For the first time since accepting a buyout from the Kings in February, Jimmer Fredette was back at Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Fredette was perhaps the most popular King not named DeMarcus Cousins during his two-plus seasons in Sacramento. But the 2011 first-round draft pick never found his comfort zone on the court after a standout career at BYU.
“It’s always good to come back and see everybody you were here with for the last two and half years,” Fredette said. “I’ve built some great relationships here, and I’ve had a fun experience. But it’s a little bit weird going into the visiting locker room, for sure.”
Fredette finished last season with the Chicago Bulls and signed with New Orleans in the offseason. Entering Tuesday, he had appeared in six games, averaging 11.7 minutes.
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Fredette said the experience with the Pelicans has been positive.
“New Orleans is a great city,” he said. “The guys are really cool on the team; they work really hard. The coaching staff does a great job of getting us prepared, and we really enjoy it down there. (Fredette’s wife) Whitney’s having a great time, so it’s been fun so far.”
It also helps that he has reunited with some old teammates. Former Kings Tyreke Evans and John Salmons also play for the Pelicans.
“Two really good guys I really enjoyed playing with here in Sacramento, so it’s good to see some familiar faces,” Fredette said.
Summer review – New Orleans coach Monty Williams was an assistant coach with Team USA, which included Cousins, Rudy Gay and Pelicans forward Anthony Davis. The Americans won the gold medal in the FIBA World Cup.
Cousins’ time with Team USA helped him come back to the Kings feeling better prepared to lead and defend at a higher level.
“I had a good relationship with DeMarcus,” Williams said. “We worked out together every day on practice days. I thought he gave us a physical presence defensively, blocked shots, and he’s got a high IQ for the game. And physically, he was intimidating for players overseas, so I thought he did a good job.”
Back on TNT – When the Kings host Chicago on Thursday, it will be their first TNT appearance since Feb. 9, 2012.
The broadcast team will include Kevin Harlan, former Kings star Chris Webber and Rebecca Haarlow.
Mike Bibby will be a guest for what the Kings are calling their “Legends Game.” Jason Williams also was slated to attend but had to reschedule because of “unforeseen circumstances,” the team said.
Follow The Bee’s Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.