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Vivek Ranadive named worst NBA owner in poll by The Athletic

The Kings chairman was named the worst NBA owner in a poll of league insiders.

The Athletic conducted a poll of NBA insiders on the best and worst owners in the league, resulting in Sacramento Kings chairman Vivek Ranadive being named the worst owner in the NBA. The full poll can be found here (subscription required).

First, a note on the methodology. The survey polled 31 people. 13 were executives, 10 were front office personnel, six were scouts, and two were coaches. It's a nice cross section of different roles, but hardly a big enough sample group to be difinitive, especially since the leading vote-getters for worst owner were all pretty tightly clumped in the voting (Vivek edged out Robert Sarver by half a vote).

The criticisms included with the votes are probably the more important take-away.

€œTalk about a chaotic organization,€ one agent said.

€œHe seems like he's trying too much to be Jerry Jones,€ said one front office exec.

€œHis intentions are good but in terms of hiring the basketball people and letting them do their work, he both hires bad basketball people and doesn't let them do their work,€ an executive said. €œThat's a bad combination.€

None of these complaints seem out of line, and echo the complaints that some Kings fans have made.

Despite that, I take issue with Vivek being named the worst. On the basketball side, which this is clearly focused on, Vivek has been very unsuccessful. But beyond the on-court results, Vivek has been a fantastic owner. Vivek and his ownership group delivered a beautiful arena, have been active in the community, and have championed social change, and Vivek has been at the forefront of those things. That shouldn't be overlooked.

I'd much rather have Vivek than James Dolan, who clearly wasn't viewed as negatively by agents because of his willingness to overpay players on a constant basis. Fortunes have been made by agents convincing the Knicks to overpay middling stars for the past 20 years. But those off-court factors should matter.

I wasn't surprised to see Vivek on the list, and the criticisms are valid. Hopefully this sort of negative press can be a wake-up call for Vivek and the other meddling members of Kings ownership to finally get out of the way and allow Monte McNair the time, money, and autonomy to turn this franchise around.

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MidtownMike
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December 17, 2020 10:51 am

100% agree with the voting, on multiple fronts

RobHessing
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December 17, 2020 10:53 am

Dolan is #1 with a bullet. After that, Vivek sits on the next step of the basement stairs with such luminaries as Glen Taylor & Robert Sarver, with Tilman Fertitta closing in fast.

It is hard to argue the worst ranking when viewed solely through the lens of on-court results, though I would still give the nod to Dolan – it takes gross mismanagement to be that bad in a market that is that big.

Jeebus! How long has it been since we’ve rated this team and its components from the top-down instead of from the bottom-up? Seems like forever.

Last edited 1 year ago by RobHessing
Hamlet1989
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December 17, 2020 12:39 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Completely agree at least about Dolan, who, as an embarrassment to the NBA is not far now from rivaling Don Sterling, and Fertitta, emerging P.O.S. Vivek’s just in over his head.

G-naps
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December 17, 2020 5:15 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

It would be nice if we could get Carmichael Dave to elaborate on his “now is not the time” and “look at the whole chessboard” when those billboard clowns were raising money for the #herewebillboard

RikSmits
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December 17, 2020 10:58 am

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Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
December 17, 2020 11:00 am

I’d give Dolan the edge over Vivek, but a .338 winning percentage, 5 coaches, 3 GM’s, and several advisors in just 7 seasons is pretty pathetic.

Vivek goes through staff faster than some heads of state.

RikSmits
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December 17, 2020 11:00 am

FIFY

Fortunes have been made by agents convincing the Kings to overpay middling stars for the past 7 years. 

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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Nostradumbass 14
December 17, 2020 11:07 am
Reply to  RikSmits

Fun fact, George Hill made 42% of his career earnings on the contract he signed with the Kings under Vlade. He played just 43 games for the Kings.

Peja
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December 17, 2020 11:04 am

How much bad press does it take for an owner to change his ways?

DrJohn
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December 17, 2020 11:30 am
Reply to  Peja

Self reflection is for peasants

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:30 pm
Reply to  Peja

“I surround myself with sycophants.”

