Blog Entry

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

Posted on: December 24, 2010 2:46 am
Edited on: December 24, 2010 6:54 am
Kings owner Joe Maloof denied a report by Friday that the team was considering firing GM Geoff Petrie and coach Paul Westphal after 21 losses in 23 games. 

“There’s nothing going on,” Maloof told by phone. “Paul Westphal is the coach and Geoff is our general manager. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it’s going to stay.” 

When pressed, Maloof said definitively that Petrie and Westphal will be in their positions for the remainder of the 2010-11 season regardless of how many games the team loses. 

“Yes,” Maloof said. “We’re not making any moves. The answer is yes.” 

A person with direct knowledge of recent statements by a high-ranking member of the organization painted a different picture, telling that frustration with the Kings’ 5-22 record had reached a breaking point. At one point after the Kings’ 84-79 home loss to the Bucks Thursday night, owner Gavin Maloof was overheard in the tunnel saying that the culture of the organization had to change. “It’s time to hit the reset button,” Gavin Maloof said, according to the source. 

Gavin Maloof did not return a phone call seeking comment early Friday. 

His brother, Joe, expressed confidence in Petrie and Westphal, citing the team’s past two first-round picks, Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins, who has been fined, kicked out of practice, and most recently, fined and benched by Westphal for making a choking sign during a loss to Golden State Tuesday night. 

“DeMarcus Cousins, he’s going to be a tremendous player,” Joe Maloof said. “He’s going to have his ups and downs just like any rookie does. I’m telling you the way I feel. He’s got extraordinary talent, and with he and Tyreke, we have a tremendous future. … I think going forward, we’re in a great, great position. We’re in a wonderful situation.” 

One of the people who earlier spoke to, on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss company business, said there were concerns within the organization about whether Westphal was the right coach to calm Cousins’ combustible personality and groom him into a dependable star. 

Joe Maloof said, “We’re very, very happy with all of our young players and I see a bright future with DeMarcus.” 

The same person said Petrie has gone to bat for Westphal, urging the Maloofs to give him time with Cousins before making an assessment. He said the Maloofs were deeply concerned about Westphal – Petrie’s hire – because they view Cousins as “the hope of the franchise,” and they were beginning to fear that, “Paul isn’t the right guy to mature this guy.” 

“He’s not at war with his coach,” Joe Maloof said of Cousins. “That’s not true.” 

When confronted about whether the Maloofs were concerned that Petrie had urged them to exercise a guarantee in Westphal’s contract for 2011-12 -- given the turmoil with Cousins and the losing -- Joe Maloof said, “We’re glad we did it. We did it for a reason. And the reason is that we have a lot of confidence in Paul. He’s a true professional. He’s a class act. 

“We’ve got a very young team, an inexperienced team with no veteran leadership,” Joe Maloof said. “And that’s something that we’re going to look to acquire in the future. We know what our deficiencies are: our shooting and free throws. But we’re in every game to the wire. It’s been very frustrating we’ve lost these games. You have your peaks and your valleys, and right now we’re in a valley. So what? You can climb out of that valley, and we will. We have the assets. We have the resources. When you have the cap space, it’s a tremendous thing in the NBA. And it’s a tremendous thing going forward. Next year, we’ll have a lot of money going forward. We didn’t want to spend our money until we knew what the consequences would be with the collective bargaining agreement.” 

Sources said John Whisenant, a longtime friend of the Maloofs and the GM and coach who led the Sacramento Monarchs to the WNBA championship, was at the top of the Maloofs’ list of candidates to succeed Petrie as GM. Assistant coach Jim Eyen, a longtime assistant for former Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, was the probable choice to take over as interim coach. But with Joe Maloof saying definitively early Friday that no in-season change would be made with either position, those plans are on hold. 

Petrie, understanding that his job security had taken a hit when he agreed to a severe pay cut this season, had been urging the Maloofs to let him groom his son, Mike, to replace him, according to sources who said the Maloofs recently rejected the idea. 

