It now appears that the end of Geoff Petrie's Sacramento Kings tenure is a matter of when and not if. Sam Amick reported that Petrie was not directly involved in the decision to reinstate DeMarcus Cousins last week and that he won't be offered a new deal at season's end.
Given that a trade deadline stands between now and the end of the season, and given that the Kings have some tradable pieces, it would probably make sense to bite the bullet and make the change now, assuming that the right candidate is available now. Given that no one expects the Kings to spend much money for a GM (or anything), the right candidate is likely going to be a first-time GM, which means that yes, he is likely to be available now.
Here are the three plausible names I think would do a far, far better job than Petrie.
SAM HINKIE, ROCKETS
A Stanford MBA. Daryl Morey's right-hand man in Houston. Obvious analytics bent (I said Morey, right?). He worked with NFL teams on draft analytics before Morey hired him. Considered one of the top young (he's YOUNG) GMs-to-be in the ranks. Also, hilariously, he worked at Bain & Company before he made the switch to sports. (Morey, for what it's worth, was a major Romney supporter. My politics are not a well-kept secret, but I'm not going let those differences stand in the way of recommending my favorite basketball team hires an obviously smart, talented GM. I will, however, troll him mercilessly.)
MIKE ZARREN, CELTICS
Harvard Law. Danny Ainge's cap and analytics expert. Lifelong Celtics fan, which may pose a problem if he thinks Ainge will step down at some point. Brilliant. Used to clerk for the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Notoriously secretive. Quite kind, even to lowly bloggers.
TROY WEAVER, THUNDER
A different brand -- more of a scout than a numbers guy. But damned good at his job. Convinced his boss Sam Presti to give Russell Westbrook more consideration before the 2008 NBA Draft. Recruited Carmelo Anthony as an assistant coach at Syracuse. A more traditional GM type than the above two "new-school" candidates, but obviously comes from a team that is hyperfocused on using analytics in the front office.
There are lots of other names (Tommy Sheppard, Scott Perry, Travis Schlenk) that merit mention, but these are the three I'd chase. Petrie, remember is making $1 million. That's the going rate for a first-time GM. The Maloofs being broke prevents them for getting better players. It shouldn't prevent them from getting a better GM.