HoopsHype Keith Smart rumors

January 3, 2013 Updates

When Paul Westphal could no longer handle the young center, the Kings showed him the door and promoted long-time NBA assistant Keith Smart, known for his success in handling players with baggage. They also brought highly regarded big man coach Clifford Ray to assist in the task at hand, but neither has had the desired effect. “What is the support system that’s not in place?” Smart asked when posed the question of what the Kings haven’t done to help Cousins grow. “What is it? I’m trying to figure out what is it that we are supposed to have – that every team is supposed to have? Let us know, so we can find out what it is. And then we can let you know if we do have that.” Cowbell Kingdom

December 31, 2012 Updates

Not trying to pile on the young man, who is still just 22. Lord knows I hadn't finished maturing at that age, and some would no doubt say that process is still ongoing a quarter-century later. But Cousins's numerous confrontations with members of the Kings' organization, often sullen disposition and inability to control his temper have worn just about everyone in Sacramento raw, and the Kings, sources say, are finally ready to seriously consider moving the third-year center for a package of less talented, perhaps, but more emotionally grounded players. "If this last thing doesn't work, I don't know what to do," a member of the organization said, referring to the suspension of Cousins by the team after he engaged in a profanity-laden shouting match with Coach Keith Smart at halftime of the Kings' game with the Clippers Dec. 21. The suspension was initially labeled indefinite by the team, but it was reduced to one game, though Smart kept Cousins inactive for a second game last week. NBA.com

The team was surprised when Cousins showed up for practice on Christmas Eve, thinking the suspension was indefinite. Upon his arrival, "the Christmas spirit was gone," said the league source who is familiar with the Kings. And there was not much sympathy for him afterward when Cousins tried to apologize. "When he apologized to the team, two players stood up and said 'we've heard this bull(bleep) before,'" the source said. "'You're either going to be with us, or you're not. We don't want to hear any more excuses.'" NBA.com

Thomas scored 27 points in his second start in the past six weeks and made one of Sacramento's two four-point plays in the second half as the Kings handed the Boston Celtics their third straight lopsided loss on a California road swing, 118-96 on Sunday night. "That guy has an infectious personality," Kings coach Keith Smart said. "He has that magnetism that brings players and people around to him. He brought that energy to start the game off right with him in the starting lineup. All our guards do a great job, but what he's been able to do is kind of give us a little injection of the steam that we need. He's done that, plus he's making his shots." USA Today Sports

December 28, 2012 Updates

Will DeMarcus Cousins play Friday when the Sacramento Kings host the visiting New York Knicks? The final say is up to Keith Smart, who has apparently made a decision. But in typical Smart fashion, he wouldn’t offer any further details. “I won’t share it right now,” Smart said following Thursday practice. “Because that’s my prerogative to keep it where I want to keep it right now.” Cowbell Kingdom

December 25, 2012 Updates

On the treadmill, on the sideline, in the locker room, Keith Smart sweats profusely. He sweats the small stuff and the big stuff. He sweats about his young center's destructive behavior, the Kings' erratic performances and a collective body language that suggests his 12 players work for 12 different corporations. The one thing he doesn't sweat is his ability to do the job. "I know I can do this," Smart said, "and my nature is that I never get discouraged. If we lose a game, I walk in the next day, and it's like a graveyard around here. I'll ask the guys, 'Did you read the obituaries? Did you see your name in there?' If you're here, you always have the opportunity to change." Sacramento Bee

Given the chance to stick around – and the Maloofs have given every indication they plan to keep Smart for the duration of a contract that runs through 2013-14 – the Kings' second-year coach will stick to his program while continuing to advocate for significant personnel changes. He notes the chronic need for an elite facilitator, for a locker room craving a dynamic, established star, along with the fact that his assembled cast – which is not devoid of individual talent – consists of too many small guards and not enough frontcourt length. Nonetheless, given the Kings' poor record (9-18) and an ill-defined style of play, questions about Smart's own stewardship have increased. Is he a capable head coach? Can he establish a team identity? And does he have the forcefulness and internal clout to discipline and nurture Cousins, the gifted center who has been suspended three times this season, most recently for cursing out his coach during halftime of Friday's game against the Clippers at Staples Center? Sacramento Bee

December 24, 2012 Updates
December 23, 2012 Updates

Clearly the Kings felt his apology was not enough this time around. And it appears that his behavior and actions are beginning to wear thin. “Deeds become important now,” said the Kings head coach when asked if Cousins’ continued apologies still hold credibility. “It’s not so much words. And I think that’s where you’re trying to get him or any person to get (to understand) the deeds of it. Because everyone will see your deeds and then there will be more believability there than just words you’re saying.” Cowbell Kingdom

December 22, 2012 Updates

Here are some quotes from the Kings locker room regarding DeMarcus Cousins being left in the locker room at halftime of tonight's loss to the Los Angeles Clippers after a verbal altercation with head coach Keith Smart. Smart on why Cousins didn't play in the second half: "It was conduct detrimental to the team and we left it at." Sacramento Bee

Smart on if Cousins would play Sunday against Portland: "I'm going to focus on tonight and then I'll move forward to the next day." PCousins said he "was in the wrong" during halftime. "What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room but I was wrong. But what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room." Sacramento Bee

December 20, 2012 Updates

Namely, sources close to key Kings players have told ProBasketballTalk that they are frustrated with the fact that point guard Isaiah Thomas isn’t starting and acting as the team’s floor general. Thomas finished seventh in last season’s Rookie of the Year voting, but arguably could have finished as high as second place when one compares his numbers to that of Ricky Rubio, who held that spot. NBCSports.com

December 18, 2012 Updates
December 11, 2012 Updates

But coach Keith Smart shouldn't worry, not only because the Maloofs remains supportive of his program but because they aren't interested in making what would be fifth coaching change since 2006. Smart already had his 2013-14 contract option picked up, and – record aside - has received major credit for establishing a defense-first culture and connecting with third-year forward DeMarcus Cousins. USA Today

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