After enjoying a honeymoon period in his first season as Kings coach, guiding Evans to a rookie-of-the-year campaign that nonetheless resulted in another trip to the lottery, Westphal has had nothing but turmoil in his second year on the job. According to a person close to Westphal, his authority was hampered by Petrie’s selection of Cousins, a known character risk, with the fifth pick in the draft. True to his reputation, Cousins has caused problems from the beginning and very quickly began to affect Evans' attitude, the person close to Westphal said.

When asked when he wants to see progress with the current roster and executives in place, Joe Maloof said, “We want to see progress, but like I mentioned to you, our future’s very strong. … We look forward to having a lot of cap room in the future and to be able to make some moves then. 

"When we see a player that comes along that has an opportunity to help our franchise, we’ll do that,” he said. “Bt we’re not going to spend money just for the sake of spending money. That cap space is precious. It’s precious.”

Since: Aug 24, 2010
Posted on: December 24, 2010 8:59 pm

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

All the Maloofs know is how to fire people.  No one believes anything they say.  They are the central problem, because they think running an NBA franchise is not dissimilar to running a hotel business.  They've made bad judgments aplenty and taken foolish risks hoping for a break in fortune.  This is not like gambling on the strip.  When an owner gets arrested for DUI, what kind of message does that send to a team of young players?  Westfall will get fired because of a troublesome rookie, who will continue as a problem for the next coach.      

Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2010 4:10 pm

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

Usually, when one "presses the reset the button" for an organization it usually involves changes at the very top to the bottom. The Maloofs are at the top. Perhaps the Kings need a change in owners...ones who actually want to win games rather than use the team as a means to expand their other business ventures.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2010 2:43 pm

Joe Maloof, Petrie, Westphal in big trouble

Joe Maloof said, “We’re very, very happy with all of our young players and I see a bright future with DeMarcus.”  

When your idiot owner makes a comment that throws the coach under the bus its over. DeMarcus is trouble, has been and always will be trouble. How you can build a franchise on a lazy, no discipline, marginal intelligence type of player is beyond rational thought. Drafting this guy was the wrong move for a desperate franchise. Get the MaGoof's out of the picture and this team is long gone from Cali. Now that the bad is rubbing off of DeMarcus onto Evans is further proof of a dysfunctional team created by Geoff Petrie. Fire the coach after New Year sounds like a MaGoofs plan of action. Geoff Petrie all hung up about giving his son Mike a job reeks of incompetence. This team needs some experienced leadership not cronyism. What was once an elite team (2000-01) with a fantastic fan base is now a shell of what a real NBA franchise should be. Kings = team for contraction.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2010 12:10 pm

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

Geoff Petrie has been an NBA fraud ever since he "co-shared" the Rookie of Year award with Dave Cowens back in 1971.

Since: Sep 10, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2010 11:21 am

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

Agreed....Geoff Petrie is worthless.  The first move should be to get rid of him.

Since: Oct 10, 2006
Posted on: December 24, 2010 10:34 am

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

The Maloofs aren't the only problem with this team but are a large part indeed. The other knucklehead is Geoff Petrie. They needed to fire this idiot about 10 years ago. What he has been allowed to do with this franchise is criminal. A complete moron. No real basketball knowledge and a complete fail. Good riddance. Geoff Petrie is a fraud. Can his butt on 12/25. Merry Christmas!

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2010 9:25 am

Joe Maloof denies Petrie, Westphal in trouble

The Maloofs are completely incompetent at running a basketball franchise.  They had a couple trades go their way back in 2000 but they have never evaluated talent well.  I bet it is killing them not being on shown on the sidelines on national tv anymore either.  We know the love spending daddy's money and the attention it brings.

Since: Aug 20, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2010 3:59 am

Sources: Kings poised to fire Petrie, Westphal

Who cares? this team cannot win....the NBA has elite teams....these guys are practice dummies.....this a practice sqaud....

Since: Nov 12, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2010 3:38 am

Sources: Kings poised to fire Petrie, Westphal

Sadly, can you say Las Vegas Kings?

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