“Long shot” Pete D’Alessandro overcomes odds to become Sacramento Kings new GM
By Vivek Ranadivé’s estimation, the Sacramento Kings new general manager was a “long shot” for the job. He wanted experience and someone with some “proverbial grey hair” as an NBA executive.
But near the end of his lengthy two-week search, it became clear to Ranadivé that Pete D’Alessandro was the right man for the opportunity.
“He was head and shoulders above, in my view, what I was looking for,” the Kings majority owner said while introducing D’Alessandro as the team’s newest GM today. “Like I said, he was the smartest guy, the hungriest guy and the most passionate guy and you see that with all the comments that he’s made.”
D’Alessandro comes to Sacramento after spending the last three years with the Denver Nuggets. In addition to the Nuggets, D’Alessandro worked for the Golden State Warriors from 2004-08 as director of player personnel and assistant general manager.
The 45-year-old Kings executive spoke enthusiastically about the opportunity to join a franchise in transition after it was sold last month for a record $535-million valuation. After having conversations with Ranadivé and co-owners Raj Bhathal and Mark Mastrov, D’Alessandro was convinced that Sacramento was the right place for him to take the next step in his career.
“I think there’s a time in your life when you have to look and say…when are you gonna step out and do your thing?” D’Alessandro said of making the move from the Mile High City, where he was reportedly a candidate to take over for departed GM Masai Ujiri. “When are you actually going to take a leap and believe in what you can do?”
Like new head coach Michael Malone, D’Alessandro has a tall task ahead of him. The 2013 NBA Draft is 10 days away and in addition to evaluating this year’s prospects, D’Alessandro must put together a staff that will assist him in reconstructing the Kings’ roster.
He’s well aware of the challenge. D’Alessandro would like to assemble his team as quickly as possible. But for the time being, he plans on using his expansive network of connections around the league to help him with decisions.
“Even without having a staff, I have my people,” D’Alessandro said. “I have the people I trust that have come through this industry who are excellent. I will be getting great advice. I have unbelievable brains out there.”
One person rumored to be part of D’Alessandro’s new braintrust is hall of famer Chris Mullin. The Sacramento Bee reports that the 49-year-old ex-Warriors executive has an open offer to join the Kings as a consultant under D’Alessandro, who worked for Mullin in Golden State.
Ranadivé noted that he looked to Mullin for his opinion while considering D’Alessandro for the job. According to Ranadivé, Mullin didn’t hesitate when it came to recommending his former protege, calling the Kings new GM the “smartest guy out there, absolutely, no questions about it”.
“We would love to look at how we can have Mully help us,” Ranadivé said. “He’s a legend in the area and we all know him well and it would be great to have his help.”
More quotes from Pete D’Alessandro’s introductory press conference
D’Alessandro on the Kings’ roster and how it’s currently constructed:
I think we have some very nice young talent and some very potent talent. Michael spoke a little about this, but offensively I mean this team can score. It really can. I’ll leave a lot of the on-the-floor stuff to Michael. But I see real opportunity, real potential to develop players. I see potential within this draft. Here we are at day one. Some of them frankly, we’re gonna have to get them in here. We’re gonna have to really evaluate them.
I don’t think you make a knee jerk reaction on any player. I don’t think you come in and say I got a job so I need to make a splash. I’m aggressive, I will always be aggressive, I’ve come from aggressive teams in the groups I’ve worked with. Sometimes the most aggressive moves sometimes is not to be aggressive. So I can go any direction on this thing.
I do like the talent on this team. I do think it’s there and I think at the second half of the season you saw a lot of that. With that said, I have a lot of work. I have a lot of agents to call. I have to sit down with these players and Michael and I will do that together. But I feel the futures really bright, I feel like we have something to work with here.
D’Alessandro on DeMarcus Cousins:
He’s an unbelievable talent. I can’t speak more highly about him as the player. I’ve reached out to his agent. I will be getting in touch with him for sure. He’s just unbelievable. He’s a very important part of what we’re looking to do.
D’Alessandro on fitting in with the Kings’ new franchise:
Within two, three minutes, I couldn’t just believe how comfortable it was. I couldn’t believe the fit. And again, just with Raj and Mark and Vivek, it just felt so good. And what it (like) felt to me (was) there was a vision. There’s a vision here. There’s something more.
Malone on working with D’Alessandro:
One, I’m thrilled he’s here. As Vivek went through the process, he said many times, he was going to take his time. Part of me really wanted him to hurry up because I was trying to wear too many hats around here and we have a lot of important things coming up. But when Pete was hired, I felt very comfortable and confident in him. And the most important thing for me was hiring somebody that I’d be able to communicate with openly, in honest fashion and is gonna share the same work ethic, same ideas that we’re gonna try to build around here. In Pete D’Alessandro, we have all those things so I’m thrilled about the hire.
And we’ve already started talking about the draft, who we’ve worked out, who we need to see. We’ve talked a little bit about our roster, free agency, all those kinds of things. And I know his wife is here, but for the next couple of weeks, this is gonna be my wife. We’re gonna be together at the hip because we have a lot of work to do.
Vivek talked about young, hungry, passionate. I’m not as intelligent as either one of these guys. But we share a lot of the same traits and it’s going to be a great match for both of us moving forward.