Kings Owner Vivek Ranadive Claims ESPN Staged His Infamous ‘Stauskas’ Line

In his three years as owner of the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadivé has morphed all the goodwill thrown his way for saving the team from a move to Seattle into ridicule for meddling with his front office and coaching staff, promoting organizational dysfunction and generally not running a tight ship. On that first count, one of the most notable incidents came from a Grantland documentary about the Kings’ 2014 draft, which portrayed Ranadivé as pushing hard to draft Nik Stauskas.

Now, Ranadivé is trying to shift the narrative surrounding his notoriously hands-on ownership approach. In an interview with USA Today’s Sam Amick, Ranadivé claims that ESPN told him to act like he was directing the decision.

“So what happened (in the 2014 draft in which ESPN cameras were allowed into the draft room), and again – these guys didn’t want me to talk about this. I’d had another player who had tried out for us that I had liked, and that I had thought was great. And by the way, I’ll tell you, it was (Orlando Magic point guard) Elfrid Payton. But everybody else wanted another player – (Nik) Stauskas (now of the Philadelphia 76ers). And so they told me to say (Stauskas), and obviously I’m not going to say that I wanted Payton but they picked Stauskas. I made a big deal of all-for-one and one-for-all, so ‘Whatever you guys decide, I’m going to say yeah to Stauskas.’ That got put on camera, but what was I going to say, that ‘Hey, I don’t agree with their choice?’

There’s a lot going on here. Stauskas didn’t work out for the Kings, so much so that they gave Philly draft picks to take him off their hands. For Vivek to go back now and say it wasn’t his call — and furthermore, that he didn’t agree with the choice — really throws his GM at the time, Pete D’Alessandro, under the bus. Second of all, it’s a hell of a claim to make that ESPN essentially staged a scene to depict it in such a way that Ranadivé says was inaccurate.

The Kings have a new arena, a respected coach in Dave Joerger, and more young big-man talent than you can shake a stick at, but they still don’t have the full makeup of a successful organization. If Ranadivé really is concerned with turning things around, we should see more significant moves than him simply trying to rewrite the past to make himself look better.

(Via USA Today)