Kings

Sources: Teams showing trade interest in Kings’ Gay, Belinelli

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Sources: Teams showing trade interest in Kings’ Gay, Belinelli

The noise is only going to get louder as we approach the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 18. Once again, Rudy Gay’s name has been mentioned as a potential trade target, but he won’t be the only Sacramento Kings player that will need to have thick skin over the next few weeks.

Sources have confirmed to CSN California there is plenty of interest around the league for multiple players on the Kings roster, but the Kings have yet to set up shop as sellers. In fact, they would love to be buyers if the right deal walked in the door.

Gay’s name has been mentioned most often as a potential target, but the current rumors are no different than the ones that surfaced two weeks ago.

We continue to hear Gay is not on the block. That does of course come with a caveat. If Vlade Divac and the Kings brass believe they can make the team marketably better through trade, be it Gay or anyone else, they will listen.

[HAM: Kings' Cousins, Gay react to being finalists for Team USA]

The veteran forward is averaging 18 points and 6.9 rebounds in 34.2 minutes per game. The 29-year-old is under contract next season at $13.3 million and he has a player option for the following season at $14.2 million. Those numbers become decidedly more attractive this summer when the NBA salary cap jumps to $88 million.

CSN California has learned teams around the league have called to check on the availability of shooter Marco Belinelli. Belinelli, 29, signed a three-year, $19 million deal with the Kings in July, but he has struggled to find a rhythm in Sacramento. The Italian-born wing is averaging just 10.7 points per game while shooting a career-low 38.4 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from behind the arc.

Despite the rough start, Belinelli is a known commodity around the league and shooters come at a premium. His track record of success has teams willing to overlook his slow start, but according to a source, the offers coming in are less than flattering.

Don’t expect the Kings to make a move just to make a move. They have plenty of roster flexibility going forward and all but Rajon Rondo are under contract past this season. In addition, they currently sit just a half game out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings.

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.