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Ex-Kings coach Keith Smart returns to Sleep Train after treatment

Former Kings Keith Smart, now an assistant for the Miami Heat, has just completed his final treatment for a rare form of skin cancer.
Former Kings Keith Smart, now an assistant for the Miami Heat, has just completed his final treatment for a rare form of skin cancer. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Former Kings head coach and current Miami assistant coach Keith Smart watched the Heat play from Sleep Train Arena’s visiting locker room Friday after completing his final treatment for a rare form of skin cancer.

Smart, who still lives in the Bay Area from his days as a longtime assistant coach with Golden State, underwent treatment in Sacramento.

Smart had been away from the Heat since January, so Miami’s game in Sacramento allowed Smart to visit with his team. The Heat posted a photo on Twitter of Smart speaking to the team.

“I have to go through this skin regeneration now, where I’m going to kind of look like the ‘Thriller’ video for a while, with everything coming and going,” Smart told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “So we want to make sure everything is healthy there as I start to try to get back into my daily life as a coach.”

Smart said he continued coaching throughout the course of his treatment. In addition to monitoring the Heat, he did all he could to encourage those also going through treatment.

“Overall I made it through it and have a whole different perspective on it now,” Smart said. “We wear the pins for this particular type of cancer or the bracelets. I have a different perspective now because I see what people are going through.

“You come back different because you went through a life situation. And now, because a lot of people helped you get through it, I’m standing right here.”

Smart is in his second season with the Heat and was instrumental in helping develop Hassan Whiteside, the Kings’ 2010 second-round draft pick who has emerged as a contributor and is in line for a lucrative contract after bouncing around the league.

Smart took over the Kings for Paul Westphal during the 2011-12 season and was not retained when ownership changed in 2013.

Down time – It will be an extended weekend off for DeMarcus Cousins.

The Kings’ All-Star center was suspended for Friday’s game against the Miami Heat at Sleep Train Arena, and he won’t play Saturday at Denver. The plan is to save Cousins for home games for the rest of the season because of tendinitis in both feet.

The Kings’ next game at home is Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers.

Sacramento has two more road games after Saturday’s game against the Nuggets: April 11 at Phoenix and April 13 at Houston.

The one-game ban by the NBA was for his 16th technical foul with 6.7 seconds to play in Wednesday’s win over Washington.

Willie Cauley-Stein started in place of Cousins on Friday.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

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