Yes, that is Tyreke Evans wielding a sword. (Photo: Kings.com)

Yesterday, the Sacramento Kings held annual media day festivities along with a free open scrimmage for fans. It was unusual timing considering we’ve already had full access to the Kings for since Saturday. But because of the lockout, the Kings and the rest of the NBA aren’t running on your typical league calendar.

Starting off on a serious note…

The injury bug has all of a sudden bitten the Kings.  Four of their five presumed starters are suffering  some sort of ailment today: John Salmons (right quad contusion, happened during last night’s open practice), Chuck Hayes (a possible heart abnormality, information still developing),  Tyreke Evans (bum left foot), DeMarcus Cousins (bum right ankle and tweaked left shoulder).  Of the four injured, Evans and Cousins should worry Kings fans the least since both were seen lightly shooting baskets on the court during media day.

Evans on his health: “No concern.  I  could’ve really finished practice (on Wednesday).  I just wanted to be careful because DeMarcus tweaked his (foot).  We didn’t want two people going down on a short training camp.”  He added he’ll be ready to play in Saturday’s preseason game against Golden State.

Cousins on his health: “I’m fine. It’s going to take a few days (to) heal up (and) I’ll be back.”  He added that he’ll be wearing a shoulder strap again this season, so he isn’t too concerned about his shoulder.  Unlike Evans, Cousins doesn’t expect to play Saturday even though he’d like to, but he’s confident he’ll be ready for the home opener.

The Jamal Crawford to Portland deal broke as we were picking the brains of new assistant coaches Jim Todd and Keith Smart during media day.  Both men coached Crawford – Smart in Golden State and Todd in Atlanta.  Jimmer Fredette found out about the Crawford-to-Portland signing while he was addressing media.  Isaiah Thomas shares good insight on his mentor’s move in this week’s Cowbell Kingdom podcast.

Now onto the fun…

Veteran Francisco Garcia is impressed so far by Jimmer, but isn’t conceding that the rookie is a better shooter just yet.  They played each other in a shooting contest the other day and Garcia says he hasn’t lost to the rookie.

“Actually the second time we shot, we tied up,” said Garcia. “I made like nine in a row, then he made eight, then I missed one, then he made ten.  Maybe luckily for me, we had to go to practice…”  Garcia and Jimmer both said they tied in their last shootout.

According to the man himself, Jimmer is one of three players in the NBA who wears Spalding sneakers.  The other two?  Mario Chalmers and Chris Singleton.  But Jimmer by far is the most notable athlete on the company’s roster since Hakeem Olajuwon.

Talk about an odd couple, Jimmer was told by reporters that DeMarcus would like to live with him this year.  What was his response?

Cousins is not shying away from showing his goofy personality this year.  He’s taking a lighthearted approach with the media these days and has become quite a riot to be around.  News 10 has raw video of Cousins’ antics from yesterday, which I highly encourage you to watch.  But before you do, check what the Kings big man says has changed for him this year.  Hint: It’s not his weight, but it is something you can see.

The connections on this team run deep for newcomer Chuck Hayes, who knew both Cousins and rookie Adrian Oliver before coming into camp.  Hayes and Cousins have Kentucky ties and Oliver was his ball boy back at Modesto Christian High School.

“I’ve known Adrian since he was eight years old,” said Hayes of Oliver, adding that it’s been weird to play with Oliver now that he’s all grown up. “So we go back a long ways.”