LAS VEGAS – New Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé made an interesting admission when he paid a visit to Team USA mini-camp at in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Something that required further digging.
“He’s part of the team, so we consult him on moves we’re looking at making,” Ranadivé told reporters of his star big man DeMarcus Cousins. “He’s helping us recruit players, so he’s very much the foundation of this team right now.”
While the statement is innocent enough on its face, it brought into question the timing of the Kings contingent’s visit to Alabama before the they decided not to match the New Orleans Pelicans’ offer for Tyreke Evans and instead, work out a trade for point guard Greivis Vasquez.
According to Cousins, the decision whether to keep Evans was never brought to him. Instead, the focus was on getting to know him as an individual and seeing where he was most at ease on the court.
“They wanted to know which position was I comfortable playing and I let them know probably the four,” Cousins said yesterday.
Cousins was more specific with what type of player he would like to be paired with when he spoke to media Tuesday.
“I love playing with Jason Thompson,” Cousins said. ”Don’t get me wrong, but I believe I would play better if I had a shot-blocking big. I’m not the greatest shot blocker and I can move to the four and play my natural position. I can balance it out either way.”
Pete D’Alessandro was in the stands Wednesday to catch a glimpse at his team’s starting center. The Kings new GM wouldn’t get into specifics about the conversation he and Cousins had in Alabama, but clearly the two are on a similar page.
“What I’m really looking to do is find the right blend and mix of talent,” D’Alessandro said. “And whatever information I can get from anywhere, I’m going to get that in terms of making that blend.
“We’re doing everything we can to make this team better,” D’Alessandro added. “We really are. No stone will be left unturned.”
The Kings have been looking under some pretty big “stones” lately, including rumors of interest in former 2007 No. 1 overall selection Greg Oden and restricted free agent center Timofey Mozgov. Is Cousins’ preference to move to power forward the reason the Kings are apparently chasing these players? The 22-year-old big man seems to think so.
“Absolutely, that is why,” Cousins said.
D’Alessandro has been extremely open about how he looks for information and ideas, be it from scouts like George McCloud, websites online or or by picking the brains of current players.
“I’m a firm believer that there is great information everywhere and I said that in my introductory press conference,” D’Alessandro said. “I’m a person who likes to talk to people, who likes to hear things, so my ears are all open with everyone.”
At the end of the day, D’Alessandro has a monumental task in front of him. He is taxed with turning around a franchise that has been run into the ground while at the same time appeasing one of the league’s most polarizing players.
“As an organization, we are trying to get there,” D’Alessandro told Cowbell Kingdom. “And I think the great part is DeMarcus buys into that. He wants success as well.”