The Kings are about to add another active body to help mitigate the loss of second-leading scorer Rudy Gay for the season with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon.
Omri Casspi is hopeful of returning to action as early as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Golden 1 Center. The forward has been sidelined the last 12 games with a strained tendon in his right calf. The Kings are also without forward Garrett Temple, sidelined indefinitely with a partial tear of his right hamstring. Casspi had his most active practice since his injury on Tuesday.
“It feels better,” Casspi said. “It’s frustrating, but it is what it is. I’m trying to look at it in a positive perspective. The first few days (after) I got hurt, it was really hard on me. At this point, I’m trying to get healthy as fast as I can and come back to help the team.”
Lineup change – With DeMarcus Cousins out of the building due to his 16th technical foul, prompting an automatic suspension, the Kings started one big man against Boston on Wednesday – Kosta Koufos. He normally starts alongside Cousins. Sacramento started Darren Collison and Ty Lawson in the backcourt, while Anthony Tolliver and Arron Afflalo started at forward.
Lawson exited in the second quarter with a left hamstring strain and did not return.
Trade blunder – Count Jerry Reynolds among the cast of many who cannot fully comprehend how the Kings traded Isaiah Thomas for next to nothing.
The longtime Kings television analyst called the summer of 2014 deal that sent Thomas to Phoenix in a sign-and-trade for a trade exception and the rights to forward Alex Oriakhi as “the worst trade in the history of the Sacramento Kings. We gave him away.”
Oriakhi is playing in Mexico and doesn’t appear to be anywhere on the NBA radar. Even Thomas was perplexed as to whom Oriakhi is, saying with genuine sincerity, “Who? No disrespect, but I didn’t even know who he was.”
Reynolds also said, “I still get mad, still disappointed (about the trade), and I didn’t understand the reasoning. He’s the most talented point guard who ever played for the Sacramento Kings. That’s saying a lot. We had Reggie Theus, Mike Bibby, Larry Drew, Danny Ainge.”
Ainge time – Reynolds was the Kings’ coach when Ainge and Brad Lohaus were traded from Boston to Sacramento in February 1989 for Joe Kleine and Ed Pinckney.
Ainge is now the Celtics’ general manager, and he was, according to Reynolds, “Probably the smartest player we ever had here. Great instincts, great competitor, great athlete. I loved him. He was one of the half-dozen best players we ever had here but we just didn’t have him long enough.
“And he’s done really well (as the Celtics GM). That was a gutsy move hiring (Brad) Stevens as coach, but he’s been really good. Danny Ainge knows basketball. Just has a great feel for the game.”
The Kings struggled amid injuries during Ainge’s 103-game Kings stint, when he averaged 18.5 points, 6.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds. Ten months after arriving in Sacramento, Ainge delivered his finest Kings effort, pouring in 39 points in his first game against the Celtics, including 13 in a row. His last-second leaner missed, and Boston won 115-112 in overtime led by Larry Bird’s 37 points.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kevin Durant earlier this season against Oklahoma City joined Ainge and Stephon Marbury as those who scored the most points in the first game against their former team.
“I know Danny had a good time here and we enjoyed having him,” Reynolds said.