Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

May 31, 2013
Keith Smart officially out as Kings coach

The Kings officially announced Friday evening that Keith Smart would not return as head coach.

The move was a formality as new majority owner Vivek Ranadive had already informed Smart he would not return and had already agreed on a four-year contract with Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone.

Smart was 48-93 record after replacing Paul Westphal early in the 2011-12 season. He has one more year left on his contract.

"The Kings would like to thank Keith for his hard work and dedication to the organization," Ranadivé said in a statement. "We wish him and his family nothing but the best in future endeavors."

Smart made strides early on by establishing a rapport with DeMarcus Cousins. He also tried to foster a more unified team on and off the court.

He also tried to emphasize defense.

That didn't materialize over the course of Smart's time. Players griped about inconsistent playing time, too.

Smart, however, did take the step of moving Tyreke Evans to shooting guard, instead of point guard. That allowed Isaiah Thomas to flourish.

Smart challenged Cousins to become a better defender, too.

"I enjoyed my time immensely in Sacramento," said Smart in a statement. "From working with the people in basketball operations to the business side of the organization to interacting with the people of the city, it was a pleasure to be around such a classy group."

May 30, 2013
Kings reach agreement with coach Mike Malone as head coach

The Kings and Golden State assistant coach Mike Malone has reached an agreement on a four-year deal to coach the Sacramento Kings, The Bee has learned.

The fourth year of Malone's deal is a team option.

The deal cannot be announced until escrow closes on the sale of the team to the ownership led by software tycoon Vivek Ranadive.

Malone replaces Keith Smart, who took over for Paul Westphal during the 2011-12 season. Smart was told Wednesday he would not return as head coach.

Malone spent the last two seasons with the Warriors. He's also been an assistant in New Orleans and Cleveland.

Malone is noted as a defensive strategist and his ability to relate to players. He inherits a team that's been one of the worst defensive squads in recent years.

The search for a new general manager is ongoing but it's not expected whoever is hired would object to Malone as coach.

May 30, 2013
R.C. Buford is happy with the Spurs

The longest of long-shot candidates to run Sacramento Kings basketball operations said he has no intention of leaving his job with the reigning Western Conference champions.

San Antonio general manager R.C. Buford told the San Antonio Express-News he isn't leaving the Spurs.

"I'm exactly where I'm going to be," Buford said. "I have no idea what kind of a list anybody has, but I'm exactly where I want to be."

May 29, 2013
Kings are headed back to Summer League in Las Vegas

The NBA announced the teams that will participate in this year's NBA Summer League, July 12-22, in Las Vegas.

This year's format will feature each team playing five games before a tournament to determine a champion after games played July 16.

Tickets will go on sale June 1, at 10 a.m by calling 702-739-FANS, through or at any UNLV ticket outlet.

The schedule of games will be announced at a later date.

Below are the teams that will be in Las Vegas and the years they have participated in the Las Vegas league.

The Kings are 19-17 in Summer League play since 2005.

Atlanta Hawks (2010-12)*
Charlotte Bobcats (2008, 2012)
Chicago Bulls (2005, 2009-12)*
Cleveland Cavaliers (2004-12)
Dallas Mavericks (2005-12)
Denver Nuggets (2004-12)*
Golden State Warriors (2005-12)*
L.A. Clippers (2005-12)*
L.A. Lakers (2007-12)*
Memphis Grizzlies (2007-12)*
Miami Heat (2010-12)*
Milwaukee Bucks (2007-12)*
Minnesota Timberwolves (2006-12)
NBA D-League Select (2009-12)
New Orleans Pelicans (2005-12)
New York Knicks (2005-12)*
Phoenix Suns (2004-12)
Portland Trail Blazers (2005-12)
Sacramento Kings (2005-12)
San Antonio Spurs (2007-12)*
Toronto Raptors (2008-12)
Washington Wizards (2004-12)

*Indicates 2012-13 NBA Playoff team.

May 28, 2013
Could Kings look to Warriors for direction?

With the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approving the controlling share of the Kings to the new ownership group, the process of establishing a new era in Kings basketball figures to take shape quickly.

The sale of the Kings to Vivek Ranadive's ownership group is expected to close by the end of the week. Ranadive might have figured out who he wants to run his team by the time the sale closes.

There are several names being discussed to replace Geoff Petrie. Two prominent names have ties to the Golden State Warriors.

Travis Schlenk is the Warriors assistant general manager/director of player personnel. Ranadive was a minority owner with the Warriors and would be familiar with Schlenk, who has the backing of the Warriors, including Jerry West and general manager Bob Myers.

Schlenk was promoted to assistant general manager in 2011. Schlenk is noted for being a tireless worker that is big on team chemistry and making sure personalities mesh as well as analytics.

