=== Nuggets, Kings clash in California's capital city ===
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings will begin their
seasons on Wednesday night as stability became a major issue for both squads
during the summer months.
The Nuggets earned the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs last
season, but were bounced in the first round by the Golden State Warriors.
After the early exit, reigning Executive of the Year Masai Ujiri bolted to
run the Toronto Raptors. Last season's Coach of the Year George Karl was sent
packing, with ownership concerned his lame-duck status as the coach might be a
On the court, the Nuggets lost their best player, versatile wing man Andre
Iguodala, who signed as a free agent with those same Warriors. Denver dealt
starting center Kosta Koufos to the Memphis Grizzlies for bench parts and
Danilo Gallinari, the team's second-leading scorer, will be out indefinitely
after knee surgery.
Ownership turned to Tim Connelly as the new general manager and he tabbed
Brian Shaw, always a trendy name among assistants to be a good head man.
The team brought in veterans Randy Foye and J.J. Hickson to replace some of
the missing punch Iguodala and Koufos brought.
But even as the team embarks on a season removed from a franchise-best 57
wins, Shaw has questions that outreach the departures. Ty Lawson, the starting
point guard and now the Nuggets best player, has a groin injury and was able
to participate in non-contact drills on Tuesday.
"I'm feeling good," he said. "I've just been shooting, putting up a lot of
shots, running into shots. No contact, but we'll see."
If Lawson doesn't play against the Kings, Denver will start five new players
from last season's opening-night lineup. Hickson and Anthony Randolph are
expected to start at the forwards along with JaVale McGee at center, Foye and
either Andre Miller or Nate Robinson at the point.
Kenneth Faried won't be starting. He tweaked his hamstring in the preseason,
and while he's expected to play, Shaw won't start him.
The Kings actually enjoyed a stable offseason, all things considered.
The first hurdle was to stay in Sacramento. The NBA rejected a relocation
attempt to Seattle, and the Maloofs are no longer the primary owners. Vivek
Ranadive is the new owner. (Shaquille O'Neal is a minority stake-holder.)
Ranadive hired Pete D'Allessandro to be the GM and he in turn brought in Mike
Malone to coach the team.
Tyreke Evans went to the New Orleans Pelicans, but in exchange, the Kings got
back starting point guard Greivis Vasquez. DeMarcus Cousins was signed to an
extension as yet another coach will try to get through to the supremely
talented, but troubling young center.
Carl Landry was a nice free-agent get for the Kings, but he'll be out of
action for months after hip surgery.
The Nuggets have won nine straight over the Kings, including four in a row at
Sleep Train Arena.
10/30 10:46:35 ET