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Keith Smart not retained as Kings’ coach
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On May 30, 2013 @ 8:56 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
Keith Smart saw it coming.
Of course he saw it coming.
The Sacramento Kings coach who was informed a few days back by new owner Vivek Ranadive that he would not be retained for the final season on his contract has been through this before, back when the Golden State Warriors were the team with the new owners and the same writing was on the wall leading up to his April 2011 ousting as head coach. Men who pay exorbitant amounts for NBA teams tend to want their own people in place, and so it is that Smart is out and the eventual hiring of Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone seems all but inevitable and could be official by as early as Monday.
But just because he saw it coming doesn’t mean he’s not disappointed by the irony in place here: his first firing came after the Warriors group that was headed by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber but which also included the then-minority owner, Ranadive, paid a league-record $450 million for their new team and – despite the team’s record improving by 10 games in his one season under them – always saw him as a transition coach for the post-Don Nelson season that led to the eventual hiring of Mark Jackson. Now this pink slip comes with Ranadive actually calling the shot, this after his group topped the Warriors’ purchase price by paying a valuation of $535 million for the Kings and moving quickly on Malone.
If only Smart could coach a team that doesn’t have new owners.
“A good friend of mine called me, he lives in Miami and is a lawyer, and he said, ‘Man, I’ve got to tell you, what you’ve done every place you’ve gone is you’ve increased the value of the franchise. It’s unfortunate you don’t get to watch the program grow, but you definitely increased the franchise value,’” Smart told USA TODAY Sports with a laugh. “I was in Cleveland (as an assistant coach from 2000 to 2003), near the draft and they get LeBron (James the following summer). I was a couple steps away from … [For more on Keith Smart not retained as Sacramento Kings' coach, click here.]
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