Sacramento Kings: A Maloof-Sized Mess


The Sacramento Kings have had a poor season to say the least, and many problems have plagued the team as it hasn’t managed to find its way back into the mix of Western Conference playoff contenders.

The Kings have several issues with their young team, but some around the league say the problems stem from a lack of solid management. Several questions have been raised regarding Kings head coach Keith Smart’s effectiveness. The Kings players are all facing several questions with regards to effort and team cohesiveness. Finally the Kings General Manager, once the toast of the town has started to see local writers turn on him, as he has been said to be “over the hill.”

To start the Kings management has been almost non-existsent since the start of the season, and none of the owners have been present since announcing the sale of the team. The Maloof’s have never been very good basketball people, and the proof lies in the previous coaching carousel after they let Rick Adelman walk out the door. After the Maloof’s made the horrible decision to not renew Adelman’s contract in 2006, they played major roles in hiring Eric Musselman and passing on Scott Brooks (current Oklahoma City Thunder Head Coach). Musselman spent only one season with the Kings, as the team missed the playoffs for the first time in eight years with a 33-49 record.

George Maloof Jr., Gavin Maloof, Joe Maloof

The Maloofs continued to make poor coaching decisions when they hired Reggie Theus and traded Mike Bibby to the Atlanta Hawks for Tyronne Lue, Anthony Johnson, Sheldon Williams, Lorenzen Wright and a 2nd round draft pick.

The Mike Bibby trade was made largely to clear salary cap space, and was the start of the Maloofs shaving their payroll. Theus’ 2007-2008 team won five more games than the previous season, but still missed the playoffs with a 38-44 record.

During the 2008 offseason the Maloof’s continued to trim down their overall players salaries by trading Ron Artest, Patrick Ewing Jr. and Sean Singletary to the Houston Rockets for Bobby Jackson, Rashard McCants, Donte Green and Calvin Booth.

Unfortunately Jackson only played one more season and wasnt the same player as he when the Kings made their title run. The rest of the players never panned out, and Theus was fired in the middle of the 2008-2009 season, and replaced with Interim Head Coach Kenny Natt. The Kings finished the season with the NBA’s worst record, 17-65.

Paul Westphal replaced Natt, and the Kings selected Tyreke Evans and Omri Casspi in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Kings continued to struggle but had shown marked improvement after being the worst team in the League the year before. Evans won the Rookie of the Year Award after averaging 20 p;oints, five assists and five rebounds (only Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, and LeBron James have averaged 20, 5, and 5 in their rookie season) The Kings drafted Demarcus Cousins in the 2010 NBA Draft.

On February 27, 2012, the Kings fired Paul Westphal after reports of major disagreements with their young star DeMarcus Cousins surfaced. The Kings promoted assistant coach Keith Smart to the helm, and have been struggling to find their way since.

We all know the history involving the Maloofs and their continued attempts to relocate the Kings. The City of Sacramento has endured six years of relocation discussions and rumors, placing major amounts of strain and uncertainty on the players, Kings fans, General Manager Geoff Petrie and Head Coach Keith Smart.

The Maloofs have slowly driven the Kings franchise into the ground, and have toyed with the emotions of a fan base that at one time was considered to be the best in the NBA. The Maloofs have squandered millions of their family fortune, and now are attempting to save themselves by selling the team to a Seattle-based group.

In the middle of the Maloof mess, the Kings players have struggled to maintain their composure as they fallen to the bottom of their Conference and are tied with the eighth worst record in the league. The Kings have shown little fight since the Maloof’s announced the sale of the team, and have looked lost in the midst of the potential sale and relocation of the team.

Demarcus Cousins

DeMarcus Cousins has had a troublesome season as his numbers have been inconsistent and he continues to have problems with keeping his emotions in check. Tyreke Evans hasn’t been able of duplicating his rookie season success, and continues to struggle with the effectiveness of his jump shot. Marcus Thornton has yet to accept his role off the bench, and has had several career lows. Isaiah Thomas has had a relatively good season, but has shown a propensity to over dribble the ball, and has not shown he is capable of finding his teammates on a nightly basis.

Head coach Keith Smart has been under fire in recent weeks as fans and writers look to pin the blame on him. He often will go stretches in games where his lineups are  questionable. Smart has had issues with Cousins and has had to bench the young center, and even left him off the traveling roster for a game following an incident during halftime of a blowout loss to the Clippers.

Smart has shown he is a capable coach, but has yet to earn the trust of his players. The Kings players have often shown their frustration with lineup situations, and limited playing time. The Kings coach spent most of the first 50 games trying to establish his rotation, but has yet to find a consistent group to finish games.

Geoff Petrie

Geoff Petrie has been scrutinized by the local press for the majority of the season, but as the Kings recently traded Thomas Robinson, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt to the Houston Rockets for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas, it has become clear that the General Manager is not the one controlling things. The Kings will make approximately $3.6 million from the trade before the end of this summer, and thus they have followed a scary trend of cutting players with salaries that do not meet the Maloof standards. The Maloofs have been said to have played a major role in the most recent trade, after Petrie had stated only a day before the trade that he could not foresee any trades before the relocation matter has been sorted out.

With Petrie in the last year of his contract, it seems very likely that he would want to make a trade that would keep him his job. The General Manager has instead seemed to have had his hands tied by ownership and their stringent policy of maintaining the Leagues lowest payroll. The Maloof’s have essentially cut the teams payroll by over 30 million since 2006, and have spent almost nothing on bringing in any big name players.

The simple solution to most of the problems occurring with the Sacramento Kings is that the Maloofs are at best poor businessmen, whole have run their families empire into the ground, and currently seem content on taking the Kings and the city of Sacramento with them. If the NBA votes against the sale and relocation of the team, the Maloof’s will not be obligated to sell the team to the potential Sacramento Group. The Maloofs are bad for the NBA, and regardless of whether or not the Kings stay in Sacramento; the NBA must do away with the Maloof Family.

NBA Commissioner David Stern

While the NBA has stated they cannot force a sale of the team, one thing is certain: the Maloof family is no longer financially fit to own or operate an NBA franchise.

With Sacramento facing New Orleans, the NBA must begin to consider what will come of the Kings franchise if the Board of Governors votes against the sale and relocation of the team.

While the Maloofs cannot be forced to sell the team, they are hardly financially fit to own a team, putting them in a similar position as the Hornets previous owners George Shinn and Gary Chouest. The NBA seized the team in December 2010, paying Shinn and Chouest an estimated $300 million. The team was then sold to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson for $338 million.

What will become of the Kings is entirely up to NBA commissioner David Stern and the Board of Governors.