Shame on you Sacramento

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Preface: This is my opinion. It’s not stat heavy, it doesn’t take into account if the best frontcourt tandem since Robinson and Duncan will work or not, it is purely and simply about the Sacramento Kings and the gross ineptitude of their front office and owner.

What in the world are the Sacramento Kings doing? I’m not even a Kings fan, but I certainly am an NBA fan and this deal just stinks. In every way, shape and form – it’s disgusting and I feel it necessary to take a shower every time I think about it. You have one of the games best players and arguably the most talented centre in the league and you decide to trade him for a banged up version of a guy you already dismissed, a former D leaguer with limited game, a rookie who has yet to even LOOK like becoming JJ Redick let alone “the next Steph Curry” and a pick that is going to be middle of the road at best (and your franchise has a horrid history of either drafting poorly or letting the drafted talent walk too early anyway). Make no mistake about it – the New Orleans Pelicans got an absolute steal and the Sacramento Kings didn’t even get fleeced, they actively chose to sabotage themselves.

I wonder if Vivek Randadive actually watches basketball or even likes basketball, Or Sacramento. Or the Kings franchise. Perhaps the ghost of the Maloof’s still haunt the office he “works his magic” from. Who knows. If you like your team and want to build a winning or sustainably successful franchise – why on earth have you made this decision? Don’t get me started on the already shaky history of Ranadive; from publicly undermining his staff to firing a terrific coach who got along well with the (then) franchise star, wanting to play “4 on 5” basketball and now believing that Buddy Hield is “Curry-like”. This guy is something else.

Note: Mr Ranadive. If you are reading this, please give me a job. I want the challenge of trying to fix your franchise.

Then we have the issue of Vlade Divac who flopped on his “DeMarcus Cousins will not be traded” façade faster than he did on the hardwood during his career. In fact, Vlade should be fined $5k from the NBA for this flop. Probably warrants a suspension too. Why does this matter? Let me tell you why…..

I’m a Thunder fan. I understand small market teams and I understand just how imperative it is to make the right calls. I am not referencing the James Harden trade, but rather speaking as openly and as honestly as possible. For all the efforts of the NBA, the NBAPA and the CBA – this is still a big market league. There are franchises who have money to spend, large markets for revenue generation and / or franchises who just happen to be “destination” franchises due to their location and liveability. Players only play basketball for part of their lives, the rest is spent with friends, family and building their brand. The ability to make additional money through sponsorships means a lot, as does having a beautiful place to party or raise a family. Those franchises can afford to take a gamble, they can afford to push the envelope, they can afford the odd mistake because they largely bounce back at some point.

The above does not ring true for the Sacramento Kings. A flashy new stadium cannot replace numbers in the win column. It’s not a large market and it’s not a destination City. It’s a tough sell – and Randive & Divac just made that sell almost impossible.

I do understand that DeMarcus Cousins isn’t a picture perfect athlete. His body language can be downright filthy, his attitude can stink at times and he is painted as a locker room cancer. That is until you actually ask those who share the locker room. Cousins wants to win as badly as Russell Westbrook wants to win. He is passionate and sometimes his emotion spills over and it gets the better of him. But he wants to get better, he wants to win and he wanted to do all of that in Sacramento. With that in mind, I understand that the “childish” behaviour might not fit the culture and that the Kings may have wanted to get a fresh start. However, this isn’t it. They are no starting from so far back it is going to be a decade before they play post-season basketball again. At the time – they were 2 games out of the 8th seed. Also, the Kings have to at least harbour SOME of the responsibility for the behaviour of Cousins. They repeatedly made it almost untenable for their franchise star and NEVER made a positive move in his seven years there to make the team better or to really “back him in”. They surrounded his time in Sacramento with uncertainty and angst, and it showed on the court through Cousins’ attitude at times.

I still cannot believe that in modern day sports, you had a superstar – and I do mean superstar – player who told you he wanted to stay in your small market, shoddy team city – and you turned him away. What is more baffling is the manner in which you got rid of him for NOTHING and in the process jeopardised your future. IF you felt the need for a change – and the Kings are certainly entitled to change course – why wouldn’t you do it on your terms and get something of proper value back? If you couldn’t commit $200million to that particular guy, then bring in someone who you could.

The Sacramento Kings are going to feel the effects of this trade for a very long time – not just on the floor either. No self-respecting athlete or free agent will look at the Kings franchise and think “that seems like a terrific option for me to spend the next five years of my NBA career”. Why would you? The ownership has shown nothing but incompetence and the GM has actively lied publicly – not exactly selling Sacramento as a “destination franchise” now are they? And you can’t even put together a winning team with the pieces you have collected, so you don’t even have THAT as a motive to join the team.

During the off-season, I had to endure watching Kevin Durant leave a franchise that was perfectly poised for a tilt at an NBA title. Lost him for nothing. Now, the Kings have actively had their front office and owner ship out their sole “shining light” for pittance. Kings fans deserve better than this. If the franchise doesn’t get their act together they might find themselves in real trouble. Or worse. In Seattle.

 

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