Kings: Big changes in the front office as Scott Perry joins the Knicks as GM

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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Scott Perry NYK Gen Mgr. Photo NBA.com

Just as everything appeared to be on the way to stability for the Sacramento Kings — BAM! — big changes have been announced in the front office operations for the team. Executive vice-president for basketball operations Scott Perry has been hired by the New York Knicks to be their new general manager. Reports have Perry receiving a five-year contract.

Perry joined the Kings front office on April 21. The Kings could have told Perry no because he was under contract and told the Knicks to go look elsewhere for a new GM. The fact the team did not block Perry from interviewing for the NYK job says a great deal about the organization’s respect for him as a person and as an executive.

There are some that are questioning the Kings decision to let Perry walk away from the team including two NBA executives that were quoted in the New York Post on Friday:

“It’s a little strange, getting fired in Orlando, then going to Sacramento and they’re willing to let him go so soon after a few months,’’ an NBA executive said.

The SacKings front office was the target of criticism

vlade and peja
Divac and Stojakovic

In 2016, the Kings could not get top lottery picks to come to Sacramento for tryouts and interviews. Agents viewed the organization as being in disarray and it was almost like if they avoided Sacramento their clients would not be drafted by the Kings.

There were also rumors that NBA executives were frustrated because they could not get call through or calls back from Kings executives in the front office. The lack of a traditional front office structure appeared to hurting the Kings ability to get things done operationally.

Sacramento had also been criticized for having the smallest scouting staff in the NBA. Experts felt the Kings needed to see more college talent to be successful in the draft.

Perry received much of the credit for the Kings draft and free agent signing success

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Analyst have given the Kings very positive reviews for the job they did in the 2017 draft. Virtually everyone loves the selection of point guard De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky with the number five overall pick. Most experts approve of the team taking SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina), PF Harry Giles (Duke) and PG Frank Mason III (Kansas) in the draft with their other picks. Some have said Mason might be one of the “value picks of the draft”.

“One of the top evaluators of talent in the NBA,” said one NBA executive who has worked with Perry. “The evidence is Sacramento’s free agency this year.” New York Post July 14, 2017

Sacramento then went to work signing three veteran free agents to play for a team stacked with young players. George Hill gives the Kings a veteran at point guard while Fox and Mason develop their skills at the NBA level. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter who played for Dave Joerger in Memphis were signed to play and mentor.

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Scott’s leadership was credited as being a major factor in why the Kings were able to pull things together so well in the all-important player acquisition period. The addition of analytics expert Luke Bornn along with the added experience of another year of working together for Vlade Divac and his staff also added to the success of draft and free agent signing period.

Perry is going to be trying to revive a franchise that is in shambles

NYK

One the major problems the New York Knicks have to overcome is their owner. James Dolan who has a history of making questionable decisions when it comes to his NBA team. On draft night in June, he was in Manhattan playing with his blues-rock band while Phil Jackson and his staff made the choices on who the future players for the Knicks would be.

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James Dolan NBA owner or rock star?

Of course just days later, Dolan and Jackson parted ways in a very public break up. If Dolan was planning on replacing Jackson, why did he wait until after the draft? The bottom line is that it is just another in a long line of bad decisions made by Dolan when it comes to his NBA franchise.

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Knick, Cavalier, Rocket?

The other major problem that Perry faces in his first days with the Knicks is what to do with Carmelo. Anthony has been making noises about being willing to accept a trade to another team like Houston or Cleveland. His salary and what the Knicks will want in return pose a real problem for the team to actually move Carmelo out and really begin a true rebuilding process.

Perry will work for the Knicks former general manager Steve Mills who will now be the team’s president.

Kings get cash and a future second-round draft pick but what about “Hamilton” tickets?

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The Kings will receive an undisclosed amount of cash and a future second-round draft pick as compensation for releasing Perry to sign with the Knicks. Cash? Overrated. Second-drafts picks can be helpful in closing trades.

But Vivek and Vlade, what everyone wants is tickets to “Hamilton” on Broadway. Think about the promotion your marketing team could have put together with a block of “Hamilton” tickets for the week the Kings play the Knicks and Nets in New York. Broadway and Basketball: it would have been a spectacular promotion.

If you do anymore deals with the Knicks or Nets, they must include tickets to “Hamilton”.

Kings end losing streak by crushing the Suns 142-119

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings
Darren Collison drives to the basket versus the Suns. Photo Credit: Godofredo Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

By Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – Here are words you have not heard often this season – the Sacramento Kings waltzed their way to a win on Saturday afternoon destroying the Phoenix Suns 142-119.

The win ended a 3-game losing streak for the Kings. It was the eighth consecutive loss for the Suns (12-24) who have to play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday.

