LAS VEGAS - An eclectic cast of front office types, agents and coaching legends were on hand for day two of Team USA mini-camp. Sitting along the baseline was former Georgetown head coach John Thompson. A few feet from him was Boston Celtics front-man Danny Ainge. And among them, tucked quietly in the crowd were members of the Sacramento Kings’ new braintrust.
Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadivé sat in the stands of the Mendenhall Center and watched today’s practice alongside Kings assistant GM Mike Bratz. Ranadivé was on his way to New York for a board meeting and decided to drop by the mini camp to show support for his franchise player.
“It’s a huge honor for the Kings to have DeMarcus out there,” Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadivé said following the scrimmage. “He looked really good out there for the few minutes I saw him out there. He showed us all the things he can do. He’s got all the skills. He’s arguably the best big man out there and what I saw validated that.”
Having Cousins on the Olympic team would be huge for not only Sacramento, but Ranadivé and his NBA 3.0 vision. There is no better way to globally market a player or a brand than on the world’s biggest sport stage.
“I think it’s huge,” Ranadivé said when asked how excited he was to possibly have one of his own players representing the country. “I think the game of basketball has become a global sport and it’s become a lot more competitive. I was at the Olympics last summer and I saw that the U.S. can’t cakewalk through it anymore. And I think DeMarcus would be a great international player as well for the international game. The team needs him.”
Ranadivé and Cousins shared a moment following the scrimmage and the Kings majority owner hoped to leave his franchise big man with a strong impression of commitment.
“Just that we believe in him and we think he’s the best big man out there,” Ranadivé said when asked what message he left with Cousins. “And he’s part of the team, so we consult him on moves we’re looking at making. He’s helping us recruit players, so he’s very much the foundation of this team right now.”