Homecoming King: Cousins embraces the moment back in Sacramento

Homecoming King: Cousins embraces the moment back in Sacramento

SACRAMENTO -- DeMarcus Cousins made the media wait Thursday night at Golden 1 Center. The visiting locker didn’t even open until nearly an hour after the Pelicans 114-106 win over the Kings and then it filled to the brim with media members from all over the country.

And then the wait continued. The extra bodies in the room helped raise the temperature to sweltering. New Orleans' locker room was close to unbearable.

Cousins poked his head out and surveyed the room. He’s used to doing media following every game, but this was different. The whole night was different.

After six-plus seasons and 470 games in Kings purple, Cousins played for the first in Sacramento as an opposing player. It took very little time for him to remind fans why he was the face of the franchise.  

“I was super nervous coming in,” Cousins said from his locker with sweat still dripping from his beard. “The anticipation was through the roof.”

Baseline cut, two-handed jam. That’s how the night began for Cousins, but the first half was all Kings. 

Ball movement, cuts, defensive pressure - Sacramento jumped all over the Pelicans, leading by as many as 19 in the first half. For a moment, it looked like they might be able to spoil Cousins big return.

“We knew they would be juiced, we knew they’d come out swinging,” Cousins said. “And that’s exactly what they did. They’re a young, energetic team. With that being said, we knew we just had to stay poised and fight the game out.”

Through all of his ups and downs with the Kings, the term poised was very seldom used to describe Cousins. He’s a player that plays angry. He wears his heart on his sleeve and he has plenty of NBA fines to show for it. 

But this wasn’t the same Cousins. He fought back the scowl and for one of the few times in his career, he seemed to embrace the moment. 

“The fans we’re beautiful, they were into the game,” Cousins said. “They let it be well known they hated every shot I made. Now I see how other players feel.”  

The 27-year-old center went for a game-high 41 points. He added 23 rebounds and six assists while leading his team to victory. It was the first 40-point, 20-rebound performance of his career and Cousins became the first NBA player since Chris Webber in 2001 to finish a game with 40 points, 20 rebounds and five assists. 

A sellout crowd gave their former star big man a standing ovation, both during introductions and again when the Kings played a short video tribute in the early first quarter. While he was nervous and his team struggled early, it was Cousins' night, regardless of what uniform he was wearing. 

Kings' 2018-19 schedule has fewer back-to-backs, but start is road heavy

Kings' 2018-19 schedule has fewer back-to-backs, but start is road heavy

Basketball season is just around the corner. Well, maybe not. We’re still nearly five weeks away from the opening of training camp for the 2018-19 season, and the regular season doesn’t begin until mid-October. 

On Friday, the NBA announced the 82 game schedule for all 30 teams, including the Sacramento Kings, who will open the season at home Oct. 17 against Donovan Mitchell and the Utah Jazz.

Here are some of the nuts and bolts from this season’s campaign.

•    For the second season in a row, the Kings will play only one set of five-games-in-seven-nights, and that comes at the tail end of March and into early April. This is part of the NBA’s new plan of allowing players more time to rest. The league has eliminated the dreaded four-games-in-five-nights grouping from the schedule as well.

•    Sacramento will have 14 sets of back-to-backs, two shy of last season’s total of 16 sets. Of those 14 sets, one is home-and-home, seven are away-and-away, two are away-and-home and four are home-and-away.

•    After a balanced November and December schedule, the Kings will hit the road for their longest trip away from home in mid-January, stopping in Charlotte, Detroit, Brooklyn, Toronto, Memphis and Los Angeles (Clippers) from Jan. 17 to Jan. 27. 

•    The Kings’ longest homestand will be six games and come on the heels of their longest road trip. From Jan. 30 through Feb. 10, Sacramento will host the Hawks, 76ers, Spurs, Rockets, Heat and Suns at Golden 1 Center. 

•    Sacramento will play seven of its first 10 games away from Golden 1 Center. With plenty of new faces expected to see time in the rotation, the young Kings will have to learn on the fly while traveling around the NBA landscape.   

[RELATED: Five most intriguing games on Kings' 2018-19 schedule]

There are plenty of games to look forward to as well, beginning with opening night. There are old faces in new places and plenty of intrigue.

•    Sacramento will match up with the two-time reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors four times this season. The initial battle is set for Nov. 24 at Oracle, with a follow-up three weeks on Dec. 14 at Golden 1 Center. The teams will meet again Jan. 5 at Golden 1 and then finish the series in the first game coming out of the All-Star break on Feb. 21. It likely won’t happen early in the season, but at some point, former Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins will make his debut as a member of the Warriors, which should be fun to watch.

•    The Kings will face off with the new-look Los Angeles Lakers four times as well, beginning on Nov. 11 at home. The Lakers have made substantial changes to their roster, including the addition of LeBron James. These teams will play each other again twice in late December before completing the series March 24 in L.A. 

•    Isaiah Thomas joined forces during the offseason with former Kings coach Michael Malone in Denver. Sacramento will play the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on Oct. 23 and then again on Jan. 3 at Golden 1 Center and Feb. 13 back in Denver.

•    The Kings will have to wait until Dec. 4 to get their first look at No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton when they travel to Talking Stick Resort Arena to face the Suns. They’ll see No. 3 overall selection Luka Doncic on Dec. 16 when they stop over in Dallas for a game against the Mavs.

Below is the complete Kings 2018-19 schedule, with all times local to where the game is played:

Report: Lil Wayne is suing Kings guard Frank Mason III


Report: Lil Wayne is suing Kings guard Frank Mason III

Second-year Sacramento Kings pro Frank Mason III is being sued by rap star Lil Wayne. Seriously. 

The 24-year-old guard is being sued for $92,000 and must give back his Young Money diamond chain, according to TMZ Sports.

Before the Kings selected Mason in the second round of the 2017 NBA Draft, Lil Wayne's agency, Young Money APAA Sports Group, signed the former Kansas star. The agency reportedly gave Mason $40,000 in advance, paid his pre-draft expenses which totaled $52,000 and gave him an $11,000 diamond chain. 

However, Mason's contract reportedly stated if he left the agency, Mason would have to repay the money and give back the chain. This past April, Mason left the agency. 

Mason signed a three-year, $4,181,147 contract with the Kings after the 2017 draft. He is guaranteed $2,562,627.