A nod to Schlenk, 39, would make the Kings the latest team to go with a young, relatively inexperienced man to run their front office.

Another name being pushed by some close to Ranadive is former Warriors star player and executive Chris Mullin.

Mullin was the executive who brought back Don Nelson to coach in Oakland when the Warriors upset the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs in 2007.

Mullin was also criticized for some of the big contracts he awarded (Andris Biedrins is still getting paid).

Mullin might bring name recognition to the position as a Hall of Fame player. It also wouldn't hurt that one of Ranadive's minority investors is Mullin's former teammate, Mitch Richmond.

Mike Malone continues to be the prominent name to replace Keith Smart. Smart still has a year on his contract but isn't expected to be retained.

Malone is an assistant coach with the Warriors.

May 28, 2013
Petrie's era in Sacramento coming to an end

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie was informed last week he will not return next season under new majority owner Vivek Ranadive.

Once the sale of the Sacramento Kings closes, decisions on Petrie and head coach Keith Smart can be made official.

The move was expected as Petrie's contract expires June 30 and new ownership planned to evaluate and revamp the Kings basketball operations.

May 27, 2013
Ranadive moving to replace Geoff Petrie

Who might be running the Kings front office under new majority owner Vikek Ranadive is beginning to take shape.

USA Today reports in the meeting last Thursday between Geoff Petrie and Ranadive reported by The Bee that Petrie was told he would not be back next season, which The Bee has confirmed.

Petrie's contract with the Kings expires next month.

Petrie's staff continues to work as if they will be in place through the end of June. Staff members are set to leave for more scouting trips this week.

According to USA Today, Ranadive is going big, with San Antonio's RC Buford on his list along with Golden State assistant general manager Travis Schlenk, and Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace.

Luring Buford away form the Spurs would appear to be a longshot. Ranadive, a minority owner with the Warriors, knows Schlenk and is leaning on those in the organization for advice.

Opinions on Wallace's decision making might have taken a boost considering the success of Memphis in the playoffs.

Wallace was lampooned for the 2008 trade of Pau Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers, but Marc Gasol, a key piece ot that deal has emerged as an All-Star and the financial flexibility allowed the Grizzlies to make moves that have boosted their profile.

Wallace, however, has taken a backseat under new ownership with former Kings assistant general manager Jason Levien stepping in.

Ranadive said he wants to make decisions on the front office and coaching staff quickly. Head coach Keith Smart is the only member of the coaching staff under contract through next season.

Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone is a candidate to replace Smart.

May 23, 2013
Ranadive plans to move "quickly" to resolve front office, coaching situations

There a lot of people to see at today's Long Live the Kings Rally at Cesar Chavez Park in downtown Sacramento.

I couldn't speak with everyone (sorry, no chance to chat with Chris Webber or Mitch Richmond), but there was some news to be found at the rally:

*New majority owner Vivek Ranadive met with basketball president Geoff Petrie today. Nothing can be decided until Ranadive's ownership group is officially in control. Ranadive said he would move "quickly" for a resolution to runs the front office and the coaching situation. He plans to meet with Keith Smart, too.

*Instead of being on the road scouting, Petrie is in town this week. The plan was to attend the group pre-draft workout in New Jersey.

That doesn't mean the scouting work has stopped.

Wayne Cooper, Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Mike Petrie were in New Jersey. They plan to attend group workouts next week, too. There are workouts in Minnesota, Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

*Also spotted at the rally was former Minnesota general manager David Kahn. Kings fans might remember him as the man that compared legendary draft bust Darko Milicic to Vlade Divac during a summer league broadcast.

He was replaced in Minnesota by Flip Saunders recently. Kahn drew criticism for collecting too many point guards in Minnesota, but did have the foresight to draft Ricky Rubio among them.

Still, no indication he was in town to replace Petrie. Kahn was involved in the development of Bankers Life (formerly Conseco) Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. That arena would be a great model for the new downtown arena.

*Tyreke Evans said Smart was good for his career, but also realizes there is a chance Smart won't be his coach next season.

"He played me at different positions, helped me get better at things, got me used to playing without the ball in my hands," Evans said. "I think it was good for me to try new things."

*Evans said he would wait to see how things changed before deciding his future with the Kings. The Kings could control it by making him a restricted free agent. Until then, Evans said he's "happy" to still be a King.

*Isaiah Thomas said he still keeps "in touch weekly" with Smart. They still exchange texts over basketball strategy while watching playoff games.

*The Kings hold a team option on Thomas for next season. Given his productity and bargain of a deal for next season ($884,293) it's hard to imagine Thomas would not return.

"I just want to see us progress and become a playoff team," Thomas said. "We have the talent to become a playoff team, we've just got to put the right pieces around everybody and just go for it all."

