Ailene Voisin, sports columnist

Sacramento may still be interested in reacquiring forward Omri Casspi.

Omri Casspi arrived in Sacramento with his ego bursting, his prospects for a long-term career with the Kings promising, and his tiny country of Israel riding on his shoulders, along for the ride. Five years later, he barely recognizes his life.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been republished. It was originally published in The Sacramento Bee on Sept. 3, 2010.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

When did this happen? Sometime during the past few decades – after insisting he was not a role model, amassing fines for his misbehavior and catching hell for his words – Charles Barkley morphed into one of the true humanitarians of the modern sports era.

After hearing he lost his belt, the heavily-favored Brazilian was given a blow-by-blow of TJ Dillashaw’s quickness and surprising kicks, the reaction of the stunned sellout crowd, the final strikes that ended the fight 2:26 into the fifth round.

LeBron James wanted to go home. Isaiah Thomas wanted to stay here, but he also wanted to be recognized as the Kings’ best point guard and a highly compensated starter for the foreseeable future, and that was the part that snagged the deal.

LeBron James always hinted he would move back to Cleveland, finish his career with the Cavaliers, continue working with youngsters and the underprivileged, keep trying to help his community. No one really saw this coming?

New A’s pitcher Jeff Samardzija is promoting his favorite sport overseas.

OAKLAND There have been scooters in the clubhouse, pies in the face, and enough facial hair to keep the local barber in business if the players sporting the unruly beards and hairstyles suddenly decided to practice good grooming habits.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

Darren Collison is not a better overall player than Isaiah Thomas. Let’s get that right out there. But he’s different, and the Kings needed different. And he’s cheaper, and with a desire to maintain salary cap flexibility for a potential free-agent windfall in 2015, the Kings needed cheaper.

Meeting with reporters in his office instead of the usual interview room down the hallway, the longtime manager leaned back in his chair, then unloaded. He spoke softly and deliberately – this is Bochy, remember – and used terms like “awful baseball” and “disappointing” and having “too much talent for this.” With his frequent hand gestures stressing his points, he seemed particularly miffed about his team’s sloppy 7-2 loss to St. Louis that ended the 10-game homestand with a 2-8 thud.

Sacramento’s comeback began with a shot heard round the Capitol, of all places, and ended at Hornet Stadium on Sunday afternoon with a communal high-five and high praise from USA Track & Field officials.

Malone says the first-round pick’s skills address many of team team’s weaknesses

When the Kings were at their best, that time so long ago and far away, team scouts and executives went global – to Serbia, Greece, France, Turkey - to accumulate much of their talent.

See what The Bee's Ailene Voisin - as well as many followers of the team - had to say about how the Kings fared in the 2014 NBA draft.

While remaking a team is far more involved than one-stop shopping, tonight is where and when it starts.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

If you want to see NBA executives scrambling for their Sharpies and hastily revising their internal mock drafts? More sleep-deprived than usual? With the annual selection party less than a week away?

The life of an emerging NASCAR superstar isn’t all bells and whistles. Sometimes it requires wearing suits and ties. Other times it means bumping into friends and relatives in the most improbable of places.

Hopefully, the folks back in Springfield, Mass., count the seasons. Winter, spring, autumn, summer. Gregg Popovich has been around so long, so ridiculously, consistently, enormously successful, he answers to a single name.

Hall of Famer left a lasting legacy on and off the field. Besides his sports skills, Gwynn also was beloved in his adopted hometown of San Diego — and beyond.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

With the NBA draft fast approaching, the Kings are in the midst of what could be called a 10-day sprint. More than at any time in recent franchise history, team executives and scouts are flooding the market, searching for talent throughout the United States and Europe, and even taking a peek in their own backyard.

S A four-game losing streak? Well, that was not going to happen. Tim Hudson is still full of surprises. The veteran right-hander who underwent major ankle surgery a year ago, who spurned his hometown team for the Giants and who has established himself as the ace of the staff, on Thursday wrapped a screen around the Nats.

