Posts Tagged ‘Pete D’Alessandro’

Report: Cousins, Kings Agree To Extension

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From NBA.com staff reports

At 6-foot-11, Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins boasts a repertoire of moves that make him one of the league’s emerging low-post players. Aside from those traditional big man skills, Cousins can handle the ball (just check out the play above), shoot with range, finish with power and make a crafty dish or two, too.

Those talents give him the look of a future franchise player and of someone the Kings weren’t about to let walk away in free agency. According to the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones, who first reported the news, the Kings and Cousins have agreed to a four-year, roughly $62 million extension. Per collective bargaining agreement rules, Cousins, the No. 5 overall pick of the 2010 Draft, and the Kings had until Oct. 31 to reach an agreement on an extension.

The Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with center DeMarcus Cousins for four years worth approximately $62 million, league sources confirmed Thursday night.

The most Cousins was eligible for under the collective bargaining agreement was five years and $80 million. The contract takes effect for the 2014-15 season.

Cousins averaged 17.1 points and 9.9 rebounds last season, slightly down from the 18.1 points and 11 rebounds in his second season.

Cousins was one of eight players to average at least 17 points and nine rebounds last season. Dwight Howard, Al Horford, David Lee, Tim Duncan, Al Jefferson, LaMarcus Aldridge and Kevin Love were the others. At 23, Cousins is the youngest in the group, and he and Jefferson are the only two who have not made an All-Star team.

Cousins joins the Pacers’ Paul George, the Bucks’ Larry Sanders and the Wizards’ John Wall as players from the 2010 Draft who signed long-term extensions this offseason.

The Kings’ move to lock up Cousins may be seen as somewhat of a risk, given his many off-the-court incidents (he was suspended twice last season alone) throughout his career. But Cousins has apparently received votes of confidence from those who matter most: new owner Vivek Ranadive, new part-owner Shaquille O’Neal and new general manager Pete D’Alessandro. O’Neal, for one, specifically mentioned Cousins several times during his introductory news conference on Tuesday, while Ranadive and D’Alessandro have chimed recently as well, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

D’Alessandro, who has been scouting the EuroBasket tournament in Slovenia, returned to Sacramento this week to join Ranadive in resuming negotiations in earnest Thursday with Cousins’ agents Dan Fegan and Jarrin Akana.

Cousins has averaged 16.3 points and 9.8 rebounds while frequently flashing his unique gifts for a player his size, but he has also led or been near the league lead in fouls committed throughout a career marked by defensive struggles. Cousins’ volatility has likewise resulted in multiple suspensions, including a team-imposed ban last December for what the Kings termed unprofessional behavior, which is largely why Sacramento insisted on a four-year deal instead of a full five-year max.

But the consistent praise Cousins has received from Ranadive since his ownership group won the battle with Seattle to keep the franchise in Sacramento had made it widely assumed in league circles that the Kings were prepared to make a long-term commitment to the 23-year-old. Sacramento is now banking on the notion that the security it has extended, as part of the fresh-start feel circulating throughout the entire organization, will lead to a more plugged-in Cousins.

After announcing the addition of future Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal as a minority owner and mentor to Cousins earlier this week, Ranadive told USA Today Sports: “I don’t want to say anything premature [about an extension], but I’ve been constant in my support for DeMarcus. I reached out to him when we first closed the deal. He was the first person I reached out to. They’re out there practicing on their own every day and he’s out there leading those practices. He’s out there with the team practicing every single day by themselves. [The players] all came to Sacramento early. I don’t know if that’s ever happened.

“So ‘Dr. O’Neal’ and I are going to have dinner with him on Monday night, and Dr. O’Neal is going to spend a couple of days with him and the team. So I’m very, very pleased with everything that I’m seeing.”

With Cousins in the fold long term and a core that includes guards Greivis Vasquez, Marcus Thornton and Isaiah Thomas, rookie Ben McLemore and veteran forwards Luc Mbah a Moute, Carl Landry and Jason Thompson, Sacramento is piecing together a team that may make some noise out West sooner than we think.

 

Shaq’s Next (Delicate) Steps

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As he stepped to the podium Tuesday morning for his introductory news conference, Shaquille O’Neal reached down to goose Mark Mastrov, a long-time acquaintance and now a fellow minority owner. Just because.

