The new era of Sacramento Kings basketball is officially underway. The team formally introduced new general manager Monte McNair during a press conference on Wednesday. The Princeton grad spent the last 13 seasons as part of the Houston Rockets front office.
Here are three takeaways from McNair’s first meeting with the media:
McNair alluded to “developing winning habits” several times during the press conference. That doesn’t happen overnight. The Kings have some young, talented pieces on the roster for him to build around, but don’t expect any big moves right off the bat. McNair mentioned “flexibility” as one of the keys to building a successful roster.
When asked about what has made the Rockets a contender over the past few years and how he wants to carry that over to Sacramento, McNair said, “Number one we have to stay flexible, and we can’t pigeonhole ourselves.” The Kings have some big contracts on the books for next season, including Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes, while star point guard De’Aaron Fox is also up for a max extension. McNair said the team would be patient and take the opportunities to improve the roster when it presents itself.
2) Luke Walton is safe for the time being
McNair was asked a few times about the head coach’s future with the team, and was adamant that Walton isn’t going anywhere... for now. Before McNair even took a question, he left no doubt about that, saying, “I’m excited to partner with Coach Walton. We’re going to build a winning culture here where our players can grow, thrive in our aggressive system, and compete hard every night. We want to become a team that consistently competes in the playoffs, and ultimately contends for championships.”
3) McNair will play things close to the vest
The new general manager didn’t give away too much information about his plan. He was complimentary when asked about individual players and didn’t make any bold predictions. You can tell McNair knows how to deal with the media. He said a lot without saying too much. I expect him to add a new level of professionalism to the organization.