Kings center DeMarcus Cousins appears to be bonding with new coach Dave Joerger, a stark contrast to his well-publicized issues with former coach George Karl, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. Cousins expressed to Jones that they like each other, adding he appreciates Joerger’s straightforward approach and even-keeled personality. “I think what he brought to the team is what this team needed,” Cousins told Jones. “It fits our identity more than how we played in the past. Not to knock any of the previous situations but I think this situation fits this team the best.” Cousins’ relationship with his new coach will carefully watched, particularly if the season starts to go sour once again in Sacramento.
In other developments around the Pacific Division:
- Suns coach Earl Watson will insert a pair of rookies, point guard Tyler Ulis and power forward Dragan Bender, into the second unit to replace veterans Leandro Barbosa and P.J. Tucker, Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports. Watson decided to make the change after an opening-night loss to the Kings. They will join Brandon Knight, fellow rookie Marquese Chriss and Alex Len on that unit, Coro adds. “To me, they play with the most heart,” Watson told Coro. “Heart gets rewarded.”
- The Kings’ brass told NBA Commissioner Adam Silver they want to host the 2020 All-Star Game, Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com tweets. No formal application has been made but their desire to host that game was made clear as Silver toured the Kings’ new Golden 1 Center, Howard-Cooper adds.
- Combo guard Jordan Clarkson is not fazed by his new role as the Lakers’ sixth man, Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times relays. The former starter had 23 second-half points and three steals in their opening-night win over the Rockets. “He’s been absolutely great,” Walton told Ganguli. “I’ve talked to him about starting or coming off the bench; he’s been good with both. It’s nice to have guys like that on your team.”