PORTLAND, Ore. – Kings coach Michael Malone said having rookie guard Ray McCallum inactive for the first three games had nothing to do with his ability.
Backup center Hamady Ndiaye was active the first three games, but McCallum has suited up for the last two, including Friday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center.
"I was just nervous only having four bigs in case somebody went down or (had) foul trouble," Malone said. "It was no slap in Ray's face. He's done everything we've asked him to do."
Malone said Travis Outlaw or Luc Mbah a Moute can play power forward in a pinch, so Ndiaye does not have to dress for frontcourt depth.
Malone added he has no problem using McCallum if needed. The coach called McCallum "a very good defensive player," and the Kings need help defending at the point of attack.
But with Greivis Vasquez and Isaiah Thomas playing all the point guard minutes, there will be few opportunities for McCallum unless the Kings are involved in a lot of lopsided games.
The more realistic chance for playing time for McCallum is with the Kings' NBA Development League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns, once their season starts on Nov. 22. Malone said that is possible.
"If he goes down there, it's just going to be for him to play and get some game minutes," Malone said.
Reaching out – The news that Charlotte coach Steve Clifford was hospitalized Thursday for chest pains and required two stents in his heart was especially jarring for Malone.
Malone said Clifford worked with him at basketball camps when Malone was a youngster.
"I've known Steve since I was a little kid, and I know Steve very well," Malone said. "I worked with him in New York with Jeff van Gundy (on the Knicks' staff). Obviously, my thoughts and my prayers are with him, and I reached out to him (Friday)."
Clifford also worked with Malone's father, Brendan, as a coach with Orlando.
School spirit – Oregon's loss at Stanford in football on Thursday night was still the talk among many in the region Friday.
One person who wasn't bothered to see Oregon take its first loss was Portland center Robin Lopez.
Lopez, who played at Stanford, proudly walked into Moda Center carrying a Stanford jacket.