Kings owner Vivek Ranadive tells Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee that he expects the team will lose money this year, but he says he’s “not that concerned” about it. Ranadive has officially been in control of the franchise for just eight and a half months, but he’s already made a significant impact. He’s signed off on a max extension for DeMarcus Cousins, hired a new coach, overhauled the front office and kept pushing for a new arena against local opponents and a 2017 NBA-imposed deadline. The software magnate shared a range of thoughts on the team and other subjects with Voisin, and we’ll pass along a few highlights from their Q&A here:
On coach Michael Malone:
I think Michael Malone is going to be a great coach. He was thrown into a situation where there was a lot of dysfunction, and we said the first year is not going to be measured on wins and losses. Do we have a culture? Do we have a system? Are we developing our players? I believe we’re moving in the right direction.
On the philosophical differences between Malone and the front office:
Look, I know people talk about that my coach is always focusing on defense, while guys like Mullie (Chris Mullin, adviser) and Petey (D’Alessandro, general manager) are offense-oriented. And that we have offensive players. It’s no secret the game has become an offensive game, with three-point shots, layups, the rule changes. We all see it. So we have to reconcile that. And I think it’s good. If I had everyone who agreed, why would I want them?
On the team’s player personnel moves since he bought the team:
I’m very pleased with those decisions. When I bought the team, everybody told me the first thing you should do is get rid of DeMarcus, including the previous management. But I just kept an open mind, and I interacted with the young man. And what I saw was a young man who wanted to win and had experienced nothing but chaos during his time with the Kings. Throughout the season he has proven that he wants to win, and he is maturing. I can’t fault him because he wants to win so much.
On whether the notion that the current collective bargaining agreement is more small-market friendly than the one before it influenced his decision to buy the team:
It was a factor when I asked some smart money people to join me. I did explain to them we were at an important point in the evolution of the business. And, yes, in the past, most teams lost money. But with the new TV contract and all the things that were happening, this (NBA) was going to become more like the NFL.
On his accomplishments so far as Kings owner:
“Just kind of stepping back, when I took over, we started from scratch. There is no other word for it than a turnaround. We just paid $535MM for something that had no revenue, no ticket sales, an arena that is falling apart, that had chaos in the locker room, leadership that was falling apart, and so I had to just quickly stabilize everything. And kind of keeping with my philosophy of surrounding myself with people smarter than me, I think I’ve done that. (Team president) Chris Granger is one of the top guys in the NBA.”