Kurt Helin

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive apologizes for comments on former GM


It started when Kings’ owner Vivek Ranadive — in a combination of his recollections of taking over the Kings and a whitewashing of his errors — built up his credentials as the savior of the franchise, and threw then GM Geoff Petrie under the bus.

“I needed somebody to go and actually work out the players. Nobody wanted to be there. There was no coach (Keith Smart), no GM. Geoff (Petrie) didn’t want to be there. There was nobody there.”

Understandably, Petrie took offense.

“The thing about this particular part of the interview, it’s just totally untrue. The idea that everybody wanted to … that there was nobody there to do any work. These are people that spent 10, 15, 20 years working for the Kings, who were part of the most successful period they ever had, and they’re now, it’s like, “because they don’t matter anymore, I can say anything I want about them.”

Rather than go full Trump and double-down on a failing strategy, Ranadive did the smart thing and apologized. Time to put the past in the past and move on. He reached out to Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee and made this statement.

“I wanted to sincerely apologize to Geoff Petrie and his team,” the owner began, speaking softly. “I meant no disrespect. I have the utmost respect for what they have done for the franchise and what they have accomplished. I fully understand that it’s a huge privilege to own a basketball team, and as chairman of the ownership, the buck stops with me. I accept responsibility for everything. All the mistakes are my mistakes.”

That’s the right play.

The Kings are an organization trying to turn things around — new coach, new arena, new attitude. They want to make the playoffs this season for the first time in a decade. We can debate how well that is going or will go, but no doubt that to take a step forward they have to get out of the mire of the past. This was a move in the right direction.

Bulls came back on Bucks in preseason with 37-7 fourth quarter.

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While their GMs were finalizing the details on a Michael Carter-Williams for Tony Snell deal, the two teams were involved in a preseason game Saturday.

Which got interesting when the Bulls went on a 37-7 fourth quarter run to pick up the 107-86 win.

The Bulls did it with balance: Isaiah Canaan had 9, Nicola Mirotic 8, and Spencer Dinwiddie with seven. The Bulls shot 70 percent in the quarter, the Bucks 17.6. It made for an entertaining preseason game.

By the way, the Bucks gave up a 41-6 run in their previous game. It’s just preseason and it was the end of the bench in the game (guys likely not with the team in a couple weeks), but that’s a troubling trend.

Report: Ty Lawson to meet with Kings after missing flight, being late to shootaround


Ty Lawson is trying to change his reputation in the NBA. This is a guy who brings a couple of DUIs in recent years and a reputation as a partier — including showing up to practice with alcohol on his breath. That hurt him in free agency, but Lawson has said that was untrue and didn’t reflect who he is as a person or player.

The Kings — an organization looking to change it’s reputation, too — gave him a shot, needing a backup for Darren Collison (who will miss the first eight games of the season, suspended for a domestic abuse plea deal). However, Lawson’s contract was not guaranteed. He can be let go and the Kings owe him nothing.

Now this, via Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sacramento Kings guard Ty Lawson will have to meet with team officials to explain himself after missing the Kings’ recent flight to Kentucky for an exhibition game, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that Lawson was late to a Kings shootaround in Las Vegas earlier this week, then missed the team’s East-bound trip before Saturday night’s Sacramento/Washington preseason game at the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, which represented a homecoming of sorts for Kings star DeMarcus Cousins and Wizards counterpart John Wall.

The Kings attributed Lawson’s absence from the lineup in Lexington to “personal reasons.” He has since returned to Sacramento, sources said, and faces an uncertain future with his new team after the week’s events.

The Kings are an organization trying to turn the corner — both on the court and with their reputation off it. They may not be as lenient with a player who they see as setting back that effort, but it depends on the details of what happened (which we do not know).

Lawson, who struggled in stops in Indiana and Houston last season, has played well for the Kings this preseason, shooting 64.3 percent (9-of-14, 1-of-2 from three), and dishing out 13 assists to seven turnovers. For comparison with the other backup point guards, Jordan Farmar is shooting 47.1 percent overall but is 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from three, plus has 11 assists and eight turnovers; Isaiah Cousins has played less than those two and is just 0-of-1 from the field, looking less impressive in his limited minutes.

None of those three reserve guards has a guaranteed contract, and all could be carried into the season then released (the contracts do not become fully guaranteed until January).

Report: NBA, players’ union to meet Wednesday to continue promising CBA talks

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This is the best of news for NBA fans — momentum is building toward a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, something that would bring years of labor peace to the NBA. After the last pizza-in-hotel-lobby filled lockout, this would be a welcome change of pace.

Following multiple reports of a new deal coming before either side can opt out of the old one on Dec. 15, now we find out the two sides will meet in New York on Wednesday, followed by the owners meetings the following two days. Via Ian Begley of ESPN.

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have a meeting scheduled for Wednesday in New York – one day before the league’s annual Board of Governors session — as they inch closer to striking a new labor agreement, according to league sources.

The meeting is the latest signal, sources told ESPN.com, that a new deal to avoid a work stoppage is looming in the near future.

Sources say there is rising optimism on both sides of the bargaining table that the basic framework of a deal can be achieved as early as this month.

Those owners’ meetings almost certainly will involve Commissioner Adam Silver laying out in some details the outline of this CBA. As long as the owners sign off on this — which is likely, the new TV deal is lining their pockets like never before — it will just be a matter of crossing the “Ts”, and the deal will be done. Eventually, the rank-and-file players will have to vote to approve the new CBA, they likely approve the deal for the same reason the owners will.

What we know is that the revenue split between the owners and players remains the roughly 50-50 split agreed to in the last CBA — that’s always the biggest obstacle. There was talk some players might want to battle to get back some percentage of revenue lost in the last deal, and that some owners wanted to increase their share, but in the end this is fare and cooler heads seem to have prevailed.  We also know the players are pushing or a fund to help retired players who need it with medical and other expenses, that seems to have traction with the league as well.

Hopefully, this gets done and we can just focus on basketball.

Knicks’ camp invitee Chasson Randle suffers left orbital bone fracture


With Derrick Rose and Brandon Jennings ahead of him, Chasson Randle was a long shot to make the Knicks’ roster as a third point guard — especially considering the team already has 15 guaranteed contracts on the books (the max they can carry into the season) and Randle was not one of them. Although, with Rose and Jennings histories you can make a case they may want a third point guard on that roster.

Now comes this setback.

For some perspective, the orbital bone fracture is the one Derrick Rose suffered a season ago. He was sidelined about three weeks then had to play with a mask for some time after that.

Most likely, the former Stanford star Randle will be cut, and Phil Jackson will bet on Justin Holiday to cover the point when Rose and Jennings can’t. Hopefully, that bet goes better than Jackson’s “Rose’s rape trial will not be a distraction” gamble.