NBA Basketball in Mumbai: Pacers beat Kings 132-132 in OT

Mumbai final
Photo/Graphic: NBC Sports California

The NBA goes to Bollywood!

By Charlie O @Charlieo1320

The first-ever NBA game was played in Mumbai, India on Friday night between the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings. Well, it was Friday night if you were in Mumbai. If you were in Sacramento, the game tipped off at 6:30 AM, so it was bagels and basketball.

The Game

Much to the chagrin of the coaches and to the delight of the crowd, the game required overtime. The Pacers prevailed in OT 132-131. The Kings’ Buddy Hield put up a long 3-point shot that had a realistic chance of going in, but bounced high off the rim and was put back in by Marvin Bagley for two points at the buzzer. Sacramento fell one point short of causing double overtime.

To say that the players were “gassed” would be a gross understatement. All five of the Indiana starters and three of the Sacramento starting five played 30-minutes or more. Rest assured that neither Nate McMillan nor Luke Walton planned to play any of their players for that long in the first preseason game.

Key Numbers

T.J. Warren — who was traded the Pacers by the Suns in the off-season — was the game’s leading scorer with 30 points. He hit 11-of-18 from the floor and was 5-of-6 from behind the 3-point line.

Domantas Sabonis recorded a double-double with 21 points and 12 rebounds. He made six rebounds on offense and six on defense.

Point Guard Malcolm Brogdon also had a double-double game with 15 points and 14 assists.

Buddy Hield led the Kings’ scoring attack with 28 points. He shot 11-for-20 from the field and converted 4-of-10 from downtown.

Harrison Barnes — fresh off his time with Team USA — put 21 points in the book. Barnes went a perfect 11-for-11 from the free-throw line.

De’Aaron Fox added 15 points and dished out eight assists.

Numbers for concern

Luke Walton cannot be happy that his team was outrebounded 47-30. The Pacers scored 21 second chance points to the Kings’ seven. That is not a winning formula in the NBA.

Nate McMillan will be talking to his team about turnovers. The Pacers turned the ball over 25 times in the contest, which resulted in 25 Sacramento points.

Why India?

The NBA really sees itself as being a worldwide game and marketing force. The league’s goal is to literally market itself around the globe. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, India is a market that cannot be ignored.

Here are a few other facts:

  • More than 3 million fans in India follow the NBA on Facebook.
  • Over 300 live NBA games are available to viewers in India each season. In fact, fans in Sacramento often welcome Indian viewers just before tipoff.
  • The NBA opened an office in Mumbai in 2012 — one of 12 NBA offices outside the USA.
  • The NBA Academy India was opened in 2017 in Delhi to help develop top male and female basketball prospects.

The other reason India is a key target for the association is Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive is originally from Mumbai. It has been his dream to bring the game to his country of origin.

“This is a historic day, but for me it’s a dream come true. I left Bombay (Mumbai) when I was 17 years old and literally I had $50 in my pocket, so to come back here with my NBA team and also bring my friend Herb Simon with his team and to play an actual NBA game is beyond my wildest, wildest imagination,” explained Ranadive.

Ranadive has a vision for the future, “What I see happening is that within the next 10 years, this game, it’ll never surpass cricket as the national pastime, but it’ll be right up there. And hopefully, Commissioner, we can launch a league right here in India. I hope in the next 10 years that we’ll have at least one player that comes out of the system that plays in the NBA. We already see players. And I fully expect that there will be arenas that spring up across the country where we can play these games.”

More from Mumbai tomorrow

The Kings and Pacers will play one more preseason game on Saturday night in Mumbai. The tipoff time in Indiana is 8:30 AM and in Sacramento it is 6:30 AM. If you call yourself a real NBA fan, it is breakfast and basketball tomorrow morning.

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Kings to open preseason in India Oct. 4th; Yanks-A’s series could be a maker-breaker for A’s in wild card; plus more

Photo credit: nba.com

On Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria:

#1 The Sacramento Kings will be opening up their first preseason game on October 4th and you will be joining your broadcast colleagues for Kings coverage Jeremiah Salmonson, London Marq, Morris Phillips and Jeremy Harness for complete coverage of Kings basketball.

