Whether you agree with what Vivek Ranadive and the Kings front office is doing right now, one thing you can't deny is that this team is one of the most entertaining teams in the league. The question is if that is a good or bad thing and how long the wait for this franchise to return to prominence is going to be.
Ranadive and company may be striving for a level of entertainment value on the floor with an up-tempo style of play, but to a certain extent, an entertainment value has already been established by a series of untraditional moves that have at one time or another been considered head-scratchers by many. The DeMarcus Cousins contract, trading for Rudy Gay and letting Isaiah Thomas walk. And then there are the more sensational topics: the talk of implementing a 4-on-5 defensive scheme (Tyrone Corbin said he hasn't heard that idea being floated around, by the way), firing Michael Malone, arguments over the value of Royce White, not yet hiring George Karl after he publicly stated he is interested. The Kingstainment theater is all there to analyze and comb over - the good, the bad and the ugly.
Out of this though, it is obvious Ranadive wants to win, wants to be innovative and believes he has the blueprint. What that means for fans and media alike is a twisting and sometimes confusing path to get to the ultimate goal of a championship parade on J Street.
Vlade Divac was recently in town for Peja Stojakovic's jersey retirement ceremony and he told me (as he put out his cigarette in the parking lot of Sleep Train Arena) fans should continue to wait for the good days and celebrate the team staying in Sacramento.
"The only message I should tell them [Kings fans] is just to be patient and celebrate...that the Kings stayed in Sacramento. It's a huge victory and time will be on the Kings' side," said Divac some 10 years after he took off his Kings jersey for the last time.
It was indeed a huge victory and one that will be cherished for ages, but it has been difficult for most in Kings world after nearly a decade of losing seasons and a 9-5 start to this season that preceded a losing streak and a well-liked coach getting fired.
After Malone was fired the consensus around town has been that the honeymoon is over with this new ownership group. Malone being let go confused fans and the players. He was well respected and it felt like a good fit after all. And the team has not looked good under Tyrone Corbin's leadership. The main issue is there is a sense that ownership and the front office deviated away from something that may have had a few kinks, but was ultimately working. And as their self-imposed clock of being a playoff team by the time the new arena opens in 2016 continues to tick, firing Malone appears (at least up until now) to have been backward progress.
The fans want a plan.
Now attention has quickly shifted to the George Karl snow globe and a "will they or won't they?" situation. The bottom line is the Kings are constantly in the headlines after years of complacency - the Deron Williams and Josh Smith pursuits being two recent prime examples. The abrupt decisions and aggressiveness of the front office gives us all topics to agree on, argue over and contemplate - Kingstainment. And really, that is the essence of sports and one of the main reasons why just a few short years ago, Sacramento fought like the food supply was running short to keep the purple and black in the barn out in Natomas: the sense of community, the passion, the pride.
There are a lot of things to question right now, but with the Kings, the bad can be a tad confusing and entertaining (not threatening like it once was) and the good is fun. And deep down, it should obviously be assumed that Ranadive, who is in his 19th month as an NBA owner, isn't making moves to intentionally sabotage the franchise. In the eyes of most fans he will not have a lifetime free pass, but he is trying to make the team a contender in his own uncommon way.
There is a team in Sacramento and having these discussions is what having a team is all about, despite how perplexing it can get. That shouldn't (and doesn't) quench the thirst of the fan base's desire for wins, so the impatience and pressure being put on this ownership group from fans, and most likely themselves, is warranted.
Maybe the plan is there and in motion. Just as our old friend Vlade suggested, patience will have to be a virtue as the waiting game for this unique franchise continues.
"You can look from a lot of different angles, and how I look is that the organization wants to win, that's why they're making moves, and another thing maybe it's [firing Malone] an unpopular move right now, but maybe in a couple of months or so everybody is going to be happy," Divac said.
The question is how long will the wait go on before consistent offense and defense (and most importantly, wins) return to Sacramento.