Archive for the ‘ Sacramento Kings Blog ’ Category

DeMarcus Cousins and Kings make long-term commitment

It’s not easy earning DeMarcus Cousins’ trust. By nature, he’s skeptical of new people and situations.

So over the summer, new Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive and his front office and coaching staff began connecting with Cousins, their talented but sometimes ornery center who they expected to be the centerpiece of the team’s rebuilding project.

During that process, Cousins found Ranadive to be a man of his word, and Cousins convinced the Kings’ management team he was committed to the franchise and wanted to become a leader.

The sides liked each other enough to agree on a four-year contract extension worth $62 million that will be finalized in time for today’s 10 a.m. news conference.

“What I’ve learned about (Ranadive) so far is he has a strong passion, and when he puts his mind to something he wants to get it done,” Cousins said. “That alone makes me very confident with him being our leader. I’m excited about this group, I’m extremely confident with them, and I think we’re going to do a lot of things.”

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

Kings, DeMarcus Cousins agree to contract extension

The Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with center DeMarcus Cousins for four years worth approximately $62 million, league sources confirmed Thursday night.

The most Cousins was eligible for under the collective bargaining agreement was five years and $80 million. The contract takes effect for the 2014-15 season.

The deadline for first-round draft picks from 2010 to agree to contract extensions is Oct. 31. If the Kings had not reached an agreement, they could not have signed Cousins until after this season.

Reported by Jason Jones and Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings agrees to contract extension

The Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with center DeMarcus Cousins for four years worth approximately $62 million.

The most Cousins was eligible for under the collective bargaining agreement was five years and $80 million.

The contract takes effect for the 2014-15 season.

The deadline for first-round draft picks from 2010 to agree to contract extensions is Oct. 31. If the Kings had not reached an agreement, they could not sign Cousins until an agreement until after this season.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

Cousins deal will include no early termination option, which could’ve been possible after the third year of the deal, a source said.

After resisting the idea of giving Cousins a max deal without conditions in the contract, the Kings finally relented and gave the talented, but tempermental young center the offer he and his agent, Dan Fegan, had sought in negotiations.

Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

Shaq happy to mentor DeMarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins
Shaq happy to mentor DeMarcus Cousins
Still developing, in multiple ways

O’Neal, formally introduced Tuesday as a new minority owner of the Kings, said he’ll be available to help Cousins reach his potential on the court and transform the Kings back to the franchise that challenged his Lakers teams for championships.

It’s monitoring Cousins’ development as a player that O’Neal will concentrate on most.

“I understand everything that (Cousins is) going through,” O’Neal said Tuesday. “We have similar backgrounds. I understand everything he’s going through, and I speak his language. That’s why my conversation with him is going to be easy.”

Critics chided O’Neal for making movies and rap albums while his teams weren’t winning titles. O’Neal said it was a conversation with Lakers and Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson that changed his direction and led him to championships.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

New Sacramento NBA arena may have interesting twist

The Sacramento Kings introduced their new celebrity part-owner Tuesday and pulled back the curtain on an “indoor-outdoor” concept they’re planning for the team’s new downtown arena.

At a news conference dominated by new partner Shaquille O’Neal, majority owner Vivek Ranadive dropped tantalizing hints about the design of the $448 million arena that’s supposed to open at Sacramento’s Downtown Plaza in 2016. While declining to release details, he said fans would be able to see certain events from outside the building.

Ranadive and O’Neal’s sometimes comical news conference kicked off a day’s worth of developments surrounding the Kings. Hours later, the City Council agreed to let the Kings accelerate repayment of their $62 million debt to the city by imposing a 5 percent surcharge on tickets at Sleep Train Arena, where the Kings now play. The council also OK’d a deal that would let the team reimburse the city for certain pre-development costs at the new building.

Reported by Dale Kasler, Ryan Lillis and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

Shaquille O’Neal
Shaq joins Sacramento Kings ownership group
Wealthy, retired players like to buy stuff

Shaquille O’Neal will be introduced as the newest member of the Sacramento Kings ownership group Tuesday morning at the Kings practice facility.

O’Neal, the four-time NBA Champion and 2000 league MVP, is best known for tormenting the Kings during his run of dominance with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The future Hall of Famer retired prior to the 2011-12 season and has worked as an analyst for TNT the last two seasons. He met with majority owner Vivek Ranadive in June and offered to tutor DeMarcus Cousins, who he believes has the talent to be the best center in basketball.

Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee (Blog)

During the height of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, O’Neal fueled the rivalry with the Kings with his play on the court and his personality off of it.

O’Neal handed Sacramento its biggest blow by rallying the Lakers from a 3-2 deficit to win the 2002 Western Conference finals, which is still a sore spot for Kings fans. The 7-foot-1 center even labeled the franchise the “Sacramento Queens” and accused fan favorite Vlade Divac — whom he referred to as “she” at one point during the series — of flopping.

Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

The price of admission to Sleep Train Arena has just gone up 5 percent.

As part of a complex deal between the city and the Sacramento Kings for a new downtown arena, the team this month added a 5percent fee on tickets to all arena events. The funds will be used to speed up payoff of a $74million loan the city issued to the Kings in 1997 to help previous team owners refinance arena debt. The Kings still owe the city $62million, after making a $2million July payment, City Treasurer Russ Fehr said.

The fee is expected to be in effect for upcoming events, including a Josh Grobin concert in two weeks, Disney on Ice and Kings pre-season and regular season games.

The surcharge is part of a series of expected agreements between the team and city as part of a joint plan to build a $448million arena at Downtown Plaza.

Reported by Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

Kings

A fresh fight broke out Wednesday over the proposed public subsidy for Sacramento’s new NBA arena, this time over an allegation that opponents of the subsidy are illegally using voter-registration information for commercial purposes.

In a complaint to the California secretary of state’s elections fraud unit, the pro-arena group DowntownArena.org accused its opponents of using voter lists to pitch the services of a for-profit energy company. “Voter registration information shall not be used for any commercial purpose,” reads the letter from DowntownArena.org.

But John Hyde, a spokesman for the anti-subsidy group STOP, for Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, called the charge “absolutely false.”

The exchange was the latest flare-up between DowntownArena and STOP, which is working on a ballot initiative to force a public vote on the city’s proposed $258 million subsidy for the arena. Last month, DowntownArena filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission that resulted in the dramatic disclosure that a portion of the signature-gathering effort was secretly financed by Chris Hansen, the investor who tried to buy the Kings earlier this year and move them to Seattle.

Reported by Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee

Kings

The Sacramento Kings today announced Robert “Chip” Schaefer as Director of Athletic Performance, according to General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.

A veteran in the athletic training and sports performance field with more than 25 seasons of basketball experience to his credit, Schaefer’s career includes contributions to 11 NBA Championship teams.

Prior to joining the Kings, Schaefer served the last two years as Assistant Athletics Director for Sports Performance at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His change to the collegiate ranks followed 12 seasons (1999 – 2011) with the Los Angeles Lakers organization working as Director of Athletic Performance, where he was part of five title teams after helping Chicago win six championships during his eight seasons as head trainer for the Bulls (1990 – 1998).

In addition to his NBA experience, Schaefer was on-staff at the renowned Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, where he worked with many of the nation’s elite professional and amateur athletes. He also served as head athletic trainer at Pete Newell’s Big Man Camps after a three-season stint as head trainer at Loyola Marymount University (1987-1990).

Schaefer’s role with Sacramento includes design and implementation of all strength and conditioning programs aimed at maximizing core strength, explosiveness, speed and endurance. He will also assist Director of Sports Medicine Pete Youngman and Head Athletic Trainer Manny Romero with injury prevention and health maintenance.

Schaefer is a member of the National Athletic Trainer’s Association (NATA) and a certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is also recognized by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) as a specialist in performance enhancement, corrective exercise and fitness nutrition.

A native of Deerfield, Ill., Schaefer received his B.A. in physical education and sports medicine from the University of Utah in 1983. He later earned his master’s degree in counseling from Loyola Marymount. During the interim, he acted as head trainer for the U.S. Men’s Ski Team from 1984-86.

The Reno Bighorns, NBA D-League affiliate of the Sacramento Kings, have named Joel Abelson as the team’s new head coach, according to Bighorns General Manager and Kings Director of Player Personnel Shareef Abdur-Rahim.

Prior to joining the Bighorns, Abelson served as the head coach of the Sioux Falls Skyforce, guiding the team to a 10-win improvement from the previous season with a record of 25-25, just one game shy of a playoff berth.

Abelson’s experience includes four seasons as the Idaho Stampede’s associate head coach (2008-09 - 2011-12). He broke into the NBA D-League as director of basketball operations with the Tulsa 66ers in 2007-08 following a basketball operations internship with the Charlotte Bobcats.

