There was a frequent complaint from the front office and players that Theus was habitually late to team buses or slow arriving to games; there was the way in which his candid nature with the media would irk the players and the team's training staff; there were stories of the coach answering his cell phone during practice. In many ways, Theus had only re-emphasized his me-first reputation of old.
In the locker room a sign put up by Theus read "It's not about you." The sarcastic retort among his critics, however, was that it was about him.
Speaking to ESPN.com's Andy Katz after his dismissal, Theus said: "I had no idea [in advance]. We were just coming off our best win [over the Lakers] the past two years. We've had a lot of injuries. ... Everyone knew we were rebuilding and the projection was for 20-25 wins."
Theus added that Kings president Geoff Petrie -- not either of the Maloof brothers who own the team -- was the person who informed him of the decision Monday. As of Sunday night, Theus said he had no inkling that he was about to be fired.
"This talk about (Theus) being gone whenever just needs to go out the window, because we're all excited about playing for him. I want him here, Brad (Miller), the vets, they want him here. He's our coach."
"(But) the few times I've talked to Joe (Maloof) the last two to three weeks … I said it's just way too early to make a fair assessment of what we have here. It's going to get better. I'm sure of that, if we can get reasonably healthy for a reasonable period of time."
The Kings are horrible. The team is a mismatched batch of parts that shouldn't fit, couldn't fit, and (eventually) won't fit. The team competed like mad all last season. The squad's offense, while iffy, is at least innovative and trying new things. The team is fun to watch. The team entertains the fans. The team works hard. The team is injured. The team has no singular focus off the court. The team has a singular focus on the court. The team should be worse than it is. And you want to fire the coach of this team?
And, by the way, John Whisenant – Monarchs general manager and former head coach – is expected to be named on an interim basis if a change is made.
So here's Theus with two years left on a contract and an organization that is setting up itself to make a big free-agency splash in two years. The last year on Theus' deal is at the team's option.
Knowing Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie as I do, he won't comment about a guy's contract and/or status. However, in this instance, it might be nice, comforting and even beneficial to give his coach a little verbal public love.
Then again, knowing Petrie as I do, it's clear he and Theus are not exactly on the same page.
"With the way I score in many different ways – attacking and shooting. And he says there's no other guy that can get the ball down the stretch, even though I proved when he put it in my hands that I can do it? Then I averaged 24 (points) on 15 shots? It's stuff like that. You have a two-guard who you can put (the ball) in his hands because he can change a game and score like the best in the league. Someday we'll realize that we have that."