How Vivek Ranadive Cleaned Up Sacramento Kings' Mess

By Karim Akbar
Ed Szczepanski – USA TODAY Sports

Sacramento is as varied as the politicians that call the capital city home. For Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, it means treating the city as the potentially viable region that is while also thinking globally.

The Kings as global brand? The Kings in Sacramento? Shaquille O’Neal as an equity partner? This was all made possible, of course, by Mayor Kevin Johnson‘s tenacious full court press of the NBA, but if anyone deserves a bulk of the credit — if not more — it’s got to be Ranadive.

Ranadive has hit a home run on all his personnel moves and while he may not have the basketball expertise of say Pat Riley, he has associated himself with those that do. Adding former Denver Nuggets general manager Pete D’Alessandro was crucial as the next Kings manager needed to have success with a small-market team. Adding Chris Mullin, even in an advisory role, is big for the front office and players alike.

Really, Vivek is everything the Kings need moving forward. He won’t be chowing down on a $25,000 burger anytime soon like the Maloofs. Instead, Ranadive wears messenger bags to conferences and finds new technology sexier than a pool party at the Palms. That kind of logical, aw-shucks character is big for a franchise whose owners lived the sweet life of luxury and excess during the early part of the decade.

It’s a stark contrast to the free-wheeling Maloofs. The Maloofs made out with a $534 million agreement to sell the team earlier this year, and it was another crushing blow to the family empire that grew modestly out of distributing Coors in 1937. These days, Gavin Maloof is trying — unsuccessfully — to sell his multi-million dollar house in Las Vegas, while the family have largely remained out of sight since selling the franchise.

To his credit, Ranadive has not thrown the Maloofs under the bus when it comes to the state of the team he inherited. And he’s not the only one. DeMarcus Cousins, Jason Thompson and the Kings still follow Gavin on Twitter. The fact Maloof has not been given the Twitter kiss of death tells you all has been forgiven in Sacramento. Instead, Ranadive has poured close to a million dollars into renovating the aging Sleep Train Arena. What was once the laughingstock of the league as far as arenas goes has been restored to a respectable level. This is all happening as Ranadive and the Kings ready themselves to move into a new arena in Sacramento’s downtown plaza in 2016.

While the jury is still out on the Kings on-court product, you can see that this team is re-energized. As evidenced by the return of raucous noise at Sleep Train for the Kings home games. Now that their team is staying for good, they have something to celebrate once again.

Karim Akbar is a Sacramento Kings writer for Follow him on Twitter @Kuhreem , “Like” his RantSports page on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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