After opting to stay in Sacramento for $19.3 million this season, Rudy Gay is deferring to his management on long-term contract negotiations, which have not yet resumed.
Gay and DeMarcus Cousins were teammates on the Team USA squad that captured the gold medal at the FIBA World Cup competition in Spain during the offseason. Cousins says “team mindset” is what he’s bringing to Sacramento from Team USA.
More DeMarcus: “I know I’m not perfect and I probably never will be but I’m aiming to be the best leader I can be for this team.”
Leadership is necessary as Sacramento has only five returning players from last year’s training camp –- Cousins, Jason Thompson, Ben McLemore, Ray McCallum & Carl Landry.
[RELATED: Cousins determined to change Kings mindset]
Head coach Michael Malone called one of the returners -- Thompson -- and one of the newcomers -- Reggie Evans, acquired from Brooklyn in February -- “MVPs of camp” as of Tuesday.
The Kings' depth chart is more crowded than the bus stop around the corner from where I grew up in Jersey, especially at power forward with Thompson, Evans, Landry, Eric Moreland & David Wear.
Malone praises Moreland’s “motor.” The Pac 12 product out of Oregon St. was a key part of the Kings' NBA Summer League championship.
Speaking of the Pac 12, along with the aforementioned Wear, Darren Collison & Ryan Hollins represent a strong contingent of UCLA products in Sacramento.
The Nevada Wolfpack -- just across the mountains past Lake Tahoe, two hours east of Sacramento -- is also represented by Ramon Sessions and Deonte Burton. Sessions is entering his eighth NBA season and Burton is a rookie looking to stick.
Burton is a freakish athlete. Check out this dunk versus Boise St.
Also, the Compton product is known for being incredibly clutch. Here are six of his game-winning shots propelling the Wolfpack to victory.
Demolition has begun on a sports and entertainment complex in downtown Sacramento that will house the Kings and open in the Fall of 2016. You can oversee construction live 24 hours a day via this webcam.
The Kings are retiring three-time NBA All Star and NBA champion (with Dallas) Peja Stojakovic’s No. 16 on Dec. 16 when the Kings host Oklahoma City. Ben McLemore wore No. 16 last year and will wear No. 23 this year.
[RELATED: Kings to retire Peja's No. 16]
Michael Malone’s dad, Brendan, a long-time NBA assistant coach is now on Stan Van Gundy’s staff in Detroit. Back in the day, Van Gundy led UMass Lowell to a win over UMass in John Calipari’s first game coaching the Minutemen. Calipari later coached DeMarcus Cousins at Kentucky. It’s actually the elder Malone’s second stint with the Pistons. He was an assistant in MoTown under Chuck Daly during the “Bad Boys” era.
Speaking of the “Second Time Around” (No way I’m going to miss a Jody Watley and Shalamar tune reference), Omri Casspi is back in Sacramento. In 71 games with the Rockets last season, Casspi posted 6.9 points (.422 FG%, .347 3pt%, .680 FT%), 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest. The first Israeli-born player to be selected by an NBA team and compete in the league, Casspi was originally tabbed by the Kings in the first round (23rd overall) of the 2009 NBA Draft.
[RELATED: Casspi returns to Kings]
Speaking of firsts, 7-foot-5 Sim Bhullar, born in Toronto, is in camp with Sacramento and is the first player of Indian descent to sign with an NBA team. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was born in Mumbai, India. Bhullar was a two time WAC Tournament MVP at New Mexico State.