Sacramento Kings general manager discusses decision to deal Isaiah Thomas
LAS VEGAS – The Sacramento Kings have a new point guard in Darren Collison. However, there are still plenty of questions about the departure of their old one.
Following Collison’s signing with the Kings today, general manager Pete D’Alessandro offered insight into the decision-making process behind allowing Isaiah Thomas to take his talents to Phoenix. In his time as general manager of the Kings, D’Alessandro has never shied away from answering tough questions and Saturday’s session was no different.
“Isaiah was a really good player for us and a great part of the community,” D’Alessandro told media members Saturday afternoon. “This is not about Isaiah, it’s about trying to put together a chemistry and a way that we can kind of play going forward.”
There is no question that Thomas was a fan favorite during his time in Sacramento. You know the story by heart now. The 25-year-old guard rose from obscurity as the last pick in the 2011 Draft to become one of the most crowd-pleasing players in recent franchise history. While the Kings battled relocation to places like Seattle, the native Washingtonian attended crucial city council meetings on behalf of the franchise. He held camps in local area gyms, attended draft lottery parties and even represented the NBA and Kings in India this summer.
The move to let Thomas walk has faced sharp criticism from a large subset of fans. Despite the blowback, D’Alessandro has remained steadfast in his choice to part ways with the 25-year-old point guard. He cited multiple reasons for why he felt a changing of the guard was necessary, including the need to increase the pace of the Kings’ offense. D’Alessandro also suggested that implications to the team’s long-term salary structure also played a part in choosing to pass on matching Thomas’ new four-year, $27-million contract with the Phoenix Suns.
“There aren’t easy decisions when you’re trying to put a roster together,” D’Alessandro said following Saturday’s free-agent signing session of his new starting point guard. “When you do the analysis, you have to say, OK, I have to put everything aside, and just look at things from a more objective way.”
The Kings don’t believe they are done remaking the roster just yet. They hope to make a few more moves before the start of training camp in October in an attempt to reshape a 28-win roster from a season ago. While the fans initial reaction to losing Thomas hasn’t been pleasant, D’Alessandro hopes the move for Collison, as well as the team’s aggressive approach over the last year, will change their minds.
“Our fans have been great, in terms of being behind us overall and seeing that we’ve been aggressive,” the Kings general manager said. “I have an owner that’s willing to spend money. I have a staff that’s putting in the hours and we’re going to do everything that we can to get this team right and we think this is a great piece for us in adding Darren.”