Kings

NBA Drama: Ex-Player Dishes on Problems with Kings, Cousins

| by Off The Record

Remember how the Sacramento Kings signed former first-round pick Antoine Wright to a one-year deal last year and then unceremoniously cut him after just seven games? Neither do we.

However, Wright clearly remembers it and he tells SI.com in detail what his issues were with the Kings. It should be duly noted that Wright had a poor attitude and work ethic and was his own worst enemy. But according to him, it’s not all on him.

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Wright recounts exactly where it went south with the team.

“I had an issue with one of the coaches and my mother,” said Wright. “Mario Elie. I’ll say his name because I had a history with him. We had just lost a game. It was over the holiday, Thanksgiving holiday, and my mother was in town and in the [team] family room [at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento]. She came up to Mario Elie, and said, ‘I’m Antoine Wright’s mom. Can I have a picture with you?’ My mom is a fan of the game, a big fan of Mario Elie, and he said, ‘No, I’m with my family.’

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“We’re a team now, so I came into practice [the next day] and told everybody, I said, ‘When we go into film, I’m just going to put Mario on blast.’ So I walk in last, and I come in through the front and Mario is in the back, and I said, ‘Man, you know what? That’s foul what you did to my mom. All she wanted was a picture. Everybody in this room would have took a picture with your mom if she asked, or anybody else’s mom in this room. That’s probably why we don’t have any team chemistry.’

“The next day [Kings officials] came in and were like, ‘Uh, this is not really working for you. It’s not working for us. No hard feelings. We wish you the best.’ I said, ‘Thanks for the opportunity, and I’m gone.’ ”

Shocker! You called out a coach (fairly or unfairly) and they cut you mainly because you aren’t good enough to pull crap like this!

Wright has workouts with several teams coming up as he tries to get back into the league! These comments will surely show the brass that he’s changed his attitude and can again be trusted!

And he’s not done!

“My rift, really, with the organization was that I don’t think they prepared the guys enough to win basketball games,” Wright said. “We were probably the only team in the NBA that didn’t have a scouting report. How do you expect a young team to go out and carry a game plan? Every team I’ve been on, they give you a scouting report on every guy on the team, a couple paragraphs about each guy before you go out there and play against him.

“Coming on the court before the game was chaos — no structure whatsoever, and we kind of had a laid-back coach. Westphal was pretty laid back, and with a group of young guys, you’ve got to have somebody who comes in and disciplines them.”

Still not done! Tell us about DeMarcus Cousins!

“I’m not going to throw any of their players under the bus, but one of the main players who was a big part of our team, his attitude was really, really bad — I’m pretty sure you can figure out who that guy is,” he said before confirming that he was talking about DeMarcus Cousins. “Tyreke [Evans] had a pretty good attitude. His work ethic wasn’t great, but he’s a good young player. I believed in him completely. I just don’t think the coaches did enough to prepare us to win games.”

The Kings wanted no part of this story according to writer Sam Amick. That kind of tells us what they think of Antoine Wright.

“I was a disgruntled worker, man,” Wright said. “But I was coming into practice every day and I was really vocal, and I was just getting after it. I was trying to be competitive with it, so I would challenge Tyreke. I never had a problem with any of the guys. I think it was kind of a ‘me against the coaching staff’ type of thing. And they’re going to win that battle.”

He’s got that part right.

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