The Sacramento Bee (Martin McNeal) reports: Joe Axelson, the first general manager of the Sacramento Kings, bore the brunt of much criticism during his tenure, but little from those who worked with him. Axelson died Saturday at age 80 at his Coronado home, his son, David, also a former Kings employee, said Sunday. Joe Axelson was the team’s GM in 1985 when the franchise moved from Kansas City, Mo., and therefore ran the show when the Kings made the playoffs in their first season here at the old Arco Arena. Kings player personnel director and television commentator Jerry Reynolds said it became “a sad day” Sunday when he learned of Axelson’s death from Mike Duncan, the vice president of arena programming.

The AP reports: Over his career with the Royals-Kings franchise, he was responsible for some controversial trades, including swapping Oscar Robertson to Milwaukee in 1970 after Robertson squabbled with coach Bob Cousy and asked to leave Cincinnati. The Royals had to settle for Charlie Paulk and Flynn Robinson in the trade. Axelson at other times traded away Jerry Lucas, Nate Archibald and Norm Van Lier.