The Sacramento Kings have spent this NBA offseason as a darling of the league for the first time in what feels like 15 years. They drafted well, nabbing hyperfast point guard De’Aaron Fox at five and picking three more players later in the draft that were generally viewed as good value picks for a franchise utterly bereft of talent thanks to years of mismanagement. Boogie Cousins is gone, but five rookies came to the River City this summer.
When free agency started, the team was aggressive but not overly so, as they brought in respected old guys like Vince Carter and Zach Randolph and also signed veteran point guard George Hill on a value deal to teach Fox and the team’s other guards how to play. It made sense! Zach Lowe even praised them!
Naturally, the man behind it all is leaving town.
Kings GM Vlade Divac has shown himself to be a rather incapable GM, as he’s flummoxed by the salary cap and once admitted to trading his superstar player for a substandard return. After the Orlando Magic fired Scott Perry in April, Sacramento hired him as assistant GM, although they planned to let him run the team. Perry engineered a bright start to the post-Boogie era and he deserved the praise he earned for setting the Kings up well. His reputation so much that, as Vincent Goodwill first reported this afternoon, the rudderless Knicks went and hired him as their new GM. God damn it.
On one hand, it’s rather generous of the Kings to let the Knicks hire away the man who helped get them back on something resembling the right track after less than three months on the job. Even if you have to work under James Dolan, GM of the Knicks is an inarguably more high profile job than being Vlade Divac’s lieutenant in Sacramento. That said, it’s also deflating for Kings fans who finally got to witness their team smartly retool and accrue youngsters with potential instead of blow free agency dollars on players like Rajon Rondo and Kosta Koufos. Perry isn’t the sole auteur of the Kings roster, but a franchise that’s been a sad joke had begun to turn its reputation around under Perry and that doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. The Kings will at least get some financial compensation in the deal.
As for Perry, he’ll have a lot to deal with immediately, as he’ll need to settle the Carmelo Anthony situation and assuage Kristaps Porzingis. At least working under a meddlesome owner like Vivek Ranadive should mentally prepare him for life under Dolan.