May 16, 2013

Kings' front office and player personnel issues on hold

Amid news of the NBA rejecting a move to Seattle, four members of the Kings' front office and head coach Keith Smart were in Chicago for the league's draft scouting combine, continuing to prepare for next season.

Kings fans celebrated. Seattle basketball fans were dejected.

The Maloofs contemplated their next move after the NBA board of governors voted 22-8 against relocating the Kings to Seattle, rejecting their agreement to sell the franchise to Chris Hansen's Seattle-based ownership group.

Amid all this, four members of the Kings' front office and head coach Keith Smart were in Chicago for the league's draft scouting combine, continuing to prepare for next season.

Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie is in the final year of his contract. But even as talk of sale and relocation of the franchise became more than rumor in January, Petrie has continued to prepare for the coming offseason.

Petrie offered no hint as to his plans beyond the end of June when his contract expires. He has thought about it, though.

"Oh, yeah, but I can't talk about it," Petrie said via phone from Chicago.

Petrie and his staff met with six prospects Wednesday.

The ownership situation leaves a lot uncertain. In a more stable situation, Petrie might have been told whether he's wanted back, or a successor might have been named already.

But the Kings' ownership prospects haven't been stable for months, so Petrie and his staff are going about the business of preparing for another high draft pick.

"It's still your job, your responsibility, and people take pride in that," Petrie said. "Everybody asks the same questions about a lot of things.

"Meeting these young kids and seeing how excited they are about coming and having the chance to be drafted and come into the league, some of it's been fairly refreshing, too."

The Kings finished with the sixth-worst record in the NBA (28-54), giving them a 6.3 percent chance of landing the top overall pick in next month's NBA draft.

The draft lottery will be held Tuesday. Minor details such as who will represent the Kings at the lottery have yet to be made official as who owns the team is still being sorted out.

Commissioner David Stern said the NBA would help facilitate talks between the Maloofs and the prospective Sacramento ownership group led by Vivek Ranadive.

But there is no guarantee the Maloofs will sell. And if they do, the deal would impact if and when changes are made that would affect Petrie, his staff and Smart.

Smart's contract runs through next season.

The Kings also have big decisions to make about the two players who have been touted as keys to ending the rebuilding process.

Tyreke Evans just finished his fourth season and is eligible to become a free agent. The Kings can make Evans a restricted free agent with a qualifying offer that would give Sacramento the right to match any offer he would receive while still negotiating with Evans, too.

The Kings could decide to let Evans walk without having the right to match an offer. They have until June 30 to decide.

Then there's center DeMarcus Cousins. The ultratalented yet problematic center is eligible for a contract extension this offseason.

This time last year it appeared almost certain the Kings would sign Cousins to a lucrative deal. But after an enigmatic third season that included three suspensions, Cousins might have to wait for a big payday.

The Kings interviewed six prospects Wednesday: Reggie Bullock (North Carolina), Alex Len (Maryland), Tim Hardaway Jr. (Michigan), Richard Howell (North Carolina State), Tony Snell (New Mexico) and Deshaun Thomas (Ohio State).

The process will continue today.

"We're continuing to go on doing what we normally do," Petrie said.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at

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