Where do fans of the team even go from here?
After this unthinkable trade where they turned one of the better big men in the game in DeMarcus Cousins into a Buddy (Hield) and some loose change, where do the Sacramento Kings fans go from here? You could forgive them for saying they have a vivid itch to scratch, and it’s name is Vivek.
But let’s forget about Vivek Ranadivé and what his heart may want, because who the hell knows these days. Think of the fans.
We should have known, let’s start there yes. We should have known—not that Vivek and co. would trade DeMarcus but that the trade would be so laughably bad. We should have known, right around when Vivek started floating the idiotic 4-on-5 idea. We should have known, though this will be of no comfort to Kings fans.
Not that I myself am a Sactown fan, rather I identify with what used to be not so long ago a similar group of sad sack loveable idiots in the Golden State Warriors fans. Which is to say: things change quickly in the NBA, but now Kings fans have realized that things will mostly change for the worse.
We should have known that being a Sactown fan wouldn’t go along well, not even when you have Boogie on the team, because it never has. Their fans know that of course: we all make our own choices. Including Kings fans, who picked hell.
The team theoretically exists since the 1948 season, starting first as something called the Rochester Royals, but let’s focus on the current Kings era. I’m 31 years old, and it turns out that the Sactown Kings have been a thing for my entire existence. And it is with great humblebrag that I say I believe I’ve achieved quite a bit more, pound for pound, in my time on this Earth.
The Kings managed to win back-to-back division titles in 2002 and 2003 but we remember those teams for their losing/choking/getting jobbed out of Game 6 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Doug Christie was a guy, but your friends probably just remembers his, erm, special relationship with his wife. Peja Stojakovic was a wonderful treasure but like, yeah. Chris Webber is probably a better player than your favourite franchise’s best player ever, but what about that timeout? Sure he was at Michigan then, but win a title and maybe we’d remember you for something more.
But maybe a history lesson isn’t what the youngsters signed up for when they clicked on this headline. Maybe what they want is the good stuff on the current-era, Ranadivé-led Kings, and sure let’s jump right in.
Because you see, this last trade of giving away Boogie for, like, 15 cents on the dollar just ‘cause your owner turned buddy-buddy with Hield and had delusions of grandeur?
Source familiar w/ Kings’ thinking: “Vivek thinks Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential.” Am told that fixation was a key driver in deal.
— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 20, 2017
Quick note: DeMarcus Cousins has hit six more 3-pointers than Buddy Hield this season.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) February 20, 2017
(And you know what, Kings fans? It may be even more sinister than you realize, so just look away for a quick second.)
The Boogie trade was just the shitty cherry on top of the shitty sundae: sure, GM Vlade Divac’s inexplicable decision to accept this deal when he had a better one on the table (and subsequently inexplicable decision to admit so to media) is awful in an eye-opening way. But by and large in Sactown? Plenty more shitty where that final serving came from.
The Kings traded former rookie of the year Tyreke Evans, by then a shell of the 20-5-5 machine he was in his first year, for Greivis Vasquez. Sactown picked Darren Collison (and his arrest for domestic violence) over Isaiah Thomas. Sim Bhullar playing NBA basketball. The team canned Boogie’s favorite coach ever in Mike Malone because he beefed with GM Pete D’Alessandro, so much so that the pair now works together in Denver. George Karl. Jimmer Fredette over Klay Thompson. The disaster of a trade that was shipping Nik “Stauskas?” Stauskas to Philly.
Let’s stop there, shall we?
All of this points to the central tenets of the social contract of life in sports: you, as a dear and fair-minded sports fan, promise to cheer and stay loyal to your beloved sporting team X and in turn, said sporting team X promises to do its darndest to bring home a championship “for all the fine folks of city X who bleed with us and who love this team and,” yada yada.
But that’s mostly a lie.
When a team does all it can to win a championship, it’s mostly because it can make a ton of money doing so—which is and always will be its aim. But of course, there are a myriad of ways of doing so. Winning a championship happens to be the easiest way for a team owner to make a boatload of cash, yes, but it’s also the riskiest: there is only one true satisfying outcome, and a wide array of others that aren’t. Better to just kick back, talk a good game, and relax, amirite Vivek?
In short, there are about a million different ways to lose and the Kings have just about tried them all.
You see, it’s the special kind of hell Kings fans are living in—they’re damned if they do, and damned if they don’t. Without Vivek, there probably wouldn’t be any Sacramento Kings to speak of—the rub being right now because of Vivek, some Kings fans just might hope this team wouldn’t exist.
“But, but, but my Kings are just X games off the 8th seed.”
Sure, buddy. Suuuuuure. And maybe that’s the lesson here: sure it’s hell, but it’s their hell.