#2 That October 4th game will be played in Mumbai, India. It will be the Kings’ first preseason game in India and has to be very special for Kings managing partner Vivek Ranadive.

#3 The Oakland A’s have played some very exciting ball. They took three out of four from the Houston Astros and took the first two games from the New York Yankees at the Oakland Coliseum. This has turned out to be a very interesting series.

#4 The Oakland Raiders have won two of their first two preseason games and head coach Jon Gruden said this team will deliver “you can bet on that” The Raiders play preseason week three in Winnipeg against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football.

#5 The talking head, the critics, and talk show hosts have said the 49ers offense is struggling and they showed signs of that against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football this week. 49ers starter Jimmy Garoppolo had three on completed passes out of six and zero yards. Was this a matter of Jimmy G just not prepared or just rusty coming off the knee injury?

Tony does Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Sacramento Kings make major additions to the front office staff

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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The Sacramento Kings basketball operations division has been under fire during the entire transition to the new ownership group headed by Vivek Ranadive. When the initial front office staff was dismissed and turned over to a staff headed by former Kings star Vlade Divac, the concern was the executive group lacked experience.

As the Divac era progressed, the lack of experience criticism continued to grow with transactions like the one with Philadelphia that could cost the Kings valuable position in the upcoming draft lottery. There have also been rumors that the minority owners group have been pressuring Ranadive to increase the size of the basketball operations staff and reshape it into a more traditional NBA style structure.

The two new additions to the basketball operations staff show that someone in the ownership group is listening.

Kings add Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations

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Scott Perry is now executive vice president of basketball operations for the Sacramento Kings. Photo NBAE

The Kings have hired Scott Perry as executive vice president of basketball operations. Perry has been in “the association” in various positions since 2000.

Perry has spent the previous five seasons as the executive vice president of basketball operations for the Orlando Magic. He served in the same capacity for the Detroit Pistons when they won the NBA Championship in 2004. Perry  was assistant general manager in Seattle when the Supersonics drafted Kevin Durant.

Perry also has considerable experience at the collegiate level. He was the head basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky from 1997-2000. Perry spent time as an assistant coach at the University of Michigan, UC Berkeley and Detroit Mercy.

“I am thrilled that Scott will be joining our front office team,” said Divac. “His extensive experience in the league and management talents will help build our progress as we work to develop a winning franchise.”

Perry will report directly to Divac and will assist in all areas of the day-to-day basketball operations.

It’s a numbers game

Luke Bornn
Luke Bornn Sacramento Kings new VP of Strategy and Analytics

The days of “going with your gut” to select talent from the draft for you NBA team are over. Yes, it worked for Hall of Fame coaches like Auerbach, Sharman and even Don Nelson. Those great coaches had to go by the “gut” and the most basic of stats because that was all that they had available to them.

Today it is a brand new world. Analytics have changed the way players are analyzed and the number of areas that are looked at have increased in exponential proportions. Is there still a place for the intangible, intuitive decisions? Yes, they can play a part in making the final decisions but the most important selections will be made based on hard, cold statistics.

To compete in this “brave new world”, the Kings have hired Luke Bornn – PhD and Harvard professor to Spearhead Team’s analytical efforts – as vice president of strategy and analytics.

Bornn will report directly to Vlade Divac – vice president and general manger of basketball operations. His job will be to provide the data to the operations staff to help make informed decisions about roster makeup, player evaluations and overall team strategies. The data will be gathered in multiple ways including wearable technology.

Bornn will not be the only hire for the analytics staff. The Kings will be adding additional personnel to the department over the next few weeks. Sacramento has two big immediate decisions to make about who to draft with their two lottery draft picks in the June NBA Draft.

Bornn most recently worked as head of analytics for A.S. Roma of the Italian Serie A Football League. Prior to that, he was a visiting scholar and professor at Harvard University in the Department of Statistics.

 

 

 

The Sacramento Kings need an executive like Chris Granger for Basketball Operations

This article first appeared on this site just after the NBA All-Star Game in February. In light of recent events, it seemed appropriate to post it again.

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday was overshadowed by the news that the Sacramento Kings had traded their All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans for three guards and two draft picks in the 2017 draft. The trade stunned Kings fans who had placed all of their hopes for success on Cousins for the past seven  years.