Somewhere between his post-race rant and his Monday morning apology, California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn may have stumbled onto something. His overheated reaction to losing the Triple Crown transferred the conversation about who, when and where from the backroom to the kitchen table.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

Shocked. Stunned. Dazed. Confused. Preki can’t believe it, either. The Republic FC coach – our local soccer legend who was known during his playing days for his clever left foot – thinks U.S. national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann committed one of those right-foot-in-mouth mistakes by leaving Landon Donovan off his 2014 World Cup roster.

Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs’ veteran forward, says his team wants to rid themselves of “that bad taste in our mouth still” from last season’s loss to Miami in the NBA Finals.

As the recruiting process accelerates and the NBA draft on June 26 approaches, the Kings have more studying to do than a recent law school graduate preparing for the bar exam. Even with the drought, the questions are coming in waves.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

Within hours of defeating Renan Barao, often referred to as the most gifted fighter of all the weight classes, TJ Dillashaw's already active life accelerated at a pace that has left him stressed, sleep-deprived and craving some good old-fashioned homespun advice.

Don’t believe him. Don’t believe a word. Until Donald Sterling signs the formal documents empowering his wife, Shelly, to sell his Los Angeles Clippers, the prudent course of action is to assume the worst. The man suffers from a chronic disease: an inability to tell the truth.

So close. So close now. When the City Council approved the city’s $255 million investment in the proposed downtown sports and entertainment complex late Tuesday evening, you could almost reach out and touch the shovel. You could see the wrecking ball swinging in the Delta breeze. You could envision the concerts, the festivals, the activity and, of course, a place for the Kings to call home.

The No. 8 draft pick? So roll the dice already. With college players routinely ditching the textbooks after their freshman and sophomore seasons, the NBA draft has morphed into a visit down the casino aisles in Las Vegas.

Further evidence of the volatile nature of NBA front offices: Memphis Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash were fired a few hours ago by owner Robert Pera. According to USA Today, the shakeup was the result of an internal power struggle involving Levien, Pera and team attorney David Mincberg, who had been pressing for a more influential role in basketball operations.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

The last time the Tour of California started in the capital, downtown hummed like a rock concert on wheels. Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong cycled furiously down and around the streets while thousands of spectators squeezed together on sidewalks for a glimpse at the sport’s luminaries.

A The Raiders refused to scratch the itch, to ignite another controversy, to spice up the evening. They played it safe and played it smart, and they played it quickly. Long before Johnny Manziel sat and sat and sat, nervously inhaling one bottle of water after another as the NFL draft proceedings progressed, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen exhaled in relief.

Last week was crazier than usual, and we won’t even shame the San Jose Sharks by mentioning their blown series. This weekly offering, remember, is designed to kick off your Monday morning with a smile, not a whimper. So here we go:

Hedo Turkoglu is 35 years old. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The Kings’ first-round draft choice in 2000, he joined an organization known at the time for its shrewd and persistent poaching of overseas talent.

Adam Silver took a swing that was heard around the world. In his first significant move as NBA commissioner, he uttered the words many of us have waited decades to hear: Donald Sterling is about to become homeless.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

The hand-wringing and the news conferences and the player protests are predictable and appropriate. Who isn’t outraged by the disparaging and discriminatory comments attributed to longtime Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling?

Republic FC plays in the minor leagues, in temporary digs just a few kicks away from the neighboring River Cats. But that can change. The earth can move. The demolition crew can start digging (see Downtown Plaza). The big-time action can be just around the corner.

Football coach Marshall Sperbeck’s abrupt departure leaves many questions unanswered.

Finding and acquiring top players will be a challenge

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

After missing the playoffs eight consecutive seasons and finishing with a 28-54 record for the second year in a row, there were plenty of reasons for the Kings’ “repeat” performance: Sluggish offense. Shaky defense. Too little passing. Too many blown opportunities on the home court.

Ailene Voisin, sports columnist

Ailene Voisin

Ailene Voisin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UNLV and a law degree from the University of San Diego before committing full time to journalism.

Her career includes stops at the San Diego Union, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and time spent as the backup beat writer for Dodgers and Angels, Clippers and NBA beat writer, sports columnist, along with numerous assignments covering international events and the Olympics. Ailene joined The Sacramento Bee in 1997.

Email: avoisin@sacbee.com
Phone: 916-321-1208
Twitter: @ailene_voisin

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