The University of Michigan graduate was an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors summer league entry in July 2012 and also trained collegiate and professional players at the Bob Hill Basketball Camp (2009, 2010) and Impact Basketball (2008).

The Kings, Reno Bighorns and the NBA Development League announced in July a single affiliation partnership beginning with the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, making Sacramento the 14th NBA franchise to establish a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA D-League team.

This partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” is the seventh of its kind in the NBA D-League and allows the Kings to pay for and control the Bighorns’ basketball operations, while existing local ownership in Reno maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.

Chris Mullin
Sacramento Kings hire Chris Mullin as advisor
Brings basketball expertise and a strong NY accent

The Sacramento Kings announced today the organization has added Chris Mullin as Advisor to the Chairman, according to Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé.

“Chris Mullin is an incredible addition to our organization,” said Ranadivé. “I have great respect for his accomplishments and understanding of the game. From day one, we have focused on making the Sacramento Kings a first-class franchise built for the 21st Century. Chris brings the experience, knowledge, and influence to help us achieve our ultimate goal—bringing a championship to the fans and city of Sacramento. As we prepare for the new season and a new era in Kings basketball, I’m really excited about the group of visionary leaders we’ve brought together.”

Mullin, 50, will assume a variety of basketball operations responsibilities, advising Ranadivé and General Manager Pete D’Alessandro regarding player transactions and apprising front office and coaching personnel of the team’s collegiate and professional scouting efforts.

“It isn’t everyday that a franchise has the opportunity to add an individual of Chris’ caliber and reputation,” said D’Alessandro. “His passion for the game, unflagging work ethic and will to win, ever-present characteristics which helped define him as one of the NBA’s premier players for nearly 20 years, will have a contagious effect on our entire organization,” said D’Alessandro.

“I couldn’t be more excited about joining the Kings and playing a part in making this team a winner again,” said Mullin. “I’m especially grateful for the unique opportunity to work in close proximity with a world-class ownership group led by Vivek Ranadivé and the talented group of individuals assembled in our front office.”

A member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (class of 2011), Mullin averaged 18.2 ppg (.509 FG%, .384 3pt %, .865 FT%), 4.1 rpg, 3.5 apg, 1.60 spg and 32.6 mpg in 986 career games with the Golden State Warriors (1985-86 – 1996-97 and 2000-01) and Indiana Pacers (1997-98 – 1999-00). He was named an NBA All-Star five times and notched All-NBA First Team honors after posting 25.6 ppg (.524 FG%, .366 3pt%, .833 FT%), 5.6 rpg, 3.6 apg and career-highs of 2.10 spg and 41.3 mpg in 1991-92. Later that same year, Mullin would win his second of two Olympic Gold Medals as a member of the “Dream Team,” finishing third on the roster in scoring (14.3 ppg) behind Charles Barkley and Karl Malone.

Prior to being selected seventh overall in the 1985 NBA Draft out of St. Johns, Mullin earned every All-American accolade in existence as a collegian, including an Olympic gold medal for Team USA at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He concluded his career for the Red Storm by winning the 1985 John Wooden Award bestowed upon the nation’s most outstanding college player. In 2011, Mullin was elected to the National Collegiate Hall of Fame.

Mullin remained close to the game following his playing career, serving as a special assistant in the Warriors front office before being named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations in 2004. He would hold the title for five seasons, including one of the most memorable in franchise history as Golden State became only the third eighth-seeded team in league annals to upset a top seed when they defeated Dallas in the First Round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs.

The Sacramento Kings ownership group and labor unions have come to an agreement over the use of unionized labor in the construction of a new arena at Downtown Plaza.

Officials with the Kings, the city, building trades unions and Turner Construction - which has been signed on to lead construction of the arena - will announce the labor agreement at a noon press conference today at Downtown Plaza, according to a source briefed on the agreement.

It is unclear if the agreement involves using exclusively unionized labor in the arena construction, or if some of the work would be done by non-union workers.

The agreement triggered immediate controversy. An anti-union group called the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, which opposes these labor agreements, blasted the deal and hinted that it would assist the group that is pushing a ballot initiative on taxpayer funding for the arena.

Reported by Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee

Sacramento Kings
Sacramento push for new Kings arena continues
This new arena stuff is taking a while to materialize

Eight local legislators joined Friday to back a bill to shield Sacramento’s downtown arena plan from lengthy litigation that could cause the building to miss a tight, NBA-imposed deadline for opening.

