HECTOR AMEZCUA / hamezcua@sacbee.com

Geoff Petrie (second from left) talks with new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive before he formally introduced new coach Michael Malone to Sacramento media. Petrie's contract was not renewed, but he continued working on behalf of the team through the final days of his long tenure with the team.

Petrie ends silence, says he's glad Kings are staying put

Published: Tuesday, Jun. 18, 2013 - 5:53 pm
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 5:38 pm

Through it all, Geoff Petrie remained silent.

When it appeared in January the Kings would be sold and moved to Seattle, the Kings basketball president answered only questions pertaining to the team, kept mostly in the dark about the owners' plans to sell to a Seattle-based group.

When the Kings were finally sold to a local ownership group, Petrie remained silent, continuing his daily duties while Vivek Ranadive searched for his replacement.

Pete D'Alessandro's hiring officially ended Petrie's era of running the Kings' basketball operations, which he's done since 1994.

On Tuesday, Petrie ended his silence. In an interview with The Bee, the longtime executive wanted to make one thing clear - he's happy for Sacramento and the efforts made by those to keep the team in town.

"That's where my heart was in the whole thing," Petrie said. "In spite of being grateful to the Maloofs and working for them all those years, I had really strong feelings that the team needed to stay here. My hat's off to those people."

The past few months were unlike any other for Petrie and his staff. They continued preparing for the June 27 draft - evaluating college talent, bringing in players to work out - knowing someone else likely would make the selections for the Kings.

"It's not normal, but we have a lot of people with a lot of years of experience, a lot of knowledge and good information," Petrie said. "You pass along what you can and what you're asked about, and you still have the opportunity to carry on that information forward for the benefit of not only yourself but maybe other people, too.

"But being a professional is trying to continue to do the best job you can under the circumstances you have. That's just the way it is."

All the work hasn't been for naught. While Ranadive interviewed candidates for general manager, Petrie was helpful to new coach Michael Malone.

"I just told (Petrie) how much I appreciate him sticking around because he knows the draft a lot better than I do," Malone said. "He's been studying these guys ... . And he also can offer great insights to the current players on our roster as to what their strengths, weaknesses are and personalities. But I'm still going to keep an open mind and form my opinion on these guys."

That didn't make the situation any less unique.

It's not often a professional sports executive, who has been told he will be replaced, agrees to stay and help the transition of new employees.

"It was different, but transitions tend to be," Petrie said. "Even the easiest of them tend to be herky-jerky. Throw in the time frame of this whole thing with all the important things that are going to happen in a real short period of time, some of it is understandable, I think."

Signs of the transition were evident at Tuesday's predraft workouts. Petrie wasn't watching during the portion open to the media. Of Petrie's executives, only Shareef Abdur-Rahim is a candidate to survive the front-office purge.

Longtime executives Wayne Cooper and Mike Petrie, Geoff's son, are among those who won't return as D'Alessandro implements his plan for the Kings with changes to basketball and support staff.

Malone's interactions were different, too.

Instead of chatting with Petrie as he had during previous workouts, Malone spoke with D'Alessandro at the end of the workout.

With that, Petrie's time is waning. His contract expires June 30.

"He's his own man, he has his own team, and it's going to be his draft and so on," Petrie said of D'Alessandro. "He's got a lot to assimilate in a very short time as far the specifics of our team. But as far as the draft goes, I'm sure he's done his homework on it leading up to it before coming over here.

"I'm sure he can handle it on his own. And we spent a lot of time with Mike, and I really enjoyed talking with him. I'm sure they'll be putting in some long hours until next Thursday."

Those are long hours Petrie won't be putting in for the Kings for the first time in 19 years.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

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