A telling article from SI’s Sam Amick this morning in which Kings owner Joe Maloof admits he had no knowledge of Paul Westphal’s press release this past Sunday.
The Kings former coach adamantly suggested that Kings big man DeMarcus Cousins demanded (key word there) to be traded two times in the past two weeks and confirmed that he had support from upper-management in his decision to publicly castrate Cousins, except that he technically didn’t – at least not from ownership:
“I didn’t know about any letter,” Maloof said by phone Thursday. “We didn’t know about any of that. … We didn’t know about the statement or anything like that.
“They made a basketball decision, to sit him for a night and that’s the only thing that we do know.”
When asked if he was upset by the letter, Maloof said: “Well, we’ve owned the team 13 years and it’s our belief that you keep basketball situations in house and not make them public. That did upset me. … It’s always been our history to keep things in the organization and not to make it public. As far as I was concerned, [Cousins] would sit the bench one night and that’s all there was to it.”
The support, if you want to call it that, was more or less an allowance by general manager Geoff Petrie to, in my humble opinion, do two things which allowed Geoff to keep his hands free of any product. First, it gave Geoff more ammunition to fire Westphal (outside of poor performance on the court) and it secondly allowed Petrie to bring Cousins’ perceived attitude problems down a notch without getting his fingerprints all over the crime scene.
Make no mistake, there’s no confirmation to this and it’s simply my opinion, but there was most certainly a reason that Paul Westphal released that statement and not Geoff Petrie, President of Basketball Operations. From the moment it hit my in-box, I knew something was incredibly odd given that the fact that both the Maloofs and Petrie were absent from the press release.
The last thing Petrie wanted to do was upset Cousins or be viewed as the mean parent in this scenario. With Westphal essentially on life support, it appears as if Petrie hopefully solved two problems in his book – a lack of leadership in the locker room and hopefully reeling in Cousins’ excitable personality with the embarrassing situation that he allowed Westphal to create.
Now with a hopefully toned down Cousins (I question just how bad it really was, but I digress) and clean air in the locker room, Petrie can move on from both bad situations without leaving a dirty fingerprint in either crime scene.