Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Exploring the organizational faults that Kings fans are forced to endure, and how those fears influence every aspect of the team's future.
We are, for better or mostly worse, Sacramento Kings fans.
As fans of the Kings, we understand that we have awful owners. We understand that relocation always weighs heavy on our minds, even if it is not an immediate threat. We understand that very little will change within this organization until the ownership changes. The organization's sense of accountability, to owners, to coaches, to GMs, to players,is inconsistent at best.
We understand these things, even if these aren't acceptable norms.
But because we understand these norms, we must also approach every other facet of our fandom within these contexts. Normally, given the roster assembled and the performance to date, the fan base might reasonably expect Geoff Petrie or Keith Smart, or both, to be on the hot seat. The team has underperformed our modest expectations. Sure, a few foolhardy souls thought we'd challenge for the playoffs. But most of us were guessing we'd finish the season with somewhere between 30-35 wins. That's not an unreasonable expectation for a team several years into a so-called rebuild.
And yet, even though some of us have called for Petrie or Smart to be fired, how many of us honestly expect that to happen? Better yet, how many of us think that firing either would actually fix anything?
As has been well-discussed in these parts, the coaching carousel has been horrid for years. Musselman led to Theus led to Natt led to Westphal led to Smart. The common trend each time was a coach who would work for far less than their peer group. If Smart were to be fired, I don't reasonably expect that the team would pursue candidates like Stan Van Gundy, Nate McMillan, or Jerry Sloan. Those coaches live in a different world than our franchise.
Similarly, were Petrie to be fired, who would replace him? The best guess I've seen is that Shareef Abdur-Rahim would be successor. But what would that change? When we can't actually differentiate Petrie's moves from the Maloofs' hindrances, it's impossible to say for certain if Abdur-Rahim would be an improvement. But none of us would expect the Maloofs to perform an exhaustive search for a new GM, hiring the best available candidate, costs be damned. It's just not what we have come to expect from this franchise.
And all of this leads me to my current fear with this franchise. We understand the conditions within which this team operates, even if we loathe those conditions. And another of these conditions is that the Kings have a history of making moves that "increase cap space and flexibility".
My current fear is that the Kings will trade Tyreke Evans. This wouldn't be a fear under the normal conditions for NBA fans. With this team, this organization, I'm terrified. I don't have faith in Geoff Petrie's ability to receive anything close to equal value. Instead, I expect to receive little in return beyond draft picks and expiring contracts. Now, I could definitely see that expiring contact being a big name player. The Kings could tout that they've acquired a veteran talent, and that they have the luxury of a low-risk tryout for the player.
For example, I could easily see the Kings acquiring a guy like Jose Calderon. His large, expiring contact would allow the Kings to unload another contract, clean up the books entering next summer, and the team could tout that they've addressed the crowded back court (even though such a move would only make the back court more complicated). Mo Williams would be another player with a large, expiring contact. I'm not saying either of these guys is actually in play for the Kings. I don't know how much sense these moves would make for the Raptors or the Jazz, but they're illustrative of the type of trade I'm afraid we'll see.
And sure, the Kings might not even trade Evans. They don't need to right now. They can wait to see what he gets offered in restricted free agency. They could work out a sign-and-trade scenario if they don't want to open up the check book. There's a lot of different ways this could go.
But no matter which way the Tyreke Evans situation plays out, it plays out within the context of this organization. And that's why I don't trust it to be handled well.
That's what I'm afraid of.