So you ask, what's up with that title? Hopefully by the end of this tidy diatribe you will understand. I do mean hopefully. It's possible this thing takes one of the nasty HWY 1 on the NorCal coast type of turns. We'll see. I do hope, though, that this fills in some information gaps, which is a bunch of stuff that I noticed in the past 5 days, which hasn't been touched on once, in any medium, whether it be KHTK, or here on StR. (Not a knock on TZ. He has other stuff to do.) Disclaimer: This is a non trolling, Reggie shit-talking, Kevin was a baby forum. There are some interesting questions that remain to be asked, and I would like to ask those. This isn't another forum to continue the he-she said crap that KTHK and Peachosaurus Rex (P.R.) specializes in.
The whole aspect of this started with Sam Amick's article. It started with Reggie talking about the way the team finished the season, the context of the whole season up to a point, and some of the weakness this team displayed. There were some important points that got lost by the wayside just so Reggie could defend his standing with his "players", and quite honestly, I wonder why? Why did Reggie have to defend his relationship with "his" players through the media? I don't understand that.
For all the talk about what Ron is and what Ron isn't, and I'm sure there are other things that Ron will say, I find it interesting that Ron hasn't commented yet. I wonder why. I speculate that is silence is in part because the conversation is going in his direction, and it could help to convince a team to trade, or sign him, in the off-season. That doesn't seem to have stopped Ron before though. I think the biggest reason, perhaps, is that Ron isn't in town and probably doesn't spend a ton of time reading much of anything. On that note, however, it is interesting that the guy who can rely on in the clutch is sitting behind the Nuggets bench while the guy who scores 20 points a game, and is vastly improving improving every season, was still in Sacramento reading the papers. Very very interesting. I'm not sure what Reggie's spin control did for him. It sure proved the point he likes to talk, but I'm not sure that does anything for the fan's. I'm not sure they will ever even care at any point. What I do know is that Reggie's spin control seemed desperate to cover his ass on 2 major points: Ron's availability in the clutch, and that Kevin is an important player to him. I wonder why he had to say in the first place? What did he gain? Not much, but then again did he have anything to lose?
I think Reggie is at an interesting point in his coaching career. He saw how easy it was for the Maloof's to fire Musselman, especially after how poor of a search came about to get a candidate, doubly so when the Kings were the only team on the market ACTUALLY looking for a coach to begin with. I wonder if this has anything to do with Reggie trying to help the franchise gain value for Ron Artest in a straight up trade/sign & trade this summer. That doesn't make much sense, but then again the interview with P.R. and Theus didn't make any sense either..
One informational gap is the season grades Amick gave to the team as a whole. I'm sure TZ will have his take, but here's mine. There is some anti Theus information in here, and I'll try to go at it bit by bit. (Disclaimer: For Anti-Amickites, it's not as if he wrote this AFTER what P.R. and Reggie said on the air Friday afternoon. It was published Friday morning, and presumably written several days either, as it was a set piece that I'm sure Sam took some time to polish and write over.)
And there were the Kings as seen from within, where Theus' bosses were reluctant with praise and often wary of the way he handled his rookie season, where the players' opinions regarding their coach could change by the week and where in-house issues often overshadowed progress.
This is not a paragraph of quiet strength toward Reggie, and I also think is why Reggie lashed at Sam on Friday afternoon on Lamb/P.R's show. Reggie probably knows everything Sam printed was true. There was some anti Petrie/Maloof/Theus stuff in the whole column, and frankly, that's why Sam's credibility got attacked. That's the real issue of Reggie vs Sam. Sam didn't say it on Saturday, and Reggie didn't say it, but I think everyone knew that was the crux of the issue. Because Sam didn't misquote or misinform the public on what Reggie said on Wednesday. Sam gave Martin the opportunity to go to Theus first, which Martin didn't take advantage of.
Some more of the article:
The indisputable truths are enough to deem the season better than the previous one. A five-game improvement despite significant injuries to three starters and a midseason Mike Bibby trade that sent three players out and brought three in. A 20-21 home record in 2006-07 under Eric Musselman was followed by a 26-15 mark under Theus, with Arco Arena raucous again. Career years from numerous players and late development from some of the youngest up-and-comers. The penchant for beating some of the league's best, in the end, was nearly negated because of their knack for losing to the worst.
As I said Sam is fair. Why did I post the first paragraph first? Because it was written first. (That's the only reason. I'm doing this in pure chronological order out of respect to Sam.)
In regards to Artest:
When he played, he set career-highs in scoring, shooting percentage (45.3) and three-point percentage (38.0), often playing amazingly well while also dealing with his daughter's bout with cancer. Still, his unpredictably was distracting.
That, again, is not something P.R. wants to hear. He wants to hear Ron is a hero, so he can then say Geoff Petrie is God when able to trade him for (insert player "here" that P.R. likes).
