According to our friend Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, John Salmons had a message for the media last night from his Staples Center locker.
“Strictly on the players. It’s not the coach’s fault.”
Salmons was right about last night, but overall there is plenty of blame to go around. This team is a hot mess and just when you think things can’t be worse, Virginia Beach, Seattle or Sean Elliott happens.
At 4-12, the players are failing to get the job done. In fairness, very few of them chose to come to this franchise. Most of the Kings were drafted by the club or were traded here at one point or another.
I bring this up because Sacramento is not a destination city – no matter how much Mayor Kevin Johnson would like it to be. And the Kings are not a destination franchise. Years of losing, combined with a never-ending arena/relocation saga, has dramatically reduced the draw of becoming a Sacramento King.
I refuse to guess whether the Maloof family fortune is still in tact or not, but the perception from the outside is clear. They are considered broke and unstable, not the fun-loving Las Vegas jet setters they were known as a decade ago. That is the perception and agents don’t line their clients up to sign contracts with teams that might change geographic locations at any time.
But the owners aren’t the only ones to blame. Since Rick Adelman left the franchise six seasons ago, a solid stream of coaches has failed to get things done. The front office hasn’t exactly filled the roster cabinets with talent either. And lastly, like Salmons said, plenty of blame can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the players, many of whom have never developed.
You can feel it building. Change is coming and it’s coming fast. I have never been a proponent of change for change’s sake, but we are well past that. It’s time for fresh blood, probably at multiple levels.
It’s time for a new culture.
Where do you start? Who goes first and how many heads have to roll? Those questions are above my paygrade.
Winning cures all. It makes a coach look good. It makes a move by a general manager look brilliant and if an owner can bring you a championship ring, he could own your town – maybe even get a new arena built with public funds.
But this team isn’t winning. And they haven’t won for a long time.
Would a trade make things better? Yes. This is a bad mix of players and it is evident every single night, but who makes that move? Do fans or the owners still trust that Geoff Petrie is the right guy to remake this roster again?
There are way more questions than answers, but you have to start somewhere. A once loyal fanbase is at its wits’ end. They want to cheer and fall back in love with their Kings. But in it’s current state, this team isn’t giving them any reason to.
So it’s time for change. It’s time for someone or maybe everybody to take responsibility for the mess that is unfolding in Sacramento.