Things in Sacramento have been a wacky lately. While we here at Cowbell Kingdom like to talk basketball, there has been very little if any basketball talk to speak of. Relocation - a word that I never wish to type ever again, has been the soup de jour, filling up our pages and eating all of our time. Surely that word will resurface here and there this season - whispered in bars or by the unkind, but for today we are moving past this. We are going to talk some basketball and in classic Cowbell fashion, that discussion begins with Sacramento Kings Head Coach, Paul Westphal, who was nice enough to take a call during his break time.
James Ham: First up, you were so complimentary toward the fans down the stretch, how happy are you to come back and finish what you started here in Sacramento?
Coach Westphal: I’m very happy about it. I do understand and I think the fans understand that there is a lot more work to be done. I think everyone who has watched closely knows what a challenge this has been to rebuild this team and also rebuild the franchise in Sacramento. I think there have been big steps taken in both directions and the work is not through on either front.
James Ham: You said good bye to your players a little over two weeks ago, how did the exit interviews go? Were there any big surprises or did it go pretty smooth?
Coach Westphal: I don’t think there were any big surprises. I think, as with anything, it’s going to depend on what kind of follow through there is. There were a lot of positive words and good intentions...we’ll hope for the best as far as improvement over this uncertain summer.
James Ham: I think here in Sacramento, with the fight to keep this team here, we have kind of forgotten about the pending labor unrest and how much that can effect next season and your ability to get these guys on the same page early enough to make a real impact.
Coach Westphal: Well, I’m not even addressing that (potential lock-out) because it’s not anything I know anything about and we are encouraged not to address that, but whenever a team doesn’t make the playoffs, the summer is going too long under the best of circumstances. It’s good for the players to get away and rest and that’s what they should do for a while, but at the same time, the summer is one of the best times to improve and if you’re not improving, someone is passing you up because other people are working and that’s the emphasis that we really need to impress on our young players.