The Kings have sent out a press release with a Geoff Petrie quote:
“Keith’s extension gives us the stability we need to continue the development of our team,” Petrie said. “He has the commitment, energy and vision necessary to succeed in building a winning team. We are all looking forward to working with him as we pursue an exciting and productive future.”
And Keith Smart’s reaction:
“I’m excited to continue this process with the Kings,” Smart said. “We’re trying to get our franchise moving in the right direction. The goal is to keep moving in that positive direction, and I’m glad that I get that opportunity. It’s been great working with Geoff and his staff and communicating with the Maloofs in this process.”
If you’ll remember about, oh, 28 months ago, this is what Petrie said about Westphal:
“We’re all excited about the new direction Paul has given our team and his ability to keep our players focused during the course of the season,” said Petrie. “I think he’s done a tremendous job of helping us turn the corner. My congratulations to him and his staff. We continue to look forward to an ongoing great relationship as we rebuild the Kings.”
There are going to be a number of fans that are not happy with this, and I don’t blame them. It’s understandable. I just don’t think it makes much difference with this team unless there is a different coach that can convince a few select players (hint hint the last names start with E and C) to change these particular individual players style of play. Unless the NBA’s changed since I last watched in June, you still go as your best players go. Figure out whom the best players on this team are, and come back to me when you can come back with a convincing argument. I’ll have a red pill waiting for you I promise. I’ll just save you the time: I won’t believe you so it’s a waste of everyone’s time unless you’re interested in another ill-fated singular minded pursuit of hyping Cousins well before actual achievement of real NBA success. But I digress.
In of itself, this bit of news is not surprising given how early Petrie and the Maloofs picked up Westphal’s contract. Why now? For what purposes? For the same reasons they did in 2010: Money, and politics.
Back in 2010, I made one grand error: The assumption that the Maloofs were doing so because it was in the best interests of the franchise. The truth? There wasn’t much to be lost if it worked out, and if it did work out it would save them money. We know that now. That’s what I think they are doing now.
That doesn’t change much though for me. I knew all of this already. I know what the Maloofs are, and I know why the Kings did this: Perception of stability. It says,” Hey we did everything we could to make the team better. Keith has done wonders with our young players and we need someone who can help develop our important young talent.”
No kidding. That falls square under the “No shit sherlock” category.
This franchise has long had a habit with Petrie running things of stating the absolute obvious to the hardcore fan, and making the casual fan feeling informed at the same time. There is nothing new about this. What news have been made recently? That Isaiah Thomas gathered a few guys from the team and got them to practice? Oh my lordy lord, everyone, let’s jump to conclusions! They got together during the summer!!! Yay!!!
In the meantime, what does any of the recent news mean? It means that Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins are still the best “talents” on the roster that badly needs a star (or two) to guide the Kings in the right direction. And while Evans is no longer seen as that player, Cousins very much is. That relationship with Keith Smart certainly changes how one would see Smart internally when given that Cousins is now seen as that “guy”.
There is only one problem with all of this: Why?
Why on Earth, with recent precedent of a young team rising in rapid ascension due to two young players, one really loved in Durant, and one really misunderstood in Westbrook, would anyone think the Kings are going anywhere without Tyreke Evans? Are you smoking crack? Have you hit your head on a concrete and brick wall made full of steel, ignorance and Irish liquor?
At the same time, Evans relationship with Keith Smart matters too. It could be a simple signal to Evans and his camp: “Get in line or get left behind. We trade your guy, Arn Tellem, and we can guarantee that your client will never be as well liked as Evans could be in Sacramento if he ever ascended to anything near what his talent suggests he can achieve.” Or some such.
Fans are down on Evans. Fans love Cousins. Arn Tellem (Evans agent) is tired of dealing with Geoff Petrie, or not dealing with Petrie more accurately, and wants Evans out of Sacramento. Tellem says: “Get rid of Keith Smart or we are walking.” What’s the response? Fire a guy that has a relationship with the player you see as your best player? Or keep a guy who moved the best talent on the Kings (yes that’s Evans) out of his natural position to hopefully instill a new sense of understanding of why perhaps Tyreke’s preferred style does not work at the NBA level?
So in a nutshell without pontificating further, that’s what this is about I think. Politics. And money. (It’s just a given that Smart came at the right price. What’s sad is that’s no longer even a talking point. Viva no resource owners!)
Another day in the life of the Good Ship Kings (aka the rotten 2%ers). Nothing to see here. Move along people.