SACRAMENTO -- Reggie Theus didn't speak to reporters the other day after practice, not out of spite or even forgetfulness but simply because he was busy.
While Ron Artest provided a lengthy interview from his courtside chair at the team's practice facility, the Sacramento Kings coach known for giving much of his time to the press corps instead worked overtime with Kevin Martin in the distance. They worked on Martin's footwork, worked on his awareness of finding the easy shots, worked on the tricks of the trade. But most importantly, they worked together.
It has been only two weeks since the first-year coach and his rising star were working against each other, with Martin fuming after what he perceived as herky-jerky playing time during games at Orlando, Miami and Atlanta and the situation coming to a head Feb. 28.
One day after the loss to the Hawks, Theus -- mindful of the tension surrounding this relationship -- asked Martin to offer a written list of requests that would help his happiness level and his game. Martin, who was coming off an 11-game slump that was his worst since becoming a starter in December 2005, did not offer a written list but responded with spoken words. Martin reiterated to Theus that he was coachable, committed, part of the solution and not part of the problem, and certainly he was not going anywhere anytime soon. The two should work together.
Since their conversation, Martin -- who scored a career-high 48 points against Minnesota on Friday -- is averaging 29.2 points on 50.6 percent shooting in the past five games. After Martin also reminded Theus that, at 25, he was plenty young enough for big minutes, his playing time that had shrunk to a 33-minute-per-game pace during the 11-game slump is back to normal (38.6 minutes per in the last five games).
"Ever since we had our talk after the Atlanta game, he said he wanted to work on some stuff, like right now," Martin said. "So we started around the Dallas game, and ever since then, we've just been working with a lot of one-on-one time, and it's been helping. I'm just being a student right now.
"I really haven't worked like this, after practice, since (former Kings assistant) coach (Pete) Carril was teaching me stuff. It's good to be taught other parts of the game. I'm having a lot of fun with it."