Former Kings general manager Geoff Petrie slams Vivek Ranadivé

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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?

Watch Spurs Collins bloody Russell Westbrook with a foul, get ejected

Los Angeles Lakers v San Antonio Spurs
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Jakob Poeltl was dominating the paint, scoring 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds in 10 minutes, and giving the Lakers serious trouble. Then he had to leave the game with a sore quad, meaning Zach Collins would get more run.

Collins was ejected for a flagrant foul 2 on Russell Westbrook that left the Lakers guard bloodied.

Collins plans to appeal the ejection he said after the game.

Collins will face a fine or suspension from the league, although he doesn’t have a history of this kind of foul, something the league takes into consideration. Westbrook also got a technical for going after Collins.

The Lakers went on to beat the Spurs 143-138, behind 39 points from LeBron James. It’s the second time the Lakers have defeated the Spurs in three days, the kind of wins over tanking teams the Lakers need if they are going to turn their season around.

Watch Victor Wembanyama drop 30-point double-double in France

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Maybe you spent your Saturday afternoon watching Lionel Messi doing Lionel Messi things. Or intense college football rivalries.

In France, they spent part of the day watching Kylian Mbappe be brilliant but then flipped over and watched future No.1 pick Victor Wembanyama drop a 30-point double-double.

That’s two straight 30-point double-doubles for Wembanyama.

He will be the No.1 pick next June (barring something catastrophic), and teams are already thinking about the lottery next June.

Expect some other teams to jump in that mix at the bottom because the depth of this class goes well beyond just Wembanyama with Scoot Henderson, Amen Thompson and others. The tanking is coming people.

 

Boogie Cousins called Warriors GM Myers and got reality check on why he’s not in NBA

2022 NBA Playoffs - Denver Nuggets v Golden State Warriors
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DeMarcus Cousins didn’t understand why he didn’t have an NBA contract this season.

He thought he had proven he could help teams in need of front-line depth last season, first in Milwaukee when Brook Lopez was out following back surgery and gave them 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds a game of solid play. The Bucks ultimately let Cousins go for financial reasons, so the Nuggets picked him up to backup Nikola Jokic. He was again solid, averaging 8.9 points and 5.5 rebounds a game (and he had a 31-point night against the Rockets).

Confused, he called one of the former GMs who brought him in, Bob Myers of the Golden State Warriors. Myers relayed their conversation on the All That Smoke podcast (via NBC Sports Bay Area).

“DeMarcus called me a month ago and he said, ‘Why am I not in the NBA?’ ” Myers told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the “All The Smoke” podcast earlier this week. “And I said, ‘You want that answer? … Because people are afraid of how you’re going to act.’ And he’s like ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘Well whatever the reason is, it’s here now.’

“And I like DeMarcus. You guys may know him. He’s just, I can’t blame him for him because of all he’s been through.”

Not long after that conversation, Cousins spoke with Chris Haynes and said he learned from his past mistakes.

“Have I made mistakes? Absolutely. Have I done things the wrong way? Absolutely. For that, I’m very apologetic. But I’ve done even more things the correct way and I’ve done even more positive things compared to my negatives. I just don’t want those positives to be overlooked. And obviously, whenever it gets to the point where the negatives outweigh the positives, you should probably move away from him. That’s just how life goes. But I don’t believe I’m in that boat. I’m just asking for a chance to show my growth as a man and a player.”

Cousins also had physical issues, including a torn ACL that cost him a season with the Lakers in 2019-20. He also had domestic abuse allegations at the time (those charges were dropped a few months later).

Cousins just wants the chance to prove he is past all that and can help a team like he did last season. There have been rumors out of Taiwan that Cousins could join Dwight Howard in that league, but Cousins has not confirmed that. He still wants his shot in the NBA. So he waits, and hopes he can change the narrative around him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo says of Evan Mobley, ‘He can be better than me’

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Evan Mobley hasn’t taken the leap forward in his second season many expected, partly because he has to adjust to playing with a new, dominant backcourt in Cleveland of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. Mobley is getting nearly five fewer touches a game and is not getting the same chances to use his off-the-bounce skills (73% of his shots this season come off zero or one-dribble) as he did when he was a rookie.

That doesn’t mean his superstar potential has gone away. Just ask Giannis Antetokounmpo, as Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer did.

“He can be better than me,” Antetokounmpo told cleveland.com in an exclusive interview while walking out of Fiserv Forum… “I don’t see why he can’t. It’s up to him. I will always try to improve. Every day. But he has the skill set to be a very, very good player. He’s 7-feet tall. He can move really well. He can shoot. He is very smart. As you said, he watches tapes of other players, which is very, very good for a young player. If he takes this seriously, he is going to be great.”

Better than Giannis? What could possibly make him say that?

“I didn’t average what he is in my second season, so he’s already ahead of me,” Antetokounmpo told cleveland.com. “It’s in his hands. If he stays humble, continues to work hard, focuses on the game and shows love to the game of basketball, he is going to be really good.”

One of the players Mobley is known to study on tape is Antetokounmpo. Of course, mirroring the force and athleticism Antetokounmpo plays with is next to impossible, but Mobley has the skill set that could see him become a shot-creator and scorer on the wing with the ball.

The Cavaliers don’t need him to be that with Garland improving and Michell being better than advertised. Cleveland has a top-five offense and hasn’t had to turn to Mobley for more scoring and shot creation. But that can change, especially come the playoffs against the strong defenses of teams such as the Bucks and Celtics. Ultimately, how far these Cavaliers can go in the postseason over the next few years could come down to the growth of Mobley on the offensive end.

Antetokounmpo believes Mobley could be special in that role, which should give fans in Cleveland even more hope.