Pictured (from left to right): Pete D’Alessandro, Mike Bratz, Michael Malone and Tyreke Evans at Friday’s pre-draft workout.
If you asked Pete D’Alessandro, his first week as new general manager of the Sacramento Kings has exceeded his expectations. Not only has he gotten comfortable with his new surroundings, but he’s also been able to put together a front office staff ahead of schedule.
Earlier this week, the Kings announced the hiring of former player and coach Mike Bratz, who will serve as D’Alessandro’s assistant general manager. D’Alessandro described Bratz, who comes to Sacramento from Denver, as the “lieutenant” of the Kings’ new front office.
“Thrilled,” D’Alessandro said with a smile of Bratz’s hiring. ”To me, it’s like a free agent signing of a player. He’s that good.”
In addition to Bratz, it appears that current assistant general manager Shareef Abdur-Rahim will be sticking around as well. D’Alessandro says that he is currently in talks with Abdur-Rahim about staying with the Kings’ new front office regime.
“When you go out on the road and you go check out players, you’re out there watching players, you’re at draft workouts, you’re doing a lot of stuff – who are the guys that are out there running around looking for a job?” D’Alessandro said. ”And who are the guys actually down there taking notes, paying attention to what they do? And he’s just one of the top notch people, I saw it.”
With Bratz and presumably Abdur-Rahim on board, it’s a dream scenario for the former-Nuggets-turned-Kings executive. Had he gotten the front office gig in Denver, D’Alessandro planned on targeting the former 12-year NBA veteran to join his staff, which had already included Bratz.
“To think, I had in my vision in Denver these three and now I have that same vision here,” D’Alessandro said.
As far as Chris Mullin is concerned, there are no new udpates. The hall of fame player has reportedly been offered a consultant position by D’Alessandro, who worked for Mullin in Golden State.
“Everyone knows my relationship to him,” the Kings new GM said of Mullin. “He’s the classiest person in this industry and you talk about minds and knowing the game. That’s a heck of a resource.”
And though nothing’s been announced, former NBA wing George McCloud, who’s been spotted at the Kings’ last few pre-draft workouts, is expected to join D’Alessandro’s staff as a scout. The 45-year-old executive described McLoud as having an “impeccable” eye for talent.
“I always found that his ideas, a lot of times, they came through,” D’Alessandro said of McCloud.
D’Alessandro on DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans
At the advice of his agent, DeMarcus Cousins is keeping quiet about his future with the Sacramento Kings. Concerning to some, it’s not so much to Pete D’Alessandro.
“I mean guys, a lot of the stuff it gets somewhat blown out of proportion,” the Kings new GM told reporters after today’s pre-draft workout in Natomas. ”This league is what it is. There’s no surprises in here.”
D’Alessandro noted that he has “great relationship” with Cousins’ agent Dan Fegan. The two have done business before, dating back to D’Alessandro’s days in Golden State when Fegan represented former Warriors Jason Richardson and Troy Murphy.
Cousins was in Sacramento this week hosting a three-day basketball camp for local area youth, but has not yet met with the Kings new GM. D’Alessandro is optimistic about having an in-person meeting with the 22-year-old center soon.
“I can’t wait to get my time to sit down with DeMarcus,” D’Alessandro said. ”I feel like facetime is really what it is. You don’t know someone until you look them in the eyes, so I don’t want to have a phone call. And we’ll get there, it’s gonna happen and I will keep you updated.”
In addition to Cousins, Kings swingman Tyreke Evans was also back in town this week. The 23-year-old former rookie of the year attended and watched yesterday’s six-man, pre-draft workout. Unlike Cousins however, Evans has already met with D’Alessandro, albeit briefly.
“He and I are gonna try to go grab a bite here in the next couple of days, but he’s been in the gym,” D’Alessandro said of Evans.
Evans’ contract with the Kings expires on July 1st. The Kings have until June 30th to tender Evans a qualifying offer and make him a restricted free agent.
Shabazz Muhammad returns to meet with D’Alessandro
Ahead of Thursday’s draft, Shabazz Muhammad returned to Sacramento, but did not participate in Saturday’s pre-draft workout. The former UCLA wing suffered an ankle injury not long after his previous appearance in the capital city on June 10th.
“It was disappointing,” Muhammad said of not getting the chance to showcase his skills today. ”But at the same time, I want to make sure I’m 100 percent for summer league. That’s where you make your real statement.”
Though Muhammad didn’t workout, he got a chance to meet the Kings’ new GM for the first time. The two went out to lunch following the conclusion of today’s audition.
Muhammad has one last stop before Thursday’s draft. On Monday, he has plans of visiting the Detroit Pistons, who own this year’s No. 8 pick.
Watch: Shabazz Muhammad on his return trip back to Sacramento