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  • JORDAN STRAUSS / Invision/ AP

    NBA players John Wall, left, and DeMarcus Cousins arrive at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday, July 17, 2013, at Nokia Theater in Los Angeles.

  • CARL COSTAS / Bee file, 2007

    Portland Trailblazer Greg Oden in the paint during the Kings' preseason opener Wednesday, October 7, 2007 at Arco Arena.

Kings notes: Cousins is still waiting to hear from Shaq

Published: Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 2C
Last Modified: Thursday, Jul. 25, 2013 - 6:18 pm

LAS VEGAS – DeMarcus Cousins aspires to be considered one of the best centers in NBA history.

The Kings' big man, entering his fourth season, said he'd love the opportunity to work with one of the greatest centers of all time, Shaquille O'Neal.

After meeting Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive last month, O'Neal pledged to help "make DeMarcus Cousins the best big man in the game."

That's fine with Cousins, but he's still waiting to connect with O'Neal.

"I have not heard from Shaq at all," Cousins said. "Not a tweet, DM (direct message), nothing."

During his career, and especially with the Los Angeles Lakers, O'Neal taunted the Kings and dominated them on the court.

O'Neal retired after the 2010-11 season with four NBA championships, three Finals MVP awards and one regular-season MVP honor.

In his role as a television analyst, he's been critical of Houston's Dwight Howard, generally considered the best center in the NBA today. O'Neal believes centers should play with a mean streak – something Howard is not noted for – while Cousins might be too aggressive.

Cousins is more skilled away from the basket than O'Neal, but the retired star could help Cousins develop more skills around the rim and improve his career shooting percentage of 44.8.

"I would be open to it," Cousins said. "But I have not heard from him."

Still looking big – Kings general manager Pete D'Alessandro returned from Indianapolis on Tuesday night after watching free-agent center Greg Oden work out.

Oden, 7-foot and 285 pounds, was the first overall pick in the 2007 draft by Portland. Numerous injuries, including three knee surgeries, have limited him to 82 games in his career.

The Kings met with Oden last week during the Las Vegas summer league. D'Alessandro would not comment on the workout except to say the Kings will continue to seek ways to improve the roster.

"We're doing everything we can to make this team better," D'Alessandro said. "We're not going to leave any stone left unturned. I've said this before and I'll say it until eternity: We're always going to try to get better. So anything that's out there we're going to look at."

Scrimmage plans – The Team USA minicamp concludes tonight with the USA Basketball Showcase Blue-White scrimmage at UNLV'S Thomas & Mack Center.

Cousins is on the Blue squad with former Kentucky teammate John Wall of Washington, Golden State's Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson and Portland's Damian Lillard, last season's Rookie of the Year.

Chicago's Tom Thibodeau will coach the Blue team. New Orleans' Monty Williams will coach the White team, which features 2011-12 Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving of Cleveland.

New Orleans' Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday and Indiana's Paul George, who won the Most Improved Player award last season, also are playing for the White team.

Still committed – Two of the biggest names in the NBA committed to playing for Team USA in international competition.

Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant and Minnesota's Kevin Love said after Wednesday's practice that they planned to continue playing for the National Team.

Players at the minicamp are hoping to earn an invitation to join the National Team.

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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