Pete D’Alessandro talks latest Kings offseason moves, summer league
LAS VEGAS – From Michael Malone to John Calipari, DeMarcus Cousins has a number of supporters in his corner as he vies for a spot on Team USA’s World Cup roster. Yesterday, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro made his way back to Vegas to catch up with the franchise big man.
After practice, Cowbell Kingdom caught up with D’Alessandro to discuss a number of topics, including Cousins’ performance at USA Training Camp thus far, as well as his thoughts on Las Vegas Summer League.
CK: You’re out here in Las Vegas again, this time showing support for DeMarcus Cousins. What words of encouragement did you send his way following practice today?
PD: Well I just reiterated to him what I’ve always said is that his talent is unquestioned. Everybody in this gym knows how good he is. So it’s all about all the little things I think with him out here, which we saw today. His ability to run, his ability to rebound, his ability to play defense and all those things that we’ve seen in our practices and on our floor and now he needs to start impressing upon the greater basketball community. And from what I see, DeMarcus is doing that.
CK: Today, you guys announced the signing of Eric Moreland. Touch on the decision to bring him into the mix. How impressed were you with him following the successful summer league campaign he had?
PD: We were impressed with him actually in the draft workout process. And even a couple years ago, I saw him play. I’m trying to remember one of the first times I saw him. I think it was in New York City at the Garden because I recall the game and he was always one of those guys that intrigued me. When he came into our draft workout, he played so hard and with such passion. And I feel like those energy guys, when they’re big and strong and long like he is – they bring something. They bring a dimension to the game I haven’t seen from our team.
Now look, he’s gonna be a rookie. We did a three-year deal with him. We’re hoping that he can last the entire deal and continue this long term. Our vision for him is for him to be an NBA player. And so we’re looking forward to developing him and seeing how this thing goes.
CK: Moreland is the kind of player we’ve talked about in the past that would fit well next to DeMarcus Cousins – a long, athletic, shot-blocking big man.
PD: Yeah and I think you saw that in the summer league. I think a lot of people saw that in the summer league. My front-office staff expected that from him and that was the reason they selected him and we selected him for that team. But a lot of times, they have expectations and it doesn’t come to fruition. And we saw in summer league that he actually did what we thought he would do. So guys like that, you take a chance on and we’re gonna do that and we’re looking forward to it.
CK: Did it help having DeMarcus around for that first week of training camp to see how the two of them functioned together on the court?
PD: It was great because I was at those first few practices and it was impressive to see. He didn’t back down. And that’s not an easy thing for a young guy to come in and be defending a DeMarcus Cousins in practice who plays intense whether it’s a practice or a game. Eric stood toe-to-toe with him and DeMarcus has a lot of respect for him as a result of it. And I think like I said, it just shows something that we don’t have. It’ll bring something that we haven’t seen and that’s what we’re hoping for.
CK: Where do things stand with a guy like MarShon Brooks? He was very impressive for you guys in summer league, and, obviously, his stock has risen because of that. Brooks is someone who could provide some bench scoring for you. Where are things at in terms of possibly bringing him into the fold?
PD: He had a great summer league and really, (went) beyond expectations. And we had high expectations. I think he’s a pro. He’s showed it. We’ve had some conversations with his agent. We have a lot to do with our roster still in terms of balancing it and figuring things out. We’ll continue to talk to them and see if something does make sense with them.
CK: What’s the latest with Quincy Acy? After a strong performance by him in summer league, you extended the deadline on when you have to make a decision on his future.
PD: Yeah, he’s been a pro’s pro. We talk about partnership and I think he and his agent reached out to us in a very partner-like way. They know our intention with him is sincere. Now does it happen? We don’t have the answer…but we want to try to create a way for it to happen. Quincy’s been remarkable. Not just as a player, but as a teammate, as a glue guy, as a friend of the coaching staff and the front office. Like I said, he’s just such a professional at such a young age. We have until the 15th now. I don’t know what the outcome’s gonna be, but I know I have hopes.
CK: Let’s touch on Jason Terry. Anything new in regards to whether he winds up on this team or not this season?
PD: He’s on our roster. We look at Jason as a guy that can contribute frankly. He’s a guy who can step in and contribute. I understand his health is much better. He’s under contract for us this year and we have a young team. So with any hope maybe we can make something happen with him where he continues to do what he does. And maybe find a role on this team.
CK: Overall, what were you impressions of what you saw during summer league? We talked about a few of the guys already, but share your thoughts on Ben McLemore, Nik Stauskas and Ray McCallum and how they performed.
PD: I think you saw Ben and Ray take somewhat of a step in terms of more confidence coming onto the court in a summer league situation. I think Nik was – I don’t think I expected anything else from him. Every time he gets the ball, he expects the ball to go in the basket. He shoots with confidence whether he gets three shots or 30 shots. That’s who he is. He didn’t get as many touches. In this summer league, we had a lot of young guys on this team. We had to share the ball in a lot of ways. But I do think that the shots he got, you saw him knock down and you saw him shoot with a confidence that a young guy doesn’t usually shoot with. We were very impressed with him and look forward to bringing him along on the big squad.
CK: Lastly, is there anything new in regards to signing Omri Casspi?
PD: No, nothing new. We’ll continue to have discussions. He had a really good run when he was here. And we see him as a very talented player, a really talented player.