DeMarcus Cousins

Western Notes: Cousins, Suns, Jazz, Wolves

The Kings are refusing to listen to trade offers for DeMarcus Cousins, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Sacramento is aware of the Celtics’ interest in the All-Star center and has received an offer from the Cavaliers. However, it looks as if the Kings are determined to keep Cousins, who has two seasons remaining on his contract. Since the season ended, Cousins has embarked on a hot yoga program and has dropped about 25 pounds.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Suns don’t plan a major move even though they still have more than $13MM in cap space available and a roster spot to fill, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic. Phoenix is more than $3MM below the minimum team payroll of $84.73MM, which could help facilitate trades during the season. “I’d be surprised if we spent a lot of that cap space now or over the summertime,” said GM Ryan McDonough. “More likely, we’ll preserve most, if not all of it, and go into the season and look at either in-season signings or probably more likely in-season trades that are lopsided where we take back more money than we send out. There are a decent amount of advantages to operating as an under-the-cap team in terms of player aggregation and trades and things like that.”
  • The Jazz appear to have accelerated their development with a series of offseason moves, writes Brian Mahoney of SI.com. Armed with the 12th pick in the first round, Utah swung a three-team deal to acquire George Hill from the Pacers. The Jazz also signed veteran free agents Joe Johnson and traded for Boris Diaw. “There were a couple of things that kind of universally rang true,” said GM Dennis Lindsey. “Experience, physicality, shooting, improved passing, a little more depth at the guard position, a little more depth at the wing position, a little more depth—and not just depth, but experienced depth—at the big man position as well. I think as much as anything, it was just a natural step.”
  • The Timberwolves hope to add another wing player and a point guard before the season starts, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Minnesota’s front office held a meeting today to discuss personnel.
  • Pistons executive Brian Wright will become the new assistant GM for the Spurs, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Kings Notes: Temple, Cousins, Rookies

The Kings are expecting Garrett Temple to be a major contributor this season, which is something the shooting guard is excited to embrace, Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders writes. “[The Kings] were adamant that they envision me being an integral part of the team and that was obviously great to hear, especially with my background. Being valued as a guy who can produce and will be relied on every night is something that I’ve been waiting for a long time,” Temple tells Kennedy. “Coach [Dave] Joerger believes in my abilities and that I can produce, so I’ll be on the court a good amount this year.”

Here’s more from Sacramento:

  • DeMarcus Cousins remains critical of the Kings‘ draft this year, as Sean Cunningham of Sacramento’s ABC10 tweets. “I can’t control [who the team drafted]. I control what I can control. I don’t really understand it, but I do my job,” the big man said.
  • Cousins didn’t not attempt to influence the Kings‘ decision making this offseason, including whether or not they should bring back Rajon Rondo, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee tweets“I do my job and I let them do theirs,” he said.
  • Cousins has been working with Malachi Richardson out in Vegas and he’s very high on the No. 22 overall pick, Cunningham passes along (Twitter link).
  • Cousins is impressed with how Skal Labissiere played during Summer League and he loves the addition of Matt Barnes, as Cunningham passes along via Twitter. The Kings brought Barnes in on a two year, $12MM deal.

USA Basketball Finalizes 2016 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has finalized its 12-man roster for this summer’s Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press details. Team USA will head into the 2016 Olympics looking to win its third straight Gold medal in basketball. Barring any injuries or other unforeseen circumstances, the following 12 players will be representing America in Brazil this summer:

While Team USA’s roster features a bevy of All-Stars, former Olympians, and an MVP winner, many notable players declined invitations to play in Rio this summer. LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden are among those who withdrew from consideration.

