Posted October 01, 2013 on AP on Fox
Ocean breezes drifted through the open gym doors while the Sacramento Kings ran the final wind sprints of their first practice Tuesday. The tranquility of a seaside training camp provides one more breath of fresh air for the Kings, who are hoping their outstanding summer off the court is a prelude to bigger breakthroughs this season. ''This is a great opportunity for us to get together as a team, away from everything and everybody,'' new coach Mike Malone said. The Kings are spending the week several hours from Sacramento at UC Santa Barbara, putting down the foundation for a rebuilding project that's likely years from completion. Judging from Malone's happiness and the players' satisfied looks after the first workout, everybody is grateful for the long-struggling Kings' new beginning. ''It starts from the top,'' forward Jason Thompson said. ''Having different owners, not having guys ask me if we're going to stay next year, that's good for us. It's great to just focus on basketball.'' While the Kings have spent seven straight losing seasons out of the playoffs, Sacramento is on an undeniable roll off the court. After several seasons of comical instability under the Maloof brothers' ownership, the Kings were revitalized this summer by their sale to Vivek Ranadive. The software mogul's purchase culminated the triumphant fight to keep the club in California's capital city after Sacramento fended off a final purchase attempt from a Seattle-based group. The Kings also have concrete plans for a beautiful new arena after years of playing in one of the NBA's least impressive barns. Ranadive overhauled almost everything else about the Kings, installing a new front office headed by general manager Pete D'Alessandro and hiring a savvy new coaching staff for Malone, the longtime assistant running his first NBA team. When asked why he brought the Kings to the picturesque city on the Southern California coast for his first practices, Malone deadpanned: ''Look outside.'' ''This is a great setup for us,'' Malone added. ''We wanted to get out of Sacramento. We have a new staff, a new front office, two new rookies, three new free agents. With so many new faces, we have a chance to get away and build a team. ... You can teach all the X's and O's that you want, but it comes down to chemistry and trust and building relationships.'' Malone became a believer in remote training camps during his tenure with the New York Knicks, who made annual trips to Charleston, S.C., to get away from the spotlight. The Kings held camp in Colorado Springs last year under coach Keith Smart. ''You're with each other 24-7,'' guard Jimmer Fredette said. ''You're getting here at the same time, eating in the same places, sleeping in the same hotel. You bond and really get to know the guys.'' Malone and his coaches have plenty of work to do on this trip. Four starting spots are likely up for grabs in camp, with the only certainty being center DeMarcus Cousins, who got a four-year, $62 million contract extension Monday. ''We've got a great group of guys, and if we keep working hard together, we can do great things,'' said new guard Greivis Vasquez, who went through his first full workout since offseason surgery on his right ankle. Vasquez's competition with Isaiah Thomas for the starting job at point guard kicked off with a lively first workout. The Venezuelan newcomer already is impressed by Cousins. ''I love Cuz,'' Vasquez said. ''I'm going to have so much fun playing with him. I'm going to find him all the time. I'm playing with a great center, an All Star-caliber player, and we're going to win.'' Lottery pick Ben McLemore could be the Kings' starting shooting guard immediately, while Thompson and Carl Landry are competing at power forward. But starting spots and offensive decisions aren't Malone's top priority in this reclamation project. Malone is focusing most of his training camp energy on improving the Kings' defense, which ranked near the bottom of the league in most categories last season. If the Kings plant the seeds of defensive competency in Santa Barbara through better chemistry and effort, Malone will consider the trip a success. ''I want to defend, and from our defense, everything else will come,'' Malone said. ''We still want to run, but we want to run with discipline, but none of that will happen if we don't commit to defending and rebounding at a high level.''

Ben McLemore enlists Patrick Patterson as portable hoop to posterize Travis Outlaw (Video)

Sacramento Kings rookie guard Ben McLemore used the team's media day as the perfect distraction for the ultimate prank by enlisting Patrick Patterson as the portable basketball hoop to posterize Travis Outlaw. Poor Outlaw was minding his own business and serving his media obligations when he became the unsuspecting victim of McLemore's monster slam dunk, leaving him...

NBA Rookie Ben McLemore & Patrick Patterson Redefine The Posterizing Game

This is how it is done folks. During the Sacramento Kings media day, Ben McLemore & Patrick Patterson took posterizing to the level that it should be at, and poor Travis Outlaw just had to watch it happen to himself. The question remains though, which of these poster dunks is the best? Or Don’t forget this reverse poster, of sorts. [H/T Bleacher Report] Article found...

Kings hold first practice of training camp

Kings coach Michael Malone was pleased with his first practice of training camp on the campus of UC Santa Barbara. Every player fully participated including Greivis Vasquez who is coming off offseason surgery on his right ankle. But the bigger message was about taking the steps to become a more cohesive group. The Kings have earned the reputation as a selfish team that would rather...

DeMarcus Cousins Donating $1 Million to Local Charities

It is so easy to blog on the negative things that athletes do; heck--its more entertaining. DeMarcus Cousins has been one of those guys in the past, but it appears that he may be working on changing the general perception people have of him. How? By donating a cool million to charity after signing his new contract extension. @GoSportsBlog/Twitter Rather than...

Rookie Ben McLemore Baptizes Travis Outlaw On Nurf Hoop (Video)

The Kings had a little fun during media day. Patrick Patterson is playing the role as the goal, he sets up Travis Outlaw and Ben McLemore does the rest: Follow Mark Gunnels @RealMarkGunnels Twitter: @FullScaleSport

Truth, vigilance, and the Kings blowing chunks on the basketball court......

Forgive me for a bit of cynicism. All of the intense harboring and belief that the KIngs have turned the corner has made me want to take a permanent residence next to a toilet. After all, there is so much ********* I can swallow before I can vomit incessantly. Which, naturally, reveals the contents of my stomach to be...wait for it......SACRAMENTO KINGS BASKETBALL! Gotcha. You...

Ben McLemore posterizes Travis Outlaw during Kings Media Day

For some unknown reason during Sacramento Kings media day, forward Patrick Patterson decided to wear a mini-hoop apparatus and rookie Ben McLemore decided to take advantage of it. Watch as Ben soars for an epic posterization of teammate Travis Outlaw: *** Ben McLemore posterizes Travis Outlaw [CBS Sports]

Ben McLemore dances to “Blurred Lines” in Instagram video

Judging from his posterization of Travis Outlaw and the below video, it appears that Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore had some fun at Kings media day. Watch as he gets down to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” in front of a green screen with fellow rookie, Ray McCallum:

DeMarcus Cousins Donating $1 Million To Charity

Like his former college teammate John Wall did when he received a contract extension with the Washington Wizards, Sacramento Kings’ Demarcus Cousins revealed during his press conference for his 4-year, max $62 million contract extension that he will donate $1 million to local charities for families in need. “I would like to say I will be donating one million dollars to the families...

Afternoon Delight:

As former Celtics Big Shamrock Shaquille O'Neal takes part-ownership of the Sacramento Kings (which he has already dubbed "Shaq-amento"), he promised to take enigmatic star DeMarcus Cousins under his huge wings and develop his All-Star potential.  Let's just hope Shaq mentors DMC in only basketball-related work: About Afternoon Delight: From time to time...
NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.