Report: Pete D’Alessandro to Denver Nuggets

Pete D'Alessandro sporting a hard hat

First it was rumors to St. John’s University, now it appears that Sacramento Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro is on his way to the Denver Nuggets.  According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, D’Alessandro will return to his former club in an operations position under president Josh Kroenke.

The 46-year-old former sports agent joined the Kings in summer 2013 following the NBA’s decision to keep the team in Sacramento.  In his first season on the job, he took an aggressive approach to reshaping the roster, turning over all but DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson from the 2012-13 roster.

The addition of Rudy Gay will go down as D’Alessandro’s crowning moment in Sacramento.  But his handling of former head coach Michael Malone and the aftermath that ensued leaves a black mark on his time with the Kings.

While the ultimate decision to fire the coach fell on ownership, sources have confirmed to Cowbell Kingdom that D’Alessandro and former advisor Chris Mullin approached Ranadivé on a near daily basis with negative critiques of Malone’s coaching style and decisions.

Contrary to an early account of the situation, an NBA source has told Cowbell Kingdom that any report that Ranadivé acted solely and without the advice of his trusted basketball executives in Malone’s firing is incorrect.

By the end of his tenure, Malone was hardly on speaking terms with D’Alessandro.  The thought of the two working together in Denver or elsewhere seems like a stretch.

The December firing of Malone shook the Kings organization, resulting in a bizarre meltdown both on and off the court.  Despite his best efforts to control the situation in Sacramento, it was clear that D’Alessandro had lost the locker room as the Kings’ season spiraled out of control.

The series of events eventually led to the hiring of George Karl as coach, but not before Cousins and his representation were dragged into the public relations nightmare surrounding the decision.  Cousins, an advocate for Malone throughout his tenure, wasn’t happy about his dismissal or the insinuation that he was holding up the Karl deal.

“It’s unfortunate for our players, it really was,” D’Alessandro told Cowbell Kingdom following Karl’s hiring.  “When the focus starts turning to players, if I could look back and say, ‘Could I have done one thing differently when it started focusing on some of our guys?’, at that point I should have stepped up and said, ‘That’s on me.’  I’m learning too.  Not to use it as an excuse, but I’m 17 or 18 months in and I’m learning as well.”

Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, Karl couldn’t right the Kings ship down the stretch.  Vlade Divac was brought in as vice president of basketball and franchise operations in an attempt to clean up some of the issues brought on by a disastrous season.

Divac’s arrival meant a reduction in D’Alessandro’s role with the club and hastened his exit.  By all accounts, Divac has been active in scouting and working tirelessly to bring stability to the wayward franchise.  While he lacks experience, he has been a breath of fresh air for an organization searching for an identity.

D’Alessandro’s departure leaves a void in the Kings front office.  The club will need to bring in a salary cap expert and potentially another executive to fill the voids left by D’Alessandro and Mullin.  A source confirmed that Ryan West, son of Hall of Famer Jerry West is on the Kings’ radar, but don’t be surprised if a few more names are mentioned in the near future.

For more on Pete D’Alessandro’s time in Sacramento, you can listen to the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast episode 201 or read here.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is the senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news since 2010. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also contributes to ESPN.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary film "Small Market, Big Heart".