I am not oblivious to the fact that this relocation/sale saga is far from over. However, if fans on the other side of the spectrum feel the freedom to scout the team and decide who will stay and who will go while scouting the draft to see who will fit the needs of the Sacramento Kings, I believe it is important for us to maintain some sort of semblance of basketball-related discussion.
It goes without saying that the Sacramento Kings have been very bad since their last trip to the playoffs in 2006. There are a LOT of people at fault, including the Maloofs. However, it is safe to point out much of the blame for the Kings' slide the past decade. From questionable trades to poor signings, from draft choices that haven't worked out to poor team compositions, Geoff Petrie has taken a franchise that won 50+ games 5 years in a row and turned it into a franchise that has not won 30 games 5 years running. And now Geoff Petrie is in the final year of his contract. With all the questions surrounding the Kings' franchise, one thing seems certain: Geoff Petrie will no longer be making the personnel decisions next year, whether that's in Seattle, Sacramento, Anaheim or Timbuktu.
The following are some of the possible candidate to lead the Kings' front office if Vivek Ranadive and Co. are successful in the bid to keep the Kings in Sacramento.
We all know about this guy. He knows basketball as well as perhaps anyone in the world. It appears to be in his DNA and that is what makes it so difficult for Jackson to walk away from the game. Rumors abound that Jackson wants to get back in the game, but it is not expected that he is willing to coach again. Most reports out there state that Jackson wants to stay on the West Coast to be near his home in LA and Sacramento provides the proximity.
But would this be a real fit? It is clear that the Kings need a full reboot from top to bottom and it would be nice to have a veteran basketball guy like Jackson ('"veteran" seems like the understatement of the century) to be the face of the basketball operations, but neither party may provide what the other is looking for. Jackson has always coached teams that were dripping with talent and has only been rumored as a coaching option when talented teams were without a leader. Would Jackson really want to take part in a full rebuild like the Kings? On the other side of the coin, Ranadive has brought up that he wants to see this franchise lead the charge in analytics (paraphrased). Does Jackson provide the cutting edge the Sacramento ownership would look for? And with Jackson's health issues and age, would the Kings like to pursue a figurehead who can bring youth and energy to the franchise and lead the charge for years to come?
Phil Jackson will likely make some franchise very happy, it's possible he isn't the right fit for this ownership group.
This is probably the number one rising star front office prospect who has not yet become a general manager. Sam Hinkie has been a piece of Daryl Morey's staff in Houston for years and works very closely with Morey in all aspects of basketball operations but especially in analytics. Hinkie has been rumored as a top candidate as a general manager for number of teams in the past few years and this year could be the year he takes the leap to captain a team. Hinkie fits the Kings in that he is young, he has a high level of experience in all areas of the front office and he is one of the champions of analytics in the NBA. In fact, he is such a great candidate, Hinkie may be too good of a candidate for the Sacramento Kings. However, if Vivek Ranadive and Co. are willing to spend the money and entice Hinkie with carte blanche, he may be willing to come to Sacramento.
Mike Zarren is another hot commodity among general manager candidates. As a member of the Boston Celtics' front office, Zarren has led the way in analytics and aided Danny Ainge in building a perennial contender. Zarren was recently rumored to be a top candidate for the 76ers' GM position last offseason that was later filled by Tom DeLeo. Along with Sam Hinkie, Zarren has been a contributor to the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference many years running. Zarren is a veteran of NBA front offices and would provide great experience along with his analytics background. He could be another top candidate for Ranadive.
Travis Schlenk is a candidate that Vivek Ranadive might be familiar from his time with Golden State. Schlenk has been with the Warriors' front office since 2004 and has been in the front office since he was promoted from assistant coach to director of player personnel in 2009. In 2011, Schlenk was named assistant general manager at age 39. He is another stats and analytics nut and a young candidate who is gaining steam around the NBA. Schlenk's youth and familiarity with Ranadive may give him an inside track to a potential position in the Sacramento front office. It also doesn't hurt that he's a California guy. Schlenk's relative lack of experience in a front office may cause the Sacramento group to take pause if they are looking for someone to truly captain the basketball operations in a new era.
Other names to consider: Gersson Rosas (Houston), Bobby Marks (Brooklyn), Milton Lee (Brooklyn), Troy Weaver (Oklahoma City), Tom Penn
What are your thoughts on possible candidates to lead the front office for the new era Sacramento Kings? Do you want a legendary basketball veteran like Phil Jackson or Larry Bird? Do you want a young analytics mind like Hinkie or Zarren?