Northwest Notes: Durant, Westbrook, Dixon

Free agency won’t be the only item on Kevin Durant‘s summer schedule, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The former MVP plans to be part of the U.S. Olympic team and may be the biggest name on a roster that has already lost Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Stein reports that Durant is considered a sure thing for the team, along with Klay Thompson and Paul George. They will join DeMarcus Cousins, whose participation was first reported by Marc Spears of The Undefeated. Kyrie Irving is considered almost certain to join the team, while officials are waiting to hear from LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. The full 12-man roster is expected to be announced soon.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Westbrook is making a smart decision to skip the Summer Games, contends Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman. With Rio de Janeiro beset by a financial crisis, reports of drug-resistant super bacteria on the beaches and possibly the Zika virus present, Tramel believes that presents too many risks for NBA players.
  • At age 38, Nazr Mohammed has probably played his last NBA game, according to Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman. Mohammed signed with the Thunder in March, but appeared in just five games and served mostly as a mentor to younger players, in particular giving defensive tips to Enes Kanter. Mohammed said he won’t try to play again next season and would like to someday become a GM. “That’s my five-year, 10-year plan,” he said. “To one day run my own organization.”
  • Mike Dixon Jr. has received a passport from the nation of Georgia and will participate in the Blazers‘ free agent camp Monday, reports Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. Dixon was a senior at Memphis in 2014 and played in the Czech Republic this season.
  • The Nuggets are facing an unpredictable draft with three picks in the first round, writes Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Dempsey lists shooting, shot blocking and toughness as Denver’s top needs and speculates that a significant roster shakeup could happen by draft night.

Pacific Notes: Clarkson, Cousins, Luwawu

Lakers combo guard Jordan Clarkson, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer, reiterated his desire to remain in Los Angeles for the long-term and expressed his excitement at the prospect of playing for new head coach Luke Walton, Shahan Ahmed of NBCLosAngeles.com relays. “With the Warriors, the biggest thing is ball movement,” Clarkson said. “Those guys are making the ball pop. Everyone is getting open shots, setting good screens. They set a lot of guard to guard screens, take advantage of switches. That style of play, I think it fits us well. We got a lot of guys that can put the ball on the floor and make plays for each other, and at the same time being able to play in a system where ball movement is the emphasis.

Here’s the latest out of the Pacific Division:

  • Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said that he is optimistic about the team’s direction under new coach Dave Joerger, adding that he is looking forward to less drama next season, Sean Cunningham of ABC 10 tweets.
  • The Clippers are parting ways with assistant coach for player development Dave Severns, Dan Woike of The Orange County Register relays (via Twitter).
  • French combo guard Timothe Luwawu has a workout scheduled with the Suns this weekend, international journalist David Pick tweets.
  • The Kings will hold a group workout on Friday and the attendees will include Ryan Anderson (Arizona), Robert Brown (UAB), Tyler Harris (Auburn), Stefan Jankovic (Hawaii), Retin Obasohan (Alabama) and Jamari Traylor (Kansas), the team announced.

Western Notes: Lakers, Kings, Jazz, Mavs

Byron Scott said that the week before the Lakers fired him as coach, he met with GM Mitch Kupchak to talk about free agent targets, current Lakers players and the draft, believing the visit was a signal that the team would keep him for at least one more year, as Scott told Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times. The timing of the Sunday night meeting in which Kupchak informed Scott of his fate seemed odd to the coach as he made his way to it, but it wasn’t until the GM delivered the news to him that he suspected he was out of a job, as Bresnahan details. Scott added that he’s disappointed but wants to coach again and still has affection for the Lakers franchise.

See more from the Western Conference:

  • Vlade Divac said Tuesday that DeMarcus Cousins needs rules and structure, but the hiring of player-friendly Dave Joerger as coach doesn’t jibe with that, observes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Still, the Kings found Joerger’s postseason experience with the Grizzlies his most attractive asset, and Divac, who said he won’t trade Cousins this year, insisted the days of constant turmoil are over in Sacramento, Voisin writes.
  • The Jazz will work out Idaho State junior point guard Ethan Telfair on Tuesday, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Still, Telfair is expected to withdraw from this year’s draft and return to college ball before the May 25th deadline for him to do so, according to Goodman. The 6’0″ 21-year-old who’s the younger brother of NBA veteran Sebastian Telfair is outside the top 100 prospects on the lists that Chad Ford of ESPN.com and Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress compile.
  • The Mavericks aren’t one player away from title contention, as The Vertical’s Bobby Marks opines, so they should avoid handing out a max contract in a weak market this summer and focus instead on upgrading the bench with young players who have potential, Marks writes. Dallas is without a first-round pick in this year’s draft and has only one second-round pick, at No. 46.

