The Sacramento Kings kicked off training camp this week, and spoke with the media after Wednesday's practice. DeMarcus Cousins in particular enjoyed a conversation with the media, and had some interesting comments about the Kings' changes at point guard.
DMC on PG changes: "it’s been incredible. It’s been a smooth transition. The ball is moving a lot better. It’s not stuck in one place ...— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) October 1, 2014
DMC continued: "...It’s not being overdribbled by anybody on the floor".— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) October 1, 2014
These quotes could be interpreted a couple of different ways. It's easy to read these as throwing Isaiah Thomas under the bus. Alternatively, you could see these as parroting the company line. In either scenario, the message is coming through loud and clear: someone within the organization would like Kings fans to see the positives from this offseason.
While we're unlikely to ever know the answer to this mystery, there's nothing to stop of from looking at all the players in this whodunnit. Who wanted Isaiah Thomas gone, and why? Let the rampart speculation begin!
Motivation: Cousins wants to be the star, and wants the offense to run through him. Isaiah held the ball too much, taking away Cousins' ability to lead the team.
Debunking: Above all else, Cousins wants to win. If Isaiah Thomas was the best way to win, there's no way Cousins forces Isaiah out.
Chance he's the culprit: 10%
Motivation: Isaiah was the final success of Geoff Petrie. Clearing Isaiah Thomas, along with a few other folks, would move the team one step closer to a clean slate. If Isaiah had taken a massively discounted deal and a reduced role, he might have stayed, but both sides knew it wasn't going to happen.
Debunking: The difference in money wasn't that significant. What GM willingly forces out a fan favorite who also happens to be a 20 point per game scorer?
Chance he's the culprit: 25%
Motivation: Isaiah didn't fit into Malone's preferred offensive style, or defensive focus. Malone wanted Isaiah replaced with a more traditional point guard, one who Malone knew how to coach.
Debunking: In an ideal world, the Kings front office is working closely with the coaching staff to ensure the players mesh with the intended playing style. That said, Malone was an outspoken advocate of Isaiah last season and at the start of free agency.
Chance he's the culprit: 15%
Motivation: The Kings majority owner falls victim to new owner's disorder, in which a new NBA owner wants immediate results, forcing change for the sake of change upon the team. Vivek dictates who Pete signs, who he trades, and which players get minutes.
Debunking: While it's unclear just how involved Vivek is in roster decisions, his stated philosophy is to surround himself with smart people and then let them do their job.
Chance he's the culprit: 5%
Motivation: He was power hungry and full of greed. After playing for pennies, he wasn't going to settle for a single dollar less than he felt he deserved. His famous chip on his shoulder resulted in Isaiah overplaying his hand a securing his exit.
Debunking: While all that makes sense, you're not allowed to think poorly of Isaiah Thomas around these parts. How dare you.
Chance he's the culprit: 0%, you monster.
Motivation: Secure himself a role as the starting point guard for the Sacramento Kings.
Debunking: C'mon, Collison holds zero blame for any of this. He'll face unfair comparisons all season, and possibly for the length of his contract.
Chance he's the culprit: 0%
Motivation: Pretty obvious, really. With Isaiah out of the picture, McLemore clears the way to becoming a fan favorite, and the new Pizza Guy. Diabolical, really.
Debunking: Aside from McLemore's nice guy persona, there's no possible reason to debunk this theory. He's clearly the lead candidate.
Chance he's the culprit: 100%