According to that worthy scribe Marc Stein, Levien has made a decision to leave the Kings. Last December, when Petrie signed his extension, I noted that this could change things dramatically with Jason Levien. I wasn’t sure, though, how this would change things with Levien and it’s clear Levien 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 Ricky Rubio? It’s quite possible. Do I think that’s the real issue? No.
I think Levien thought it was possible that he might get to sit in the Kings GM chair come 2010 and now that possibility has lessened given Mike Petrie’s rise up the charts within the organization. That could be due to MP’s excellence at his job, or simply making Geoff Petrie happy. This dynamic will be worth monitoring because it’s quite possible Levien knew his days were numbered.
Jerry Reynolds, and I think this applies to both Levien and the younger Petrie, noted in his late May interview with the Rise Guys that at a dictatorship is how an organization works best. Levien may have simply saw the cards as not being in his favor and has a chance to work someplace else. That’s the dream. If it’s not in Sacramento, and it’s quite possibly not, then it’s reasonable Levien should move on.
My question is how does this effect the Kings long term? Who understands the cap as well as Levien did on the management team? Does it matter? (Yes it matters.) It’s quite possible that the Kings didn’t want Levien to leave but couldn’t promise a rise in the ranks of upper management. It’s also possible that the re-structure of the front office made Levien unhappy as he wanted to be more involved in basketball management than the financial/legal side of basketball affairs.
Either way, if I were the Suns, Blazers or Nets, I’d consider him to be an assistant GM. He’s every bit as valuable as any assistant GM out there even if his views on talent are not always what you want.
At this point, it means little to me as a Kings fan until I know more on how the Kings plan to proceed. Since the Kings have never hired a capologist like Tom Penn, I doubt one will be hired. It’s just not in Geoff Petrie’s MO.
I just hope I’m not looking back in 2 years and doing a facepalm because the Kings let Levien go. Given the past history with Petrie and how he operates his staff, I doubt this will be the case.
Still, as a guy Geoff Petrie pushed to join the Kings back in November of ’08, this remains an interesting departure from that single perspective.
Sometimes the game within the game within the game is more interesting than LeBron. But mostly not.
UPDATE: Jason Jones sheds no light on the subject. Given Petrie’s reticence to say anything publicly about anything, this shouldn’t surprise you.