Kings coach Michael Malone has a plan for his players when they arrive in China: practice.
The Kings depart this afternoon for China, where they will play two exhibition games against the Brooklyn Nets, Saturday in Shanghai and Oct. 15 in Beijing.
Malone said the best way to get over jet lag is to get his team on the court.
“When we get over there, try to get a sweat in right away,” he said. “Try to get that 14-hour flight out of your system if you can.”
The Kings need all the practice they can get as they learn new offensive sets and integrate new players. But this trip is also about expanding the NBA brand globally. So more than hoops will be on the agenda.
“The other thing with that trip is there are so many NBA obligations,” Malone said. “So it’s not like you’re going over there just to play two games. We have games, practices and different community service-type events through the NBA.”
Kings players, coaches and executives will be involved in the events. Kings president Chris Granger and general manager Pete D’Alessandro will be joined by Nets CEO Brett Yormark and general manager Billy King for a panel discussion on the “Business of Basketball.”
There will be meet-and-greets with fans, and the Kings will help dedicate a refurbished computer lab, reading room, basketball court and track at the Ziluolan Migrant School in Shanghai.
In the midst of the good will, the Kings still have to prepare for their season opener Oct. 29 against Golden State.
“It’s still training camp for us,” Malone said. “We’ll have to find a way with the distractions and obligations to get work in. Great opportunity to come together as a team, get some work in, and hopefully we can continue to get better every day while we’re there.”
The Kings’ coaches wore pink ties, and forward Rudy Gay had pink laces in his shoes. Kings employees wore pink T-shirts, and principal owner Vivek Ranadive wore pink pants.
Popular Kings fan Barbara “Sign Lady” Rust was part of the human ribbon of 200 breast cancer survivors at halftime.