Divac: Kings Won’t Trade Cousins This Year

The Kings don’t intend to trade volatile center DeMarcus Cousins this offseason, Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV relays (via Twitter). According to team executive Vlade Divac, the organization intends to hang onto the big man, with Divac saying, “He’s not going to be traded — this year for sure.”

There was a sense within the Kings organization that Divac would be willing to gauge the market for Cousins this summer, having become increasingly frustrated with the mercurial big man, according to an earlier report from Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. In April, Divac wouldn’t directly answer when asked whether the firing of George Karl meant he’s committed to Cousins. “Anything about the players and how we are going to do in the summer,” Divac said, “I don’t want to talk about right now because our focus is to find a new coach.”

Divac’s phrasing about not dealing Cousins is certainly interesting, and it’s unclear if his indication that the center wouldn’t be traded “this year” means the entirety of the 2016/17 campaign or merely the calendar year of 2016. If it was the latter, then that still leaves the door wide open for speculation that Cousins is a candidate to be flipped by next February’s trade deadline. It remains to be seen if new head coach Dave Joerger will be able to reach Cousins and earn his respect, which will certainly be a major determining factor for whether the big man remains in Sacramento, though that is merely my speculation.

Cousins is certainly one of the most talented centers in the NBA, though his disciplinary problems and frequent outbursts often overshadow his immense physical skills. After the ouster of Karl, with whom the center was seemingly in conflict from day one of his coaching tenure, Cousins indicated that he’d prefer to remain in Sacramento. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve grown an attachment to the city, like, the way these people treat me, the love they give out to me, and vice versa,” Cousins said. “I feel like I have an attachment, and it’s something that I do owe to this city. I want to be the person to bring this city back to the glory days. I want to grow myself and this city all together. I want to bring us back to those glory days. So, that’s where I’m at with it. This is like a personal vendetta for me.”

The 25-year-old has two seasons remaining on his current deal. He’s scheduled to earn $16,957,900 next season and $18,063,850 in 2017/18. He appeared in 65 games this past season for the Kings and averaged 26.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 34.6 minutes per outing.

Pacific Notes: Karl, Kupchak, Suns

Former Kings coach George Karl placed much of the team’s locker room woes on its star players, who never gelled this past season,  the coach admitted, according to James Ham of CSNBayArea.com. “There’s no question our locker room had tension,” Karl told Michelle Dapper of KCRA-TV. “There’s no question that our locker room had, whatever you want to call it — disconnect. How I tried to solve it or how we tried to solve it — to be honest with you, I think it’s more on the players as much as it is on the coaches. The stars of the team, I think got to take more responsibility sometimes for the leadership of your team. I think that’s probably where it broke down. I think the coach – me, and I think Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay and Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) were the three guys that we never kinda got together.”

Karl did admit that he didn’t spend much time in the locker room during his tenure, also adding that Sacramento trading away Cousins may be the best move for the franchise in the long run, Ham notes. “I can’t deny that ‘what if coaching this team without DeMarcus?’” Karl said. “It’d be exciting. Some roadblocks would be taken away.”

Here’s the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak indicated that he is entering the summer under the assumption the team will not have a first-round pick, Baxter Holmes of ESPNLosAngeles.com writes. “That’s how you have to plan, yes,” Kupchak said. “And I’m fine either way. I would love to have the pick. I want to keep the 32nd pick. But you have to look at it both ways, and if it doesn’t work out where we get the [first-round] pick, we get the pick next year and we still have the ability to improve the team this summer.” If the Lakers’ first-round pick falls outside of the top three in the NBA draft lottery, it will go to the Sixers.
  • The Suns need to decide which combination of players will form their backcourt of the future with Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker all likely to vie for starting slots, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes in his offseason primer for the franchise. Another upcoming decision the front office will need to make is regarding the center position, Marks adds. With Tyson Chandler signed for three more seasons and Alex Len set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Phoenix may not want to pay both players big money and may need to make a tough call on whom to retain, Marks writes.

