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.
Listen after the jump... ... More

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

Highlights
  • 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

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 14 – Paul Maslin of FM3 Research on Sacramento region’s attitude toward new arena

Findings from a recent survey suggest broad-based support for a new entertainment-and-sports complex in Sacramento.  Paul Maslin of Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz & Associates, the company that conducted the survey, joined us to discuss the results. Highlights
  • FM3 has conducted 20 or more surveys through the years in a variety of locations on public opinion regarding sports venues.  Recently, they've done work in Los Angeles amidst the city's effort to build a new football stadium.
  • More than ever, political agendas are met with public skepticism.  So is it surprising to find such support for a project with political backing?  "In that context, to have this kind of support for this arena is striking.  I said last night striking is the word I used and I'll repeat it.  It is significant, it is striking, it matters...in the midst of what has been a tougher climate in general..."
  • On Think Big Sacramento's execution so far: "I give them credit because they have created the notion of a balanced approach, which people want.  They have clearly gotten people interested and aware of the entire issue, 90 percent.  The fundamentals of the site they've picked and what it means economically clearly have tremendous support.  And they're exploring, with the understanding the Maloofs and other private developers and private interests are going to be part of this deal and part of where the funding is coming from, some interesting ways to solve the public piece.  People get it that this can't be all public and can't be all private."
Tune-in after the jump. ... More

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 13 – Rob McAllister of NewsTalk 1530 KFBK

After a one-week reprieve, we're back! Think Big Sacramento announced some new developments this week on the on-going arena project.  KFBK's Rob McAllister joins us on the Cowbell Kingdom podcast to share his thoughts on the entertainment-and-sports complex committee's latest findings. Follow Rob on Twitter. Highlights
  • Ideas for publicly financing the arena are beginning to take shape.  But what about private funding?  According to McAllister, involving private entities like an AEG and also the Kings will mainly serve the purpose of showing creditors the project is worthy of a loan.  "There isn't going to be, let's say, a multi-millionaire (or) billionaire that's willing to throw $50 to 100 million on an arena.  That's really not feasible and that really does not make any sense for anyone to do that."
  • Fall-out from the lockout? "I don't think it's going to help in the matter of public opinion if the team is locked out in November and you're trying to push for an arena.  People are going to be upset if they can't watch the Kings.  On the other end, I think it also slows up the Anaheim deal where they can't just move in the middle of a lockout."  He adds that the lockout doesn't really help or hurt the process.
  • Yesterday's Public Synergies Report revealed some unorthodox means of funding, including selling parcels of city-owned land to raise anywhere from $30 to 60 million dollars for the project.  McAllister believes the land the city could bargain would be from Natomas.
Tune-in after the jump.
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Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 12 – James Ham from the American Century Championship

Photo by James Ham

Cowbell Kingdom's James Ham is on location in South Lake Tahoe, taking in the action at the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. Highlights
  • Jimmer Fredette tee'd off just before noon and is grouped with ESPN football analyst Herm Edwards and Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
  • According to James, Charles Barkley's swing has shockingly improved.  "He is swinging right-handed and he does not have the hitch in his swing."
  • Michael Jordan faces a stiff fine from the league if he's caught fraternizing with any current players and their families.  "When I was talking to Jimmer's girlfriend, they were told that they could not talk to Jordan because of the lockout."
Tune-in after the jump... ... More

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 11: Isaiah Thomas, Kings rookie guard

 
From Husky to King, and still rocking the purple.  We share a conversation James had with Kings new rookie Isaiah Thomas. Highlights
  • James also spoke at-length with Isaiah's father.  In the first part of the podcast, James recaps some of what they discussed.
  • Thomas talks about working out with other Seattle-bred NBA players.
  • Thomas on being a team player: "Any role the Kings need me to do, I'm going to work my hardest to accomplish."
Listen after the jump...
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Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 10: Larry Coon, Author of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement FAQ

The lockout is upon us.  At 12:01 am EST this morning, the NBA imposed a work stoppage on its players for the first time since 1998.  NBA Salary Cap expert Larry Coon joins us on the CK Podcast to discuss where negotiations go from here and more. Highlights
  • Coon on the owners' assertion that they're losing money: "The financial statements for a couple of teams have seen the light of day and they paint a picture that's somewhere in the middle."
  • Coon on policing the mandated zero-contact between players and team officials: "You can't be everywhere.  You can't have spies following every player, every front office member.  It's just not possible.  So, what I've heard is that the league has set a $1-million fine for any team that makes contact with players.  And I think that they're hoping that that's going to be enough of a deterrent that that kind of contact won't happen."
  • Coon on Michael Jordan's perspective: "I'm hearing he's one of the more hard-lined guys in this whole thing.  I think he's one of the quote-unquote newer breed of owner.  He's not one of the guys who bought the team three decades ago for a couple of million bucks.  He's one of the guys who are part of a major financing operation to acquire a team for hundreds of millions of dollars and who really needs to see a fundamental turn-around in the way the league works."
Tune-in after the jump. ... More

CK Podcast Extra: Tyreke Evans on vision, recovery and more

 

Zach Harper and I were both at Tyreke Evans' basketball camp in Oak Park last week.  I posted a few of Tyreke's thoughts before and after the 2011 NBA Draft, while Zach worked on a feature published today on TrueHoop.  An excerpt:
But as he entered his sophomore NBA season, with high expectations for himself and the team he leads, Evans was already battling a dreaded plantar fasciitis injury to his left foot and trying to be tough for his team. “Just because I’m young, when I got hurt, I tried to play through it, “ Evans said as he reflects on his second season. Tyreke did try to play through it early on and struggled while doing so. He played in 46 of the first 53 games of the 2010-11 season. While it may be unfair to call his averages of 18.3 points, 5.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in those first 46 games struggling, those were the types of expectations his rookie play brought about. He couldn’t explode to the basket in the same way he was used to, and with his struggling jump shot unable to fall, he was constantly left with a physical disadvantage. “It was pretty hard, “ Tyreke admits. “Just knowing that I like to get to the basket, I’ve got to use that leg to push off with.”
Zach actually spent a good 12 minutes with Tyreke for that story.  We have highlights from that conversation and the audio for your listening pleasure after the jump. ... More

Cowbell Kingdom Podcast Ep 9: Tom Abatemarco, Colorado Assistant Coach

A double-dip day for the Cowbell Kingdom podcast... Alec Burks - a real option for the Sacramento Kings at seven?  We touched base with Coach Tom Abatemarco, formerly with the Kings, now an assistant at Colorado, for his take on the former Buffalo shooting guard. Highlights
  • On Burks' shooting: "He has to get his base better on his feet.  His feet are parallel, too close together.  And we worked with him a little bit on changing that, but it's not going to happen overnight."
  • On Burks' defense: "Sometimes Alec cruised and he was guilty of that.  And as the year went on, he didn't cruise."
  • On Burk's work ethic: "If you asked me this question earlier in the year, I would've said he really needed to improve.  But as the year went on, his work ethic got better and better.  He was in the office, seven in the morning watching tape with the coaches, he was doing extra work.  I mean he really stepped it up and I think he has to step it up even more.  I think there's still room for growth. "
A lively conversation with Coach T after the jump. ... More