As we all know, Geoff Petrie had good times and bad times. He led the first great era of the Kings with shrewd moves and draft picks. He is also at least partly responsible for the disastrous run Sacramento's been on since 2007, with some bad moves and awful draft picks. But it's pretty clear to both defenders and detractors of Petrie that he's not one with the new NBA, where technology, legal expertise and analytics have squeezed into the room with scouting and relationships. Petrie has always been a good scout, and he makes enough moves for us to assume he builds relationships. But the team hasn't (ever) cleverly managed its salary cap, the franchise is way behind on analytics and technology? No.
Pete D'Alessandro, the team's new general manager who will be introduced Monday, brings the cap management aspect. He's a lawyer by trade, and was tasked with the Nuggets' cap management under Masai Ujiri. He's also said to be strong in negotiations. Those two pieces can combine to allow some clever management as the Kings' payroll increases over the next few years ... provided that Pete D.'s front office can handle the other vital areas.
We don't know what sort of scout D'Alessandro is. The narrative has been that Ujiri is responsible for Denver's good recent draft picks, like Kenneth Faried. It's unclear where on the analytic spectrum D'Alessandro sits. And while Pete D. has four years as an assistant GM under his belt, plus some time as a player representative, we aren't sure how his relationships with other execs are.
That's why bringing in Chris Mullin as a consultant sounds like a good move to me, so long as D'Alessandro clearly has the power to make the moves he wants to make. Adding Chris Wallace as a president of basketball operations may also be good to help guide D'Alessandro into his new role, though Mullin and Wallace may end up offering the same sorts of help. I also hope that D'Alessandro is given the resources to put together a strong scouting staff and an analytics team, and that the franchise begins taking advantage of the technology changing the league, like SportVU.
We have a new GM, and it seems like he'll be a real improvement. But we don't yet know how far along we are to having a front office worthy of the new NBA. That's going to be a process over the next year to build and develop. The long-term health of the club depends on a long-term vision, something Petrie frankly struggled to develop about a decade ago and simply wasn't afforded in the past few years. Much of Pete D.'s role once the draft and free agency are over will be taking the blank canvas that is the Kings' front office and shaping it into his vision. That's exciting, but it's a hefty task. By getting a new GM the Kings haven't fixed the basketball problems of the past seven years. But Sacramento has begun on its path toward renewal.