The Sacramento Kings are a silly, sarcastic mess. Again.

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DeMarcus Cousins makes the face. (Getty Images)
DeMarcus Cousins makes the face. (Getty Images)

The Sacramento Kings’ latest bit of ha-ha came late in the team’s win over the similarly embarrassingWashington Wizards on Wednesday.

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With the win in hand, DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo were both called for technical fouls by introducing a little Synchronized Sarcastic Clapping into the contest. The Wizards added a few points via free throw that hardly mattered; everyone made their jokes, Boogie earned a suspension, and the league went back to paying attention to teams that matter.

This is symbolic, though. And you’re allowed to get haughty over it.

The Kings are a bad stereotype, like the ones from 40 years ago that we read oral histories of and laugh at how these ridiculous teams could ever be so silly. Ones we thought the NBA outgrew as owners, front offices, the league’s office and the league’s players all became smarter and more self-aware.

The franchise is led by an owner in Vivek Ranadive that has proven time and again that he thinks he knows basketball better than his basketball people. It has a player personnel chief in Vlade Divac that, a year into his job, had to have a cap knowledgeable front office veteran added to help steer him through the next series of decisions. Coach George Karl (reportedly … but come on) daring his team to fire him so that he can make the remainder of cash on his contract, barely engaging outside of pointed digs at his players, happy make his way toward the NBA’s all-time coaching wins record some 35 victories at a time.

Whether or not DeMarcus Cousins would have turned out like this on a team like the Spurs is beyond the point, he’s here and there’s probably no turning back. Whether or not Rajon Rondo acted like this back in Boston and his Celtic teammates did a better job of hiding things is not the point, he’s here and the free agent to-be is openly flirting with other teams.

George Karl draws one up. (Getty Images)
George Karl draws one up. (Getty Images)

Cousins and Rondo were lucky to be in the Washington game at all, as most assumed the Kings would rest their best players down the stretch, as every added win (like Wednesday night’s) adds to the chances that the team would have to give up its first round draft pick. If the pick falls out of the top ten, it heads to Chicago. Sacramento is currently situated eighth in the lottery standings.

Then there is the mess that personnel boss Vlade Divac created last summer, when he dealt all manner of first round pick options to Sacramento in a salary dump meant to clear cap space for free agent pursuits.

Philly has the right to swap picks with the Kings if Sacto hits lottery gold this May. If that scenario doesn’t occur, the 76ers have the right to swap again in 2018. If that’s passed on, the Sixers have the right to the Kings’ pick (top ten protected in 2018). If Sacramento manages to make it out of any of these drafts with their pick, then Philadelphia has the rights to the Kings’ first rounder in 2019, with no protections.

As such, the past will likely repeat itself. The Kings will continue to stay out of the playoff picture, take in a series of middling lottery picks, and potentially bottom out in 2019. The only recent pick they haven’t whiffed on is rookie Willie Cauley-Stein, who had to hear this from his 63-year old coach after his two best games so far as a pro:

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The rookie responded with a double-double in his next game.

Adding David Morway to Vlade Divac’s staff will help, provided he’s listened to. Morway help reconfigure the Indiana Pacers’ impressive rebuilding on the fly while with the team in Reggie Miller’s post-prime years, and it’s quite possible that he was one thrown beer bottle away from helping to create a champion.

This all starts at the top, though.

Who is the NBA’s ideal when it comes to tempestuous, visible, know-it-all owners with wads of cash to throw around? For years, it was Dallas’ Mark Cuban, and for good reason. He charged the floor, once. He racked up an endless series of fines, forced Dennis Rodman on his team, gobbled up a series of free agents in his first year with the club prior to making massive deals in his first trade deadline. I learned about Cuban’s affirmation as owner in a Denver airport prior to boarding a flight that happened to have Pacer GM Donnie Walsh (then working with Morway) on it, and I came thisclose to joking to him that Cuban will have fired his GM and coach by the time we touched down.

That same GM, Donnie Nelson, still runs the Mavericks 16 years later. The coach, Don Nelson, stayed on until stepping aside in 2005. The free agents that Cuban chased after that summer were low-risk veterans meant to bulk up a team featuring a still-evolving Dirk Nowitzki and an injury-prone Steve Nash. That trade deadline helped the Mavs acquire Calvin Booth, who was instrumental in what would be Dallas’ first second round postseason appearance in 13 years, all following Cuban’s first full year as owner.

He may have butted heads, but he didn’t butt in. Meanwhile, Vivek Ranadive is pulling stuff like this:

… look at the body language in that room. It’s like they’re watching the star-crossed flake of the family explain at the Thanksgiving table why he spent the last of his inheritance on a stay-at-home business selling acai berries. Vivek Ranadive might be brilliant in all other forms of business life, but these Kings are his acai berries.

The coaching scenario is unfathomable. George Karl has done nothing but undermine his players and front office – however lacking they might be – since taking over 14 months ago. It’s only been 14 months! Teams repeatedly chafe at the idea that they’ll have to pay guaranteed money to coaches to make them go away (and it appears that the Kings are as itchy as all the others), but is any of this worth it? Karl makes half of what Rondo makes and he’s thrice as destructive. He makes what his literal backup point guard makes, and he doesn’t count against the salary cap.

Part of this is admitting defeat. Corporate types and athletes share in that they’re usually loathe to do as much, as usually it takes a new voice with a new job to come in and sign off on the idea that the last guy screwed up a whole bunch.

Rajon Rondo may have just used the Kings to lure teams into giving him his next big contract. DeMarcus Cousins’ well might be poisoned for years to come – it took players like Zach Randolph and Christian Laettner ages to figure these sorts of things out. Even with a new coach in place next season, Cauley-Stein might be cynical and distrusting of NBA coaching culture for the duration of his rookie contract. David Morway might make an impact, but he’s still going to have to answer to the guy that traded for four years’ worth of draft intrigue in the chase to acquire Monta Ellis and Wes Matthews for the same backcourt.

Vlade Divac, who has experience running actual pro basketball teams (as opposed to merely the player personnel), has it in him to become a fine GM at this level. David Morway will help, there is talent in place, and an engaged coach could build back the team’s confidence.

Right now, though, the culture has created a culture of smartasses, even if these Kings players are often spot-on in their catty comments and actions.

And, for the tenth season in a row, Sacramento will miss the playoffs. Maybe they should trade for Calvin Booth.

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Kelly Dwyer

is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at KDonhoops@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!