RobHessing
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December 17, 2020 12:50 pm
Reply to  Kosta

That’s how I wound up the way that I am – I’m sick of pants, too.

NeedTreeFitty
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December 17, 2020 11:08 am

Every night before I go to bed I pray Monte has 100% control over basketball decisions.

LandParkJimmer
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December 17, 2020 11:10 am

Vivek has been awful. Maybe not the worst but awful. And Matina deserves her share of the blame.

kgdobter
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December 17, 2020 11:13 am

We’ve known this for years, now everybody knows it. At least the Kings are still in Sacramento, you have to give him that among other good things he’s done.

BeTheBall
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December 17, 2020 11:15 am

I’m surprised it was so close between him and his competition. He should have run away with the title.

RobHessing
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December 17, 2020 11:19 am
Reply to  BeTheBall

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Carl
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December 17, 2020 9:15 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Fake news! Looked directly at the eclipse with no glasses. Eye doctors and the blind know nothing!
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RobHessing
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December 17, 2020 11:17 am

Howdy, Doodie!
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Last edited 1 year ago by RobHessing
Klam
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December 17, 2020 11:23 am
Reply to  RobHessing

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BeTheBall
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December 17, 2020 11:19 am

It’s weird to think that the concept of whether or not it’s acceptable to shoot unarmed people is a political thing.

MidtownMike
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December 17, 2020 2:21 pm
Reply to  BeTheBall

yeah, totally that simple haha

ArsLegendi
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December 17, 2020 3:06 pm
Reply to  MidtownMike

It really is.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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December 17, 2020 11:22 am

Oh stop it, please.

Adamsite
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Nostradumbass 14
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December 17, 2020 11:27 am

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DrJohn
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December 17, 2020 11:27 am

People saying Dolan is worse are missing the bigger point that Vivek has shown to develop a toxic work culture in the FO in all 7 years he’s been here. Coupled with the inherent problems the Sac market has, the Kings will not have success with Vivek running the show. Vivek does not have the temperament or acumen to run a basketball organization in Sacramento.
I wish there was would’ve been a clause when he became the managing owner that if the team hadn’t made the playoffs after 10 years, controlling ownership would pass to the next in line.

andy_sims
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December 17, 2020 11:40 am
Reply to  DrJohn

Jesus, if basketball acumen was required to own a franchise, there wouldn’t be a team in any sport with a winning record.

DrJohn
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December 17, 2020 11:52 am
Reply to  andy_sims

Acumen on how to hire qualified people is really the problem

RobHessing
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December 17, 2020 11:52 am
Reply to  DrJohn

Charles Oakley is holding on line 1 – he would like a word with you.

DrJohn
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December 17, 2020 11:59 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Worst, bottom three. My point is it really doesn’t matter.

Also he brought on Shaq as an owner which isn’t as bad as the Oakley incident but in the same vein of being clueless about his team’s history.

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:01 pm
Reply to  DrJohn

The Shaq thing might’ve been the first red flag. I can’t remember too far back now. But ugh, that was ughly.

Gregoryl
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December 17, 2020 12:02 pm
Reply to  DrJohn

Vivek’s athlete worship is one of the worst/saddest parts of his ownership.

ArsLegendi
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December 17, 2020 12:13 pm
Reply to  DrJohn

Ugh. Still mad about the Shaq thing. The absolute temerity of expecting us to welcome the “Sacramento Queens” guy.

CastlePeak
December 19, 2020 6:35 am
Reply to  ArsLegendi

I did get a €œshaqramento€ bobblehead out of the deal!

Hamlet1989
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December 17, 2020 2:38 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Spike Lee on line #2

Timmy_13
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December 17, 2020 6:52 pm
Reply to  DrJohn

Actually great take

NinjaFetus
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December 17, 2020 11:28 am

I agree that Vivek isn’t the worst, that has to go to Dolan for sure, but I’d argue for 2nd worst being in the realm of possibility.

