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The Kings have plenty of issues without manufactured drama

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Context Matters.

Kimani Okearah

It wouldn’t be a Kings season without some drama.

The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson agrees, as he touches on potential upcoming problems in his recent piece looking forward into the Kings offseason. But instead of focusing on potentially disastrous problems, such as the fraught relationship between Dave Joerger and Brandon Williams, Anderson spends most of his piece on non-issues, particularly Marvin Bagley’s father and in an egregious example, a potentially out of context quote from Willie Cauley-Stein.

It’s no secret that Marvin Bagley Jr. hasn’t been a fan of Kings coach Dave Joerger’s handling of his son. There have been multiple veiled and not-so-veiled shots at Joerger from Bagley Jr.’s social media feeds. Anderson documents it all, from Bagley Jr.’s “Coach Yogurt” insult to a random Kings fan’s Instagram replies comparing Bagley Jr. to LaVar Ball. Of course, Vlade Divac and the Kings are far from concerned, as Divac himself makes clear. After all, the team has been on the record as being exceedingly high on Bagley and his potential, and he’s a core piece of the team going forward. Bagley may not have gotten to start or make a push for Rookie of the Year, but the team and Joerger have given him more and more responsibility as the season has gone on, and that will only continue going forward.

Anderson also brought up Willie Cauley-Stein’s uncertain future. The Kings starting center will be entering free agency for the first time this summer, and it remains to be seen if the Kings will bring him back after yet another inconsistent season. I’d be the first to tell you that I would prefer if the Kings moved on. But does Willie feel the same way?

From Anderson:

That brings us to Cauley-Stein, who could be playing his final games for the Kings after four seasons. Cauley-Stein was stepping in front of about a dozen reporters gathered around his locker after Tuesday’s game when he turned to say something to MB3.

“I can’t wait to get out,” he said.

That may or may not be true. Cauley-Stein indicated he did not want to go last week when asked about the possibility of leaving as an unrestricted free agent this summer just as things are getting good around here, but if Willie wants out, he might get his wish.

To me, the context here makes it seem as though Willie was commenting more on wanting to get out of the locker room instead of staying and talking to the media after a blowout loss at home. But Anderson takes it to mean he wants out of Sacramento, and to do so without asking a follow-up question or giving Willie a chance to clarify is just straight up irresponsible. It’s unfair to Willie, and it’s bad reporting, especially when Anderson mentions mere moments later that Willie recently indicated he wanted to stay in Sacramento.

Anderson also seriously buries the lede, as he reports that several Kings assistant coaches have yet to pick up their one-year extensions. That’s big news! Yet, it’s given short shrift in an article that has 730 words about how Marvin Bagley Jr. gets mad online.

Anderson is in his first year on the Kings beat, and he’s done some good work in that time. But context matters, and some problems are bigger than others.

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UPDATE: Since this article was published, Jason Anderson has edited his article to say the following instead of what was previously written, perhaps in response to this article:

“I can’t wait to get out,” Cauley-Stein said.

Some of us didn’t think there was any question that Cauley-Stein, at least in that moment, was saying he wanted out of town, even if only for the summer. I suppose it’s possible he was simply saying he wanted to leave the locker room, but that’s not how I heard it.

I still stand by that it’s irresponsible to assign your own meaning to that quote without asking the player a follow-up question for clarification.

UPDATE #2: Jason Anderson has since followed up with Willie Cauley-Stein and received clarification that Willie did indeed mean that he simply wanted to leave the locker room and not Sacramento. Jason has updated his article accordingly and apologized. Good on him for doing the follow up and providing the update.

That part of the article now says:

“I can’t wait to get out,” Cauley-Stein said.

You might have wondered if Cauley-Stein, at least in the moment, was saying he wanted out of town, even if only for the summer. He later said he simply meant he wanted to leave the locker room, and we’ll take his word for it.