Sacramento Kings players outline offseason plans

Ben McLemore and Rudy Gay against the Memphis Grizzlies. (Photo: Tobin Halsey)

Before the Sacramento Kings’ final regular-season game, a loss to the Phoenix Suns, Cowbell Kingdom spoke to rookie Ben McLemore, 22-year-old Derrick Williams and longtime Kings forward Jason Thompson on each of their offseason plans. After the game, we then had the opportunity to catch up with Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas. Thomas is set to become a restricted free agent, while Gay has a player option to opt in or out of his current contract.

Each player finds himself in a unique situation.

Ben McLemore

McLemore hopes to bounce back from a subpar rookie season, in which he showed signs of brilliance, but was overall inconsistent.

How much time will you take off to rest?

Right now, I don’t know. Make sure I get a lot of rest. Just getting some time off and just spending time with my family.

Where will you be this offseason?

Back home in St. Louis, I’ll be with my mom. In the offseason, I’ll probably be back at Kansas. I’ll be there (the University of Kansas), but I have people to come work me out and stuff like that and coaches here. I have my trainer out there, too.

Areas to work on:

Man, my all-around game. I know just coming into this season, just seeing throughout the season, I’ve seen some things that I knew I needed to work on. Especially coming into the NBA, I knew there were things I needed to work on. It’s just my all-around game, ball-handling, shooting, getting stronger, little things like that, just moving without the ball, little things like that to help and develop my game.

What your first year taught you:

Actually being out there on the floor and playing against other great players out there, it just helped me show that it’s some things I need to work on.

Derrick Williams

After three underwhelming seasons, Williams has failed to live up to the hype generated from his No. 2 overall selection in 2011 NBA Draft. Then again, he’s still only 22 years old and has ample time to turn the corner.

Similar offseason approach as past seasons?

Yeah, definitely. Just keep working, trying to stay consistent. Work on that. And I have a few things to work on this summer: coming off screens, being able to knock down spot-up shots, things like that. So I’ll be working on a few different things.

How much rest before training resumes?

I’m not really sure. I think everybody comes down to about a month. Probably end of May, I’ll probably start getting back after it, sometime right after my birthday (Williams’ birthday is May 25), so I normally do that, especially since I’ve been younger.

Where will you be?

Right outside of LA. That’s where I’ll be at. I’ll be in the OC (Orange County) a lot, too. Down there, LA. Those are basically the main spots.

Editor’s Note: Derrick Williams will be participating in this offseason’s Las Vegas Summer League, according to Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro.

Jason Thompson  

Jason Thompson has spent six seasons in Sacramento, a city he now sees as a second home. But after filling a diminished role last season, the 6-foot-11 big man may be ready to spread his wings and fly elsewhere. He has three years remaining on his contract.

How much rest?

I don’t know. I always take maybe a couple weeks off, just take care of the body. I played all 82 this year, again, so just wear and tear…and work on other things. I got a couple camps coming up in Sac, the last week of June, the second week of August. I’m doing that for my foundation and just chill and relax.

Going back East?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, because I still stay out in Philly and visit my family and friends up there, and that’s where I do most of my training.

Interested to see how the Kings’ offseason plays out?

Yeah, for sure. Who knows what happens? That’s what makes it exciting for you guys to see who stays, who goes and all type of stuff and with this organization, there hasn’t been much stability with all the players, so we’ll see what happens. Usually more movement happens during the draft time.

Areas of emphasis:

Just to know certain stability. And I think that we were working on flexibility and stuff like that, work on my lower body. Just keep working on being consistent with post moves, sharpen up my jumper. And then when everything positive-wise is happening, that’s what makes me more aggressive offensively with my free throws and things like that.

Isaiah Thomas

After winning the starting point guard job and accomplishing a career year, Isaiah Thomas hits free agency for the first time this offseason. 

Looking forward to free agency?

Yeah. I mean I’ve never really had it, so I’m looking forward to it. To just go into it with an open mind, do whatever’s best for myself and my family.

How high does Sacramento rank on your list?

I would love to stay. I don’t like change of scenery. I don’t like change, so I would love to stay. I’ve been here for three years, and it would be great to be here for a while. You never know what will happen.

Rest time?

A few weeks. I’m (going to) try to let my wrist heal, see if it’ll heal off some rest. And other than that, I’ll go forward after that, so I’ll probably take a few weeks off.

Going back to Washington?

Yeah, it’s getting too hot here (laughs).

Rudy Gay

 This offseason, Gay turns 28 while he is still a star player in the prime of his career. For that reason, whatever he decides to do this offseason could potentially have a profound impact on his legacy as an NBA player.

Your first child, a baby boy, is due any moment, right after the regular season ended. Good timing?

Great timing. Smart kid.

Rest time?

I usually take about a month off. I’m probably going to stick to that. Take a month off, get right back to it. I feel as though I’ve added something to my game every year, and I take time and I really go into what I think I need to do.

What will you add this offseason?

Obviously, to be the best player I can be, I want to work on everything. Before I really even think about what I want to do, as far as my career playing basketball, I have to do see what I can do on whatever team that can be and then how I can help them. So I have to get better at that. Last year was being a playmaker and I feel like I got better at that. Next year might be a 3-point shooter; you never know. Even if it’s not that, I still will spend time improving and working on that. It’s a long offseason, not that I like that it’s a long offseason, but it is.

On upcoming decision:

It’s been tough because in two years, I’ve been in three places, so that doesn’t sit well with me obviously. But my next move has to be my best move. It has to be somewhere where I think I can be for a while.


Aaron Fischman
Fischman is an editor and contributing feature writer for Cowbell Kingdom. The Los Angeles native graduated in 2011 from UC Davis with his Bachelor's Degree in Political Science and Communication and received his Master's in Print and Digital Journalism from USC's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in 2013. Besides CK, Fischman has covered the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks for SLAM and the Clippers for Clipper Blog, an TrueHoop Network Affiliate.

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