Check out quotes from Monday’s presser, featuring Kings Majority Owner Vivek Ranadivé, General Manager Pete D’Alessandro and DeMarcus Cousins.
Kings Majority Owner Vivek Ranadivé
“It’s a great day for the Sacramento Kings today. The new-era Kings have just signed DeMarcus Cousins to a four-year, max contract. I first got to know DeMarcus shortly after the (sale of the Kings) was done. The very first thing I did after I found out that we had the team was text DeMarcus. I sent him a text saying, ‘DeMarcus, my friend Steve Jobs liked to say, “Let’s put a dent in the universe,” so let’s put a dent in the NBA universe.’ DeMarcus texted me right back – kind of like my kids, he doesn’t say a lot when you text (him) … his text was, ‘Sounds good, boss.’ I’m here to say that we, indeed, are going to put that dent in the universe.
“I’d like to thank a whole bunch of people. I’d like to start by thanking Monique (Cousins), who’s supported us throughout this process. I know for her, family is important. The Kings share those values with her – we’re a family and DeMarcus really is the foundation of this family at this point. So thank you, Monique.
“I’d also like to thank Pete (D’Alessandro) and Coach (Michael) Malone. They’ve done an amazing job shepherding this process. I’d like to thank Jarinn (Akana) and Dan (Fegan) – DeMarcus’ agents. We’ve worked with them throughout this process very closely, and it’s been a good process. I’d like to thank the fans of Sacramento for supporting us and supporting DeMarcus through all of this.
“To me, this is a very, very exciting day. I think of DeMarcus as really the prototypical 21st-century player. He’s one of the most talented big men in the business – a big man with skills. He’s one of the smartest players – I’ve spent time talking to DeMarcus – he has an understanding of the game that is truly unique. The only thing I said to him is, ‘DeMarcus, I just want one thing from you. I want you to be the first guy in and the last guy out, because you’re going to be the leader of this organization.’ He’s done that. You see how great he looks right now. We’re really excited to start the season and start training camp.”
On if he views the extension as a leap of faith:
“I didn’t see it as a leap of faith. I’m in the software business, and we bet on people. So for me, it’s natural. To me, he’s one of the best – if not the best – big man in the business. I consulted people smarter than myself – people like (Shaquille O’Neal) and Chris Mullin – and there was never a doubt in my mind that he was going to be the foundation of this franchise moving forward.
“Even off the court, when you look at what DeMarcus does for underprivileged kids – the camp he conducts – he’s a fine young man. From my perspective, it isn’t really that much of a leap of faith. I’m just doing what I do in my business every day, which is betting on the best. He represents the best.”
On asking DeMarcus to be the team leader:
“I sat down with DeMarcus early on, and I said, ‘This is the new Kings organization. This is our mission statement, these are our values, this is our vision, this is what we’re about – do you buy it?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He has lived it up to every part of it. He, indeed, is the first guy in and the last guy out. He was conducting a camp – he flew in, and straight from the airport, he came to practice. If some of the other players were not practicing hard or if they were not showing up, he was the one calling them, saying, ‘Hey, guys. Where are you? Show up.’ He’s embraced that mantle of leadership.”
General Manager Pete D’Alessandro
“I would echo everything that Vivek said. Monique, I really want to thank you and Jarinn (for) the way you guys opened it up and allowed us to come into your home. Monique, Coach Malone and I had a great day with you and your family, and it meant a lot, DeMarcus, to us. It was the beginning of free agency, and the most important thing to us was to be there with you guys. We felt that mutual feeling and that’s gone throughout this process.
“We’re thrilled – I’m thrilled. I walked into this job with such a great, young player, and we said that from the beginning. I think we were all pure in our intent – from both sides – we all felt this was the right thing right from the beginning. It starts with our owner, who believes in his process. We all are believers in this process and what we’re doing here. DeMarcus, I thank you, because I (appreciate) the way we interacted from Day 1. We sat right here in this gym with (Chris Mullin) – it was a great day.
“I can’t say enough about everyone who’s been part of this thing. Dan Fegan was instrumental – really, everyone.”
On the process:
“I think the process was seamless. DeMarcus came in over a month ago, on his own, and just worked so hard and led our guys. We’ve had voluntary workouts – it’s been incredible. It’s a testament to our coaching staff. They really put this environment to bring people in … but DeMarcus led the way.
“To me, the process with Dan and Jarinn, it went smoothly and we’re just thrilled. To get it done – I love the expression ‘tie a bow on it’ – before training camp is a gift. We can now go into training camp with resolution and with DeMarcus knowing where he is with us.”
“I’m blessed to be in this situation. I’m extremely happy. I’m glad we finally got this done. I usually have a lot to say, but I’m short on words today. I’m extremely happy. I like where this organization is going, I believe in it, I’m glad they believe in me (and) I’m glad they gave me this chance to prove (myself) to them and this team. I would like to thank them, first of all, my teammates, my mother (and) my son.”
On what it means to have leadership expectations from the front office:
“It means a lot. Since I’ve started this career, this is the first time. I wish it would’ve happened earlier, but I like the timing of things. This is an unbelievable organization – it’s incredible what they’ve done so far. I’m honored and I’m ready to get things rolling.”
On his dialogue with Shaquille O’Neal:
“Basically, what he said (in his press conference) – it’s not really about putting the ball in the basket, it’s just really everything outside of it. We’ve talked a lot. We almost talk every day now, from him sending me a silly text to ‘How are you doing today?” He’s been great so far, I’ve learned a lot and I plan on continuing to learn more from him.”
On being the first player in and the last player to leave:
“I consider myself the leader of this team, so I take all responsibility that comes with it. I don’t have a problem with it. I was doing it in the beginning, so I definitely don’t have a problem doing it now.”
On the atmosphere under new ownership:
“I don’t think I’ve seen this many smiles around here in a long time. The energy in the building is extremely positive. Guys are willing to work, guys want to work – they want to change things around. I believe everybody feels the same way as us three up here feel. It’s a good feeling around here. Everybody’s pretty happy, so (there) should be a big change on the court.”
On his decision to remain in Sacramento:
“I’m big on loyalty. I’ve been like that my whole life. Since I started playing basketball, I was never really part of the big teams or the Hollywood teams. I was always the low-key guy and I just earned my way all the way through. I plan on doing the same thing here.”
“I would like to say I will be donating $1 million to the families in the community of Sacramento, and also, I’m donating to Mayor Kevin Johnson’s organization, as well.”