The Kings (13-20) led by as many as 17 points in the first half but the Suns would not go down for the count. Phoenix outscored the Kings 35-28 in the second quarter and looked like they were ready to make a game of it.

At the half, the Kings led the Suns 59-53.

Sacramento came out in the third quarter looking like a team that was ready to put away their opponent. The Suns kept fighting and took the lead with 8:16 to go in the period. The Kings took the lead back off a Rudy Gay dunk with an assist from Casspi and they never looked back.

By the end of the third quarter, the Kings led the Suns 103-87 and every one in the building knew the fourth quarter would be a formality.

The Kings kept the hammer down in the fourth quarter outscoring the Suns 39-32. There was even a Willie Cauley-Stein sighting late in the game. Cauley-Stein played for the first time in almost a month due to a dislocated finger. The big rookie scored the first time he had the ball in his hands.

On Saturday, the Kings did what they should have done to Philadelphia on Wednesday night. They beat an inferior team and protected their home court. Sacramento is now 9-9 at home this season.

Kings

George Karl pointed to the play of Darren Collison as one of the main reasons the Kings beat the Suns. Collison came of the bench and scored 21 points hitting on 7-of-10 shooting attempts (2-for-4 3-pointers). He dished out six assists and went 5-for-6 from the free throw line in his 28 minutes of playing time.

DeMarcus Cousins had a positive outing scoring 32 points and grabbing nine rebounds. The big man shot 11-for-15 from the floor and 9-for-11 from the free throw line. Cousins spent a great deal of time in the paint and it payed off for the Kings as the Suns could not stop him.

Rajon Rondo posted another double-double game. He scored 15 points and distributed 15 assists in just 30 minutes on the floor. Rondo continues to amaze with his rebounding ability. He had six rebounds in the game with many coming at crucial moments for the Kings.

Marco Belinelli followed up his 28-point performance against the Sixers with 19 points versus the Suns. Belinelli shot 7-for-11 from the floor (2-for-5 long range) and was a perfect 3-for-3 from the foul line.

Omri Casspi had another solid game as a starter for Sacramento. He put up 13 points and hauled in seven rebounds in his 29 minutes on the floor. It is hard to see Casspi not staying in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future.

As a team, the Kings shot 60.9-percent from the field. They hit on 9-of-23 3-point attempts (39.1-percent). Sacramento outscored the Suns 60-32 in the paint.

Sacramento out-rebounded Phoenix 46-25. The Kings scored 14 second chance points to just nine for the Suns.

The Kings also took good care of the basketball. They turned the ball over 15 times while recording 30 assists for the desired 2-to-1 ratio.

Suns

No statistic of the game may be more important than the eighth consecutive loss for the Suns. If the Suns lose to the Lakers on Sunday, it is very conceivable that Jeff Hornacek will not be the Phoenix coach on Monday. The Suns have already replaced two of their assistant coaches.

Brandon Knight led the Suns scoring attack with 23 points. Rookie Devin Booker had an impressive game putting up 21 points for Phoenix.

The Suns had six players score in double figures.

Phoenix just could not match the Kings play in the paint and it cost them the game.

George Karl

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The win over the Suns gave Kings head coach George Karl his 1115th NBA regular season victory. That ties him for fifth all-time with Phil Jackson.

When asked how it felt to tie Jackson on the all-time wins list Karl said, “Its a good, fun thing with my family. My son, my daughter, my son-in-law and my staff, we joke about it all the time. As I said to you before, he’s a great coach, he’s maybe the best. I don’t know what our record is against him, but I’m pretty sure it not very good. I know its not very good in the playoffs, but it might be decent in the regular season.”

What they said after the game

“One thing I just said after the game was we had two really good days of practice,” said Karl. “The effort in the second half, DC (Darren Collison) was incredible. It was effort. I’m not sure it was pretty. I’m not sure it was conceptually excellent. It was just effort. I’m just an old school guy that believes that effort magnifies talent.”

‘Oh it’s huge, it’s huge,” said Darren Collison on the victory. “We were embarrassed by the losses we had previously. We were able to get a win. It always feels good to get a win especially when you (have to) go on the road.”

Rajon Rondo made it clear that only the press is making his return to Dallas a big deal. He said it is just another road game.

He’s been coaching a long, long time,” said Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek about George Karl. “I played against him so he’s been there a long time. He’s always done a great job with his teams. They’ve always been high-scoring, high-flying teams and with the talent they have on the this team, they got them playing that way tonight. He’s one of those great coaches of all time with the amount of wins he’s racked up.”

Up next

The Kings will face the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Monday and the Mavericks in Dallas on Tuesday.

The Suns play the Lakers in Los Angeles on Sunday.