It might be a new era for Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Pete D’Alessandro, but for Kings fans this has become a tiring spring ritual:
For the eighth consecutive season, the Kings will stagger across the regular-season finish line Wednesday, clutching airline tickets long ago punched for summer vacation instead of a trip to the playoffs.
While fans of 16 other NBA teams can look forward to exciting best-of-seven playoff series, Kings fans are left rubbing their rabbit’s foot in hopes a purple ping-pong ball finally bounces into the No. 1 spot at the draft lottery May 20.
But as usual, the Kings will draw the fifth or seventh pick for the June 26 draft and select a one-and-done college star who will give fans high hopes and little results next season.
DeMarcus Cousins, who will begin his new four-year contract that essentially gives him 62 million reasons to continue to act like a playground bully, will continue to improve but still produce more headaches than victories, and the Kings will finish a ninth straight season out of the playoffs and have their fans again reaching for the rabbit’s foot.
And the wheels on the Kings’ bus go round and round, round and round, all decade long ...
That is if Ranadive and D’Alessandro don’t right this ship now, not when the doors to the new arena open.
The Kings turned the franchise around once in 1998 by making a bold offseason trade and free-agent acquisition that brought Chris Webber and Vlade Divac, respectively, to Sacramento. The moves triggered a stretch of eight consecutive playoff seasons and nearly an NBA championship.
If the Kings want to end this eight-year cycle of losing, such bold moves are needed again.
Rubbing a rabbit’s foot and drafting one-and-done college stars isn’t working.
• Re-sign Rudy Gay, Isaiah Thomas
• Through the draft
• Trades and free agency
• Bubba Watson: 32%
• Tiger Woods: 32%
• Phil Mickelson: 5%
• Rory McIlroy: 9%
• Other: 22%