The Maloofs -- Don't show us the money, give us the money

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The Maloofs -- Don't show us the money, give us the money

You have to hand it to both the Maloof family and the city of Sacramento. For two entities without enough money to achieve their dreams, theyre playing their cards like they do.

Thats the center of the crudstorm the two sides are creating for each other as they pursue their mutual goals freedom from Sacramento for the Maloofs, and freedom from the Maloofs for Sacramento. And the kids, er, Kings get caught in the middle.

Isnt that always the way when nobodys got enough jack to make it work?

As such, there are no heroes here. Not even David Stern, who tried to help midwife a deal he must have known was a pipedream. He ended up getting slapped by the Maloofs, who may be cash-poor and getting cash-poorer, but are still one-thirtieth of his supervisors, and a commissioner who picks a fight with an owner is an ex-commissioner who hasnt got his new business cards printed yet.

The Maloofs certainly arent. They cant hold the Kings, no matter what, because their other businesses are cratering, and their selling price obviously goes up if the buyer has the power to come and go as they like. They need a new arena lease in Sacramento like they need a new bank statement.

So why did they do the dance with Sacramento then? So as to minimize their public opprobrium, which lasted only a few days anyway because fans still believe after all this time that their favorite teams are theirs because they have been bought with love and tickets.

Somewhere, the Easter Bunny is laughing his head off.

But there is plenty of blame for Sacramento as well, for cobbling a deal that its revenues could not realistically support, all in chasing a sports dream. But worse, for announcing what a good job theyd done even before it had begun. Why Kevin Johnson thought a press conference was a good idea when he had exactly zero signatures is a level of madness that beggars the imagination.

But he did it because he (a) wanted voters to like him, and (b) wanted to box the Maloofs into a corner by getting them to the presser. Well, adulation talks, but money still walks, and the Maloofs are short-timers trying to cash out as quickly and as lucratively as possible.

Or you could look at it another way. They sped up the process that went on Seattle from years to days, as in We want to stay and play in our city, but you have to build us an arena and you didnt so were going where we wanted to go anyway. There are differences in nuance between Clay Bennetts transformation of the SuperSonics into the Thunder and what happens to the Kings, most notably that Bennett has money and the Maloofs do not, but they are essentially the same thing, namely this:

Dont just show us the money. Give us the money. But since we know you cant, weve already booked office space somewhere else.

In short, the Maloofs succeeded by failing, and Sacramento failed by pretending to succeed. The fans get hosed because it was preordained for them to get hosed. The game, you see, is rigged, for as long as there are other markets to colonize.

And there is a lesson in all this for those people following the As saga. The problems with that move arent procedural, either, no matter how many ways people try to blame Bud Selig or the blue-ribbon panel or the Giants or Jerry Reinsdorf. Theyre all players, but the play is still all monetary, and always has been. They are about leverage and resale value, not about baseball and commissioners.

In the meantime, people in the city want the Maloofs out, as in appealing to Stern to strip the Maloofs of their team, which is an idea so idiotic that its proponents should be locked in dumpsters.

And the Maloofs want the mayor out of negotiations, which is equally moronic and requires only the rental of more dumpsters.

You cant make this stuff up, except that its the only way this could have gone. Its what happens when big hats notice that nobody brought the cattle.

Calipari sees Labissiere's progress during rookie season: 'I give Sac credit'

Calipari sees Labissiere's progress during rookie season: 'I give Sac credit'

Nothing has come easy for Skal Labissiere. He survived the earthquakes in Haiti. He moved to the United States speaking only only French and Haitian Creole as a young teenager. And his lone season at Kentucky he went from a top five prospect to a player that nearly fell out of the first round.

The knock on Labissiere coming out of Kentucky was that he didn’t like contact. Maybe it went farther than that, but there was no question that when he left for the NBA, he didn’t exactly walk away on the best of terms with head coach John Calipari.

When the Kings took on the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center in the final week of the regular season, Calipari sat in the stands watching a small group of his former players. During the telecast, NBC Sports California’s Kayte Christensen caught up with the legendary coach and he couldn’t stop gushing about his Wildcats alums, specifically the play of Labissiere.

“I look at Skal and the progress - I give Sac credit,” Calipari told Christensen. “These guys are working with him. He’s playing more confident. They’re putting him in positions he can have success. I didn’t do as good a job as they did.”

Labissiere went off for 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting against Los Angeles. He added three rebounds and two blocks, but the Kings stumbled down the stretch, allowing the Lakers to come away with the 98-94 victory.

