Former Kings Employee Says Sacramento Has 'Toxic Workplace' and Is 'Basketball Hell'

Erin WalshApril 10, 2022

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 9: A photo of the Sacramento Kings logo during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on October 9, 2017 at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sacramento Kings enter Sunday's regular-season finale against the Phoenix Suns with frustration as they will miss the postseason for the 16th straight year, which is the longest playoff drought in NBA history. 

However, it appears things beyond basketball might be contributing to the Kings' lack of success.

A former team employee recently told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee that the franchise has a "toxic work environment in which people don't trust each other," adding that it's "basketball hell." 

“People are not treated well," the source told Anderson. "They're not valued. It's a toxic workplace where there are some super-talented people who either move on or get let go for different reasons. It's unfortunate because I think people come with really pure intentions and want to turn it around."

The source added that the constant change in personnel, including players, coaches and executives, "created a culture of chaos where change was constant, direction was lacking and decision-making power shifted depending on who shared [Vivek] Ranadive's views."

Sacramento has not reached the playoffs since 2006, when they were the eighth seed in the Western Conference. They fell to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round of the postseason, and since then, they've been one of the worst teams in the NBA. 

The Kings have finished toward the bottom of the Western Conference standings in every season since that playoff loss and haven't finished higher than ninth place. Sacramento went 39-43 during the 2018-19 season to finish ninth in the West. 

This season, the Kings will finish in 12th place in the Western Conference, entering Sunday's regular-season finale against the Suns with a 29-52 record. They can't eclipse the 11th-place Los Angeles Lakers, and the 13th-place Portland Trail Blazers can't pass them. 

The Kings enter the offseason with plenty of work to do. They already traded Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, who could become a franchise cornerstone, but they'll need to add more pieces around him and De'Aaron Fox.

The upcoming 2022 draft will be crucial for the Kings. While they currently only have one first-round pick, it's possible they trade for another. That said, adding someone like Oscar Tshiebwe, Keegan Murray or Jabari Smith could benefit the franchise in the long run.