John Whisenant's Name Re-enters the Derby

It's like Groundhog's Day, only more bizarre. From Sam Amick:

John Whisenant, the Monarchs' general manager, was the front-runner for the Kings' head-coaching job in 2006 before Eric Musselman was hired. Whisenant now appears to be the unofficial front-runner again if Natt does not return. [...]

While Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie was resistant then to hiring a coach whose close ties with Kings co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof have been well-chronicled and who has no NBA experience, the dynamic is different now in light of a somewhat-recent addition.

Kings consultant Pete Carril, a close friend of Petrie's and his former coach at Princeton, likely would be on Whisenant's staff if he were hired and would continue to have a strong influence on the team's offense.

As I wrote at length the last time Whisenant's name popped up, this is not about his pedigree or the coach on his own catwalk. I will defend any team who thinks outside the box on a coach -- the league has proven time after time that there is no formula for coaching success in the NBA. Just because the man's last job was coaching women's basketball should never disqualify him for the job. Arguing otherwise is short-sighted, close-minded and frankly sexist. The league is different, but no more foreign than the WAC, the ACC or the Euroleague. In the end, basketball has the same rules all over the world ... with minor league-specific details.

My problem has been that Geoff Petrie, the architect of the greatest teams in the Sacramento era, a multiple-time Executive of the Year, hasn't been able to hire his own head coach since 1998. Eric Musselman, as has been reported extensively, was a compromise candidate (with -- ironically -- Whisenant as the Maloof candidate). Reggie Theus was a Maloof hire as Petrie pushed for Brian Shaw (who still doesn't have a head coaching job, by the way) and Scott Brooks. Petrie has made mistakes -- he's not Basketball Jesus. But I trust his judgment on all matters basketball a lot more than I trust the judgment of the Maloof family. Whisenant is a Maloof hire. Plain and simple.

Petrie allowed himself to get cajoled into Musselman, and he allowed a situation in which the Maloofs could make a full court press regarding Theus. He's letting these things happen -- he could have a job tomorrow if he quit today, and he's not quitting. So these decisions can't be taken off his resumé entirely. It just seems so odd, so bizarrely timed that Petrie or one of his confidants would start letting it be known publically that he's OK with Whisenant so long as Carril sticks around. Petrie could fight this and have every fan in Sacramento at his sails. But he's taking it. He's compromising. Again.

I don't get it from any angle. Maybe Whisenant is the right coach. But why now? Why in this fashion?

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