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NBA -- Kings ownership pin hopes on DeMarcus Cousins


PhilBoxing.com




SAN JOSE -- It didn't seem possible that the Kings would remain in the city of Sacramento, but Mayor Kevin Johnson put together an ownership group that convinced the NBA Board of Governors to vote against the Kings' relocation to Seattle.

The majority leader of the Kings' new ownership group is Vivek Ranadive, a former minority owner of the Golden State Warriors, who were led by majority owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. Ranadive had a first hand look at the Warriors' rise from a lottery pick staple to Western Conference contenders.

So it comes as no surprise that Ranadive would use similar strategies the Warriors employed to get the Kings back on track as a winning team. Ranadive, with advice from Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, hired Pete D'Alessandro as the new Kings GM.

D'Alessandro had previously worked for Mullin as an executive when Mullin was Warriors GM from 2004 to 2008. The Kings also hired former Warriors guard Mitch Richmond to an executive position in the organization.

To complete his staff, Ranadive named Mike Malone as the head coach. Malone was the top assistant with the Warriors for the past two seasons and has been widely credited the as the Warriors' improvement on defense, often drawing up last minute plays..

The Kings also made moves that mirror the Warriors' past moves. The Kings agreed to a sign-and-trade deal that sent former Rookie of the Year Tyreke Evans, to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Greivis Vasquez. (The Pelicans also sent Robin Lopez to the Portland Trailblazers as part of the three team trade). The trade was reminiscent of the Warriors' swap that involved Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut in Lacob's first full year as an owner.

With Evans gone from Kings, the leadership role on and off the court now falls to DeMarcus Cousins, a hulking 6-foot-11, 270-pound pivot. The departure of Ellis catapulted Stephen Curry's emergence as a star, leading the team to a second round playoff appearance this past season. The Kings hope that Cousins, who is on the last year of his rookie deal and will become a restricted free agent next year, will develop into a leader like Curry has for the Warriors.

The Kings also drafted Ben McLemore in last month's NBA draft. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound McLemore, 20, is a highly touted draft pick out of Kansas and will likely start in place of Evans this coming season. The Kings also signed Carl Landry, who had an excellent year as a backup forward/center for the Warriors, as a free agent, and acquired Luc Mbah a Moute from the Milwaukee Bucks.

Landry and Mbah a Moute are expected to provide the Kings the toughness and the defensive moxie they have lacked for several years. Whether the Kings can replicate the success the Warriors accomplished last year is yet to be seen.

The fate of the franchise rests on the big shoulders of the 22-year old Cousins, a supremely talented center who will get the opportunity to be the alpha male and the face of the Sacramento franchise for the coming season, and hopefully, beyond. (EM)


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Emerald Miller.


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