Rajon Rondo has earned the complete trust of DeMarcus Cousins, which is no easy task, TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Rondo, who’s on a one-year, $9.5MM contract, is “the most unselfish player I’ve ever played with,” Cousins told Aldridge. Rondo said to Aldridge that he signed with the Kings in part to mentor the center, adding that he’s wanted to play with Cousins for the past four or five years. It’s all cast against the backdrop of a Sacramento team that’s just two games out of a playoff spot, and the presence of Caron Butler has had much to do with the team’s improvement, Rondo contends. The Kings reportedly promised to trade Butler last month, but he’s still with the team. See more from the Pacific Division:
- Warriors assistant GM Kirk Lacob, the son of co-owner Joe Lacob, hinted at the team’s willingness to pay whatever it takes to re-sign Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli in restricted free agency this summer as he spoke in a recent radio appearance on 95.7 FM The Game’s “NBA This Week” show. Host Matt Steinmetz has the transcription. “Both those guys are a part of the core,” Lacob said in part. “Hopefully we’ll have this team for a number of years to come. If it costs a lot of money, it’s going to cost a lot of money. It probably will. A lot of our players have come up in free agency the last year or two and if they continue to perform we’re going to continue to pay them. We’re 34-2 [now 35-2], we’re trying to get a second championship here. There’s a lot of room for improvement of course, but there’s a lot of power to continuity.”
- Numbers suggest that Julius Randle is on track to have a career similar to that of Drew Gooden, a sign that he’s not on the path to stardom the Lakers hoped for him, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com in an Insider-only piece co-authored with Chad Ford. D’Angelo Russell is the only one among the Lakers’ young players who has a strong chance to become an above-average starter, Pelton contends.
- The Lakers have recalled Tarik Black and Ryan Kelly from the D-League, the team announced (Twitter link). They went down to the D-Fenders together on Friday. Black averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in two D-League games this weekend, while Kelly posted averages of 26.0 points and 6.5 boards a night.