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  • JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS / Bee file, 2011

    The Maloof brothers, from left, George, Gavin and Joe: The waffling family that owns the Kings hasn't endeared itself to Sacramento and the city's loyal fans.

  • HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

    Kings guard Isaiah Thomas, left, and assistant coach Bobby Jackson do drills during a patience-testing practice Wednesday.

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Kings players aren't getting too worked up

Published: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 8:09 am

As reports swirled that Kings ownership may be discussing a sale that would move the team to Seattle, Kings players and coaches did their best Wednesday to block out the uncertainty and prepare for tonight's game against the Dallas Mavericks.

"Obviously, it was a big distraction," coach Keith Smart said after practice. "But life has distractions and you have to be able to channel those distractions to do what it is that you need to do at any given time."

Most players had left the practice floor by the time the Kings opened their facility to the media, several hours after Yahoo Sports reported that the Maloof family is in talks with a Seattle investment group about a possible sale that could land the team in Seattle as early as next season.

In the wake of the Yahoo report, center DeMarcus Cousins and forward Jason Thompson both posted one word to their Twitter profiles: "Wow."

Smart said he doesn't have a Twitter account, but he said he had to actively keep players focused during practice, where "things were floating around."

"Every time that we got a little unfocused, we added another minute to the practice time," Smart said. "We wanted to focus on what we can control, which is basketball.

"These things have an effect all around. Players have friends, families. Coaches have friends and families. Everyone's calling wanting to know what's going on."

Thompson said he had been inundated with calls and text messages but that he had no definite response. He indicated that ongoing uncertainty about the team's future made him somewhat numb to Wednesday's reports.

"Nothing surprises me anymore," said Thompson, in his fifth season in Sacramento. "Every year you say you're moving, this and that and the third. But at the end of the day, man, we love it here in this city, and until you officially tell us that I have to move out of my house, that's when you know it's official."

The Kings were in talks to move to Anaheim in 2011 before opting to stay put, and Virginia Beach, Va., was reportedly targeting the team until earlier this week.

A tentative deal to build a new downtown arena to keep the Kings in Sacramento broke down last spring.

"It's always speculation, rumors and, like I said, it's not official until they tell me that I'm not allowed to come to the practice facility," Thompson said. "And obviously I don't want that, because I love being here and this is the team that drafted me in this city. And I want to be here for a while."

The Kings did not make available guards Isaiah Thomas, who is from Tacoma and played college basketball at Washington, or Aaron Brooks, who is from Seattle.

"I don't know their reaction," Thompson said. "We're all focusing on trying to stay here and see what happens."

Guard Marcus Thornton, who was at the facility getting treatment on his bothersome left ankle, said he was trying not to get caught up in Wednesday's news.

"My focus is on getting back on the court now," Thornton said. "That's what my focus is on. I don't have nothing to do with that. This will take care of itself.

"Rumors always happen," he said. "But until I know it's true, I have no say-so."

Smart said he thinks Thornton, who has missed the past five games, is still on target to return tonight against the Mavericks. Thornton, though, did not practice Wednesday because the ankle was "kind of sore" and said he is "playing it by ear."

The Kings will try to snap a two-game losing streak tonight following their worst home loss of the season, a 113-81 setback Monday against Memphis.

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Read more articles by Matt Kawahara



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