Thursday, June 25, 2015

Kings must start at the beginning - Karl and Boogie

When Kings front office personnel walk into the office today for the 2015 NBA draft - assuming they didn't sleep there Wednesday night - first on the list should be figuring out if they are building a team specifically designed to win as soon as possible?

Or is this group attempting to build a team sustainable for the foreseeable future?

The decision maker also is in question. Owner Vivek Ranadive says he has entrusted former Kings center Vlade Divac to run the show, but that hasn't seemed to be the case.

Ranedive, instead of deferring questions regarding the team's on-court future to Divac, has been in the forefront with comments regarding the questionable future of the team's best player, center DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins.

Ranadive owns the team and can run it anyway he likes. However, he can't have it both ways if he wants the success he claims.

Any question pertaining to Cousins also includes coach George Karl and herein lies the rub. Whether it's Ranadive (and it shouldn't be) or Divac (which it should be, according to Ranadive's words) or a combination of the two, a decision has to be made ascertaining whether Karl and Cousins can successfully co-exist. And it needs to be made now, today, before the draft.

There have been reports all over the lot. Cousins wants to be traded. Cousins never publically has said he wants to be traded. To the contrary, he's always maintained he loves playing and living in Sacramento. His outstanding community commitments have echoed that stance.

Yet, there is his agent Dan Fegan, a known attempted manipulator of a franchise's circumstances. Fegan is believed determined to get the Kings to trade Cousins, perhaps to the Los Angeles Lakers. Fegan also represents Dwight Howard and his Orlando-L.A.Houston circus trip should be remembered.

Then there are reports Karl, who was hired Feb. 17, wants Cousins traded and has gone to the extent of talking to other players about it as well as talking to the front office to try to get it done. And that's despite knowing Ranadive has been totally against the trade concept.

We have no idea if all or any of these reports are true. However, Ranadive and Divac, know. Unquestionably, this stuff didn't materialize out of the sky. Fegan and Karl have history.

And just as the owner has said one thing and acted another, Cousins and his people seem to have done the same. Then throw Karl's espionage into the mix and it's little wonder the team's name should be 'The Confusion.'

It was Karl who noted every player can be traded. And he's right. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Earl Monroe, Oscar Robertson, just to name three Hall of Famers who were traded. Better players than Cousins have been traded.

It's also true some of the NBA's best coaches have been fired. Just last season, Karl became the team's third coach in four months. Better coaches than Karl has been fired. It could be argued the Kings can't fire yet another coach.

Oh, yes they can. That is, if they have the heart to admit they believe they've made a mistake. Three or four, what's the big difference? There isn't one.

If there is anyone who has seemed to hold the Kings hostage, it would be Karl. He has been here just four months, only has a three-year contract and allegedly already wants to trade the team's best player? What the hell was discussed before he was hired? Three years also is how long Cousins, 25 in August, is under contract.

Once again, the Kings must put their feelings aside and make a cold-blooded decision about this pairing. The bottom line is getting it right. Nothing else matters. It's not about the spectre of the new arena, it's about getting it right in terms of directing their future.

If they want to hitch their wagon to this combination being successful, then you don't trade Cousins, who might be the NBA's best center now.

Or he could become the NBA's best center as soon as this season. He also has been the best player on a team that hasn't won jack in recent memory. There are observers who believe the Kings nor any other team can win with Cousins as a centerpiece, as its leader. He can be a difficult guy with whom to play.

Yet last season, he averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds, and there aren't many players who have done that. And he's 25 in August. It figures he has not yet reached his prime.

So if in fact, Divac is permitted to run the show, as Ranadive has said on the record, there is an amazing amount of pressure to get this right. Other executives are trying to figure out which player to draft. Divac has to determine what to do with his best player and his coach.

However, pressure is relative. Divac's family and friends have lived through what used to be war-torn Yugoslavia.

That's pressure. And then there is the draft. Good luck Vlade.


  1. Way to tell it straight and clear Marty! That would be cool to do some uniform comps for the Sacramento Confusion and send a shirt to Ranadive's office. It's true, the recent chess moves by the team seem like my kid's fantasy basketball league, which Ranadive is welcome to join. I'm not kidding when I say that if Marty and Ailene Voisin were forced by the commissioner to run the Kings, the team would progress over the next few years. They have the most sense every time

  2. You have one concept in error. That combination would not work at all. I do not get along at all with the woman who shall not be named. But thanks for the kudos Brad. Much appreciated

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.