But I disagree that off-court issues should be factored in as much as it is implied in the article. Yes, those are important issues that need to be addressed and are much better at getting the ball rolling, publicity, or action on them when they have a higher profile person talking about it than someone like me, joe schmoe, or at least get a conversation about it going. But as an owner of a sports team, the first commitment is to that team and not other things. Can stuff outside of basketball be included? Absolutely. But his record thus far as an owner and frankly the front person for the team, he is terrible.

NinjaFetus
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December 17, 2020 11:29 am
Reply to  NinjaFetus

Forgot to add, this isn’t to downplay the huge success he had in getting the team to stay in Sac and getting a new arena built. I will always be thankful for that. But since then….not good.

AmateurNerd
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December 17, 2020 12:17 pm
Reply to  NinjaFetus

Vivek hired architects and construction experts to build the arena. Then he basically hired himself to run the basketball team. Results on both fronts have been predictable.

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 11:29 am

I thought you hated when anyone brought up politics on this website?

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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December 17, 2020 11:44 am
Reply to  Kosta

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andy_sims
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December 17, 2020 11:30 am

Sure, the organization has had some rough patches in recent centuries, but I agree with you that guys like Dolan (and probably Fertitta going forward) are a lot worse.

If Vivek can just let McNair work and stay out of the way, his terrible ranking could easily improve.

No one is as terrible as Jerry Jones. No one.

Bluejohn
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December 20, 2020 9:03 pm
Reply to  andy_sims

It doesn’t matter if vivek is the absolute worst owner or merely the third worst. At this point in his managing partnership or whatever he’s called at this point in his reign he is worse than the Maloofs up and until the point where they needed to bleed every spare dollar out of the franchise in order to offset their Los Vegas casino losses.

In my POV the Kings will never achieve anything meaningful until he is entirely out of BB decisions. The ownership has already made a large profit on their real estate investments and on the incredible increase in the value of the Kings which has little to do with vivek. Every principle owner has seen their investment in a NBA franchise skyrocket over the last decade.

Personally I hold vivek entirely responsible for the lowly state of the Kangz and until he proves me wrong (which I doubt he will do) I expect little real improvement in on court results in the ream we are invested in.

Gregoryl
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December 17, 2020 11:30 am

I’m surprised Vivek finished that high.

02kingsfan
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December 17, 2020 11:33 am

I want to know how much Dolan had to pay the reporters/agents for them to not put him at the last spot haha. Vivek is a bad basketball ops owner but shouldn’t be the last guy on the naughty list.

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 11:33 am

How about a TKH poll:

Upvote if you agree with The Athletic and think Vivek is the worst. Downvote if you think he is not the worst.

CoreyBrewersD
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December 17, 2020 11:47 am
Reply to  Kosta

Sneaky! Trying to stack the upvotes.

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 11:52 am
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

Drat! haha 😛

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 11:57 am
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

CoreyBrewersD with the check!
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Timmy_13
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December 17, 2020 2:56 pm
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

I WON THIS VOTE COUNT. BY A LOT!!!

BestHyperboleEver
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December 17, 2020 12:08 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Since I tend to think tiers are more useful than a numerical ranking, I’d agree that Vivek is easily in the bottom tier of basketball owners.

jwalker1395
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December 17, 2020 11:38 am

We won something!!!

CoreyBrewersD
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December 17, 2020 11:46 am
Reply to  jwalker1395

We have been so lost for so long, we have forgotten how it feels to win. Let’s wear this crown with pride!

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:35 pm
Reply to  CoreyBrewersD

We have been so lost for so long, we are experts in draft profiles for the next 6 years, basically have PhD’s in relocation laws, and get royalties from any other fanbase that attempts to make a Cash Considerations meme or gif.

ZillersCat
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December 17, 2020 1:57 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I can make decisions for the teams direction ..
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Last edited 1 year ago by ZillersCat
BestHyperboleEver
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December 17, 2020 12:47 pm
Reply to  jwalker1395

Hang it next to the Summer League banner!

