On Wednesday morning, Sean Cunningham of ABC10 shared the disappointing news that the Sacramento Kings have continued to layoff full-time basketball operations personnel, including the much-praised Stockton Kings General Manager Anthony McClish.
The Sacramento Kings eliminated several notable positions yesterday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to several sources.
Stockton Kings GM Anthony McClish was among them. He played an important role in the scouting of the team dating back to the Michael Malone days.
— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) September 30, 2020
This news comes alongside the recent revelation that Ty Ellis, the fourth-winningest coach in the G League over the last two seasons, did not have his contract renewed in the offseason, along with the rest of his coaching staff. With both McClish and Ellis gone, the Stockton Kings seem to be operating with little to no actual personnel at the moment: a difficult situation for the players who were with the team last year.
The team issued the following statement on the layoffs:
Yesterday, a handful of full-time positions across the basketball operations departments of the Sacramento Kings and Stockton Kings were eliminated due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and a reorganization of the team's basketball operations structure.
The McClish departure is the latest in a long list of signs of financial distress for Vivek Ranadive and the rest of the ownership group. Things began to head downhill in May, when the Kings furloughed approximately one-third of the team's staff for four months, a decision that did not initially impact basketball operations. In July, many of those temporary stoppages were converted to actual job losses, while anyone still fortunate enough to be furloughed was extended to at least November 1st. Earlier this month, basketball operations were directly affected for the first time. Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that multiple members of basketball operations were furloughed until November 1st as well, although that date is dependent on the start of the 2020-2021 season, which will likely be delayed until at least January of next year.
Ownership has been put in a difficult position due to the nature of Sacramento's small market, their investments in real estate and hospitality around the Golden 1 Center, the team's failure to ever capitalize on a playoff run, and the tens of millions of dollars in extra income paid to the myriad of fired staff members over the last seven years, including the recently departed Vlade Divac. It's clear that the Kings have furloughed and laid off more staff members than most, if not all of the other teams in the NBA.
With the already having made major cuts and operating on nothing short of a shoestring budget, and with Monte McNair still needing to spend significant cash to fill out his barren front office, one of the few places left for the Kings to reduce costs is on the actual roster. Nemanja Bjelica, a productive veteran on a fair deal, has a non-guaranteed $7.2 million contract next year, while Bogdan Bogdanovic will probably cost twice that amount to retain this offseason. The Kings also own three second round picks in the upcoming draft, assets which have been sold for straight cash in the past.
Hopefully these recent cuts are the last we see due to COVID-19, and the actual roster and draft picks are unaffected, as Kings fans are far too familiar with the concept of financially challenged owners trying to operate as as cheaply as possible, rather than trying to win games and make the playoffs.