HoopsHype Jason Levien rumors
Sacramento Kings assistant general manager Jason Levien has decided to leave the organization, according to NBA front-office sources. ESPN.com
Sources said Thursday that Levien plans to continue working in the NBA but wanted to pursue other opportunities after two seasons with the Kings. ESPN.com reported last month that Levien was one of several names under consideration for the GM opening in Phoenix created by Steve Kerr’s departure. San Antonio assistant general manager Dennis Lindsey is the reported front-runner for the position, but Suns owner Robert Sarver has said he is considering up to 10 candidates, with former New Jersey Nets general manager Kiki Vandeweghe Milwaukee executive Jeff Weltman also mentioned as likely targets. ESPN.com
As the NBA Draft approaches, the extended absences of senior vice-president/general counsel Jason Levien is prompting questions about his role within the Kings organization. A former attorney and player agent - Hedo Turkoglu, Kevin Martin and Omri Casspi are ex-clients - Levien was hired in Nov., 2005, to assist Geoff Petrie with contract negotiations, salary cap matters and other basketball-related issues. The past several weeks, however, Levien has missed most of the player workouts and rarely been seen on the premises. When I asked Petrie about the situation after the Samuel Dalembert press conference earlier today, the basketball president was even more tight-lipped than usual. "I don't know what to tell you," he said. "He's (Levien) currently employed. That's all I can say." When pressed about his one-time close associate's extended absences, Petrie added, "He's been working outside the building on other assignments." Sacramento Bee
Though the relationship between Petrie and Levien has become increasingly strained - for whatever reasons - Levien was given additional duties on the business side three months ago when Matina Kolokotronis replaced business president John Thomas. A New York native whose wife is a high-ranking executive with Forbes magazine, Levien remains close with Kolokotronis and co-owners Joe and Gavin Maloof. The brothers in the past have touted Levien as Petrie's eventual successor. In a brief conversation, Kolokotronis acknowledged that Levien has been much more closely involved with business issues, including the team's involvement in construction of a downtown arena. One source indicated that the organization's higher-ups plan to meet within the next few days to resolve matters. Sacramento Bee
Sources said Sarver also hopes to talk to Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge, former New Jersey Nets assistant GM Kiki Vandeweghe and former Portland Trail Blazers assistant GM Tom Penn. Sources told ESPN.com's Marc Stein that Sarver also has interest in Sacramento Kings assistant general manager Jason Levien. ESPN.com
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