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 11:38 am

At this point all that’s left is for us to rank all Sacramento Kings owners:

  • 2013 €“ Present / Vivek Ranadive
  • 1999 €“ 2013 / George, Joe and Gavin Maloof
  • 1992 €“ 1999 / Jim Thomas
  • 1985 €“ 1992 / Gregg Lukenbill and Joe Benvenuti
RobHessing
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December 17, 2020 11:57 am
Reply to  Kosta

This should be an article, with the “features & benefits” of each ownership recapped. It is so difficult to reconcile the golden years with the relocation saga. Man, what a great question!

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:06 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

If I was ‘Sacramento Kings’ and was trying to get a new job, I might edit my resume’ from:

  • 2013 €“ Present / Vivek Ranadive
  • 1999 €“ 2013 / George, Joe and Gavin Maloof
  • 1992 €“ 1999 / Jim Thomas
  • 1985 €“ 1992 / Gregg Lukenbill and Joe Benvenuti

to:

  • 1992 – Present / Maternity Leave
  • 1985 €“ 1992 / Gregg Lukenbill and Joe Benvenuti
4on5
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December 17, 2020 2:43 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Jim Thomas was by far the best owner … he was not good. Not good at all. 4 bad groups.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 17, 2020 12:11 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Do you go for the groups that brought the team to Sac, the groups that kept the team in Sac, or the only group that actually built a good team?

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:18 pm

My memory is fuzzy, but I think Jerry Reynolds always praises Gregg Lukenbill and said he should probably get a statue, if anyone in Sacramento Kings history did, for the monumental achievement in bringing the Kings to Sacramento.

Correct me if I’m wrong, anybody. I have a vague memory of something like that being said….from a podcast??

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
4on5
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December 17, 2020 2:48 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Not shocking that he’d say that about the people that hired him for two major jobs. They brought the team here. The were nice people. They had the epic go into the rafters and try to fix the leak move. But, they were not good owners by NBA standards. It was a mess and not run well. They hired Bill Russell, who was an all time stretch and horrible GM. Traded for Sampson. Glad they got Sacramento a team … but that’s about it.

It’s probably:

  1. Thomas
  2. Lukenbill group
  3. Vivek group (I suppose starting and third and rounding first better than trying to move the team)
  4. Maloofs (had the best run. But, **** those guys)
TheFifthMookie
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December 17, 2020 4:10 pm
Reply to  4on5

FTM!!!

rockbottom
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December 18, 2020 4:56 pm
Reply to  4on5

I thank that the Lukenbill group deserves Number One due to bringing the first major sports team to Sac with zero help from mayor and built two arenas with no public money ! Just a thought and very rare to not eat at the Govt trough !

BeTheBall
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December 17, 2020 12:32 pm

I wonder if it still chaps the Maloofs’ collective asses that Petrie’s shrewd GM’ing ruined their shot to try and move the team back in the late 90’s

RobHessing
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December 17, 2020 1:42 pm

It gets scary when you look at the GMs. After Petrie, you get to choose from Axelson, Russell, Reynolds, PDA, and Vlade. No wonder our cavalcade of coaches leaves a lot to be desired.

Jman1949
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December 17, 2020 1:54 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

More a €œcortège€ than a €œcavalcade€.

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 3:13 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

This forced me to open the dictionary and look up “a”.

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
andy_sims
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December 17, 2020 11:39 am

I understand how charitable works, helping others, and working with the community are offensive, but since this is entirely about BLM, you may as well just lead with that, Chad.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 17, 2020 11:50 am

It’s a complicated legacy, and he deserves full credit and responsibility for it.

As a basketball fan, I’m extremely disappointed and frustrated with basketball ops and the on-court results. As a human being, I must give him his due commendations for the off-court work he’s undertaken and for putting the heft of an NBA team’s image behind it.

TitleChaser
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December 17, 2020 11:52 am

With any luck, this is a shot in the arm to Vivek. For all his faults, the man does seem to want to win, and seems at least aware of the opinions of his actions. Here’s hoping he takes from the other half of the article€” if you want to be liked, pick smart people, spend money and otherwise stay away.