In a news conference on Monday, vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac revealed that Kings missed out on a better trade for Cousins two days earlier after it was pulled off the table. A franchise that has been viewed as unstable and without direction looked even more so after that revelation.

messy office 2

In the 2016 off-season, free agents and top draft prospects refused to come to Sacramento for workouts. The events of the past 48 hours have done nothing to improve that situation for the upcoming free agent period and 2017 NBA Draft which has been labeled as being “star-studded”.

The Kings are in desperate need of an basketball operations executive who can set a direction, develop realistic goals and establish stability for the team. They need a person who can create a can do atmosphere and attract top talent. You are probably thinking the Kings could never recruit that kind of top executive talent. That is where you would be wrong.

Granger
Chris Granger Photo: Capradio.org

Let me introduce you to Chris Granger – President of the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Basketball Holdings, LLC and here is what he has accomplished in that position:

  • The value the franchise has risen to $1.025-billion from the original purchase price of $534-million in 2013
  • The Golden 1 Center was built in downtown Sacramento in joint public – private partnership that saved the Kings franchise from moving to Seattle
  • The Golden 1 Center has been tagged as “the Tesla of arenas”
  • Granger and the Kings are the driving force behind a $500-million mixed-use downtown development that includes a team owned 16 story hotel that is center-piece of a city revitalization project
  • Under Granger’s watch – a downtown that became a “ghost town” after sunset is now alive and thriving because of the thousands of people coming to the city center for sports and entertainment events on evenings and weekends  at the Golden 1 Center

Fast Company just named the Sacramento Kings the Number One of the “Most Innovative Companies” in the Sports Sector for creating a what they call the “Modern Day Fan Experience”.

Granger came to the Kings with a wealth of experience in the NBA having worked in the league offices from 1999-2013. In his last assignment, he was the executive vice president of Team Marketing  and Business Operations advising NBA, WNBA and NBA D-League teams on ticket and sponsorship sales, marketing, communications, digital media and community relations. The Sacramento franchise has excelled in all of these areas because of his experience.

If Vivek Ranadive had hired a basketball operations leader with same level of experience that Granger possesses on the business side, the Sacramento Kings would not find themselves in the disarray that they are in currently.

reset

The Kings have hit the “reset button”. They cannot afford to blow this reset. The fan base in Sacramento has been waiting for 10 long years for a return to the playoffs. They have endured multiple threats to have the team ripped away and moved to another city. Fans stepped up and purchased every available season ticket package in support of the team moving into the new arena.

Now, the Kings one legitimate All-Star has been traded away for three guards and two draft picks. The not so hidden message to the fans is “you’ll have to be patient while we figure this out.” The fans will not be patient for long because they are very, very tired from years of chaos from what is supposed to be entertainment and escape from the cares of daily life.

If Ranadive can recruit and hire a high-powered executive like Chris Granger to run the business operations and “make it rain” money for organization, he is capable finding an experienced basketball operations executive with a successful track record who can come in and turn the Kings around.

hinkie
Sam Hinkie

Bringing in a President of Basketball Operations does not mean that Vlade Divac and his staff need to pushed out the door. Having Divac and Peja Stojakovic in the front office is a great link to the history of the franchise and to the fans. They also have great ties to Europe which is becoming an increasingly more important player development and recruiting region for the NBA.

Ranadive needs to do one more thing. He needs to follow the “Rooney Rule” even though the NBA does not have a mandate to follow that protocol.  Marc J. Spears wrote in June 2016 on his theundefeated.com about the distressing lack of black leadership in the NBA. Mr. Ranadive has the opportunity to address two critical issues simultaneously.

The key is Ranadive must act now. The Kings cannot afford to make a miscalculation in this year’s draft. A major mistake could have years of negative impact. The team must also create an atmosphere where at least quality second unit free agents are willing to come play in Sacramento.

Ranadive did not become a baron in the high tech world by letting things just happen. He has a man of experience and action on the business side. Now, he must hire someone with the same level of expertise on the basketball operations side or face years of anguish and frustration.

