Soon after being traded from New Orleans to the Kings, guard Buddy Hield says he got a phone call from former Oklahoma teammate Isaiah Cousins, who plays for the Kings’ NBA Development League affiliate in Reno.
“I said, ‘Man, I’m going to try to get you up here,’ ” Hield said Wednesday. “That’s my guy. I love playing with Isaiah.”
Cousins, the Kings’ second-round pick last year, has yet to play a regular-season game in the NBA. But he will suit up for a game in the Kings’ arena on Friday.
Reno will host the Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden State’s D-League affiliate, in the first of the Bighorns’ two games this season at Golden 1 Center. The Bighorns also will play Toronto affiliate Raptors 905 on March 3.
Never miss a local story.
For Cousins, 22, it’s a chance to experience an NBA atmosphere. The 6-foot-4 guard and 59th (next to last) overall pick last June appeared in two preseason games with the Kings before getting released and signing with Reno.
In 35 games for the Bighorns, Cousins is averaging 15.1 points on 42.4 percent shooting , 5.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists . He had a season-high 30 points against Oklahoma City on Dec. 28 .
“The D-League has been great for the NBA, and a lot of players have come up,” Cousins said recently. “I’m putting in the work. We can control how much we put into it.
“I’ve always worked hard. Growing up in New York, there are opportunities through basketball. I worked hard, for my city, the state, for me.”
Cousins played four years at Oklahoma, sharing a backcourt last season with Hield, the consensus national Player of the Year. Cousins averaged 12.6 points and 4.5 assists as a senior, helping Hield lead the Sooners to the Final Four .
The Kings acquired Hield on Sunday in the trade that sent All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. Isaiah Cousins said he expects a manageable transition for Hield.
“Pressure?” Cousins said. “He’s from the Bahamas. He’ll handle the pressure just fine.”
With the Kings apparently looking to the future, Hield said he would embrace the chance to play alongside Cousins again.
“It’s cool to know he’s here,” Hield said. “You never know – we could start something special.”
Galloway arrives – Of the three players the Kings acquired from New Orleans, guard Langston Galloway might have been the most uprooted. Galloway is from Baton Rouge, La., and was in his first season in New Orleans after two years with the Knicks .
“It’s tough,” Galloway said. “But I think I made the most of it, being able to play there in front of friends and family. Just talking with some of my family members, it’s like a sign in disguise. I went there to prove what I can do, and I think I did that, and this is another opportunity to continue to move forward.”
Galloway, 25, is a D-League success story, having gone undrafted out of college, signing with the Knicks’ Westchester affiliate and ultimately spending parts of two seasons with New York . He has averaged 9.0 points and 2.3 assists in 182 career NBA games .
Galloway also is reunited with Kings guard Garrett Temple, another Baton Rouge native whom Galloway knew growing up.
Galloway excels on defense.
“I’m definitely a big person when it comes to defense,” Galloway said. “I go out there and give it my all, leave it on the floor. And whenever I get opportunities to knock down shots and make things happen, that’s what I try to do.”