The playoffs are also on Evans' mind.

The Kings haven't been close to making the postseason in his first four seasons.

"This is about to be my fifth year and I just need the playoffs," Evans said.

May 23, 2013
Sacramento Kings rally: Live updates, photos

May 22, 2013
Bobby Jackson waits to see direction of new ownership

Bobby Jackson is playing the waiting game like every other Kings employee.

One of the most popular Kings during his playing days, Jackson has been an assistant coach for the last two seasons. He's waiting for the sale of control of the Kings from the Maloofs to the group led by Vivek Ranadive to know his future.

"You can't talk to anybody until the sale goes through and everything is final," Jackson said. "So at the end of the day you're still waiting and that's not going to get done until maybe June. So at the end of the day you're still waiting on something to get done."

Head coach Keith Smart's contract runs through next season. That doesn't guarantee that he will remain the head coach, but that's more security than the rest of the coaching staff and front office has at this point.

"I don't have a contract (for next season)," Jackson said. "None of the coaches have a contract except Keith so it's a process you've got to go through. Hopefully we do come back but if not you've got to start making calls."

Jackson will be at Thursday's "Long Live the Kings" rally from 5-9 p.m., at Cesar Chavez Park.

Considering how long the saga of where the Kings would be played out, Jackson said he was "ecstatic" over the news the Kings would not be moving to Seattle.

"This thing has been going on for a long time," Jackson said. "And to be a part of the good years and now, you always want this city to thrive. I was extremely happy."

May 20, 2013
Kings Draft Lottery Party information

The Kings will hold their NBA Draft Lottery party Tuesday at Buffalo Wild Wings in Natomas (3600 N. Freeway Blvd Suite 100 Sacramento, Calif., 95834).

The lottery will be at halftime of Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals between San Antonio and Memphis. The game begins at 6 p.m.

The Kings have a 6.3 percent chance of winning the lottery and landing the first overall pick.

The Orlando Magic had the worst record in the NBA and has a 25 percent chance of winning the first overall selection.

May 20, 2013
Chat live: Sacramento Kings' chances in NBA Lottery

May 16, 2013
Live chat replay: What's next for Sacramento, the Kings?

May 16, 2013
Kings, Kings, Kings ... and Sacramento

DALLAS - Where to begin? While the NBA owners were expected to endorse the relocation committee's recommendation and keep the Kings in Sacramento, the scene at the Hilton Anatole these past two days was filled with tension, drama, anger, and perhaps surprisingly, more than an occasional display of humor and humility.

As I pack up for the flight to Oakland for Game Six of the Western Conference semifinal between the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, here are a few final thoughts, observations and tidbits:

May 15, 2013
Kings begin preparing for the NBA Draft

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie and the rest of the front office staff and coach Keith Smart met with the following draft prospects today at the NBA Draft Scouting Combine in Chicago.

Alex Len (Maryland), Richard Howell (North Carolina State), Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan), Tony Snell (New Mexico), Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State) and Reggie Bullock (North Carolina).

The Kings will have 12 more interviews this week.

I did ask Petrie about his future and if he had a plan:

"Oh yeah, but I can't talk about it," he said.

There's still much to be decided for the Kings (such as who will own them when the season starts) but the front office is preparing for the draft as if they will be running the show next month.

No one has told them not to work, so they continue to work.

Petrie, Wayne Cooper, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Mike Petrie and coach Keith Smart are all in Chicago.

Also, the Kings have until June 30 to make Tyreke Evans a restricted free agent (after the playoffs are over).

May 15, 2013
Live chat replay: NBA Kings staying in Sacramento

May 10, 2013
Warriors change in culture features some that could have been Kings

OAKLAND - In the last couple of weeks during the Kings saga, I've spent a lot of time around the Golden State Warriors.

Prior to this season, the Kings and Warriors often battled to see which team wouldn't finish last in the Pacific Division. That, of course, has changed. The Warriors host the San Antonio Spurs tonight in the Western Conference Semifinals, a series the Warriors should be leading 2-0 if not for their epic collapse in Game 1.

The change in culture coach Keith Smart talked about creating with the Kings has actually happened with his old team in Oakland.

Coach Mark Jackson said on Thursday part of the changing of the culture began last season when popular guard Monta Ellis to Milwaukee in the deal and brought Andrew Bogut to Oakland.

"It helped change the culture," Jackson said. "Obviously it was easier to pull the trigger because we knew what we had in Klay (Thompson) and it was time for him to be a starting two-guard. And he does everything right."

Jackson asked how the deal changed the culture. He was careful with his answer.

"It helped change the culture," Jackson said after pausing briefly.

Anything specific?

"You know," was the answer.

Oddly enough the Warriors have changed the culture in part with players the Kings passed on in the draft and the key player the Kings acquired for Kevin Martin (Carl Landry).

