The interplay between Smith and the Philips Arena crowd was lively throughout the night. Smith, an Atlanta native who played his first nine NBA seasons with the Hawks, was booed loudly whenever he touched the ball. The catcalls grew louder in the third quarter, after Smith drained a 3-pointer that rattled around the rim several times before dropping in. Smith then shushed the crowd by placing his finger over his lips as the Hawks called timeout. “I mean, those fans are fickle, very fickle and bandwagoners,” Smith said. “It really doesn’t mean anything to me.”
February 8, 2016 | 11:55 am EST Update
The front office’s confidence in Karl has almost completely eroded, league sources told The Vertical. The end could come Monday in Cleveland, Wednesday in Philadelphia, or some time over the All-Star break. Sacramento is reeling, losers of seven of its last eight and has surrendered a stunning 256 points in its last two games.
Players have tuned out Karl, privately seething over inefficient practices and shootarounds, and ineffective in-game adjustments from the bench, league sources told The Vertical. The dysfunction may have originated with Karl and DeMarcus Cousins, but it has spread through the locker room like an infection. Indeed, barring a surprising turn of events, it’s more likely assistant coach Corliss Williamson finishes the season as the Kings head coach than Karl.
Ranadive will soon be on the hunt for a new coach, though don’t be surprised if interest in the Kings’ gig is lukewarm. “One of 30 jobs in the world” is a popular cliché spouted by recently hired coaches, yet Ranadive has made it 29 and a “Well, if I have to” proposition. Established coaches won’t touch the Kings’ job while rising assistants like Atlanta’s Kenny Atkinson or Boston’s Jay Larranaga won’t run toward it either. Coaches with options don’t fight to work for management that refuses to support the people it hires, and they don’t sign on with an owner who seems more interested in the cache that comes with owning an NBA team than the business of operating one.
Kings minority owners have quietly explored ways to seize controlling interest from Ranadive, sources told The Vertical, but on this there is little recourse. Owning an NBA team has become almost bulletproof, with an owner-friendly CBA redirecting the money and billions in television revenue set to flow into the league’s coffers in the coming year. Ranadive’s mismanagement has set the rebuilding Kings back years, but that alone won’t be enough for anyone to remove him.
No surprise, of course, with the team’s poor performance and the YES – Comcast dispute, but the Nets once again had the lowest local TV ratings of any NBA team, at 0.47, for the first half of the season. That means that less than one-half of one percent of the households in the New York metropolitan area tuned in on a regular basis. That works out to less than 35,000 households per game, or about double what the Nets are entertaining at Barclays on a given night. The Nets rank 27th in attendance, at 14,881, or about 84 percent of the arena capacity.