This is going to be fun. And different. Probably unlike anything ever seen in an NBA front office, actually. This is going to be nutty, free-flowing, stream-of-consciousness Shaq who can make people love him or make people really dislike him or now, in the case of his suddenly updated Sacramento history, both.

This is going to be tricky.

The Shaquille O’Neal the Kings got Tuesday — glib, handling the attention as if it was Greg Ostertag, creating excitement just by his presence — is the one that will make a positive difference as a marketing move. He charmed, though it helped that one of his toughest tasks was responding to all the requests from media members to take a picture with him. O’Neal even apologized, with all apparent sincerity, for referring to his new team as the Queens a couple lifetimes ago during the Lakers-Kings playoff matchups layered in antagonism.

It’s the other one that could be dangerous. O’Neal bought into the new ownership group, at approximately 2-4% by Forbes’ estimates, not only with the understanding that he will have input on the direction of the team but with majority owner Vivek Ranadive encouraging him to speak up.

For one thing, Shaq does not need to be encouraged to speak up. For another, he should be very careful when he does.

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It may not happen, but this would be a good time for O’Neal to hang back on the basketball front. The Kings have good things going on and the smart hire as general manager, Pete D’Alessandro, and the smart hire as coach, Michael Malone, should be allowed to work. Most anything connected to O’Neal creates the possibility of disruption and even outright conflict. It’s just who he is. It’s gravity.

Ranadive and D’Alessandro are saying all the right things about wanting an open environment around the team and welcoming the input, especially from a center bound for the Hall of Fame. It sounds good. But knowing Shaq, as many coaches and front offices around the league do, means starting a clock on how long before he throws someone from the Kings under the bus or gives instructions to DeMarcus Cousins counter to what the coaching staff wants. And knowing he envisions himself as a potential general manager of the future, and having once said he didn’t know all the starting centers within his own division as a player, O’Neal may push for moves without having fully scouted or studied.

“I think DeMarcus has had good people around him,” D’Alessandro said. “I’ve met a lot of those people. I’ve met his family. Great people. It helps me to have Shaq around, so I know it helps DeMarcus to have Shaq around. It helps the business side to have Shaq around. It’s going to help everyone. The focus is really that. And now we have a great young emerging talent at the same position. It’s going to obviously effect that as well.”

Asked if he expects to hear from O’Neal on personnel matters, D’Alessandro said: “I hope to. I’m a believer, much like Vivek, in that open flow of communication, and if someone has a strength, if someone has a perspective, every perspective is good, especially the perspective of a Hall of Famer like him. So I would hope so, yeah.”

The specifics of his role remain vague, so maybe O’Neal will primarily be a marketing magnet. Tuesday, when asked to describe his specific duties around the team itself and with Cousins, Shaq had no specifics to offer. The closest was “We will have conversations” (regarding Cousins) and “We will let the general manager and the assistant general manager do what they do” (regarding basketball operations). Ranadive did add that “We’re not going to micro-manage. We’re just there to support them and help them in any way.”

Report: Kings Offer Iguodala $56 Million … Then Pull Deal Off The Table?



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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — This is a bit of an odd one.

The Sacramento Kings threw a big wrinkle into the Andre Iguodala free-agent sweepstakes with a four-year, $56 million offer to the veteran swingman, an offer first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports early Wednesday morning.

Then, hours later, the Kings pulled the deal.

The Nuggets were apparently unwilling to match the Kings’ offer … but Iguodala was also reluctant to accept the offer, which led to Sacramento pulling the deal off the table.

This all means Denver is still very much alive in its hopes to re-sign the small forward who helped them to 57 wins and a franchise-best 38-3 home record, writes Wojnarowski:

After the Denver Nuggets expressed an unwillingness to match the Sacramento Kings’ $14 million-a-year proposal to free-agent forward Andre Iguodala, Iguodala’s reluctance to immediately accept the four-year, $56 million offer caused the Kings to withdraw the deal late Tuesday, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

With no major offers elsewhere, Iguodala could return to talks with the Nuggets on a five-year contract extension. Denver wants to keep Iguodala as part of its core, but has shown restraint in formulating potentially salary-cap crippling offers to re-sign him to a long-term deal, sources said.

When the Kings demanded an answer for their offer on Tuesday night, Iguodala’s desire to take more time to consider the deal signaled to Sacramento management that perhaps the free agent wasn’t eager to leave a Western Conference contender for the rebuilding project.

