Rick Adelman Deserved A Better Hand Than What Maloofs Showed Him

By Gregory Moore
Updated: May 13, 2006

SAN ANTONIO – Professional sports is a ruthless business but not even Rick Adelman deserved the cruel hand that his casino owning bosses gave him on Tuesday. Not after the way they wheeled and dealed away Chris Webber, Vlade Divac, Doug Christie and Peja Stoyocovic. Adelman’s hand wasn’t the best Texas hold’em pocket pair on the planet and he knew that.

After all what can you do when you are holding the three of clubs and the two of diamonds? Pray that you get two pair and can hopefully split a pot. But that wasn’t the case on Tuesday and the reason why the Kings failed to move on in the playoffs had very little to do with Adelman’s coaching ability but the non ability of the Maloof brothers to run a tight ship.

If anyone wants to truly understand why the Sacramento Kings are about to become the laughing stock of the league only have to point their fingers and set their eyeballs squarely on the Maloof family; namely Joe and Gavin Maloof. Adelman was doomed to be the scapegoat in their wheeling and dealing. When Webber was sent packing to Philly, the handwriting was on the wall.

When Christie, Divac and Peja decided to say, “Peace out”, you could hear the hammer on the nails that would seal up Rick’s coffin. But when rumors of several Kings’ players partying down at a downtown San Antonio night spot was the main reason why the Kings lost a ball game came forth, the organ was humming and the preacher was ready to give the eulogy on Adelman’s reign as the man who kept Cowtown in the playoff limelight. Well those days are dead and if Adelman wants any condolence it is never trust a family of gamblers and a friend who has no backbone.

If the truth were to be told about Adelman, the Maloofs, Jeff Pietrie and the Kings, it has to be told that this is a team that is in so much flux that not even a savvy veteran coach could untangle the web that has been spun. The 2005-06 Kings were fortunate to get a player like Ron Artest so late in the season. They were fortunate to be able have a coach like Adelman who could work with high-strung egos like Artest and Bonzi Wells.

So who are candidates for this team and its finicky owners? The names that have been trotted out to the public include Don Nelson, Eric Musselman and P.J. Carlisimo. Any one of these three coaches may be very good at being a stopgap measure but what has to happen is for the Maloofs and Petrie to be realistic about their expectations with a new coach.

The best coach to move them forward just got canned this week and no matter who they select, that coach will be having an adjustment period of about two seasons to get this current roster acclimated to how things are done. Success in the playoffs simply isn’t going to happen any time soon.

UNCLE CLIFFY KNEW BETTER AND THAT’S HURTING THE NETS Clifford Robinson isn’t some snot nose youngster coming out of high school and this isn’t his first playoff series either. Robinson is 39 years old so he is far from being child in the NBA and he knew what was at stake.

The Nets are in the playoffs against a Miami Heat team that they could beat in this series but with Richard Jefferson hobbling on one good wheel and a team that is struggling for more offensive punch besides that of Vince Carter and Jason Kidd, Robinson does the unthinkable and, in my book, the unforgivable; he flunks a drug test.

Robinson knew damn well he was doing the wrong thing at the wrong time. Partaking in drugs is something you would think athletes shouldn’t be doing (more on that later). But what makes this worse is that Robinson was an important piece of this team’s success against Shaq Diesel. Former NBA executive Rod Thorn simply couldn’t understand the reasoning and he told reporters as much.

“You’d like to think that a veteran would understand what’s at stake and not get caught up in something like this,” Thorn said.

You know what Rod, you’d be correct if you were dealing with a logical individual but you’re not. What you are dealing with is a player who is more about himself and less about the team. Robinson isn’t sorry he let the team down.

Hell if he were, he wouldn’t have even smoked another joint. This is the second five game suspension in two seasons so no one can tell me that he is remorseful about the incident. Anyone who wants to try and defend his actions can sell that to somebody else cause over here that simply isn’t worth buying.

Probably what’s really upsetting to me is the fact that everybody wants to be so darn politically correct. All the news accounts I’ve read have nothing but nice things to say about Robinson. Bleep that. For once it would be nice if players would just be real about these situations. Robinson wasn’t a good teammate because he flunked a drug test. He wasn’t a good teammate because he covered his little problem up.

But then again what should I expect from a world where it’s all about living a fairy tale life and nothing about the reality of the situations at hand. Everybody else who is living the real world knows that if Robinson was employed someplace else outside of sports; his ass would be fired and/or locked up right now. Drug rehab wouldn’t be an option for him.

But instead we have a 39-year-old man screwing up his teammates chances at moving ahead in the playoffs. Five games essentially means that the Nets’ season is over. Thanks a lot Clifford. Hope you can find some way to make it to your now former teammates because I seriously doubt Thorn will have you back next season.