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Kings owner Vivek Ranadive dishes on team

In this photo taken Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016, Vivek Ranadive, the majority owner of the Sacramento Kings, poses in the new Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, Calif. The 17,500-seat arena, the new home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings basketball team, features among other things, the NBA's first 4k ultra HD video board that stretches 84 feet above the court with more than 38 million pixels. The Kings' first game in the arena will be a preseason match against Maccabi Haifa, of Israel, Oct. 10. Their first regular-season home game is Oct. 27 against the San Antonio Spurs. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Sacramento was ecstatic when a deal was reached to keep the Kings in the city and the Maloofs sold the majority stake of the team to tech tycoon Vivek Ranadive, but things haven’t gone so swimmingly under Ranadive’s watch other than getting a new state-of-the-art arena built. The team has continued to struggle on the floor, and there have been plenty of rumors of dysfunction off the court throughout the organization.

Ranadive has been at the center of much of this, and the 59-year-old tried to set the record straight regarding some of the Kings’ issues in a lengthy twopart interview with USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Admitted that hiring Mike Malone as head coach before then hiring Pete D’Alessandro as GM was a big mistake, and also said Malone and D’Alessandro “hated each other’s guts.” (Malone and D’Alessandro are working together again in Denver.)
  • Denied being “overly involved with the team,” and called the report of him suggesting the Kings test out playing four-on-five “completely absurd.”
  • Claimed that he wanted to draft Elfrid Payton with the No. 8 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but everybody else wanted Nik Stauskas, so he went along with it and put on a good show for the ESPN cameras in the draft room after the Stauskas pick.
  • Said new head coach Dave Joerger was a Vlade Divac selection.
  • Denied frustrations among the minority owners.
  • Mostly deflected questions about DeMarcus Cousins’ future and said Divac is a better person to ask about the situation, although he spoke glowingly about the big man.
  • Admitted Rudy Gay isn’t happy but has been a professional, and the owner is confident Divac will make the right decision regarding the future of the forward.
  • Downplayed Drake’s presence in the locker room after an especially tense postgame meeting, saying the rapper just wanted to talk to Cousins because they’re friends.
  • Admitted that former head coach George Karl spent all of last summer trying to trade Cousins.

So, yeah, quite a bit here. Ranadive is clearly trying to make things look a bit rosier in Sacramento, but it’s hard to believe all of it.

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