Are The Sacramento Kings Geniuses Or A Three Alarm Dumpster Fire?


The brain trust running the Sacramento Kings are either absolute geniuses or they are stark raving mad. Nobody is quite sure which of those is true just yet. The Kings have had, by far, the most – interesting – offseason of the NBA. And now that the dust is beginning to settle, we’re still not quite sure if Sacramento is actually a better team than when they started, or if they’re the dumpster fire they appear to be to some of us on the outside.

More from Sacramento Kings

The current crazy train got rolling back in March when former player Vlade Divac was brought in to be the vice president of basketball and franchise operations – despite having next to nothing in the way of experience. What made the hire even more – interesting – was that nobody in the Sacramento front office even knew that he’d been hired in that capacity until the news broke in the media several days later. Once it became clear that Divac was going to have control over personnel matters, GM Pete D’Alessandro and adviser Chris Mullin both quickly put Sacramento in the rear view mirror.

Then you throw in the fact that about a month prior to “secretly” hiring Divac, the Kings brought in George Karl to be their head coach. Karl is very widely known as a “hands on” head coach – which is a nice way of saying, he’s a meddler. He meddles in personnel matters – did somebody say DeMarcus Cousins? – to a degree that over time, it starts to rub the front office the wrong way.

In this case, Karl rubbed the front office the wrong way in record time as they’ve already been mulling the idea of firing him over the Cousins fiasco. And one gets the sense that had John Calipari been willing to come to Sacramento, Karl would be long gone despite a contract that will pay him millions whether he’s actually coaching the team or not.

More from Golden Gate Sports

So, with the front office seemingly in complete disarray, the Kings embarked on one of the strangest free agency periods we’ve seen to date. Of course, the headliner has to be that stunningly ridiculous trade with the Philadelphia 76ers that netted the Kings nothing – except for cap space as Philadelphia will absorb the contracts of Carl Landry and Jason Thompson.

Sending off a former first round pick in Nik Stauskas who’d been developing well, as well as a first round pick, and two pick swaps in order to gain cap space is a risky move for a rebuilding franchise. It’s even riskier – some might even call it stupid – to make such a move without knowing whether or not you have a shot at landing the targets you’re aiming for. In Sacramento’s case – Monta Ellis and Wesley Matthews – both turned down significantly more money offered up by the Kings to play elsewhere.

Sacramento Kings
Sacramento Kings /

Sacramento Kings

Undaunted, the Kings have no doubt, stuck a feather in their cap after signing the ever volatile Rajon Rondo to a one year deal worth nearly $10 million. Let’s overlook the fact that Rondo is essentially a one year rental who’s there in an attempt to repair his brand. Let’s also overlook the fact that he can’t really score, has skills that have been declining for the past couple of seasons, and oh yeah, has a real attitude problem and can’t seem to work well with others. The sigh of relief the city of Dallas let out when Rondo left town could be heard all the way in Sacramento.

If Rondo couldn’t make it work with Rick Carlisle, what is he going to be like with Karl, who is ten times the anal retentive control freak that Carlisle is? That situation could deteriorate pretty quickly.

And speaking of deteriorating situations, the Kings’ relationship with Cousins is still very much – unsettled – at best. Reports are that Cousins and Karl have not spoken in months and that their relationship is non-existent. When reports broke that Karl was trying to get Cousins traded – and that he was subsequently, going to be fired – Cousins lashed out on Twitter of all places, referencing the “snake in the grass line” uttered by a few of Karl’s former players.

Live Feed

16 Players the Mavericks never should have gambled on
16 Players the Mavericks never should have gambled on /

The Smoking Cuban

  • Marquee Boston Celtics offseason addition to play the Rajon Rondo roleHardwood Houdini
  • Boston Celtics playoff legend beyond bullish on marquee offseason additionHardwood Houdini
  • 'No wonder' Boston Celtics legend supported similarly-accomplished Rajon RondoHardwood Houdini
  • 8 Difference-making players the Chicago Bulls signed past their primePippen Ain't Easy
  • Ranking 15 worst Mavericks starters of the Dirk Nowitzki era The Smoking Cuban
  • So needless to say, we shouldn’t expect to see Cousins and Karl buddying it up any time soon.

    The Kings have added some decent pieces, such as Willie Cauley-Stein in the draft, and signing free agents Marco Belinelli, James Anderson, and Kosta Koufos. It’s not an earth shattering crop of free agents, but they’re definitely serviceable.

    Though on paper, the Kings appear to be a better team than they were a season ago, the team may actually be in worse shape as a whole. Chemistry is an important component of a winning franchise – just look at the LA Clippers who have all the talent in the world, but the feud between Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan helped poison that locker room and keep them from reaching their potential.

    And with all of the feuds and potential feuds simmering in the Kings’ locker room – Cousins v. Karl, Karl v. Divac, Rondo v. everybody – there is the potential for the situation in Sacramento to get real ugly, real quickly.

    The Kings’ offseason to this point looks like something of a bad social experiment – let’s see how many volatile personalities we can fit in one room, dial up the pressure to win, and just see what happens! Or, maybe they do have it all figured out, the rifts that exist can be smoothed over, and the team will somehow gel into one cohesive unit. Hard to see how that happens, but it’s possible.

    The Kings are likely not done tinkering with things yet. Pieces will be added, and some will likely be subtracted. There’s no telling how it is all going to play out just yet. But Sacramento fans better hope that they are able to strike the right balance which allows them to exceed current expectations. Otherwise, the Kings will absolutely be a three alarm dumpster fire.

    Next: Kings: Free Agency Sees Losses Not Gains