The curtain wasn’t raised in the viewing room, but the sound of a lively, boisterous workout session could be heard in the Sacramento Kings practice facility late Saturday afternoon. As a tumultuous lockout-shortened season nears its end, players and coaches say they remain focused on the product they can control.
“No, I don’t focus on that anyway,” replied Kings head coach Keith Smart when asked if he held practice to keep his team centered on basketball and not the chaotic events that led to the dissolution of a deal to build a new Sacramento arena.
“I focus on the team,” he added. “I focus on the players – each individual player – our basketball team. Players are going to play. I want to get their minds off of how bad they played last night…to get us back to working again.”
The Kings are in the midst of a seven-game skid – their longest losing streak of the season. Yesterday, they were blown out handedly by the Oklahoma City Thunder, 115-89, while the partnership between the Maloofs and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson unceremoniously crumbled.
“I think it doesn’t help that we’re not playing our best basketball,” said Kings power forward Jason Thompson. “But like I said before in other years pertaining to (the arena), the only thing that we can control is what’s on the court and let everything fall into place on its own.”
Thompson, who’s spent his entire four-year career with the Kings, becomes a restricted free agent this offseason. He says that the uncertainty surrounding the team’s outlook in Sacramento probably won’t factor into deciding his future.
“I wouldn’t think so,” he said. “If anything, I think it’s more a personal thing, just seeing how things are going to be.”
The Kings continue their attempt at salvaging the rest of their season tomorrow in a Sunday matinee against the Portland Trailblazers.