Are the Kings looking to hire a new head of basketball operations?

by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–Just when you thought things were settling down into an end of the season routine, bam! – here comes another rumor out of right field that Kings managing owner Vivek  Ranadive  may be looking to hire someone to head up the basketball operations department. That person would supervise Vlade Divac and the rest of the operations staff according to the rumor mill.

The executive the Kings are targeting may be as much of a surprise as the fact they are looking for additional front office help. The rumors say the Kings are pursuing former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie.

Hinkie has been out of the league for almost a year since the Colangelo’s (Jerry and Bryan)    took over the Philadelphia operation. Hinkie  is known as “the process” for his plans he put together to rebuild the 76ers especially by “tanking”.

Hinkie drafted Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor. He also put together a deal with the Sacramento Kings that netted the Sixers Nik Stauskas plus the right to swap first-round picks in 2016 and 2017. The trade also results in Philadelphia receiving the Kings 2019 first-round draft pick. The Kings basically received salary cap relief and the rights to two little known Euro League players.

There have been persistent rumblings that minority owners have been putting pressure on Ranadive to bring in someone with more experience to run the basketball operations. The Kings have been very successful on the business and marketing side under the leadership of Chris Granger. The minority owners are looking for the kind of expertise that Granger brings on the business side to be put in place on the basketball operations side.

Does this story have legs? Six months ago, I would have said no but now I have to say maybe. The team who was never going to trade DeMarcus Cousins did move him and that makes everything fair game in this reporter’s opinion.

As of today, the Kings will two lottery picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. Those picks could determine the success or failure of the team for seasons to come. Having all the experience and expertise in the front office as possible at this critical time for the organization would be a major plus for the Kings.

Surely you can’t be serious but I am – hire Kupchak to help Divac and the Kings

By Charlie O. Mallonee

When I posted this tweet, I expected to get some reaction but the reaction I received surprised me. Everyone thought I was joking and it was very funny. The only problem with that reaction is that I am not joking. I am very serious.

The Sacramento Kings are at a very critical juncture right now. They have traded away their one legitimate All-Star and flushed their chances to make the playoffs for the first time in 10 years. They have for all practical purposes hit the reset button and are starting over in the basketball operations division.

The Kings in all probability will have two first-round draft picks and two second-round draft selections in the upcoming 2017 NBA Draft which has been labeled “star-studded”. One of those first-round opportunities is going to be a lottery pick. The second first-round pick is expected to come in the “low teens”. Both selections bring the opportunity to add exceptional talent to the Kings roster.

Sacramento cannot afford to make a mistake with either pick. With the Cousins era over, the Kings must rebuild quickly to hold the interest of a long suffering fan base that will not have a great deal of patience for excuses about why a first-round draft pick did not work out. Kings fans are looking for results not excuses.

The Kings front office needs help and it needs it now. Enter Mitch Kupchak. I know his recent results have not been that impressive but if the reports are true, there are some explanations for those poor results. Kupchak may well have been handcuffed by an owner who thought he knew more about basketball personnel than he really does. The team’s governor Jeanie Buss spent several of those years concentrating on a bicoastal relationship with Phil Jackson.

Kupchak worked under the great Jerry West before taking over as general manager in Los Angeles in 2000. He is credited with leading the efforts that brought Shaq and Kobe to the Lakers. The team won four championships while he was in charge. The man knows how to run the front office of an NBA franchise.

There have been reports that other general managers have complained that they cannot get Divac on the phone. There is a style and art to being the head of basketball operations for an NBA team. Other general managers must be comfortable working with each other to make deals happen and most of those deals start with phone calls.

Kupchak could act as a mentor, confidant and friend to help Divac during what is going to be a high pressure period between now and the 2017 Draft. Kupchak could also go out on the road to college games, conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament to scout the top talent that will be available come June. Scouting has also been listed as a weakness for the Kings organization.

Basketball executives with 17 years of experience as an NBA general manager do not become available everyday. The Kings are in need of expert help right now and Kupchak is an expert. It is time for Vivek Ranadive to fire up the jet, fly to LA, open up the checkbook and hire a consultant to help take his franchise to the next level.

