Kings Dramatically Reshape Business Operations, John Thomas Out

Matina Kolokotronis

This isn't quite Martin-for-Landry, but this is really huge news for the franchise: the Kings have announced John Thomas, the team's president since 1999, is out. He claims "family reasons," but The Bee's Ailene Voisin reports the Maloofs became disenchanted with Thomas's lack of creativity and pushed him aside. Not coincidentally, Joe Maloof is taking over as CEO of the team, Gavin Maloof will become the team's president, and for all intents and purposes Matina Kolokotronis is the new boss on the business side.

Kolokotronis essentially spent the past 15 years as the Maloofs' lawyer of choice, though she hasn't been in the public eye much. Oddly enough, her most public presence for the purposes of Kings fans was in the buy-out saga of Hedo Turkoglu: Kolokotronis and Jason Levien (Turk's former U.S. agent, and current Kings assistant G.M.) orchestrated that international incident. I say "oddly enough," by the way, because Levien has a new title: senior vice president, to go along with "assistant G.M."

Many fans have had just dandy relations with Thomas's staff -- without speaking for section214, I think he'd count himself as one. But Thomas's reputation, as Voisin mentions, is just awful. I've heard from numerous employees and colleagues of Thomas's over the years, those both here in Sacramento and at his old station in Houston. And to be honest, the reviews are almost unanimously bad. He's said to be egocentric, brusque and completely closed off to collaboration. That's a baaaaad combination. We can only guess whether all that's true, but I tend to believe it.

Again, as Voisin writes, it has been the Maloofs who have had to push Thomas in this new era of the Kings. The Maloofs had to overrule Thomas to get ticket prices lowered for the 2009-10 season. That's right: in the midst of that 17-win debacle last season, Thomas argued the team should keep ticket prices stable going into this year. Maddeningly anti-fan, that.

In this sense, the change should be good for fans. The Maloofs are nothing if not incredible promoters, and to have their ideas -- and the ideas and leadership skills of Kolokotronis -- unfettered by the old school Thomas. Cheers to the new regime. 

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