The Appropriateness of Discussing Byron Scott

Byron Scott's Hornets lost a critical Game 4 against Denver by 58 points. Many fans and analysts around the country noted that 58-point playoff losses double as firing offenses. As in, coaches don't survive that level of embarrassment too often.

Almost immediately, Ailene Voisin penned a blog post discussing the factors that could lead to Scott coming to Sacramento. Three days later, Voisin writes a full-blown column (published on the front page of the Bee's sports section, I believe) inciting the Kings to buy out the final year on Scott's contract with New Orleans in order to make him the new Kings coach.

In the interim, we have discussed Scott at length, including a terrific Exhibit G Q&A with a real live Hornets fan/blogger. It seems like a fair topic. The Kings have a coaching vacancy, Scott has fairly strong Sacramento/Petrie connections, there's at least a possibility Scott could be fired, given that New Orleans management has remained mum. There's no harm in discussion.

(This is the part where I -- guh -- defend Ailene Voisin.)

Yesterday evening, Grant Napear launched into a tirade (no!) about the mere idea fans and media would discuss a coach currently under contract. He called it stupid, unbelievable, ridiculous. Without naming Voisin (obviously), he suggested anyone who wastes time discussing a coach under contract is, basically, wasting their time. He derided the rumor mill, and the need to discuss rumors in the new media age. (Note: I am overeloquencizing his points, surely. He basically just called Voisin's column stupid for a few minutes.)

This is where we as Kings fan differ from Napear, the consummate professional. As he oftens reminds us when disparaging a player, he "lives with the team" for seven months out of the year. He has seen as much Kings Basketball over the last 15 years or so as anyone. Probably more than anyone (given incomplete T.V. road broadcasts in prior years) but Gary Gerould or Jerry Reynolds. He is, for better or worse, part of the fabric of the Kings.

But he's not a die-hard fan. If you ran into Jerry at the grocery store and started talking about Byron Scott, and Jerry wasn't worried about giving away trade secrets, you know he'd talk your ear off about it. Because he's passionate about the team. He cares about the Kings with every cell of his being. If he could talk about any subject other than his family, he'd talk Kings Basketball. He'd talk Griffin vs. Rubio, he'd talk Scott vs. Jordan, he'd talk Kevin Martin runners and Francisco Garcia pull-ups and Jason Thompson rebounds.

Napear, on the other hand, thinks anyone considering a potential coaching candidate currently under contract with another team, a coach who faces wide rumor of his impending dismissal ... Napear thinks that's a waste of time. Napear thinks our time would be better spent talking about real things. Like, I don't know, the Yankees. Or the Giants. (The New York Giants.) Or the Diamond and Gall Vault.

This, in itself, is not a demerit to Napear's character. In fact, because Napear has well-rounded interests, he's probably a more stable, rational person than any of us maniacs who dare consider rumor and speculation to be useful or (gasp!) entertaining. Moderation is the path, and Napear's interest in the Kings during the offseason is clearly moderated. Cheers to that.

But this whole issue does speak to Napear's role as any sort of legitimate voice in the realm of Kings fans. As in, he has no voice. He's not a die-hard Kings fan. As such, he is not allowed to make decisions on what is right or wrong to discuss as die-hard Kings fans. He can't delineate to Voisin, me or anyone what is and is not important when it comes to Kings Basketball. Because he obviously doesn't care about it like we do.

(Now, this isn't to necessarily say Voisin is more passionate than Napear. I mean, she does have to write something. And there wasn't a whole lot going on last week. And the column, in my humble view, wasn't the most glimmering example of opinion journalism. Frankly, Voisin went completely overboard in the effusiveness of her praise of Scott, just as she has with John Whisenant, Bill Laimbeer, and -- yes -- Spencer Hawes. I'm as guilty of using the superlative as a crutch as anyone, and I should rightfully take lumps for my frequent over-the-top exuberence. But I try to back up my views with reason, which -- sorry, this is rude -- Voisin often avoids.)

All this is a long, bloviating and possibly rude way of declaring that, Yes Kings fans, you can discuss whatever you want. Columnists, you can discuss whatever you want. Everyone should be free to disagree with said "whatever." Vociferously, if needed.

But don't use your invisible high horse to tell people what they should or should not be thinking about or writing. Grant Napear, you are no arbiter of reason. You are no arbiter of taste. You are, frankly, a self-important jackass.

On that note, let us end with a current assessment of the Scott situation. Take it away, beat writer John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

Scott's agent, Brian McInerney, said Monday afternoon that he has not heard from the Hornets about whether they want Scott to return for the last year of his contract next season or if they'll grant him permission to pursue another job.

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