Petrie is out in Kings' overhaul
05/29/2013 12:00 AM
02/26/2014 6:06 PM
With the imminent departure of basketball president Geoff Petrie, the Kings' new decision-makers could be finalized by the end of the week.
Petrie, who joined the Kings in 1994 and whose contract expires at the end of June, was told Thursday he would not be brought back to run basketball operations, a decision that was expected.
On Tuesday, the NBA board of governors unanimously approved the sale of the team to a group led by Vivek Ranadive. The sale is expected to close by the end of the week, paving the way for Ranadive to set up a new front office and hire a new coaching staff.
Ranadive, a software tycoon from Silicon Valley, is expected to use his connections as a minority owner with the Warriors to help fill openings with the Kings.
So it's no surprise two names being discussed to replace Petrie and a possible replacement for coach Keith Smart have ties to the Warriors.
One candidate to replace Petrie is Golden State assistant general manager/director of player personnel Travis Schlenk. Another candidate is Chris Mullin, the Hall of Fame player who spent most of his career with the Warriors.
And a leading candidate to replace Smart is highly regarded Golden State assistant coach Mike Malone. Smart has one year left on his contract but isn't expected to be retained.
Schlenk, 39, fits the mold of many of today's newest general managers. He's young, not a former NBA player and relies on several tools to build a roster, including analytics and personality tests. Schlenk joined the Warriors in 2004 as a video scout and later became an assistant coach under Mike Montgomery before working his way into the front office. He has been the Warriors' assistant general manager since 2011.
Mullin, 49, was hired as the Warriors' executive vice president of basketball operations in 2004, but his contract was not renewed in 2009. During Mullin's tenure, the eighth-seeded Warriors upset top-seeded Dallas in the opening round of the Western Conference playoffs in 2007. Mullin was criticized for some big contracts given to players during his tenure, but he was praised for bringing Don Nelson back to coach the team.
Malone, a noted strategist who has been an assistant for the Warriors since 2011, played a key role in the team's success under second-year coach Mark Jackson this season.
The hiring of a coach is considered a priority because options are disappearing. Charlotte (Los Angeles Lakers assistant Steve Clifford), Phoenix (Utah assistant Jeff Hornacek) and Atlanta (San Antonio assistant Mike Budenholzer) have recently filled head-coaching vacancies, and the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn and Milwaukee still have openings. Lionel Hollins, in the final year of his contract with Memphis, has been mentioned for all three jobs.
Veteran coach Jerry Sloan and Indiana assistant Brian Shaw also could be considered to replace Smart, the only Kings coach under contract beyond this season.
Until a decision can be formally made, the basketball operations staff continues to work. Petrie is in Minnesota with the rest of the front office staff at a group pre-draft workout.
Petrie was named the NBA Executive of the Year in 1999 and 2001, but recent seasons haven't been as successful, and the Kings have missed the playoffs the last seven seasons.
The Kings' scouting also has come under criticism.
The team passed on Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Nikola Vucevic and Kenneth Faried in the 2011 draft, selecting point guard Jimmer Fredette instead. Fredette has struggled for playing time after Isaiah Thomas, the last pick in the same draft, surpassed him during their rookie season.
And last year's No. 5 pick, forward Thomas Robinson, was traded during the season to Houston, where he seldom played.
Damian Lillard, a player the Kings considered and some within the organization wanted, was picked sixth by Portland and became Rookie of the Year. Harrison Barnes was selected seventh by Golden State and became a starter on a playoff team.
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