Nobody will blame you for forgetting Antoine Wright's brief Sacramento Kings career. The journeyman wing player signed with the Kings as a free agent last fall and made the team out of training camp, only to find himself waived after just seven games. In interviewing Wright, the 15th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, for a Sports Illustrated story about NBA hopefuls whose pro careers don't go as planned, Sam Amick learned more about the circumstances surrounding the end of Wright's tenure as a King, and about the Kings organization itself.
According to Wright, the Kings decided to waive him after a confrontation he had with assistant coach Mario Elie. Wright was displeased that Elie declined to take a photo with Wright's mother following a Kings game the previous night. The day after this confrontation, the Kings sent Wright packing.
The Kings' disfunction extends beyond Elie, Wright says. Instead, it stems from the fact that "I don't think they prepared the guys enough to win basketball games." As an example, Wright notes that he and his teammates never received scouting reports:
We were probably the only team in the NBA that didn't have a scouting report. How do you expect a young team to go out and carry a game plan? Every team I've been on, they give you a scouting report on every guy on the team, a couple paragraphs about each guy before you go out there and play against him."
Off-court issues dogged the Kings as well, as Wright says the team didn't do enough to stand up to rookie big man DeMarcus Cousins. He adds that Tyreke Evans "had a pretty good attitude" but not the work ethic to match.
Of course, we hear only Wright's side of the story in this piece. Amick dutifully asked the Kings to comment, but they declined, he says. It's possible that Wright, who didn't play in the NBA last season after Sacramento waived him, has an axe to grind. But if he's being truthful, his allegations raise questions about the Kings' approach. No scouting reports? That's unheard of in today's NBA.