Multiple reports: The “Boogie” era is over in Sacramento

by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–The DeMarcus Cousins era in Sacramento has apparently come to an end. Multiple reports have Cousins going to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for shooting guard Buddy – “the Nutcracker”- Hield, guard (and former King) Tyreke Evans, shooting guard Langston Galloway plus a future first-round and second-round draft pick.

hield
Buddy Hield goes to the hoop

“The Woj” of The Vertical was the first to send the rumors of the possible trade up the wires earlier on Sunday. Most of the reaction to the rumor was negative based on Vlade Divac’s statements to ESPN last week on the Kings intentions to sign Cousins to a long-term extension and the fact that Sacramento is still in contention for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

As the day progressed and the All-Star Game got underway, the rumors of a Cousins trade continued to heat up. Where it had just been New Orleans as a possible destination, there then became rumors that other teams were vying for Cousins. As time passed, the story began “to grow legs”.

tyreke-evans
Tyreke Evans is coming back to Sacramento

Adding fuel to the fire was the limited amount of playing time that Cousins saw in the All-Star Game. Cousins played just two minutes and scored three points.

It would appear that the Kings have moved into a rebuilding mode. If they hold unto the number 10 or better lottery draft pick, the Kings will retain that selection rather than having to send that pick to the Chicago Bulls. The upcoming draft has been deemed one of the most star-studded in years. The trade would indicate that the Kings want to participate in the draft process.

Do not forget that Sacramento hedged their bets by sending Marquese Chriss to Phoenix for the rights to shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic who is currently playing in Turkey. He is seen as a potential impact player in the NBA.

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Bogdan Bogdanovic will be a King next season

This certainly marks a major change in philosophy for the Kings. Up until now, it has been “all Boogie – all the time”. Now, it’s a clean slate. What kind of team do the Kings want to build? Vivek Ranadive was a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors and loves their style of play. Who doesn’t love the Warriors style?

All change is crisis. So, the Kings are in the middle of another major crisis. They have to justify to their long-suffering fans why they did an about-face and dropped out of the playoff race while jettisoning their only legitimate All-Star player.

I would not want to be an account representative having to call season ticket holders for renewal orders on Monday. When those current season ticket holders ask what are the Kings plans for the future, the answer at this point is probably an honest … I’m not sure.

There is one constant that has not changed. The Sacramento Kings are never boring. They are never easy to understand, but they are never, never boring.

Sunday night the NBA, Kings, Warriors and Facebook will make history together

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

Cousins fined, apologizes and gets back to work

Sacramento Kings v Dallas Mavericks
photo: NBAE

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings came down hard on DeMarcus Cousins Tuesday for his outburst in the locker room with a Sacramento Bee columnist that was caught on video and presumably for the actions he has taken against the editor of the website Cowbell Kingdom. According to Marc Spears of ESPN/The Undefeated, the team fined Cousins $50-thousand.

The Kings management issued the following statement on Tuesday, “The Kings have a clear set of standards of conduct expected of our entire organization. As a result of negative interactions with certain members of the media that were not corrected after verbal warnings, we have decided to impose a substantial fine. If this behavior is repeated again we will be forced to consider further discipline.”

The Kings did not and we expect will not reveal the amount of the fine.

A statement from Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins released the following written statement before the game on Tuesday afternoon:

“There is a time, place and manner to say everything, and I chose the wrong ones. Like most people, I am fiercely protective of my friends and family, and I let my emotions get the best of me in this situation. I understand my actions were inexcusable and I commit to upholding the professional standards of the Kings and the NBA. I apologize to my teammates, fans and the Kings organization for my behavior and the ensuing distraction and look forward to moving on and focusing on basketball.”

Some may be critical that he issued the apology in written form and not publicly. A face the press apology may well have turned into a spectacle that would not have served either side well.

If there is any point of concern with Cousins apology from this reporter’s point of view, it is that it did not include Andy Furillo and Leo Beas in the list of people receiving apologies. Cousins did not need to apologize to me or the press corps in general but it would have been appropriate to have included the two reporters who had the target of the anger.

Why did the Kings act now?

The Kings in the past have taken a “hands off” approach toward their star big man. Why did they suddenly take such swift and decisive action in this case with Cousins?