The 11th-hour effort, championed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would speed up the judicial process for handling environmental lawsuits, limit the courts’ ability to stop construction, and add mediation to the mix.

Steinberg, who promised the league in New York this spring he’d help shepherd the arena project through the state’s often lengthy environmental process, said the bill keeps the arena on a fast track to open in 2016.

NBA officials have said they are willing to give Sacramento an extra year, but Commissioner David Stern has warned that the league reserves the right to force the team to move to a new city if the project lags.

Reported by Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

Shareef Abdur-Rahim named general manager of Reno Bighorns

The Sacramento Kings today announced Shareef Abdur-Rahim as General Manager of the Reno Bighorns, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro. Abdur-Rahim, who also holds the role of Director of Player Personnel for the Kings, will oversee basketball operations for the team’s D-League affiliate.

Abdur-Rahim is entering his fourth season in the Kings front office, where he served the previous three as Assistant General Manager after spending the 2009-10 season on the Kings bench as an assistant coach specializing in player development.

Prior to retiring from professional basketball in 2008, the 12-year NBA veteran amassed career averages of 18.1 points (.472 FG%, .297 3FG%, .810 FT%), 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 830 contests for four teams (Vancouver 1996-97 to 2000-01, Atlanta 2001-02 to 2003-04, Portland 2003-04 to 2004-05 and Sacramento 2005-06 to 2007-08). In a five-season stretch from 1997-98 through 2001-02, he posted better than 20 points and seven rebounds per contest, narrowly missing a sixth straight campaign registering such consistency when he recorded 19.9 points and 8.4 rebounds in 2002-03. He was named an NBA All-Star in 2002, finishing the campaign with averages of 21.2 points and 9.0 rebounds, ranking 15th and 13th in the league respectively.

In a related development, D’Alessandro also announced that Chris Gilbert will join Abdur-Rahim in Reno as the Bighorns Assistant General Manager. Gilbert is entering his first season as the Kings Basketball Operations Coordinator, assisting D’Alessandro, Assistant GM Mike Bratz and Abdur-Rahim with all facets of the team’s day-to-day operations.

Before joining the Kings, Gilbert spent eight seasons with the Golden State Warriors organization in a variety of capacities. In his new role with the Bighorns, he will support Abdur-Rahim in all aspects of basketball operations for the Kings D-League affiliate.

The Kings, Reno Bighorns and the NBA Development League announced in July a single-affiliation partnership beginning with the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, making Sacramento the 14th NBA franchise to establish a one-to-one affiliation with an NBA D-League team.

This partnership, also referred to as a “hybrid affiliation,” is the seventh of its kind in the NBA D-League and allows the Kings to pay for and control the Bighorns basketball operations, while existing local ownership in Reno maintains primary responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations and community initiatives.

Sacramento Kings hire architect for new arena

After a highly competitive process involving some of the top architectural firms in the world, the Sacramento Kings today announced AECOM has been selected as the lead architect for the downtown entertainment and sports complex.

AECOM is renowned for designing some of the most state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venues in the world. AECOM is responsible for the acclaimed London 2012 Olympic Park and is also designing the Rio 2016 Olympic Park. AECOM has served as lead architect of 11 NBA arenas, including the Barclays Center – home of the Brooklyn Nets and the 2012 Sports Business Journal Facility of the Year. Locally, AECOM designed Aggies Stadium at the University of California, Davis.

“We have assembled the best artists in the world to design and build the new arena,” said Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. “From the Bird’s Nest in Beijing to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, AECOM has the resume to design and create the most technologically advanced and fan-centric arena in the world.”

The Kings also selected ICON Venue Group as the project manager and Turner as the lead builder.

“We now have a world-class team in place and we look forward to developing what we believe will be an important civic space, and the loudest building in sports, right here in the heart of downtown Sacramento,” said Kings President Chris Granger.

AECOM plans to have conceptual renderings ready this fall and final design completed in early to mid 2014. AECOM will do all the architectural design work in Sacramento to ensure ongoing local input in the design process.

“We are thrilled to be selected to design the new downtown arena,” said Jon Niemuth, AIA, NCARB, LEED, Director of AECOM Sports, Americas. “For some of the best fans in the NBA, we are prepared to design an arena that will not only provide a tremendous home court advantage for the Kings, but that will also create an amazing experience for everyone who steps foot in and around the facility. This project will transform downtown and the entire region.”

