Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 25: Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic on Chuck Hayes heart evaluation

Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic discusses the follow-up medical evaluation on Kings big man Chuck Hayes. More

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 24: Isaiah Thomas on rookie life, Jamal Crawford’s decision and more

A busy Thursday at Power Balance Pavilion yesterday.  We caught up with Sacramento Kings rookie point guard Isaiah Thomas during Kings Media Day for this week's edition of the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast. Highlights
  • Is it sometimes tough being a rookie on a team full of experienced young players? "It is, because at the same time, we're the same age, so it's like "why are you telling me to do that?"  But at the same time, they've got some years in the league and they've been here for a few more years than I have, so I turn to them guys for advice any chance I can anyway."
  • Thomas thought friend and fellow Washington-native Jamal Crawford was going to be a Sacramento King.  He says he speaks to Crawford on a daily basis about all things.  But the last four or five conversations centered on where the now-Portland Trailblazers was going to play this season.
  • DeMarcus Cousins sprained his right ankle by stepping on Thomas' foot.  The rookie point tells us how the injury went down.
Listen after the jump...
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Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 23: Introducing J.J. Hickson

Sacramento Kings big man J.J. Hickson on his game, overseas experience and more. More

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 22: Larry Coon breaks down new CBA

Photo: Hoopsworld

Now that the NBPA has officially recertified as a union, NBA owners and players can begin putting the final touches on a new collective bargaining agreement.  Larry Coon is author of the NBA Salary Cap FAQ and he joins James Ham and Jonathan Santiago to break down aspects of the new deal in today's Cowbell Kingdom Podcast. Highlights
  • On the new amnesty rule: "I think this is cool.  I think one of the things the league needs more of is silent auctions and that's what they got here."
  • Today is the day B-List issues in the new CBA are being addressed.  What's Coon's take on one of those minor issues - the draft age limit?  I was thinking that the age limit was something the players would use as a trade chip.  They would say: "Alright, you want the higher age limit?  We'll give it to you as long you give us something else here, " and I think that's something that might happen when they start talking about it.
  • What does this new CBA mean for free agents and the NBA trade market today? "For a team like the Kings, I think restricted free agents are going to be more in play because they shortened the matching period for the original team from seven days to three days.  Now other teams aren't going to be tying up their salary so much and they're going to be more willing to go after other team's players."
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Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 21: Israeli League Scout A.J. Mitnick on J.J. Hickson

Photo: Bnei HaSharon

J.J. Hickson's overseas experiment didn't work out so well and lasted only one game.  What happened?  We caught up with A.J. Mitnick, who is a scout for Rishon LeZion and runs his own basketball blog, Mindless Dribble, to find out.  He's also a contributor at Sheridan Hoops and he explained why Hickson's Israeli move failed in a recent piece.  Here's an excerpt:
Bnei Herzliya plays in one of the nicest cities in Israel, in close proximity to the beach and to a great night life, with Tel-Aviv only a fifteen minute drive away. I’ve seen the apartments Bnei gives to its players, having worked for the team last season, and while they may not be the most luxurious pads in the whole city, they are apartments that would typically be reserved for those with upper-middle class salaries. Hickson simply couldn’t handle the daunting prospect of living an upper-middle class lifestyle. As with many players who were McDonalds All-Americans who went on to be first-round picks as teenagers, Hickson only knows a lifestyle of luxury. It is difficult for a player who has been praised and coddled his whole life to travel across the world to play in a gym that may be the size of a high school gym, for a team with less than ten men working on the basketball staff, and with a per diem that consists of a bottle of water and a chicken sandwich. There is no one to get your rebounds during a shoot around (unless you ask me nicely!), no one to carry your bags to the bus, and no state-of-the-art practice facility.
Follow A.J. on Twitter. Listen after the jump... ... More

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 20: CBA Chat with Larry Coon and Tim Donahue

Apologies for the hiatus, but we're back with a new episode of the CK Podcast.  And today, we focus on the CBA.  The NBA and Players Union let fans down again, as labor negotiations ended Tuesday with no new labor agreement.  But is a resolution really in sight?  Larry Coon, author of the NBA Salary Cap FAQ, and Tim Donahue of fellow TrueHoop network blog Eight Points, Nine Seconds, join us for a panel discussion.

