News » Sacramento Kings Getting Inside 2009-05-13

Sacramento Kings Getting Inside 2009-05-13

Sacramento Kings Getting Inside 2009-05-13
At a recent season-ticket holder event in the Sacramento area, the Kings' braintrust addressed a few hundred of their most loyal fans and shared the organization's newest motto: Nowhere to go but up.

Such is the state of the Kings, who are quickly transitioning from the disappointment of their worst season in the franchise's 50-year history to the optimism and excitement that comes with the prospect of improving. The road to recovery, as they well know, will be long.

The first step forward was the April 23 decision to let interim coach Kenny Natt go. As such, the Kings embarked on an offseason coaching search for the third time in the last four summers. While numerous names have been reported as candidates, former Kings and Washington coach Eddie Jordan is the only one publicly acknowledged by the organization in the week leading up to his expected interview.

From there, the outcome of the May 19 lottery and the subsequent June 25 draft will obviously be vital, as well as the free agent proceedings that begin in July and any potential trades that could take place in between. But beyond the widely-held notion among Kings representatives is that it simply can't get any worse, the optimism on display recently may have been revealing of a larger mental shift in terms of the team's commitment to improving. And if Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof's words truly reflected the new way for this group, they may indeed be on the way up again.

"We're here to win, to spend the money to get the talent," Maloof said. "We're not looking for mid-level (exception) guys. We're looking for greatness. That's what you have to get in this league. To really win a title, you need two great players and a very good player. That's what our goal is."

SEASON HIGHLIGHT: As has often been the case when it comes to the Kings, their status was defined by their ability to perform against the Lakers.

If only for a night.

Their 113-101 win over the Lakers at Arco Arena on Dec. 9 came as a huge surprise and thrilled a crowd of 16,068 that saw their team improve to 6-16 against the Western Conference juggernaut. The win came without injured shooting guard Kevin Martin (sprained left ankle). John Salmons and Francisco had 21 points apiece. It wasn't enough to save the job of Reggie Theus, though, as the coach was fired six days later.

TURNING POINT: The Kings' season was off to a rough start even before it began, when center Brad Miller received a five-game suspension last summer for violating the league's drug policy. Already down a starter, the Kings' start became even harder when shooting guard Kevin Martin went down with a sprained left ankle on Nov. 9. While Martin would return for two games (Dec. 2 and Dec. 6), he wouldn't return in earnest until Dec. 30. By that time, Martin had missed a combined 22 games, the Kings were 7-24 and coach Reggie Theus had already been fired.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: May 13, 2009


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