In his freshman season at Kentucky, Labissiere scored more than 19 points just once, a 26 point outburst in his second game of the year against NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology). His highwater mark in his rookie season for the Kings was a 32-point, 11-rebound performance against the Phoenix Suns on March 15.

“He’s getting stronger, he’s growing, you can see him maturing physically, which was a big part of it,” Calipari said. “He had a good season with us, but, I used him wrong. Now I see him now, it’s amazing he’ll speak for me after I’m watching him play like this.”

The 21-year-old power forward has a smile that lights up a room. He even uses it as a defense mechanism when things get uncomfortable. Speaking about his time in Kentucky seems uncomfortable for the 6-foot-11 forward.

“Coach Cal, he does a really good job of getting guys ready for the next level,” Labissiere told NBC Sports California. “I appreciate him.”

Labissiere is looking ahead, not backwards. He is a an incredible talent and he is thankful for the job that Dave Joerger and his staff have done with him during his first season in the NBA.

“Coach Joerger, every since I was drafted here, he’s always believed in me,” Labissiere said. “He’s always putting me in the right positions, making me work on different things that normally I didn’t do in college. He’s making me do different things and believing in me. I love playing for him.”

Kentucky has produced some of the best big men in the game, including DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns. It’s a hotbed for talent, but specifically for centers and power forwards that take their game to the next level in the pros.

Labissiere would love to be included in that list, but he isn’t trying to be someone he’s not. His focus is on improving and helping his team win games.

“I don’t know, I’m just working for myself, doing what I’m supposed to do,” Labissiere said. “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’m just going to keep doing my thing.”

The Kings have big plans for Labissiere and the rest of their young core this summer. Labissiere will likely join the team’s three other 2016 first round picks in Las Vegas for Summer League in July. Another two or three rookies from the 2017 NBA Draft will likely join them as Sacramento attempts to build some early chemistry amongst.

Following Summer League, Labissiere is scheduled to travel to Haiti where he will hold a basketball camp in his home country. It’s the first time he’s been back to Haiti since moving to the US following the earthquake in 2010.

Labissiere wasn’t the only Kentucky product on display for Sacramento against the Lakers. Willie Cauley-Stein spent three seasons under Calipari before going sixth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Cauley-Stein put up solid numbers in front of his former coach, finishing the game against the Lakers with 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks in just 23 minutes of action.

“Willie is doing what he does,” Calipari said. “He’s flying up and down that floor, he’s blocking shots. He seems to have some freedoms to do some of the stuff he does well.”

Cauley-Stein is a completely different player two season removed from his time at Kentucky. He finished strong down the stretch for Sacramento, showing a newfound confidence in his scoring ability.

“It’s a great feeling, I don’t think he’s watched me play like that since I left,” Cauley-Stein said. “It was cool to get a chance to see him and show him things I’ve worked on and I’ve gotten better. It was really satisfying, [him] telling me I got better, so I know I’m [going] in the right direction.”

It’s clear that Labissiere and Cauley-Stein had a very different experience at Kentucky. The end result might work out just fine for the Sacramento Kings. The duo played alongside one another for plenty of games down the stretch as the team’s starting frontcourt. It’s a look Kings fans might get used to seeing going forward.

 

Source: Kings hire Perry as Executive VP of Basketball Operations

Source: Kings hire Perry as Executive VP of Basketball Operations

SACRAMENTO -- The changes keep coming in Sacramento. NBC Sports California has confirmed that the Kings have hired former Orlando Magic executive, Scott Perry, to fill the role of Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

Perry will report directly to Vlade Divac, who will retain final say in player personnel decisions.

Perry spent the last five seasons in Orlando as Vice President of Basketball Operations and Assistant General Manager. He was let go from the Magic last week following the dismissal of General Manager Rob Hennigan.

Perry, 53, began his career as an executive with the Detroit Pistons where he held the position of Director of Player Personnel from 2000-2007. He briefly left the Pistons, joining the Seattle Supersonics organization as an Assistant General Manager of the team for the 2007-08 season, before spending another four years as Detroit’s Vice President of Basketball Operations from 2008-2012.

Highly regarded around the league, Perry adds another experienced basketball mind to the Kings front office.

During his postseason media availability last week, Vlade Divac spoke openly about his willingness to accept additional help.

“We’re open always to improve - the team, the front office, everything is open for improvement,” Divac said. “I’m very happy and confident in what we have right now, but like I said, we should be open if something can you better.”

With the addition of Luke Bornn on Wednesday to head up the team’s analytics department, and Perry on Friday, the Kings appear to be building a stronger infrastructure as they move into a full youth movement.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical was first with the information.