An excerpt from Coon's latest, saying it's "gut-check time" for the players:
It's now soul-searching time for the players. For now they have drawn a line in the sand at 53 percent. Players like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett are leading the charge to hold firm and not give another inch. But Bryant and Garnett don't necessarily represent the interests of the rank-and-file players.
And Donahue on how these negotiations are framed:
One of the big traps that we consistently fall into is viewing the sides as two monoliths. It makes the math easier. But it also muddies the waters. The “players” are 400-plus individuals at different points in their careers with different financial positions, personal concerns and general outlooks on life.
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Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 19: KFBK Report Rob McAllister on Nexus Report

KFBK reporter Rob McAllister joins us on this week's podcast and discusses Think Big Sacramento's unveiling of the Nexus Report. Highlights
  • Parking may play a major factor in paying for the proposed entertainment-and-sports complex. McAllister:  "It'll be interesting to see what kind of rate will be negotiated and what kind of company would want to take that on, knowing that they would have put up a big chunk of money up front.  And these days, are there are lot of parking operating companies that have that kind of cash?  I just don't know.  I think we'll have to wait and see who's in line to do that."
  • EB-5 is a creative and little-known option Think Big has put on the table.  But it's also controversial.  Why?  "During the late 90s and early 2000s, it was just a way for basically (immigrant) investors to get in (the country), they could kind of bypass a lot of things and these projects would fall apart.  They weren't managed correctly.  It was just really a lack of oversight."  McAllister adds "It's not a perfect system, but I think they've (the feds) gotten a little bit better handle on it in the last few years than the previous 20 that it was operating."
  • Out of all the funding options presented, McAllister thinks parking and land sales could be the top moneymakers.  But he also adds "...hopefully the (real estate) market rebounds.  Sacramento's real estate is very poor.  It's one of the worst in the state and the country.  This is not the time you want to be selling property.  This is the time you'd want to buy."
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Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 18: Writers Roundtable with Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated and Aaron Bruski of NBC Sports

As the summer drags on, the NBA Lockout continues to sap the energy and joy from the game of basketball.  But hope appears to be on the horizon, for Sacramento fans at least, with the unveiling of financing options for a new Sacramento arena less than a week away.  Along with Cowbell's own, James Ham, we welcomed  Sam Amick of Sports Illustrated and Aaron Bruski of NBC Sports to discuss those matters and more on today's podcast. Highlights
  •  Playing overseas: would European teams be willing to accommodate NBA players with desires to join teams later in their respective seasons?  The three panellists weigh-in.
  • Their takes on what a new labor agreement will look like when it's reached.
  • Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has promoted the idea of transparency.  Each panellist shares their view on the city's approach this time around toward building a new arena.
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Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 16: Jason Thompson on lockout living and more

After catching up with Tyreke Evans last week, we're happy to continue that theme by touching base with another member of the Sacramento Kings. Today, we welcomed Kings big man Jason Thompson to the program. Highlights
  • During a workout session at the Kings practice facility in June, Thompson broke a toe in his right foot.  With no access to Kings training staff during the lockout, JT has rehabbed on his own with a little help from the NFL.  "Since I'm living in Philly in the offseason, I went through with the Eagles and used their doctors and facilities and had my agency get that done."
  • Thompson on his third NBA season: "Every year I look at it as trying to have high expectations.  I just think last year that I didn't have the opportunity that I thought I would have coming into the season.  Not saying that as an excuse or anything like that.  But I just know I learned different things, knowing that you could control only what you could control.  I was happy that even though that there were bumpy times in the season, I know that I felt like I took it in the right matter - didn't put my head down or anything like that.  And then I finished on a good note."
  • On the emotional last home game at ARCO: "The fans still stayed after.  They were cheering and I was just like 'man I can't go out like this.'  So after I showered and stuff, just came out and gave my respect.  And who knew if that was the last time I could see Kings fans in this arena.  You know, i f you can't take 10, 15, 20 minutes out of your time, especially since that was the last game of the season to give your respects, then you really don't have a respect for the game or the fans."
One more additional note.  Thompson has started a foundation with the goal of serving underprivileged youth.  The L.I.V.E. Like JT (Learn, Imagine, Voice, Educate) campaign is just getting under way and a website is in the works.  But if you'd like to learn more or find out how you can help, visit Thompson's official website. Listen after the jump... ... More

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 15: Tyreke Evans talks offseason workouts, overseas travels and more

Photo: Steven Chea/CK

  • On working out with Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook: "When we work out together, we always do different things.  There’s things that I do better than them and there’s things they do better than me.  So it’s always good to work out with them and try to learn new things from their games."
  • Tyreke is no stranger to the game of new teammate JJ Hickson.  He says he's known the Kings newest addition for "a long time", having battled against Hickson in high school.
  • Amar'e Stoudemire hopes to round up teammates for an unofficial Knicks training camp.  Zach Randolph has expressed doing the same with his Grizzlies .  Is Tyreke planning something similar for the Kings? "I was thinking about that, calling some of the players up, trying to get them to Sacramento early.  I know it's going to be pretty hard for the rookies because they haven't set up yet with (homes).  But I mean, the guys that have been playing, the veterans and the guys who have been playing a couple years on our team...I was definitely thinking of calling them up and (trying) to get a local gym in Sacramento and having a training camp."
  • Tyreke has been keeping busy this offseason also through his work with VSP Vision Care.  We highlighted one of two videos he starred in from a four-part webisode series, which offers vision health tips.  Check the rest on the Eyefiles tab of VSP's Facebook Page.
Tune-in after the jump. ... More