Nowhere in Geoff Petrie’s job description does it say “public relations.”
The man’s title, officially, is Kings president of basketball operations, a fancy way of saying “general manager.” But while his task, clearly, is to assemble talent for his NBA team and decide the hows and whos of a winning formula while juggling huge contracts and crunching salary cap numbers, he handled Monday’s developments in a way that left Kings fans more disenfranchised than they needed to be.
On the same day in which Petrie announced the signing of four-year forward John Salmons, he confirmed the inherent conclusion that Bonzi Wells would not be returning to the Kings. The intersection of both developments led fans all over Kings nation to a faulty deduction that the Kings chose Salmons over Wells, leaving many upset with the personnel chief.
Petrie, meanwhile, told me that the Wells talks broke down 10 days ago, which led to a question I didn’t think of, unfortunately, until hours later.
Why not return the three phone calls I left in that span to let the folks know that Wells’ return wasn’t likely? It would soften the blow of Wells’ departure, and allow fans to actually get excited about the up-and-coming Salmons. Instead, the large majority of fans I interacted with via e-mail etc. couldn’t care less about Salmons, who has enough talent to garner a $25.5 million, five-year deal from the Kings and offers of similar sorts from Toronto and Phoenix.
At the moment, it looks like the Kings severely overpaid, but – as always – we’ll see next season. Fans, though, were crushed to learn that Wells – who won them over with his hustle and toughness – would not be back. They were frustrated to no end with Petrie, who – truthfully – had a slim to none chance of satisfying Wells based on the Kings’ salary cap situation and his owners’ desires not to pay luxury tax.
It didn’t have to be that way.
– By Sam Amick
-- Sam Amick