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Meet Paul Westphal the Decider

The Spencer Hawes Incident is simply that: an incident, incidental in the day-to-day haps of our favorite team but telling of a greater truth. And that truth should be more fairly clear at this point: Paul Westphal has a lot of power in this organization. And I don't mean a lot in the way many coaches have a lot of power. I mean A LOT.

Remember this passage from the Bee's Sam Amick just after the trade of Kevin Martin?

[I]t was no coincidence that Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie referenced his coach several times when explaining the trade Thursday. Wespthal's voice was heard loud and clear as it pertained to this trade, which takes us to the present.

This after a long quote from Westphal in which the suggestion Westphal didn't do much to reintegrate Martin after he returned from injury is thoroughly and a bit forcefully debunked by Westphal. (The most notable line in that quote: "He got 20 points a game shooting under 40 percent" -- just a bit high and tight there, Westie.)

The implication in both Amick's line and Westphal's reaction is that Westphal specifically didn't think Martin was working well with Tyreke Evans, and that Westphal endorsed switching it up.

And boom. Martin's traded.

Westphal has been involved in front office work in the past -- specifically, he was an off-site player personnel executive for Dallas last season. And maybe that's a bit of the norm elsewhere in the league, the coaching staff mixing with the front office and vice versa. But it's never been the case here. Despite appearances Petrie and Rick Adelman were tyte tight bros, that was heavily refuted upon Adelman's exile, and Adelman's staff -- most notably Elston Turner -- were critical of the lack of defensive-minded players acquired by the front office. Eric Musselman lost all credibility with his DUI; Reggie Theus adored Ron Artest but saw him traded away from right underneath him. The front office has always been the front office. It's a tight-knit, small group, as ESPN's John Hollinger said last week. This is a club, one to which coaches had not previously been invited.

But here's Westphal, being "heard loud and clear" as the team's top veteran and one-time franchise face gets traded away, and a week later benching the team's 21-year-old one-time Golden Boy center for fairly innocuous comments parrotted by teammates. This is Paul Westphal the Decider. I'd advise you get used to him.


This isn't a criticism. It's an analysis. Take it as such.