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Kings’ GM Geoff Petrie issues statement on re-signing of Chuck Hayes

Dec 23, 2011, 11:33 PM EDT

Chuck Hayes

When the Sacramento Kings dropped the news that they were voiding the contract of recently-signed free agent center Chuck Hayes, it was depressing for multiple reasons, not the least of which was legitimate concern for the health of Hayes himself.

But after seeking a second opinion and getting clearance to play, the story, for now, ends happily for Hayes. He’s back with the Kings, and for slightly more money than he was originally offered.

Still, it’s a little embarrassing for the Kings organization that their medical staff came to a rather serious conclusion that was later determined to be false. Some might even say the team flat out failed in their diagnosis, and failed miserably by going so far as to void the contract as a result.

Not surprisingly, the team’s general manager, Geoff Petrie, tried to put a more positive spin on the situation.

It is a profound pleasure to announce the signing of Chuck Hayes to a new multi-year contract. Chuck’s abilities and potential contribution have been previously described in great detail and remain unchanged. There is a much larger human story contained in the ongoing series of events which have encompassed the last eight days that go beyond basketball. It should be embraced. Some undoubtedly will seek to find some element of failure in this. There is no failure here. Chuck’s story and return has been so much more about caring, support, hope, faith, prayer, and a livable redemption. These values represent a larger part of the oxygen of life. The travails and then the triumph of the human spirit is what transpired here. There should be inspiration in this for everyone, especially at this time of the year. In closing, I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday with their families, friends, and loved ones, and to all a good night.”

And a happy holiday to you, sir!

No one isn’t happy that this turned out the way it did for Hayes. But putting holiday pleasantries and positivity aside for a moment, it needs to me noted that the mistake the Kings organization made here was enormous, and Petrie’s statement that “there is no failure here” is just plain false.

  1. stebutt - Dec 24, 2011 at 2:22 AM

    What a load of horse droppings. How stupid has he made himself look by inane, incomprehensible and frankly downright meaningless ramblings like that?

    Just admit that you could have managed it better and get on with it.

  2. dadawg77 - Dec 24, 2011 at 2:42 AM

    Question, is there a time frame between the physical and when team have to decided to void a deal? Could the Kings hand been forced make the choice with imperfect data as they noticed the condition but couldn’t really follow up by conducting more tests like the Cleveland Clinic did?

    • nate21h - Dec 24, 2011 at 2:06 PM

      Dadawg this is exactly what happened. I’m a Kings fan, and more importantly I know a number of people who know more than Mr Pollakoff about the situation.

      When Hayes was notified of more tests on Thursday the 15th, that’s when the whole process started. There is a 6 day window to void a contract in that situation, and when the contract was voided (Monday) there was no choice but to do so after the conclusion of a well heeded cardiologist in the Sacramento area concluded more tests to be done. At that point the Kings had no choice but to void the contract.

      Here’s the timing part that Mr Pollakoff mostly got wrong. The Cleveland Clinic for Hayes was set up by the Kings and with Hayes knowing all the way. At the time on Wednesday, it wasn’t known how much of a problem Hayes had and that’s the reason he went to the Cleveland Clinic in the first place. The CC is a world renown clinic, and that’s just what I think people in general are missing here. Nobody is talking about the Boston Celtics screwing up a diagnosis when their medical team did the same thing, and now Jeff Green is getting heart surgery at the same Cleveland Clinic.

      So in otherwords Dadawg, what happened is exactly what you said. Hayes has an unusual shape to his heart that is more than just his being a world class athlete. While there turned out to be no heart abnormalities, the cardiologist (that’s the link above) at the CC said that it was reasonable to think there might be an issue’s without a 2nd opinion. When the Kings didn’t have enough time to get the 2nd opinion from the CC as they ended up doing, they had to void the contract with no other recourse available to them.

      As far as other teams doing what the Kings did, they would have had no choice unless another team wanted to pay a player without any sort of insurance (teams don’t typically do that). I’m sure 30 of 30 teams would have voided the contract and done what the Kings did in this situation. The real problem was the compressed timetable and the unusual nature of the problem with Chuck Hayes. This wasn’t as simple as jumping the gun or not being sensitive to the issue’s Hayes was going through.

      As far as the written point, Mr Pollakoff, you got this badly wrong:

      Still, it’s a little embarrassing for the Kings organization that their medical staff came to a rather serious conclusion that was later determined to be false. Some might even say the team flat out failed in their diagnosis, and failed miserably by going so far as to void the contract as a result.

      The actual diagnosis was something a bit more complicated than saying that Hayes had a heart abnormality. It was more along the lines that a well respected cardiologist in a field (I know Sacramento is a cowtown and all but it does have respected cardiologists nonetheless) was asking for a 2nd opinion from one of the world’s most respected and widely acknowledged as a leader of medicine. It’s like you asking for an opinion from the ghost of Jim Murray because he is widely acknowledged as one of the best sportswriters of his generation. That suddenly makes you an incompetent writer to ask the opinion of someone with more cachet and more experience and knowledge in coming up with a diagnosis (or opinion)?

      The next time you’re willing to sign a player to a 21 million dollar contract without insurance. The next time you have 21 million dollars might be a good place to start that conversation nonetheless. It’s a good thing that it wasn’t your money. Because if Chuck Hayes had collapsed on the court, and no insurance was to be had, along with a failed physical, you’d be blaming the Kings for not doing their homework to insure that Hayes was completely 100% healthy. Instead, they do their job and void the contract in part because there was a real possibility that Hayes could have had real heart problems, and it’s their fault for not being a world class doctor at one of the most important hospitals in the world. I suppose that is the Kings organization fault for not having world class cardiologists at hand so they can figure out a critical complicated diagnosis in 6 days. Sure, that makes a lot of sense. Why aren’t you blaming the Celtics organization for not being able to perform Jeff Green’s surgery in their back office?

      Oh that’s right. It doesn’t make sense. Neither does your opinion on this matter.

  3. glink123 - Dec 24, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    “oxygen of life”?? all I gotta say is, if I’m one of the other players on that team, there’s NO way in hell that team’s doctors is coming anywhere near me. Zero chance.

  4. raidmagic - Dec 24, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    Just a thought here but what if the Kings are right and Chuck’s second opinion is wrong. I hope for Chuck’s sake that isn’t the case but scary situation non the less.

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