Pete D'Alessandro is gone and with him the first chapter of this new era of Sacramento Kings basketball closes. An era that started out with so much hope and optimism about the team's future has since devolved back into a general feeling of uncertainty and chaos.
Yesterday, when I heard the news that Pete had left, I had fully intended to write a piece going through all of Pete's moves one by one. But we've gone over these moves so many times by now it's unlikely that I'd find anything else to say. It's old news. What truly matters is the end result, where the team is as of right now compared to where it's come from.
I think it's important to say that Pete D'Alessandro was not solely to blame for the Kings' dysfunction these last two seasons (but especially this past season). Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé played a large part himself, and he's not going anywhere anytime soon. Ranadivé's first mistake was hiring a coach before his GM, especially considering both Mike Malone and Pete D'Alessandro seemed to have vastly different visions of what this team should become. It's extremely hard to build something special when everyone involved hasn't bought in; Unfortunately for Michael Malone, he wasn't the one with hiring and firing power in that relationship.
Are the Kings in a better spot right now than they were when Pete D'Alessandro was hired as GM? Probably a little bit, but it wasn't the type of improvement that was promised to Kings fans when he came on board. That was another problem of this front office (and ownership): constantly overhyping every addition and raising expectations beyond what was reasonable. The Kings were also in the news constantly, linked to all the big names: Kevin Love, Rajon Rondo, Goran Dragic, Andre Iguodala. Surely they were going to make a huge move for the better! Instead we were fed a veritable potpourri of D-League talent and confusing cap trades.
Pete D'Alessandro certainly made a lot of moves to try to achieve his vision. The roster turnover in just two seasons was remarkable, with only DeMarcus Cousins and Jason Thompson remaining on board, and in Thompson's case, it wasn't for lack of trying. This Kings team wanted to be a fast-paced team like the Warriors or Spurs, and yet centered around DeMarcus Cousins. The quest for a PG and players that can run up and down seemingly overshadowed real needs for defensive stoppers and shooting. In the case of restricted free agents' Tyreke Evans and Isaiah Thomas, the Kings ended up losing both for little to no value (especially in Thomas' case), a big no-no for a small market team with little enough talent as it is.
I'm not entirely sure what the end game for D'Alessandro was. Perhaps he didn't get enough time to showcase exactly what he wanted to do for the team. Perhaps if he had a coach that was on the same page as him from Day 1, things would have been different. However I'd argue that the moves he made in his first two seasons didn't inspire much faith from myself or other fans in his vision for the team, and the lack of a true on-court improvement in two seasons was extremely disappointing.
I don't know if Vlade Divac will be able to get things back on track, but it seems clear that it wasn't working out with Pete D'Alessandro in charge. Hopefully this next chapter of Kings basketball will take heart of the lessons learned these past two years.