Western Notes: Cousins, Gasol, Nurkic, Blazers

DeMarcus Cousins feels like he’s behind in his career because of Sacramento’s inability over the years to find a team that fits around him, but he’s nonetheless ecstatic about what the Kings have done this offseason, as he tells Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee.

“I love what we’re doing. Love what we’re doing. [GM] Pete [D’Alessandro], he’s real aggressive, going after stuff, trying for players we probably have no chance at getting. One of these times we’re going to get lucky, and in the past we wouldn’t do that. Do you know how good that feels? Since [owner] Vivek [Ranadive], Pete, [coach] Michael [Malone], Mullie [team adviser Chris Mullin], [director of pro personnel] Mitch [Richmond] and those guys walked through the [expletive] door, things have been on the rise. I am totally behind it. Michael is like me; he sees everything in black-and-white. I love the fact Pete keeps trying stuff. I am totally behind all this. Rudy [Gay], the [Darren] Collison move, thinking Omri [Casspi] can stretch the floor. And the rookie, that kid [Nik] Stauskas can really play. He makes the game easy and has an impact even when he’s not scoring. I am so happy to be a part of this, of what we’re doing.”

Here’s more from around the West:

  • Marc Gasol can hit free agency next summer, but Grizzlies owner Robert Pera said Friday that the team is determined to keep him around for the rest of his career, observes Zach McMillin of The Commercial Appeal. Pera added that convincing Gasol that he can win a title in Memphis will be key, notes fellow Commercial Appeal scribe Michael Cohen.
  • No. 16 overall pick Jusuf Nurkic didn’t receive the standard 120% of the rookie scale when he signed with the Nuggets last month, and it’s believed that he’s the most highly drafted player ever to take such a discount, reports Mark Deeks of ShamSports. That’s especially surprising given that Nurkic has to pick up a portion of his buyout from Croatian team KK Cedevita. He’ll receive 108% of the scale amount this year and 107% in the second season, while the pair of team option years on his rookie scale contract are at the usual 120%, according to Deeks.
  • The Blazers don’t mind Damian Lillard‘s participation in Team USA activities this summer as much as they would take issue with players who compete for other nations, as The Oregonian’s Mike Tokito explains. That’s because Team USA doesn’t expect heavy minutes and practice time out of its players the way some countries do.
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