The Kings passed on Stephen Curry in the 2009 draft after Tyreke Evans dominated him in a 3-on-3 predraft workout.

The franchise could lose Evans to free agency while Curry has become one of the NBA's emerging stars.

The Kings could have had Klay Thompson in 2011, but passed on him and opted for Jimmer Fredette. Fredette has languished on the bench for long stretches while Thompson is becoming one of the NBA's best shooters.

In last year's draft the Kings selected Thomas Robinson with the fifth overall pick while small forward Harrison Barnes slid to seventh (after Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard was picked sixth) and became a starter.

Robinson was traded during the season and was buried on the bench in Houston.

Meanwhile the Kings are still searching for a long-term answer at small forward.

And that culture of selfishness and bad basketball the Kings have talked about changing still exists.

The Warriors are fun to watch, but it's hard to watch them and not wonder what might have been if some of the Warriors ended up in Sacramento and how the culture might be different.

May 9, 2013
About Kings, Pacers and a transformed Indianapolis

To be perfectly honest, my first trip to Indianapolis wasn't all that memorable. It was during the 1981-82 NBA season, and after a game between two dreadful teams - Clippers and Pacers - the late, great Indianapolis Star beat writer Dave Overpeck took me out for something to eat and drink. At the time, the late-night choices were limited. We had a choice between a place called The Slippery Noodle and a place called the The Slippery Noodle.

Use your imagination, folks. I don't even want to know if the place still exists.

I write about the Pacers' history and their resilient fan base in Friday's Bee, but it's hard to summarize this franchise and the transformation of this city in 25 or so inches. Forget about the fact Indianapolis has become one of the world's sports destination cities - a place for NCAA Tournaments, All-Star Games, Super Bowls, World Basketball Championships, etc.

Indy comes highly recommended (by me) for two specific reasons: First, there is no basketball facility that remotely compares with the authenticity of the Hoosiers-themed Bankers Life Fieldhouse that seats just over 18,000 and actually feels like a place built for basketball. And secondly, the compact, vibrant downtown that now features dozens of hotels and restaurants, is one of the great walking cities in America. (Who can ever forget the sight of a devastated George Karl walking toward the Marriott Hotel after Team USA's historic epic loss in the 2002 World Basketball Championships?)

Plus, what's not to embrace about the Pacer People? Ah, yes, the Pacer People. Before earplugs were required at Arco Arena and everyone started gushing about decibel levels at the Warriors' Oracle Arena, the noise at Market Square Arena was comparable to the best of the best - the old Boston Garden, the old Chicago Stadium, the Salt Palace and even the new palace in Salt Lake City. My ears are still ringing from the sounds of the engines roaring - and, yes, they pumped in the faux noise back in the day - but mostly from the enthusiasm of the crowds.

Small markets don't necessarily do it better, and in fact, they have to work harder. Maybe that's why they tend to be louder.

May 2, 2013
Younger Ranadive a longtime Kings fan

OAKLAND - While walking toward a back staircase that leads to the press section, I happened upon prospective Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and his son, Andre. Ranadive, the Warriors vice-chairman who will sell his shares in the GSW if his group's offer to buy the Kings goes through, was friendly, but didn't want to say much while the process is ongoing.

Andre Ranadive, however, quickly volunteered that he was a huge fan of the Kings' teams that featured Vlade Divac, Chris Webber, and Peja Stojakovic, among others.

The NBA's relocation committee voted unanimously last Monday to block the Kings move to Seattle. An investment group that is headed by Ranadive and included the Jacobs family, Chris Kelly, Mark Mastrov and Mark Friedman submitted a backup offer of $341 million for the Maloofs majority interest in the Kings. The parties are expected to negotiate these next two weeks, with the full Board of Governors expected to meet on May 15. Historically, the league's owners rubber stamp the sales and relocation recommendations provided by their committees.

May 2, 2013
Warriors CEO happy for Sac

OAKLAND - Warriors President and CEO Rick Welts, who commutes to Sacramento where he lives with his partner, Todd Gage, and Gage's two children, said he was "thrilled" by the relocation committee's unanimous vote rejecting the Kings' move to Seattle. Welts suggested, however, that Santiago, 8, and Amanda, 12, were even more excited by the 7-0 outcome. "I'm not sure they're ready to dump their Warriors gear for Kings gear," Welts added laughing, before Game Six of the Golden State-Denver series, "but they probably do that when I'm not around anyway."

A few minutes prior to tipoff, Nuggets coach George Karl, though a former coach and longtime fan of the city of Seattle, pulled me aside in the hallway. "I was really happy for the fans back in Sac," he said. "They deserve to keep their team."

Kings Bloggers

Tag Cloud


November 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Monthly Archives