USA TODAY Sports
If it seemed like the Kings' basketball operations power structure didn't want to reinstate DeMarcus Cousins, it's because they didn't. Sam Amick unpacks the whole sordid affair ... and a whole lot more.
USA Today's Sam Amick is willing to report what has been rumored all week: the reason that neither Geoff Petrie or Keith Smart's name appeared in the press release reinstating DeMarcus Cousins to the team on Monday is because neither of them made the decision to bring him back.
The decision to reinstate Cousins on Dec. 24 was made unilaterally by the team's owners and went against the wishes and planned protocol of the team's front office, according to three people with knowledge of the situation who spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. Specifically, one person with knowledge of the situation said Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof initiated a dialogue with Cousins on Dec. 23, had him discuss the situation with Smart and then made it clear that Cousins would return to the team the following day at practice.
Amick says that Smart then cleared the whole "leave Boogie in Sacramento while the team goes to Portland" thing with Maloof. Petrie was never involved.
Petrie is in the last year of his contract, and people close to him and the Maloofs say it's all but certain that his 19-year run with the Kings will come to an end this summer. Even if the Maloofs surprised all involved and offered Petrie a new deal, one person close to the 64-year-old said they were "99.9% sure he wouldn't take it" because of his desire to retire. Petrie declined a request for an interview.
How ironic, that the Maloofs step in to clean up a problem created partially by Petrie at this juncture and not, you know, before it became a problem. Petrie's record over the past seven years is such that the writing has been on the wall: he's no longer a good GM. He's terrible at managing a franchise, and only decent at spotting and acquiring talent. (The comparison between the Kings and Warriors over the last four years goes here.) The culture of the franchise is abysmal. Over the past two years, you can blame that on the Maloofs' wanderlust. Before that, you can credit Petrie. I maintain that this nasty situation with a winning team would have a much different complexion.
So, to recap: the Maloofs finally step in to save Petrie from himself ... during an episode when Petrie actually seems to be doing the right thing, defending his coach. (Or allowing his coach to defend himself. Whatever.) Too little, too late.
And if that's not enough ...
According to people with knowledge of the situation, the Maloofs continue to discuss their preferred option of relocation with several cities and have let it be known in all the appropriate circles that bidding for the unlikely sale of the club should begin at an astounding $500 million. [...]
[T]he Maloofs, who have consistently said they don't want to sell, are confident they could reach that $500 million figure because of the potential mobility of the franchise -- the Kings can get out of their lease at Sleep Train Arena at any time.
Want to know why George killed the Sacramento deal? Because there's more money to be had for a free agent team than one locked into a lease. If he can't get into L.A. or a ridiculous sweetheart deal, George wants to sell this team, and getting locked into long-term lease instantly shrinks the market of potential suitors.
This is disgusting.