Vivek Ranadive Rumors
Ranadive – who initiated the spat early last week by claiming, among other things, that none of the coaches or the general manager wanted to remain with the franchise he purchased from the Maloofs in May 2013 – contacted The Bee late Friday and offered what sounded like a combination act of contrition and concession speech. “I wanted to sincerely apologize to Geoff Petrie and his team,” the owner began, speaking softly. “I meant no disrespect. I have the utmost respect for what they have done for the franchise and what they have accomplished. I fully understand that it’s a huge privilege to own a basketball team, and as chairman of the ownership, the buck stops with me. I accept responsibility for everything. All the mistakes are my mistakes.”
Petrie and his front office staffers stayed around during the chaotic, time-compressed ownership transition to scout players and help incoming coach Michael Malone work out prospects before the June 27 NBA draft. “When it comes to some of the representations about myself and Keith Smart, and the management group that was there at the time,” Petrie vented to Deadspin, “it was basically, totally untrue. I brought everybody together at different occasions and said, ‘Look, we’re going to be professional here. We’re going to continue to work like we would every other year, and ultimately we will assist any new people that may come in here and try and make them comfortable and get situated.’ ”
Does the latest Vivek drama weigh on any of the players or staff at all, or do they seem to just be brushing it off? Jason Jones: Anyone who has been around has learned not to worry about what Vivek says. I don’t even consider what he said drama. He just got to talking, perhaps too much. And in making himself look good, he diminished the importance of people who had been here.
Geoff rarely goes off like that and in many points he made, he was spot on. I’ve talked to many folks who are no longer with the organization since Vivek took over and they all say all the issues start up top with him. Vivek hired Malone and then oversaw him being unfairly (in my opinion) fired. He hired Pete D’Alessandro to be the GM and then brought in Vlade and it wasn’t even clear to Pete that Vlade was his boss. Vivek wanted George Karl, even though almost anyone in the league would have told you that was not going to work. So I’m with Petrie on that point.
Petrie wrote that Ranadivé’s interview was a “sophomoric attempt at revisionist history,” and that the “representations regarding Keith Smart, myself, and our professional staff” were in fact “an ugly lie.” Today we had a conversation, which has been edited and condensed for clarity, in which we discussed Ranadivé’s interview, what it was like when he bought the team from Joe and Gavin Maloof, how the Kings became bad during the end of Petrie’s time in charge, and whether he has any interest in getting back into the league.
Do you know how many of those people were retained, or how they were treated, the people below the top people on the basketball side, the people most of us wouldn’t have ever heard of? Geoff Petrie: None of them ever really … they basically slaughtered a high percentage of them without any discussion or … a bunch of supplicants came in after Pete was hired, and they basically cleaned house. They kept a few people, but most of them were gone within a year. And the situation with Shareef [Abdur-Rahim] was, who happens to be one of the classiest people you’ll ever run across, was … really deplorable.
The first I heard of it was in that interview, the situation with Shareef. It was portrayed as a common business disagreement or something, but you’re making it sound like it was more serious than that? Geoff Petrie: The way it came across in the article is like [Ranadivé] came in there and there was nobody there, nobody wanted to be there. Keith Smart wanted to be there! He had a year left on his contract. He didn’t get a discussion or an interview, he got a 90-second phone call in his car that they weren’t going to keep him. How do you arrive at a statement that he didn’t want to be there?