In regards to K-Mart:
The skinny: For the second consecutive season, Martin – who finished sixth in the league in scoring – showed that he is not only capable of handling a heavier offensive load but that the load isn't heavy enough. He'll focus on defense and leadership in the offseason, necessary steps in becoming an all-around threat.
My only reaction is that, Sam's right. StR as a community is right. Those who think Martin shouldn't be handling that type of load next season are the type I disagree with at this point.
A side point about Shareef to prove why I like Sam:
The skinny: Two arthroscopic surgeries on his right knee within six months led to the looming question of whether the 12-year veteran can return, and the coming months should tell plenty. In the third season of his five-year deal, Abdur-Rahim was done after six games. He is still owed $12.8 million on his contract, although the Kings do have insurance in case of career-ending injury.
See, that's why I have respect for Mr. Amick. He throws in an important point about why the Kings PROBABLY wouldn't consider buying Kenny Thomas out. Because they won't have to if they can take all of Reef's salary off the books. Especially if insurance covers the payment of money to boot.
The skinny: The guard went from playing in 42 games as a rookie to 74 in his second season, but he was unable to show enough to become relevant. Coach Reggie Theus played him more after ownership stomped its feet on the matter, but Douby's campaign left serious questions about his future.
The skinny: The rookie center had enough highlights to justify the logic behind the pick. His advanced offensive skills were obvious, and Theus' demand for defense sparked improvement. Management wanted to see Hawes more early on, but his finish was certainly solid when Theus finally got the message to let him loose.
So, let me get this straight. First off young players made improvement (I'm assuming this meant Garcia and Martin at the heart of that improvement--noting that Douby had a few moments, and Shawes had a solid overall year considering). If management/ownership has to prod Theus into playing Douby/Shawes how solid a ground is Reggie Theus on? And if so, wouldn't that be more criticism of Reggie than anything written 2 days earlier? Reggie's diatribe on Friday made little sense, but it was stoked by P.R. That's P.R.'s agenda, and not necessarily Reggie's. All Reggie proved by Noon Saturday is that talking out of both sides of his mouth is an Inglewood specialty.
Reggie Theus GRADE: B- Up until the end, Theus found ways to irk his players and bosses with messages sent through the media. It made for a distrusting environment early which improved in the final months but still needs work. His unwillingness to discipline Ron Artest early in the season hurt him as well, as he had slapped fines on the likes of Moore and John Salmons for minimal transgressions while taking tongue-lashings without recourse from his small forward. All things considered, he avoided most potential potholes and managed to lead his team to an improvement few expected while playing a part in the career years of Martin, García, Artest and Salmons. From here on, Theus needs to make sure his vision for the future is something close to that of the front office and ownership. His ability to toe the company line and continue developing younger players will be key. The natural conflict comes into play when the coach with only short-term security is being asked to think long-term.
That, would be irksome if I was Reggie. I'm sure he knew privately he made mis-steps, but having them pointed out in such a public way, that is probably what set off Reggie to begin with. I don't see anything inflammatory about Sam said. It's his job to report, and not necessarily what the Maloof's/Petrie/Reggie/P.R. want Sam to say. His job is to report a story. When it's asked for to give an opinion. He does that well. I don't know why media censorship is such a popular spectator sport in Sacramento. I really don't. I really think too there is a strong under-current of what Petrie/The Maloof's want here. The Maloof's end is pretty simple. They want to win a championship, and make money doing it. They want to sell out seats, and want to "talk" about the greatest fans in the NBA. Ailene Voisin had an interesting column on what the Maloof's are doing to re-connect the Kings into the community, and how they've gone about changing how they sell tickets. It's worth a read.
Petrie's end of things? Now, good luck on that one.
Geoff Petrie GRADE: B In chronological order, the drafting of Spencer Hawes has all the signs of an eventual success. The offseason signing of Mikki Moore not only helped this season, but the structuring of his contract (guaranteed next season with a virtual $2 million buyout option for the 2009-10 campaign) gives them flexibility if he doesn't fit beyond next summer. Ditto for Reggie Theus, whose contract had two seasons guaranteed and a third (2009-10) as a team option. The signing of Beno Udrih was phenomenal for Petrie. The Bibby trade didn't solicit nearly as much in return as most would expect, but it will be a semi-success as long as Udrih returns. If Shelden Williams can go from bust to busting out, it makes that deal look even more respectable.
I agree with Sam pretty much on everything, sans Bibby, and I find it interesting that Sam mentions flexibility on the franchise's part when talking about 2009 and relation to Reggie's contract. Reggie knows next season is make or break for him, and again I keep pointing to this, as it was far more critical of the Kings, and Theus, than anything really said by Kevin Martin in Thursday's article. That's what was talked about, but really the strong under-current of P.R. and Reggie was talking about what's an appropriate thing to report on. Clearly P.R.'s whole issue was with Amick to begin with, and Reggie seized the moment to do so too. Then he kept on stating how good his relationships were with the media and his players. Which is it Reggie? Worse, the deafening silence of Ron Artest makes the whole scenario even more interesting.
