Posted by: Kingsguru21 | May 31, 2009

Paul Westphal is the front runner

Sam Amick alluded to this yesterday in his blog post, and by no surprise to anyone today, he writes in his paper. Why am I writing this at 2 am? Cuz I’m still up and feel like writing this now. I’m cranky enough about this whole process as is, and munching on Doritos and taking a sip of Dr Skipper is not necessarily going to do anything else for my condition.

Is money an issue here? Yes, and Sam always maintained that would be the case. He’s not shying away from the insertion today.

What bothers me is that Geoff Petrie seems to be going slower than molasses on this thing. Why not interview Rambis on Sunday before going to the East Coast for personal business?

I respect that Petrie has a personal life and wants to take care of this stuff. It’s just that, give me a break. This thing is taking so long, and the Kings were the first team this off-season with an open coaching vacancy.

Okay, I’m mad about this whole deal. It’s not Paul Westphal really. It’s what he represents. It represents dysfunction. It represents, something, that’s not very useful to me. This stinks something in the realm of PJ Carleismo in Seattle. The only difference is that he had an assistant with no previous head coaching experience on his staff in Scott Brooks.

PJ doesn’t need to cry. He got his money. He was never a good fit for the job anyway. He tried to push things that just made little sense from the get-go. (Durant at the 2? For Defense? Please.)

What concerns me is one John Whisenant. The best way for Whisenant to remain in touch with the Kings is to get on the Kings staff with an older Westphal. He’s noted for his defense, and well, he’s a Maloof confidant. He can give them that insight they want inside the huddle. They still clearly want that.

They’ve played a good game so far, but have made money an issue. Why? Well, because they can.

But, I’m starting to wonder if it’s reasonable to expect them to make this all about money. Westphal can be as comfortable with Petrie as he wants, but I don’t like it. This is what Danny Ainge had to say:

“I’m a big fan of Paul Westphal,” Ainge said. “He understands people, and he understands personalities, and he has a very, very creative basketball mind. …

“I think that Paul and Geoff (Petrie) have similar demeanors, in that they don’t … freak out under pressure. They’re serious. They’re great competitors, but they’re … calm in the eye of the storm.”

Yeah, okay. That’s fine. But, this is as much about Whisenant right now. And, quite frankly, goddammit, I’m tired of it. For crying out loud, hire the guy or don’t. But, stop implying the threat of him because the coaching isn’t doing what you expect them to do every game.

I don’t think this should be about Paul Westphal. It’s that Whisenant could just keep his eyes on the prize because he has the opportunity. Just because he turns 64 in less than a month doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to try his hand at coaching in the NBA.

I find this all unfortunate because I hate the idea of Whisenant being involved with this franchise. He doesn’t know how to do it. Reggie Theus had a 13 year playing career in the NBA. He knew a lot about the NBA. And he failed, and quite badly at that. Whisenant has no experience in a league where inexperience, or the wrong fit, in the coaching ranks means the team is going to get eaten alive.

The Maloof’s don’t seem to get that playing angles is putting their team at a competitive advantage. I wonder if they will ever get that point. And the sad part is that they had seemed to be getting it. So much for that idea.

*****

Make no mistake this isn’t about Whisenant himself. I wish he wouldn’t seemingly crop up in discussions one way or another, but I can’t control that.

This is what I fear. Whisenant has the Family ear. They trust him. They believe he knows how to win a championship (for some reason) because the Monarchs won a title in 2005. (I don’t think I have to explain anyone reading why this is so stupid.) But, that idea is out there. I would love to squash it like a bug, but I can’t. It seemingly lingers. It lingers every time the Maloof’s believe an extra emphasis needs to be placed on “defense”.

Wisely, they haven’t made those rounds in the press. They’ve learned that that people like me can’t roast them if they don’t say anything to the Bee or KHTK. Given how few sources there are covering the team, it’s not hard. They’re getting wise at being tight lipped. The problem is, they’ve already talked this whole deal up in the last go around.

I think the problem with their coaching search is 2 fold: No “experienced” coach with a reasonable record will take less dollars to coach a team that is rebuilding.

Here’s the bigger problem: No coach wants a short term contract either from a team that has just fired 3 coaches in 3 years.

And, I believe that’s the holdup here. They want to offer a short term contract and with little dollars.

Which is why Paul Westphal is so attractive.

At this point I don’t even know where to begin with Geoff Petrie. He’s letting all this go, and as one of my favorite sayings goes, he’s fighting fire with marshmellow’s. He’s a patient calm man. He doesn’t get riled up. That’s good, and I understand the sentiment. I, too, won’t refute, or argue against, the idea that ownership doesn’t have the right to pay something they don’t want to.

Here’s where I have a problem. Eric Musselman was a mess the Maloof’s created. Now they’re jeopardizing the future rebuilding of a young squad desperately in need of a direction, and you want to undermine that by bringing in a short-term stopgap with your flunky somewhere in tune to succeed if things go real badly? What kind of ownership KNOWINGLY undercuts your own coach?

If they keep having dysfunctional practices, do they expect people to care about them? With all due respect to the Maloof’s and their wealthy checkbook, I don’t really care what kind of “dollars” they are offering the next coach. I care about the length of the contract. I care about seeing a coach with some long term security force a long term plan in how this team successfully digs itself out of a terrible hole.

You can’t do that with a short term stopgap who has little authority.

*****

I don’t get this. Which is why I’m writing all this to show the potential pitfalls of where I think hiring Westphal leads to. The Wolves have just completed a GM search where they interviewed a bunch of potential candidates, even nearly hired Portland Assistant GM Tom Penn, but it came down to money. They just simply wouldn’t offer the money Penn wanted. Which is how the Wolves ended up with David Kahn.

Doing things cheaply is not the way to go here. The Maloof’s need to heavily invest in their next coach. Maybe not in money per season, but definitely in length of contract. Offering 3 million for 2 years is not the way to go.

It is just that simple and easy. And, I hope I’m wrong on everything from A to Z here. I fear I’m not.

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