Pacific Notes: Bibby, World Peace, Russell, Suns

Kings coaching candidate Henry Bibby believes he can reach DeMarcus Cousins, comparing the star center’s volatile temperament to that of Zach Randolph, another once-mercurial big man who shed his label as a malcontent while playing under a Grizzlies coaching staff that included Bibby, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee details. Bibby, who is scheduled to interview for the job Monday, said he’d hire son Mike Bibby for his staff, telling Jones that they’d long ago repaired what had been a troubled relationship. Henry Bibby added that he’d run an offense reminiscent of the one his son directed as the point guard for the Kings in the early 2000s. “What I’m trying to get back is what Vlade [Divac] used to have up there, the old Sacramento Kings,” Bibby told Jones. “I want to get that back again, that excitement. They played as a team. They ran that corner offense, and that’s what I’d run. I’d put DeMarcus where Vlade was [on offense], and you play basketball with [Rajon] Rondo, [Ben] McLemore and guys like that.”

See more from the Pacific Division:
  • The video incident involving D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young reportedly drove a wedge between Russell and his teammates, but Metta World Peace said on ESPN’s “The Jump” this week that team chemistry wasn’t as fractured as reports made it seem. Andrew Joseph of For The Win has the transcription. “It wasn’t like that,” World Peace said. “It wasn’t that bad. … I can’t say exactly like what it was. … We gave [Russell] a little talk, because nowadays, it’s like the young players that’s coming into sports, they’re so immature these days. They make a lot of mistakes. So, you have to always be there to pick them up.”
  • The Suns have decided not to re-sign assistant coaches Bob Hill and Corey Gaines, as well as player development assistant Irving Roland, reports Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic. It’s somewhat surprising to see the team decline to keep Hill, the former Knicks, Spurs, Pacers and SuperSonics head coach who joined the staff in February at the behest of Earl Watson. Phoenix removed Watson’s interim tag last month, formally making him the head coach.
  • Former Indiana University point guard Yogi Ferrell have predraft workouts for the Clippers and Lakers, among other teams, a source tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link).
  • I examined the offseason ahead for the Clippers earlier today.

Kings Rumors: Blatt, Turner, Messina, Cousins

The Kings plan to speak with Spurs assistant Ettore Messina this week, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). It’s not entirely clear whether it’ll be a formal interview, as San Antonio has just begun its second-round series against the Thunder, though the series will be in hiatus between tonight’s Game 2 and Friday’s Game 3. Sacramento reportedly reached out to Messina weeks ago, suggesting that the Spurs have granted Sacramento permission to at least contact their assistant. San Antonio granted the Lakers permission for an interview, and one was scheduled for the gap between Games 2 and 3 of the Spurs-Thunder series before the Lakers called it off and hired Luke Walton instead, a league source told Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News. The European coaching legend apparently holds particular appeal to Kings GM Vlade Divac.

See more from the California capital:

4:06pm update:

  • David Blatt‘s interview with the Kings is today, as USA Today’s Sam Amick hears, advancing a Sunday report from Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
  • Elston Turner is a candidate for the job of lead assistant for the Kings, Amick tweets, which suggests that he isn’t in the running for the head coaching job. Turner, a Grizzlies assistant, emerged among the many in the mix for Sacramento last week, and Memphis has reportedly granted the Kings permission to interview him.

10:26am update:

  • DeMarcus Cousins indicated that he’d prefer to stay with the Kings as he spoke in an interview with Carmichael Dave of CBS Sacramento (audio link; scroll to 6:24 mark). People in the Kings organization reportedly believe Divac will test the trade market for Cousins this summer. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve grown an attachment to the city, like, the way these people treat me, the love they give out to me, and vice versa,” Cousins said to Dave. “I feel like I have an attachment, and it’s something that I do owe to this city. I want to be the person to bring this city back to the glory days. I want to grow myself and this city all together. I want to bring us back to those glory days. So, that’s where I’m at with it. This is like a personal vendetta for me.”
  • Seth Curry said he wants to return to the Kings next season and that it would be difficult to do otherwise, but he wouldn’t rule out the possibility of moving on as he spoke at a basketball camp in India to Akash Khanna of Follow Your Sport. Curry reportedly intends to turn down his player option and hit free agency this summer.
  • Curry also told Khanna that he doesn’t want to sign with the Warriors and play with brother Stephen Curry, preferring to compete against him instead. The Currys were teammates with Golden State during the 2013 preseason.

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