Robert Small

The Kings Prepare for Upcoming Season

It’s a new year for the Sacramento Kings and this year’s team looks to finally break its nine-year playoff drought during its last season playing at the Sleep Train Arena.

The team signed 10 players to its roster over the summer, which is unprecedented in the team’s history.

DeMarcus Cousins is one of only six holdovers from last year’s team. The drama between him and coach George Karl was well-documented over the summer, but both look like they’re ready to move on.

We talked our differences out like men,” Cousins said about his meeting in Las Vegas with Karl. “At the end of the day, it’s about winning games and that’s one thing me and him can agree on.”

Karl gave Cousins “an A+ summer,” but knows that there’s still work to be done.

I see a different player,” Karl said of Cousins. “I see a different substance of character in this guy right now. It’s not a light switch. You don’t take it from here and go to being excellent or great. It’s going to take some time.”

There’s going to be some falls and as a coaching staff, that’s what we’ve got to be ready for,” Karl continued. “(The) assistants have got to be ready to mentor and direct him. I’ve got to be ready for challenging, but also celebrating, the most talented player on our team.”

This season’s roster sports many fresh faces, from rookie center Willie Cauley-Stein to veteran swingman Caron Butler. The most notable player to join the Kings is Rajon Rondo, who claims that Cousins is the best big man in the NBA and expects an MVP effort from him.

We’re both competitors,” Rondo said about himself and Cousins. “I think when you put those two types of competitors on the court along with other guys we’ve brought in, guys like Rudy Gay, I think we’ll have a great chance of winning some games.”

Kings’ Vice President of Basketball and General Manager Vlade Divac is largely responsible for revamping the team. The former Kings member says it’s the players’ turn to make things happen on the court.

The front office did what we could do and build the team together,” Divac said. “Now it’s up to them to stay together in the locker room and decide what they want to do this year and what I saw so far — they’re in a perfect spot. They’re coming together as a team.”

The Kings will start their preseason today on the road when they visit the Portland Trail Blazers. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. PST.