Sports

NBA: Theus brings along 3 NBA rings ... not his own

He always saw himself as an NBA coach, always wanted to return to the ranks where he flourished as a player.

Not first-year Kings coach Reggie Theus, but assistant Randy Brown.

Like Theus, Brown is a former Kings player. Like Theus, Brown's rise through the coaching ranks has been meteoric. And like Theus, today's exhibition game in Las Cruces, N.M., against Dallas is a reunion affair.

Just two years ago, Brown -- a New Mexico State alum and 13-year NBA veteran who won three championships alongside Michael Jordan with Chicago -- was a retired real estate agent living in the Windy City and looking for a way to get back on the court. So he called Theus, all but begging to observe his New Mexico State program and learn a few things from a coach whose rise already had begun.

"I was a soccer dad at home," Brown said. "My son was going away to college. Periodically, if I got (free time), I'd go to New Mexico State with Reggie for weeks at a time, fly myself there, stay in a hotel, go to practice every day. I went to the games, sat on the bench. It was almost like I was on the staff, but I wasn't."

That would come later, when Theus added Brown to his staff based mostly on his eagerness to coach and championship credibility as a player.

"I was telling him to go home because he was there all the time," Theus joked. "He probably knew I was going to get another job and he was looking for a job."

CURFEW IN PLACE -- Let the Reggie Rules begin.

Hours before the Kings arrived in Las Cruces, Theus said his rules that include a midnight curfew the night before road games and a cell phone ban on the team bus were officially in effect. It was a good thing, then, that the team arrived with plenty of time to enjoy the city's finest entertainment in the early evening.

"Happy hour's big in Las Cruces," Theus said. "No, I don't think curfew will be a problem in Las Cruces. I'm a little more concerned about guys sneaking off to Juarez (Mexico), actually. It's right there on the border. You can imagine."

Rookie center Spencer Hawes is the only player who did not make the trip, as he is recovering from Tuesday's arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

KOBE MISSES PRACTICE -- Kobe Bryant sat out practice for the second consecutive day Monday because of a sore knee, and said he didn't know if he'd play in the Los Angeles Lakers' next exhibition game Thursday against Seattle. Los Angeles coach Phil Jackson said Bryant asked to rest his legs, adding that treatment included ice and massage.

WARRIORS 107, ZALGIRIS KAUNSAS 88, at Oakland -- Baron Davis scored all 11 of his points in the first quarter as Golden State knocked off the European professional team from Lithuania.

Stephen Jackson led all scorers with 20 points for the Warriors; teammates Marco Belinelli (19 points) and Al Harrington (eight points, 10 rebounds) also played key roles.

Golden State led 29-16 lead after the first quarter.

OTHER PRESEASON GAMES -- After a rocky rookie year and offseason moves that took him out of the starting lineup, Adam Morrison has embraced his new role with the host Bobcats. Gerald Wallace scored 20 points and Morrison added 15 off the bench in the Bobcats' 96-86 exhibition victory over the Nets. ... Leandro Barbosa scored 28 points and Raja Bell added 24 as the host Suns beat the Jazz 124-101. ... Ike Diogu had a perfect shooting night and scored 19 points to lead the Pacers to a 117-104 preseason victory over the host Hornets.

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