To top it off, the Maloof's/Petrie were silent too. They clearly weren't sought out very hard to deny comment, because as far as I can tell, nobody asked them. Kevin Martin hasn't said anything other than what he told Sam, and nobody on P.R's show, as Jim Crandell said, mentioned that he said the same thing on his show on Wednesday, and who knows what he said after that, yet nobody mentioned him in the proceedings. (On a side note, since I do mention censorship, it is interesting, and probably a coincidence, that Crandell is the sports reporter on KTXL, Sacramento's FOX affiliate.) I really don't understand where this team is going, particularly with regards to Artest, but there is little choice since Petrie made Linas Kleiza a tipping point in a trade, and I really don't understand what the Maloof's expectation of the team is. I just hope it isn't to win a ring, or a playoff game by 2009.
I do know that after this diatribe, the silence by management/Artest is more intriguing than anything Reggie said. If you noticed everytime Reggie tried to define "throw the ball to" it changed. And it got worse every time he defined it. And he attempted to silence criticism by raising his voice, and raising it even louder than before, when a new criticism was raised. He would switch and bait every topic, and by the time I heard Crandall's interview end, I was just hoping Reggie's mouth wouldn't fall off after that talking.
I do know that amongst this diatribe this franchise is not in an enviable position. For the first time in many years, a team with 48 wins did not make the playoffs. That doesn't bode well for next season unless several teams drop off their pace this season. I do know that the team's main promotional arm amonst the media, KHTK, saw another instance where 2 radio hosts directly contradict each other, in part, because one has a better sense of where the media lies, and one has a total conflict of interest at all times on another slot. Gee, gotta love this EC don't we?
The bottom line, minions, is this. What we've learned is that Martin isn't down being looked upon as a 2nd option. Another forgotten thing was, that Martin said he agreed about Artest. Which means that maybe Kevin was being nice, but he, too, was talking out of both sides of his mouth. But if the Kings don't know where Kevin is at, and for the highest paid non Brad Miller player on the roster, is that a comforting feeling? What about Reggie? Does some stupid statements, and some foolish tongue in cheek statements suddenly negate the obvious land-mines that currently litter the Kings roster? Does Geoff Petrie deserve a free pass from all this when it's his roster? Do the Maloof's deserve anything at this point? Is it fair to blame Sam Amick? What do we as fans expect out of our local coverage if we don't force P.R. to change his tune? Or spam Mike Remy's email with Fire P.R. (or at least remove him from the 4-7 main slot) messages? What gives?
Last, but not least, I would like to say that we learned some things about this town's interest towards the Kings, and what interest's that KHTK and the Bee each have in covering the local team. Clearly, those interest's don't coincide, and what we learned is that in the last 6 days, nothing was said on KHTK that amounts to much on the Kings. As far as the Bee? The beat writer published 3 different' stories, all which pertain greatly to the Kings, and one included Theus' opinion on Ron Artest, and team weakness', another included (what seems like anyway) an honest opinion of where Kevin Martin stood after the season after Theus' end of the season comments to the Bee and local TV stations, and the third Amick story contained end of the season grades. Did KHTK do any such thing? Would P.R. or Mike Lamb, who does pre-game coverage for the team, ever CONSIDER such a thing? No, and for 2 reasons: 1) because talk radio doesn't do that type of thing, and 2) because P.R. and Fake Laugh guy don't criticize much of anything. They mostly aimlessly talk about some ESPN story, or some well covered national story, and they stick to the safe headlines for the team. P.R. won't allow criticism, and Lamb won't tell P.R. to fuck off. Meanwhile the Bee ran 3 pertinent stories relating to the team, and not some stupid multiple monologues on what throwing the ball means, a column about what the team is doing to change how it's viewed within the business column, and a column by a former beat writer who wrote how stupid the whole ordeal was in the first place. This of course doesn't include <a href=" Maybe, at this point, KHTK is winning the war, but if this battle means anything, and I think it does, the Bee won a major battle.
if you prefer a political analogy, the Bee sort of did, what I feel anyway, what Bill Maher does in covering politics. KHTK does what Fox News does. The real funny part is, that while KHTK was doing it's pretty ballet around the truth, and what truth is, the Bee simply walked in the room and said: Reggie Theus thinks Ron Artest is a guy who you throw the ball to in crunchtime. And that, in of itself, is why "Amickgate" is so funny to begin with. Real controversies are important. Fake contrived conflicts designed to make personalities feel comfortable are not. For once, I have to salute the Bee on their coverage. And that, perhaps, is the most astonishing thing I have written in quite some time.