Geoff Petrie was hired in 1994. He's been in charge of the Sacramento Kings' basketball operations for 20 years. The Kings have been in Sacramento for 28 years. That's just insane. He's been the longest tenured GM in basketball for quite a spell now (since Elgin Baylor was let go by the Clippers), and he's finally conceding that trivia answer. Our pal Sam Amick reported Monday that Vivek Ranadivé told Petrie last week that he would not be returning to the club next year. Petrie's contract was set to expire on June 30. It doesn't seem like he'll assist through June; Vivek expects to hire a new GM soon after officially taking control of the team. (The NBA Board of Governors is scheduled to vote on the sale on Tuesday. Escrow is slated to close on Friday.) Amick reported that R.C. Buford, Chris Wallace and Travis Schlenk are among the top targets for Team Vivek. My money remains on Schlenk.
But as Petrie philosophizes off into the sunset, it's worth taking a moment or 20 to remember what his era looked like. And because the Petrie era has been dead to me for like five years, I'm going to hack through it in list format.
TOP 5 DRAFT PICKS
1. Peja Stojakovic, No. 14, 1996
Remember, this was at the head of the European invasion. A few Euros (Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic among them) had come over, but Peja didn't have a huge name, was really young and cost a pretty high pick. He went on to three All-Star Games, an All-NBA team and even a 4th-place finish in an MVP race.
2. Kevin Martin, No. 26, 2004
This one had the highest degree of difficulty for Petrie. Martin still hasn't made an All-Star Game, but he was Sacramento's best scorer from his third season on and still figures prominently in the NBA 10 years later.
3. Jason Williams, No. 7, 1998
Petrie's second major dice roll after Peja. The GM ignored the red flags and grabbed a point guard that got the world interesting in Sacramento's awesome style.
4. Tyreke Evans, No. 4, 2009
It could have been Jonny Flynn. It could have been Jonny Flynn.
5. Hedo Turkoglu, No. 16, 2000
Emboldened by Peja's rise, Petrie went to the Euro well again. This one came with a nasty buyout, but Sacramento was able to get it done and get Turkoglu into the thick of the Kings' greatest teams.
Honorable mention: Gerald Wallace, Corliss Williamson, Isaiah Thomas.
WORST 5 DRAFT PICKS
1. Thomas Robinson, No. 5, 2012
T-Rob may still work out. But Petrie traded him a few months in for a third-year bench player at the same position. Not. Good.
2. Spencer Hawes, No. 10, 2007
There honestly was not a plethora of better options, but this pick was Petrie at his Bad Petriest. Also, the open thread reaction here at StR made us famous AND was validated in the end. So there.
3. Jimmer Fredette, No. 10, 2011
The jury's still out on Jimmer, and it's really hard to disentangle the pick from the trade that the pick resulted in. But the Kings had a gaping hole at small forward and needed defense desperately, and Petrie left Kawhi Leonard on the board for Jimmer. Inexcusable.
4. Tariq Abdul-Wahad, No. 11, 1997
This one might deserve to be higher, depending on how Jimmer pans out. Petrie traded Abdul-Wahad in Year 2 along with a future pick (that became Kendrick Perkins) for Nick Anderson, who had one unremarkable season as a pretty bad starting two-guard for the Kings before having a very memorable disastrous partial season before getting packaged with J-Will for Mike Bibby.
5. Quincy Doubt, No. 19, 2006
TOP 3 TRADES
1. Mitch Richmond for Chris Webber.
No explanation needed.
2. Scot Pollard and Hedo Turkoglu for Brad Miller.
Miller and Vlade had the Kings on top of the West as Webber recovered from microfracture surgery in 2003-04. Miller went on to have the best years of his career in Sacramento.
3. Jason Williams for Mike Bibby.
The move that transformed the Kings from entertaining novelty act to championship contender.
Honorable mention: Landry for Thornton, Peja for Ron-Ron.
WORST 3 TRADES
1. Beno Udrih and the 2011 No. 7 pick for John Salmons and the 2011 No. 10 pick
Petrie TRADED DOWN to pick up one of the worst contracts in basketball. Amazing. I'm still amazed.
2. Omri Casspi and a conditional first-round pick for J.J. Hickson
This happened within a week of No. 1 on this list. This was a FANTASTIC week for Kings basketball. The Kings still owe this pick out, by the way.
3. Tariq Abdul-Wahad and the Kings' 2003 first-round pick for Nick Anderson
The pick ended up being pretty low and Abdul-Wahad never panned out. But Anderson was really bad.
Dishonorable mention: C-Webb for K-9, Skinner and Corliss The Sequel; K-Mart for Landry; The Thomas Robinson Event.
TOP 3 COACHING HIRES
1. Rick Adelman
3. R U SERIOUS?
WORST 4 COACHING HIRES
1. Reggie Theus
In fairness: not Petrie's first, second, third or 99th choice.
2. Paul Westphal and Keith Smart (tie)
In fairness: Maloof pricing.
3. Eddie Jordan
That really did not go well.
4. Eric Musselman
A heckuva way to start off the post-Adelman era!
BEST 3 FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
1. Vlade Divac
The third of what would become numerous coups to build the Kings' best teams. (After Peja, Adelman; before Webber, Christie, Bibby.)
2. Scot Pollard
A key signing in 1999 to round out the frontcourt.
3. John Salmons
Salmons' first big contract was actually quite a good one: due to injuries to Miller and Martin, Salmons was actually the team's best player for about 18 months. He was shipped off to Chicago in the great cap culling of 2009, and again to Milwaukee in 2010 before signing the monstrosity of a contract he's on now.
Note: if you count Miller as a signing instead of a trade -- he was a sign-and-trade acquisition -- I'd put him No. 2 behind Vlade.
WORST 3 FREE AGENT SIGNINGS
1. Mikki Moore
2. Greg Ostertag
I can't even remember what 'Tag signed for, but I guarantee it was WAY too much.
3. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
Injuries felled 'Reef, but a medical retirement got Petrie mostly out of this deal.
4. All of the veteran's minimum B.S. Westphal and Petrie conspired to pull (i.e. Antoine Wright, Desmond Mason, Ime Udoka, etc.)
Honorable mention: Bibby's fat contract was disgusting but required.
So there you go: 20 years of Petrie summed up in a bunch of lists with -- guess what? -- totally mixed results. Some incredible brilliance, some headsmacking silliness. That's been the Kings under Petrie.
Happy trails, Geoff.