“This is another huge win for the Kings and for Sacramento,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson. “AECOM’s selection continues to prove that the best and brightest in the world believe in this project and in our community. I applaud the Kings for an inspired selection and can’t wait to see what AECOM designs for the new arena!”

Kings add Ryan Bowen to staff

Ryan Bowen

The Kings hired Ryan Bowen as an assistant coach and assistant director of player development Wednesday.

Bowen, an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets the past two seasons, joins Brendan Malone, Chris Jent, Corliss Williamson, Dee Brown and Micah Nori on new coach Michael Malone’s staff.

In 10 NBA seasons, Bowen played in 507 games with the Nuggets (1999-2000, 2003-04), Houston Rockets (2004-06), New Orleans Hornets (2007-09) and Oklahoma City Thunder (2009-10). He also played for Oyak Renault (Turkey) in 1998-99 and Ironi Nahariya (Israel) in 2007.

Reported by the Sacramento Bee

Jimmer Fredette

The Kings acquired Greivis Vasquez to be their starting point guard, likely pushing incumbent Isaiah Thomas to a backup role. Look for rookie Ray McCallum, who impressed coaches this summer in Las Vegas, to be ahead of Fredette at the point, too.

Things are just as crowded at shooting guard, with first-round draft pick Ben McLemore expected to start and Marcus Thornton getting plenty of playing time, too. Throw veteran John Salmons into the mix and that means there will be few minutes for Fredette.

So where does that leave the guard who made “Jimmermania” a household word and won every major college award as a senior at BYU just two years ago?

Reported by Tom Couzens of the Sacramento Bee

The Sacramento Kings announced today the organization has added Ryan Bowen as an assistant coach and assistant director of player development, joining Brendan Malone, Corliss Williamson, Chris Jent, Micah Nori and Dee Brown on Head Coach Michael Malone’s staff.

Bowen joins the Kings after serving the previous two seasons as an assistant coach for the Denver Nuggets. In his new role with Sacramento, he will support Dee Brown in all areas of on-court player development.

A 10-year NBA veteran, he appeared in 507 career games with the Nuggets (1999-2000 – 2003-04), Houston Rockets (2004-05 – 2005-06), New Orleans Hornets (2007-08 and 2008-09) and Oklahoma City Thunder (2009-10). His professional experience includes time playing overseas for Oyak Renault (Turkey) and Ironi Nahariya (Israel).

As a collegian, Bowen enjoyed a four-year career at the University of Iowa, posting 14.4 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per contest during his senior year in 1997-98.

Following retirement from professional basketball in 2009, Bowen returned to his alma mater as video coordinator for the Hawkeyes, working in that capacity for one season before departing Iowa City for a spot on Denver’s bench serving under then Head Coach George Karl.

In addition to his coaching duties, Bowen remains an active contributor in the communities where he works, recently establishing the Ryan Bowen Family Foundation aimed at helping sponsor youth athletics and college scholarships for children.

Bowen and his wife, Wendy, have two sons, Benjamin and Zachary, and a daughter, Isabel.

Sacramento’s arena war hit new levels of intensity this week after Seattle financier Chris Hansen was revealed as the secret source of money for a petition drive to put the city’s arena plans to a public vote.

Seizing on outrage at the news, arena supporters took to the streets Saturday, hanging more than 1,000 fliers on front doors asking residents who signed the petitions to withdraw their signatures. “Don’t let Seattle money steal away our chance at 4,000 jobs for Sacramento!” the fliers urged.

Arena backers, a group that includes many of the city’s prominent business people and politicians, argue the Seattle funding offers proof that the two-month-old petition drive is really an attempt to derail the city’s downtown arena plans and push the Kings out of town.

Yet Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, the group behind the ballot measure, insists it is a homegrown effort, aimed at giving voters a voice. Its leaders today vowed to come back fighting - possibly with a local fundraising effort.

Reported by Tony Bizjak and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee

California’s political watchdog agency filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking to force a Los Angeles law firm to identify who paid signature gatherers trying to force a public vote on Sacramento’s arena subsidy.

The Fair Political Practices Commission’s suit against Loeb & Loeb charged that the high-powered firm has “failed and refused” to report the source of the money, despite warnings that it had violated the Political Reform Act by failing to meet a state financial disclosure deadline.

Loeb & Loeb represented the Maloofs when the family reached a deal in January to sell the Sacramento Kings to a group in Seattle. The Maloofs have denied any involvement in the signature campaign, and members of the family were not available for comment Thursday.

Reported by Ryan Lillis, Dale Kasler and Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee

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