Kings

DeMarcus Cousins hasn't ruled out joining NBA team for restart, agent says

DeMarcus Cousins hasn't ruled out joining NBA team for restart, agent says

The list of NBA free agents ready to join potential playoff teams during the Orlando bubble restart is long, and former Kings (and Warriors) big man DeMarcus Cousins wants to stay on it.

Jeff Schwartz, Cousins' agent, told the Los Angeles Times' Tania Ganguli on Tuesday that Cousins has not ruled out signing with a team who will play in Orlando. Schwartz's comments disputed a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania that Cousins, who currently is rehabbing a torn ACL, decided to forgo playing.

Cousins has struggled with injuries over the last two-and-a-half years. He tore his left Achilles tendon on Jan. 26, 2018 while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. The 6-foot-10 center signed a one-year contract with Golden State five months later, but Cousins sat out much of the 2018-19 season while rehabbing.

Once he returned to the court, Cousins was able to make it through 30 regular-season games with the Warriors before tearing his left quadriceps in Game 2 of the team’s first-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Resilient in his rehab, Cousins fought his way back for the NBA Finals. He played in all six games for the Warriors, averaging 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds in 18 minutes per game.

After his adventure in Golden State, Cousins signed a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers to join LeBron James and former teammates Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo. Before the season could start, Cousins took a bad step while playing in a pick-up game and tore his left ACL.

Needing a roster spot, the Lakers waived Cousins on Feb. 24 and made him an unrestricted free agent.

[RELATED: What if Warriors' Steph Curry, Klay Thompson were drafted by Kings?]

Still just 29, Cousins should have plenty of basketball in front of him if he can get past the series of setbacks. Cousins could spend the next six months or so rehabbing if he doesn't sign with a team since the next NBA season won't start until December at the earliest. Schwartz said Cousins would sign with a team if he felt "comfortable to play rather than continue his rehab."

The NBA has opened a short free agency period through June 30. All 30 teams are allowed to sign players during the period, although only 22 will compete in the restart in Orlando.

Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov announced as Fenerbahçe Beko head coach

Kings assistant Igor Kokoskov announced as Fenerbahçe Beko head coach

While Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov will travel to Orlando with the team, he has a new gig awaiting him after the NBA season concludes.

European basketball powerhouse Fenerbahçe Beko Istanbul announced Saturday that Kokoskov will be there next head coach.

Kokoskov has agreed to a three-year contract with Fenerbahçe, according to their press release.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Thursday that Kokoskov would take over Fenerbahçe. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California's James Ham that Kokoskov would remain with the Kings through the completion of their 2019-20 slate.

Kokoskov, 48, has been an NBA coach since the 2000-01 season. He spent time as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and Kings. He also spent the 2018-19 season as the head coach of the Suns, where he amassed a 19-63 record.

The 2019-20 season was Kokoskov's first on Luke Walton's staff.

Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who plays for Kokoskov on the Serbian National Team, congratulated his coach on his new job.

[RELATED: Bazemore open to Kings return]

Kokoskov and the Kings are scheduled to arrive in Orlando this upcoming week for the restart of the NBA season. They will participate in three scrimmages before playing eight seeding games. If they can remain within four games of the No. 8 seed, Sacramento would force play-in games for the last playoff seed in the Western Conference.

If the Kings can find a way into the playoffs, they can send Kokoskov out with a bang.

How Kings' scrimmages with Bucks, NBA's best could boost playoff hopes

How Kings' scrimmages with Bucks, NBA's best could boost playoff hopes

You can say this much about the Kings: They'll be very prepared for their eight seeding games during the restarted NBA season.

Sacramento will scrimmage against the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers before the Kings' real games begin on July 31 at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida.

For those counting at home, the Kings will play the NBA's eighth-best (Miami), fourth-best (LA) and best (Milwaukee) teams by record. The three teams have a combined five All-Stars among them, while the Bucks and Clippers are first (plus-10.7) and third (plus-6.4) in net rating.

The Kings will need to be tested, of course, considering the uphill climb required to make the playoffs.

Sacramento currently is the 11th seed in the Western Conference, 3.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Kings, as the ninth seed, would need to be within 4.0 games of the eighth seed in order to force a play-in series to grab the West's final playoff spot.

Two games against the Zion Williamson-led New Orleans Pelicans loom large in that regard, as does the Kings' lone matchup with the 12th-seeded San Antonio Spurs. Warming up against the Heat, Clippers and Bucks should help them prepare for key games against other contenders, including the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers.

[RELATED: Bazemore would welcome re-signing with Kings in offseason]

Win all eight games, and the Kings likely would make the play-in round at the very least. Harrison Barnes would also finally be able to shave, and earning the eighth seed would end a 14-year postseason drought.

Those are tall tasks, but each might feel slightly less so if Sacramento is able to hang with some of the NBA's best before the restarted season officially tips off.