Nuggets general manager Tim Connelly and coach Brian Shaw presented Iguodala with a five-year contract offer and a pitch to convince him to re-sign at a meeting on Monday in Los Angeles. It is unclear if the Nuggets raised their initial offer on Tuesday night, but they clearly didn’t match the Kings’ surprisingly aggressive $14 million-per-season offer.

Iguodala was also one of the top targets of the Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, Golden State Warriors and the incumbent Nuggets in the initial stages of free agency.

Sacramento’s pulling of the offer on Iguodala may well change how the Kings approach the $44 million offer sheet the New Orleans Pelicans offered former Rookie of the Year winner Tyreke Evans, too.

Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro recently left the Nuggets’ front office to become’ the Kings top executive and had been pushing hard to convince Iguodala to be a cornerstone for his franchise. Without Iguodala in the Kings plans, the organization could reconsider how it feels about matching the four-year, $44 million offer sheet that restricted free agent guard Tyreke Evans could soon sign with the New Orleans Pelicans.

Sacramento Welcomes Its Other ‘Rookie’ Class



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SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Sure he thought about it. Vivek Ranadive didn’t get to be swimming in money and a majority owner in the NBA by not considering risks to big decisions. Of course he weighed the drawback to stacking one inexperienced hire on top of another.

And then Ranadive did it anyway.

He hired a coach, Michael Malone, who had never been a head coach before.

He hired a general manager, Pete D’Alessandro, who had never been a general manager before.

Ranadive will have a toast-filled honeymoon in Sacramento because he replaced the unpopular Maloof family and the Kings will bask in a new energy because of the turnover throughout the organization. The new owner is making daring first strikes, considering he has been the primary decision maker for an NBA franchise for all of about one month.

Ranadive himself didn’t want to do it. He made the decisions in the wrong order and hired a coach first, when he should have hired a GM and left the major basketball calls to the basketball people. But he was fond of Malone from their time together in Golden State. And when he narrowed down the search for a personnel boss and considered Chris Wallace, Mike Dunleavy and other veterans, Ranadive was ultimately won over by D’Alessandro.

“When I started this process,” Ranadive said after the D’Alessandro hiring became official Monday, “to be totally honest, I was biased toward having a GM who had experience. Many years of experience. It was a very rigorous process. I interviewed some hard candidates. Quite honestly, when I spoke with Pete, he was a long-shot candidate. I went through a very rigorous interview process. I put these guys through the rigors. It was a few hours long, asking several questions, detailed questions. I did everything short of giving them an IQ test. Which I would have done. But this guy is amazing.

“I called (Chris) Mullin and I asked him that question the next morning. I spoke to Pete, it was early Saturday morning, I called up Mullin and I said, ‘Hey, what about this guy.’ He said, ‘He’s the smartest guy out there.’ ‘Is he ready?’ ‘Absolutely. No question about it.’ He was head and shoulders above, in my view, what I was looking for. Like I said, he was the smartest candidate, the hungriest guy and the most passionate guy. And you see that with all the comments that he’s making.”

Neither are total newbies — Malone had been an NBA assistant for 12 years with four different teams, D’Alessandro had been the video coordinator at St. John’s, a lawyer with agent Bill Pollack and then well-respected in front offices with Mullin in Golden State and Masai Ujiri in Denver. Both were considered rising stars in their respective fields. But that is not the same as the No. 1 chair. There is a learning curve, and now the two most-important people in basketball ops, as well as the owner, will be in their first season on the job at the same time with a team in desperate need for stability.

“I said to Vivek, ‘I’m ready to go,’ ” D’Alessandro said. “I was ready to go the second I sat in that interview and I think it came across that way. You know Masai Ujiri and you know he’s a guy who empowers. (Nuggets president) Josh Kroenke empowers. Chris Mullin empowers. I got to do a lot of things for a lot of really talented people. Is there a learning curve? I’m never done learning. But as far as being ready? I don’t feel like a first-time GM.”

This part of the growing Warriors connection, Ranadive said, is more coincidence. The new majority owner came from the franchise 80 miles away, the new coach as well, but D’Alessandro’s time with Golden State did not cross with Ranadive. Similarly, he did not work with Mullin, who is on the verge of joining the Sacramento re-birth as well, likely in a consultant role.