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  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    Kings fans keep the faith at sold out Sleep Train Arena. Sacramento kept the game close, but the Los Angeles Clippers won to lock up home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

  • JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS / jvillegas@sacbee.com

    Kings coach Keith Smart, right, and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro meet before the game. Smart's contract has one year left, but his fate is up in the air given the uncertainty over the team's ownership.

  • PAUL KITAGAKI JR. / pkitagaki@sacbee.com

    DeMarcus Cousins throws his shoes to fans as he exits the court after the last game of the regular season. Cousins scored 36 points.

  • JOSÉ LUIS VILLEGAS / jvillegas@sacbee.com

    David Marquez, 11, of Lincoln wears the Kings' colors outside Sleep Train Arena. The game, possibly the Kings' final one in Sacramento, drew an announced sellout crowd. The NBA has extended its talks regarding the bids from Sacramento and Seattle for the franchise.

Kings tired of offseasons spent in limbo

Published: Thursday, Apr. 18, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 - 11:09 am

Playing for the Kings means an annual offseason of uncertainty.

This one's no different, with the franchise teetering between Sacramento and Seattle.

The regular season ended Wednesday night with the Los Angeles Clippers beating the Kings 112-108 in front of the third sellout crowd of the season at Sleep Train Arena.

But the waiting game goes on without a date on which the fate of the Kings will be decided.

"It's a tough matter to deal with every year," said third-year center DeMarcus Cousins. "It's an annoying situation. You can't really plan. Most players have an offseason and they can enjoy it and plan it, but for us it's a different situation. We've always got to be on-call. We never know what's going to happen."

Players are not apprised of business details like other Kings employees, but they are constantly asked about the franchise's future.

"It's kind of annoying to answer the same question 25 times," said forward Jason Thompson. "From stepping outside, to after a game, during a game, with the media, social networks, everywhere you go you're answering the same question. They think we're the people with the answers, but really it's the people they don't know too much about that have all the answers."

Players learned the Maloofs had reached an agreement to sell a controlling interest in the franchise in January through the media.

"We should have a lot more information than we do," Cousins said. "You feel dumb when a fan comes up and asks you because they believe you know, and your response is, 'I know as much as you do.' It's not a good feeling."

Since the news broke, the players have talked about not letting it affect their play.

"I don't think any of this had anything to do with our play," said guard Marcus Thornton. "At the end of the day, you still have to go out there and play every game like it's your last."

That's not easy.

"It does bother your focus," Cousins said.

The uncertainty also impacts the personal lives of players.

"Your outside life is up in the air," said guard Isaiah Thomas. "Some guys have families, and you just don't know what's going on. It's difficult, and it's frustrating, too. I always like to know what my next move is, and I always want to be on top of everything, but I can't with this."

Basketball president Geoff Petrie is in the last year of his contract. Coach Keith Smart has one year on his contract. Not only is the city the Kings will call home undecided, so is the fate of those making basketball decisions.

"It's a shame that every year, for the most part, that I've been here, it's the same type of questions; it's the same situation at the end of the season," Thompson said. "The last game, if it's a home game, you don't know if it's going to be your last, and as tough as that is for players, I'm sure it's tougher for the fans that try to spend money to watch the team and things like that."

Life for the players will be easier once a sale is approved, but Cousins might have best summed up the sentiment of his teammates.

"You'll have more of a comfort level, but honestly, I'm tired of it," he said. "I'm tired of it."

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

Read more articles by Jason Jones



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