As Akis noted in yesterday's post, Ailene Voisin's recent column mentions that Geoff Petrie could be fired by the Sacramento Kings within the next few weeks. Fan sentiment has slowly turned against Petrie over the last few seasons, and now even the most ardent supporters of the "In Petrie We Trust" mantra are beginning to falter. I'm among those who long felt that we should give Petrie the benefit of the doubt. I still believe it is difficult to separate Petrie's ineptitude from the circumstances under which he must operate. I still believe that the problems with this franchise begin at a level above Petrie. But, as Tom said earlier today, I now also believe Petrie's time is up.
But with this sentiment is important to note what it will mean if Petrie is actually fired in the coming weeks. I personally believe he will be fired soon. When Grant Napear, known for pushing the Maloof agenda, is publicly speaking out against Petrie, it's the franchise ensuring that the masses understand why he's fired before he's actually fired. It's about making sure the average fan knows that it's coming. It's about making sure the callers on Grant's show are calling in with "it's about time!" when it happens. But I don't believe he'll be fired for the right reasons. I believe Petrie will be fired not because the franchise demands accountability, but because it will be the cheapest way for the Maloofs to "demonstrate" that they are still trying to put a good product on the floor.
Ailene notes that the Maloofs "wholeheartedly endorse Keith Smart and are adamantly opposed to firing another coach." And I'm sure that's true. After all, Keith Smart's option has already been picked up through next season, whereas Petrie's contract is up at the end of this year. Why pay two coaches when you can pay one and simply hire another GM on the cheap?
The Maloofs are all about keeping up appearances. The fans are upset. The so-called rebuild has been a disaster. The issues with the roster are the same issues the roster has had for the last several years. That's on Petrie. The moves he's made, whatever the confines of those moves were, haven't worked. He's made poor choices. But make no mistake, if Petrie is fired it will not be about accountability. Accountability will be the line the Maloofs feed us.
It will be their latest attempt to placate the fan base, to convince us that they're still trying to put a quality product on the floor. And then they'll hire another GM for far less than the average salary, they'll make that GM conduct moves within the same restrictions as Petrie, and the sham will continue.
And then, when next season brings more of the same and Keith Smart's deal is about to expire, the tide will turn against him. The Maloofs will express how disappointed they are that he didn't work out. They'll point, once again, at how the organization needs to hold people accountable. And the cycle will continue.
When Petrie leaves this organization, many will react with relief. There will be a sense that his firing was long overdue, and that finally the Maloofs got something right. And the family will release a statement thanking Petrie for his years of service. And they'll follow that up by talking about how Petrie was no longer getting the results that the fans deserve. And it will all be for nothing. It will all be part of the cycle. Part of the Maloof lie about the franchise's commitment to quality.
What will it mean when Petrie is finally fired? Absolutely nothing.