Kings owner Vivek Vivek Ranadivé has audaciously deflected blame for any trouble under his watch.
One charge in particular – that he had to rush to hire coach Michael Malone and general manager Pete D’Alessandro, two men Ranadivé said hated each other (despite evidence to the contrary) – drew particular rebuke.
First, why does Ranadivé say he fast-tracked the hiring process after buying the franchise with the draft approaching? Ranadivé , via Sam Amick of USA Today:
I walked in, and there was nobody who wanted to be here. There was no coach, no GM, it was a ghost town.
But the Kings did have a coach (Keith Smart) and a general manager (Geoff Petrie). And Petrie sure doesn’t like Ranadivé saying otherwise.
Petrie, via Kevin Draper of Deadspin:
The way it came across in the article is like [Ranadivé] came in there and there was nobody there, nobody wanted to be there. Keith Smart wanted to be there! He had a year left on his contract. He didn’t get a discussion or an interview, he got a 90-second phone call in his car that they weren’t going to keep him. How do you arrive at a statement that he didn’t want to be there?
Leading up to the actual sale of the team, it was obvious the team was going to be sold. What became of the bidding match between the Ballmer group and ultimately Vivek’s group, through the league office, people were concerned about their jobs, what their future was going to be, what it would hold for them. And really, we had a group of people there that had been there, and we had worked together for a long time and were part of the best heritage that the Kings have ever had in Sacramento. I brought everybody together at different occasions and said, “Look, we’re going to be professional here, we’re going to continue to work like we’d work any other year, we’ll prepare for the draft like we would every other year, and ultimately we will assist any new people that may come in here and try and make them comfortable and get them situated.”
And that’s what we did.
We took all of our draft information, statistical information, put it all on iPads and gave it to him and other people so they would have it. We had ongoing draft workouts, we had them scheduled. We went over to Greece to scout Giannis [Antetokounmpo], the kid that Milwaukee took. We had a workout set up for him to come in, highly recommended that they work this kid out, and of course they didn’t.
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.”
The lost possibility of drafting Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t sit well with Kings fans – especially when the prior regime that identified the would-be Bucks star is getting blamed for everything.
Petrie didn’t work for Ranadivé for long, and Petrie tries to limit his criticism to what he saw first-hand – though, while speaking with Draper, Petrie indicates he’s heard plenty more negative about Ranadivé.
So, what did Petrie glean himself about Ranadivé? Petrie, via Draper:
I only had about an 8 or 10 minute little meeting with him. I found him to be a very arrogant and dismissive little chap. He doesn’t seem to understand that he owns it. He was the one that came in with Basketball 3.0, and changing the culture, “I have the smartest guys in the room, they’re four steps ahead of everybody else, I have 80 gigs of data, nobody else has that.” Well, okay, you know?