BeTheBall
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December 17, 2020 12:33 pm
Reply to  TitleChaser

At this point, his arm looks like a pin cushion, with little or no effect.

RikSmits
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December 17, 2020 11:53 am

comment image?width=645&height=613

BestHyperboleEver
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December 17, 2020 11:53 am

Many? Can we really describe that subset as “many?”

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 11:54 am

“silent majority”, or something like that.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 17, 2020 11:57 am
Reply to  Kosta

For people who are supposed to be silent, they sure are loud.

Gregoryl
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December 17, 2020 11:59 am

Props to the TKH crew for having Matina being the most prominent figure in the pic. Straight Dick Cheney style.

SMF-PDXConnection
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December 17, 2020 12:12 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

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ImJoeKing
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December 17, 2020 10:20 pm
Reply to  Gregoryl

I still don’t understand the Matina thing. There was one article that talked about her, and that she has influence in the organization and “knew where the bodies were buried,” common for people in property development families in my experience (they’re often involved in the dirty deals involving local government.)

But I really don’t know how that translated into blaming her for bad basketball ops and on-court outcomes. Unless there’s pieces to the story I’m missing it seems more like some at TKH (and others) have taken a small amount of information and turned it into some bigger narrative/internet conspiracy theory, like how George Soros and prominent Democrats consume aborted fetuses or whatever.

I’m not mad, I guess it’s kind of amusing. It just seems like more people are convinced this is the case than I would expect. Or you are all joking and I’m missing it.

richie88
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December 18, 2020 5:49 pm
Reply to  ImJoeKing

AFAIK, she’s the only person who’s worked for the Kings for the entire playoff drought.

CastlePeak
December 19, 2020 6:41 am
Reply to  richie88

Guilt by association? Has been the hatchet?

ArsLegendi
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December 17, 2020 12:10 pm

You know, most of the chuds stayed on the other site, in case you missed the memo and would like someone to pat you on the back for this sort of bullshit.

RikSmits
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December 17, 2020 12:20 pm

One thing that isn’t mentioned here is that Dolan has substantial deeper pockets than Vivek. So he is not only a bad owner, he doesn’t even have the money to buy himself out of the hole he dug.

Or does anyone believe that Walton is here because of his coaching acumen?

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:23 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

Luke Walton is Bill Walton and Matina Kolokotronis’ lovechild.
comment image

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Klam
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December 17, 2020 12:30 pm
Reply to  Kosta

Hey, look who’s got the 1000 comment badge!

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:38 pm
Reply to  Klam

OH damn. Welp, my usage is high and my efficiency is low.

BestHyperboleEver
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December 17, 2020 12:48 pm
Reply to  Kosta

I like RORDOG’s idea ( I think) of putting our TKH commenter advanced stats like Upvotes:Comment and such.

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:55 pm

Nice!

Also, how about:

Turnovers?
(when you fail to beat the clock in trying to edit a comment).

Blocks Against?
(when you get a timeout warning from TKH staff)

Assists?
(when you set up a comment that gets purpled, like when someone mentions breakfast and then Klam hits that Oop with a vicious two handed windmill George Karl slam?)

Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
Klam
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December 17, 2020 12:57 pm
Reply to  Kosta

comment image

Klam
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December 17, 2020 12:57 pm

I have an idea of who would get a badge for the most downvotes.

ZenBaller
December 17, 2020 12:26 pm

Does this mean we get a top 3 pick in the next NBA Owners Draft?

Kosta
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December 17, 2020 12:47 pm

Another poll:

If you were a GM, who would you build your NBA team around?

  • Kyle Guy
  • Jack Cooley
Last edited 1 year ago by Kosta
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December 17, 2020 2:51 pm
Reply to  Kosta

They are both Cool Guys.

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December 17, 2020 12:54 pm

Can’t really disagree with the results, but my first question was going to be, “What the hell is an NBA insider?” It’s still a little vague. Could be any level of snarky, low fruit grabbing, pencil pusher around the league. But I really appreciate the d