Dramatic stuff from Sam Amick in the Bee and The Rise Guys on KHTK. Joe Maloof hands Reggie Theus a blindfold and cigarette and maybe even throws Geoff Petrie under the bus, but absolutely, positively torches a guy named Joe Maloof and a guy named Gavin Maloof.
Talk about your insightful moments in Kings history. Years of praise, years of criticism, and when it comes right down to it, nobody has ever given a more compelling analysis of the Maloof ownership than a Maloof.
Sam asks Joe Maloof: "Joe, you want to see those guys play, but you also can't love what you're seeing inside Arco as it's not filling up like it used to. It's got to be killing your bottom line. How tough is it to juggle building with winning enough to keep people interested?"
Joe responds: "Well I think the last couple years, we didn't really have a defined road map for our team. Were we a veteran team, or were we going to try to rebuild? After we traded Mike (Bibby), and of course with the trade of Ron (Artest), and the acquisition of these young players that Geoff has been able to get through the draft, now people can see that we do have a defined future. That's to build through youth, and at the same time have a blend of veterans like we do now with Brad (Miller) and (John) Salmons and those kinds of guys.
"Now people have something to hold onto, something to look forward to. I tell ya, it's a fun thing to watch. It's pretty exciting when (Theus) turns them loose. And then we can't forget about this Bobby Brown and Beno (Udrih). I tell ya, I'm just bullish on this team. I think there's some talent here. I think Geoff has put together some good, good, good talent here. I want to make a run for the playoffs, and I think we can."
Long answer with several thoughts and, per usual with the Maloofs, a lot of emotion. But, the headline:
"Well I think the last couple years, we didn't really have a defined road map for our team."
Quite a damning analysis of Petrie's work. Good moves, but no real big-picture plan to move forward. That's the unsanitized version of what Joe said.
Unless, maybe, someone else is in charge. Someone who pays the bills and is ultimately responsible for who works there and who doesn't, from the executives to the players and coaches to the staff at Arco. Someone who, say, owns the operation and the building.
Look over there. You can still see the smoke coming from the gun.
Pretty simple stuff, really -- if The Brothers didn't like the direction their business was going, do something about it. Fire Petrie if you feel like he has not given basketball ops a proper focus. It wouldn't be the right move. In fact, it would be entirely the wrong move. But it's their option.
There is a historical level of silliness at work when the coach is given a roster with very few defenders and the co-owner gets on him for players doing a poor job on defense. Rick Adelman couldn't coach defense either. Except when he had defenders, and then the Kings led the league in shooting defense. And except when he went to Houston last season and the Rockets finished No. 2.
And then there's the whole playing-time thing. Maloof got on Theus in March for not investing enough minutes in the prospects, because it had become all about the future. Now, nearly eight months with a younger team and a worse team, Joe is going with "I want to make a run for the playoffs, and I think we can"?
This is why some coaches get fired and don't mind.
Theus is far from blameless. But a couple things to keep in mind for perspective on Joe's media tour de force within the last 24 hours or so:
*If he's killing the coach on 1140, he's had this on his mind for a while. The Rise Guys are good stuff, and Whitey Gleason and Phantom in particular have more knowledge about basketball than their Zany Morning Show personality, but this isn't exactly Dan Rather jumping out from behind the bushes with a cameraman and microphone. KHTK is a Kings partner. It's largely a PR wing, not a place for the boss to air out the coach. If Maloof did, and he definitely did, this was not a quick thought on his part.
*There's little chance Maloof came to these conclusions -- Theus needs to get a system, and, while we're at it, "he better try to get one quickly" -- without hearing it from someone with a great deal of credibility in basketball ops. Even if Joe and Gavin are the ones ultimately responsible for what goes on there.