Posted by: natehughart | May 29, 2009

The importance of Jason Levien

We all remember that that Levien was hired. What some people are forgetting was that Geoff Petrie essentially pushed this hire. Levien is not window dressing. He does the job. He does basketball work, salary cap work, and everything else. He is, after all, an assistant GM.

There are many benefits to having a guy like Levien due to his background as an agent.

  • He’s creative in finding ways to bring players over from Europe (he’s had experience in doing so with Hedo Turkoglu)
  • He has taken risks on talent when he was an agent (Kevin Martin anyone?)
  • He’s a lawyer
  • He’s played basketball in college
  • Geoff Petrie brought him in

Re hash your memories of him with this Amick article, and blog entry if you must.

Let me tell you something about Jason Levien: He works with, and today, for Geoff Petrie. I’m excited about him. Yes, I know that he was an agent and a lawyer. In some circles that is death. To me, it’s just yet another reason to be excited about him.

Here are things that you can already credit Levien for:

  • Selling the Sam Cassell trade to the Maloof’s/Petrie on the financial angle
  • Ditto with Will Solomon AND Ike Diogu
  • He probably helped sell the Maloofs, and possibly Petrie, that trading for Nocioni was not that big of a financial risk; of course Geoff doesn’t seem to be willingly to want to trade him either

Now, here’s something that people forget. Levien took a paycut to come to the Kings organization. Given his success as an agent, that’s probably a fairly steep paycut. He can do a good things for this franchise. He knows the CBA back & forth (no easy feat). He speaks legalese. He’s skilled in contract negotiations. He’s a friend of Geoff Petrie. GEOFF PETRIE WANTS THIS GUY HERE!

What?

Let me repeat.

GEOFF PETRIE WANTED JASON LEVIEN THAT HE DAMN NEAR MOVED HELL AND EARTH TO GET HIM HERE!

Well, maybe not heaven & earth. But, I would not be shocked if that was the case.

For a long time this franchise has had seemingly dysfunctional practices in how it’s looked for coaches. If Petrie had to suddenly retire, a very given possibility that he’s 64, this franchise had nobody to take over. Now, if Geoff Petrie suddenly dropped dead, we’d all be aghast with grief. Any Kings fan who passionately cares about the team. Eventually, the sourness would go away. Rising through those ashes would be Levien. (By no means am I hoping this happens. Oh god, do I hope that does not happen. Please Geoff, live to your 100. You know, if you wouldn’t mind.)

That’s the beauty of having an agent, lawyer, CBA expert on your team. It provides monetary value for your franchise that you might not otherwise have. Yes, hiring a guy like this is out of the box. It’s something this franchise has desperately needed for the last several years.

But, yesterday Draft Express talked to him for a bit. Here’s what he had to say:

This is a good opportunity to see guys in a different setting, outside of their college uniforms, and against guys at their positions. It’s one means of measuring players against each other. From a skills perspective, you can look at their ball-handling, look at their shooting, evaluate their mechanics, and get a feel for them that way. It’s a piece to the puzzle. You don’t want to make it more than that. There is a danger that when it comes so close to the draft that you forget the body of work. This is an opportunity to see them in a different setting, and in that regard it’s important.”

I alluded to this a few days ago when Levien went to Cooper to watch a workout in Santa Monica. That was important. That’s trust within the braintrust. I like that. No, fuck that, I LOVE IT TO DEATH!

For the first time, in at least several years anyway, the good ship Sacramento Kings seems of sustaining floatable mechanics. Man, am I pleased.

What really pleases me is that if Levien is the guy who does succeed Petrie (pretty likely), it probably will because he has a total package. He’s skilled in negotiations, the CBA, scouting talent, and who knows what else. How many GM’s can really say that? How many teams boast a single front office member with Levien’s resume? The Kings are ready for domination! (As soon as Ricky Rubio drops to 4. Crosses fingers.)


Responses

  1. [...] wants a better chance to rise up the ranks. I won’t speculate on Levien’s value, but after the cap cutting deals he helped the team cut in February 09, it’s quite possible Levien’s value changed come next June. Could he have pushed for [...]


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