First, there is the video evidence. The videos that have been displayed on the internet are not flattering and are not supportive to any type of explanation that Cousins might have wanted to make about his actions.

Second, some have suggested the presence of new blood in the front office has made a difference in the process. Ken Catanella was brought in during the offseason as assistant general manager to help Vlade Divac with the day-to-day operations of the team. He held a similar position with the Pistons and previously worked in the NBA Office of Labor Relations. He does not have the close ties that Divac and owner Vivek Ranadive have to Cousins.

It may be that a more independent and less emotional viewpoint led to more decisive action in this case.

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Was a fine necessary?

I am not sure that a fine was the way to go in this situation. A suspension would certainly have been inappropriate. The solution here should not include harming the team’s performance on the floor and chances of success for the fans.

A commitment to some media training and an apology would really would have sufficed in this situation. The Kings probably felt the fine was needed to show the public that they were serious about the situation.

It is believed the NBA has strongly encouraged or mandated that Cousins receive some media training as well.

What to do with the money?

Fine money in all professional sports winds up in some charitable giving account. The most appropriate use of the money would be to evenly divide the money between the journalism departments of Sacramento State and UC Davis to be used for the furtherance of sports journalism education at both institutions.

Andy Furillo’s point of view

One of the people who had not been heard from was Sacramento Bee Reporter Andy Furillo. The Rise Guys from ESPN 1320 Radio in Sacramento made contact with Furillo in Chicago were he is vacationing for the holidays and you can hear his take on the situation by clicking on this link: http://media.espn1320.net/a/117859440/where-does-the-fallout-from-andy-s-article-come-from.htm

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Let’s move on

Hopefully, this is the end of what has been an unfortunate series of incidents involving the Kings, Cousins and the press. Now, it is time to put the focus back on the basketball court where it belongs.

Some words of advice for DeMarcus Cousins from an “OG” reporter

og-cousinsby Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–DeMarcus Cousins is back in the news and not in a good way. On Friday, a story with video of the incident was released showing DeMarcus Cousins shouting at and frankly trying to physically intimidate Sacramento Bee sports columnist Andy Furillo over his story on the Barnes – Cousins incident in a New York City nightclub. Cousins was upset over a reference Furillo made to another incident from last summer about a fight that involved Cousins’ brother and himself in Florida.

You can click on the link to see the video and read the column: (http://www.sacbee.com/sports/spt-columns-blogs/andy-furillo/article120107843.html). Let me just say I enjoy reading Andy’s column’s on sacbee.com and I have enjoyed the few conversations I have had with him at Kings games. He like myself has a few road miles on him and he probably carries a AARP card for discounts. I mention that to highlight the fact that Furillo is an experienced reporter and observer who understands the rules of the road. He is also the son of a famous Southern California sports writer and broadcaster so he knows his way around this business better than most.

I have read the column and there is nothing in the story that should have elicited the kind of over-the-top response from Cousins gave to Furillo. I would not have expected Cousins to have given Furillo any kudos for the column but his response in the locker room was uncalled for in this case.

This is my response to Mr. Cousins.

DeMarcus:

First, let me say that I have really enjoyed watching you play basketball as I have covered the Kings for the past three seasons. What you do on the court amazes me. You see, I am an “OG” who saw “the Big O” – Oscar Robertson and Bill Russell play each other in the first NBA game I saw in live and in person. I have had the privilege of seeing many of the best big men of the game play live and you fit right in on that list.

When you execute a dribble-drive from the arc into the paint then add a spin move with an underhand layup that makes every guard in “the association” jealous, its amazing. You will then turnaround on the next possession and bury a 3-pointer. Later, you are battling double-teams with your back to the basket and pull off a hook shot that’s good for two. We have not even started to consider your passing ability. George Karl said you were the best passer on his team and that was from a man we are fairly sure did not like you much.

You wear “best big man in the NBA” mantle well.

