Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports
The Case for Keith Smart:
When it comes to toxic situations, Keith Smart's with the Sacramento Kings might be without equal in the NBA today.
Following up a failed coach? Check. Smart took over in Sacramento after Paul Westphal was fired just seven games into the 2011-12 season.
Terrible ownership? Check. The Maloofs have been bleeding the Kings dry for years and are finally on the verge of selling the team.
Speaking of which...transition in ownership and/or location? Check. The Kings might be in Seattle by this time next year. Even if the franchise stays in Sacramento, Smart will have been saddled with the lame duck years of the Maloof regime.
Bad front-office management? Check. General manager Geoff Petrie, once regarded as one of the top executives in the league, has long since left the club, to say the least. How else would you explain his decision this past summer to sign Aaron Brooks when the Kings' roster was already replete with gunners?
A roster full of bad apples? Check...unless, for whatever reason, you think Smart's at fault for the stagnation seen from DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans.
And yet, through all of that, Smart actually has Sacramento playing some solid ball. Over the last month, the Kings have racked up wins against the Chicago Bulls, the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors, with "moral victories" opposite the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Memphis Grizzlies.
Not to mention a double-overtime loss to the Miami Heat during their 27-game winning streak.
The Case Against Keith Smart:
As hard as Smart has tried to get through to DeMarcus Cousins, his efforts clearly haven't worked. Boogie leads the NBA with 14 technical fouls and is second with four ejections this season.
Also, the Kings are 47-89 (.346 winning percentage) on his watch. Also also, he didn't have much of a track record prior to his rise in Sacramento, aside from a 36-46 season at the helm of the Golden State Warriors in 2010-11.
Also also also, whoever winds up winning the rights to the Kings is probably going to want to clean house, starting with GM Geoff Petrie and moving on down to the bench, right around where Smart usually sits.