On Sunday night, the Sacramento Kings managed to shock the sports world by unloading a player who's been the subject of trade rumors for almost his entire career. It was a special feat of clumsiness and backward-thinking by a franchise that's been recently plagued by the usual problems of the incompetent: meddlesome owner, inept general manager, locker-room problems, player-vs.-coach beefs and a general sense of perpetual chaos. And still, the Sacramento Kings are not the most dysfunctional team in sports. But they're close. Our rankings, from the very dysfunctional to the completely dysfunctional, are below.
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New York Yankees
The Bronx Zoo days of George and Billy make the current Yankees quagmire look quaint in comparison. And other teams would kill for the recent pinstripe "futility" of zero playoff wins in four years while still maintaining a 24-year streak of winning baseball. New York's is a special kind of dysfunction -- the kind where winning is hampered by a necessity to never rebuild. Yet with all connections to the last World Series team gone except for CC Sabathia, it's finally a new era for the Yanks and one that feels more Mattingly than Jeter. There are always promising young players in the Yankees pipeline but they either never pan out or are traded at the first sign of May panic. But as long as there's money to throw at the problem, the Yankees will still get the big names and stay relevant, even if mediocre.
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The Nets are currently suffering a fate worse than futility. They're irrelevant. Brooklyn is an NBA-worst 9-47, a record so bad that the next-worst team in the NBA has double the win total. In the last 10 years they've had three playoff appearances and nine coaches. Their top two scorers are trade bait, meaning they haven't even knocked down the foundation for their rebuilding effort, something that'll be hamstrung by the fact that they trade away pretty much the entire last half of this decade for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the seven playoff victories they brought. Brooklyn won't have control of their first-round pick unti 2019 and are currently in year one of a three-year deal with Jeremy Lin, which would be bad enough if it wasn't: a) their big signing of free agency; b) costing $12 million per year; c) Jeremy Lin; d) Jeremy Lin's used-car body; e) Jeremy Lin's hair. Who would have thought Tidal would only be the second-worst thing in which Jay Z invested.
New York Jets
Keeping Todd Bowles was a good start and, uh, I guess you have to start somwhere. Everything else is a mess. Ryan Fitzpatrick won't be back as quarterback, and Geno Smith is likely to join him in free agency. The best options -- the best -- include Mike Glennon, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.
As if that didn't sting enough, the Jets took QB Christian Hackenberg at No. 51 in last year's draft, 84 picks before Dak Prescott was plucked off the board by the Dallas Cowboys. You can always play that game (yeah, every team passed on Tom Brady, but so did the Patriots - six times), but it's not as if the Jets have been cleaning up on draft night at other positions. In the last two years, they've taken two players who would become starters. General manager Mike Maccagnan has mostly ignored a porous offensive line, made signings that were toxic to the locker room and may have a bust on his hands with the $86 million Muhammad Wilkerson. On the bright side, he's not Darrelle Revis.
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New York City subway lines have been built up faster than these Philadelphia 76ers. The much-heralded "process," which involved tanking and then drafting players who'd suffered catastrophic injuries, has been a surprise failure, with its architect (GM Sam Hinkie) gone and two major pieces (Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, ages 22 and 21 respectively) essentially playing under "FOR SALE" signs since the start of the season. The other two cornerstones, the universally adored and universally injured Joel Embiid and No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, have played a combined 38 games this year. (Simmons has played none and Embiid is en route to a season shutdown.) Four big men and only two spots at which to play them? What's the opposite of trade leverage?
The optimist will remind you that the Sixers have a bevy of first-round picks coming their way over the next three years. They've had 'em before. Anyway, will there be enough 6-foot-11 guys with blown-out knees to draft?
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San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers have their fourth coach in four seasons after a split with Jim Harbaugh (he says it wasn't mutual) and one-year tenures for Jim Tomsula and Chip Kelly. In doing so, San Francisco became the first NFL franchise to have back-to-back one-and-done coaches in nearly 40 years. Now it's up to Super Bowl hero Kyle Shanahan and All-Pro-turned-announcer-turned-surprise-GM John Lynch to rebuild a once-proud franchise that's occassionaly flirted with relevance since Steve Young retired.
It took seven years, but Boogie finally broke the back of the Kings. Back in 2010, Sacramento took the temperemental Kentucky star at No. 5 fully aware he was a powder keg waiting to explode. They stayed by him through technicals, suspensions, attitude problems, stupidity, beefs with teammates, beefs with refs, beefs with announcers, beefs with George Karl and beefs (for some reason) with Tim Duncan, continuing to defend him, indulge him and declare their full support for him right up until Sunday night, when they gave him away to New Orleans in exchange for nothing more than some prospects and a pot of crawfish etouffee.
The last time Sacramento made the playoffs was in 2006, when the following players were on the team: Bonzi Wells, Corliss Williamson, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Peja Stojakovic and the former Ron Artest. They drafted Jimmer Fredette over Klay Thompson and Kawhi Leonard. The best player the Kings drafted since Cousins was Isaiah Thomas, now the All-Star lynchpin of a Boston playoff team who was deemed unfit to lead the Kings. It's not going to get any better, either. Owner Vivek Ranadive, the CEO of a infrastructure softwre company, seems to think he's a basketball guy, and GM Vlade Divac appears to be in over his very-tall head.
Do the Browns even count as dysfunctional? The word implies there was ever functionality. It's easy to rip them for the Johnny Manziel pick, but in the moment it looked okay. Don't worry though, it's easy and acceptable to rip them for everything else, from the Robert Griffin III signing to the Justin Gilbert pick to every single coaching hire to every single quarterback acquisition (26 of them have started a game since 1999) to passing on Carson Wentz to taking on Cody Kessler to all the front-office reorganizations to every draft pick of the past decade minus Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, Joe Haden and T.J. Ward. The Browns haven't had a single Pro Bowl player from their last five draft classes, and the Pro Bowl lets in as many people as Ellis Island. Oh, Hue Jackson. What have you done?
New York Knicks
The Knicks make the Kings look like the Spurs.
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How have the Redskins handled its first back-to-back winning seasons since the Joe Gibbs teams of 1991-92? A brief overview of the offseason. ... The team has stayed mum on signing its young quarterback who posted team records in various categories and stands as the best QB to play in Washington since Joe Theismann. It seemingly would rather give $24 million for a one-year franchise tag than give out, say, $65 million guaranteed to a guy who bet on himself in 2016 and won. The silence has been taken as apathy, and every day it appears more likely that an impasse or a lame-duck franchise year is in play. If they tag him again in 2017, the Redskins will have paid Cousins $44 million in two seasons. Do the math. He isn't the best quarterback in the league and he makes mistakes, including that crucial, crippling pick-six in a de facto playoff game in Week 17 against the Giants. But he's improved and been effective, and it still appears like the Redskins will lowball him almost like they're in denial about the reality of the quarterback market and are wishing it could change simply by wanting it to.
The general manager, who has been the catalyst for the 'Skins turnaround, is reportedly not allowed to talk to the media, and the team's Pravda has appallingly and openly wondered about his battles with addiction. The offensive coordinator left to be head coach of the Rams. The defensive coordinator was fired. The head coach wasn't hired by the GM and has a quarterback that he originally didn't want. There are a number of free-agent questions beyond quarterback, the kind which have domino effects for how Cousins, or any replacement, might fare.
The front office and coaching staff seems filled with Machiavellian backstabbing and manuevering, only no one seems competent enough to work it in their favor and certainly not in the team's.