DeMarcus – in the spirit of full disclosure – I have called for the Kings to trade you. I have two reasons for calling for a trade:

  1. You are the Kings best asset. This team needs a lot of pieces in order to truly become a playoff contender. Sometimes, you have to part with an asset in order to get back the multiple assets you need. Trading you would probably bring the Kings two serviceable starters and two very valuable number one draft picks based on the projections I have read. Sacramento needs those extra first round picks to create the foundation they need to build a winning situation.
  2. The other reason I have called for a trade is because it is what I think is best for you. This next contract is your “BIG” contract. You will be at the apex of your career. This your chance to be on a team and play for a ring. A chance to play in a larger market and cash-in on the endorsement business. You can be one of players helping to carry the team rather than having to carry the entire team on your shoulders. It could be your chance to really become one of the best known players in the NBA by playing in a major market.

With that out of the way, I am now going to give you some “OG” words of advice from my personal perspective.

A battle with the press is a losing proposition. There are more of them than there are of you and they will not go away. You are in the sports and entertainment business. One of the reasons professional sports makes the money it does is because of the coverage it receives from the press. If television, radio, newspapers, magazines, websites and other social media ignored sports, the money that teams and players make would be much less than it is now. Of course the same is true for the press, they need the teams and players to sell the advertising that makes them their money. It really is a codependent relationship. Sports and the press need each other.

You can fight and intimidate the press in Sacramento easier because it is a smaller market where there are less media players and loss of access would have a larger impact. If you would be traded – say to Boston as some of the rumors have suggested – you would be in for a rude awakening. Boston is a large city with major media competition. Reporters in that kind of situation eat their young for breakfast. They are looking for something to set you off into a tirade so they can report it first. It is a minefield that you cannot control.

Fighting the press does not pay off in the long run – ask Barry Bonds. Bonds had an adversarial relationship with the sports press during his entire career. When his shortcomings came to light, reporters were delighted to report the story. At a time when a person could have used a friend in the press, he had none.

Bonds is still paying for his poor relationship with the press. Baseball’s all-time home run leader received just 195-of-440 votes from eligible voters for baseball’s Hall of Fame. Of course, there is the PED controversy but I believe that attitudes would be softening toward Bonds faster had he been less of an enemy to the press. We are talking basic human nature in this situation. Bonds has six more years on the ballot and will probably make it into the Hall but I think there are voters who are determined to make him wait until the final opportunity because of his attitudes toward the press when he was a player.

I know the press can be a pain, 20-plus people asking the same questions 20 different ways. After a loss, how many times do they expect you to answer “how do you feel?”. People not caring that you do not feel like talking after a loss. People who do not care if you did not like what they wrote about you, your friends or family. People who do not know how to play the game but just talk about it.

DeMarcus – when was the last time you read something negative about LeBron and the press? You do not read those stories. Is LeBron always up and happy with reporters? I will guarantee you he is not. He has made it part of his career to learn how to deal with the press in the best way possible. When he has an off night with the press, you do not hear about it because the press corps remembers all of those nights when he accommodates them and their questions.

Dealing with the press is as much a part of your job as is pulling down rebounds. That is one of the reasons you get paid so well. Actors do not get paid just to act. They have to be interviewed and promote their work. It is all part of the entertainment business and sports is part of the entertainment business. When you sneeze, it’s news. Eat at a new restaurant, it’s news. Get a traffic ticket, it’s news. Score 50 points, it’s news.

I close with three pieces of heartfelt advice:

  1. If you are unhappy about something a reporter has said or written, tell a member of you great media relations staff and ask them to let the reporter know or better yet – ask them to bring the reporter back for an off-the-record chat. Andy Furillo would have listened to you. It would not have changed his story but he would have politely listened to your opinion. And who knows, you might change someone’s mind once in a while.
  2. Hire a press consultant to teach you how to think and speak in sound bites. If you do this, you will be prepared after the tough loss when really do not want to talk about it. You know what questions are coming. Learn how to give those five to 10-second answers that will delight the readers and viewers at home while getting the reporters out of your hair.
  3. Finally and this is my most important piece of advice, stop reading and watching what we as reporters are saying about you on TV, radio, in the newspapers, the internet and social media. Do not let your staff tell you about we are writing. Do not let us count. The people who should count for you are Dave Joerger and the assistant coaches, your teammates, Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadive. Trust me – you will be much happier.

DeMarcus – good luck with the rest of the season. Happy holidays and Peace on Earth.