Check out quotes from Monday’s press conference, featuring Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé, General Manager Pete D’Alessandro and Head Coach Michael Malone.
Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé
“It gives me great pleasure to introduce the new G.M. of the Sacramento Kings – Pete D’Alessandro. This has been a long and exhaustive process during which I’ve had the opportunity to speak to many outstanding candidates, and I’d like to thank all of them for all the time and effort they put into this process. I’d also like to thank all the people – friends of colleagues – who helped me during this time.
“When I evaluate people to join my team, I ask three questions – who’s the smartest guy in the room, who’s the hungriest and who’s the most passionate? In the final analysis, there was one name that stood head and shoulders above all others, and that was Pete.
“Now, when you look at Pete, the guy doesn’t look like a basketball player, but then you think about the 21st century G.M. In addition to being a talent evaluator and having connectivity into the player ecosystem, the 21st century G.M. has to understand the complexities of capology, the developments and technology, the use of analytics. If a good chess player thinks two moves ahead, in Pete we have a guy who can think four moves ahead.
“I’m also very pleased that we have Coach Malone here with us today. Coach Malone and General Manager Pete – this is the foundation for the new-era Sacramento Kings. When you’re building a skyscraper, you need a really strong foundation because the building goes high. This is the foundation for the Sacramento Kings as we reach for the sky. With that, I’d like to welcome Pete D’Alessandro, his beautiful family – his wife, Leah, his daughter and his son – and his parents are here, as well. I’d to welcome them on behalf of my colleagues on the Sacramento Kings.”
On discussing the roster with D’Alessandro:
“As part of the interview process, I asked all the (G.M.) candidates a set of questions. I gave Pete just a day’s notice before I asked these questions. I asked him to lay out a linear path and a non-linear path, asked him to give me an evaluation of every player on the team, asked him to map out one, two, three, four years ahead what this (team) might look like. He has amazing insight, he has some incredible ideas – so, he’s been thinking about this.”
Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro
“Thank you, Vivek and thanks for the opportunity. To hear the words coming out of your mouth and the impression I had when you went through this process was just amazing. Thanks for believing in me … you’re not going to find someone who’ll work harder or care more, because I think that’s a big part of what we have to do in this business.
“To work with a guy like (Michael Malone) and be able to partner with you – this is a dream.
“Some of you know me from my Bay Area ties and others don’t. I’ll tell you a little bit about myself for those who don’t – not really to talk about myself, but to talk about some of the other opportunities I’ve had and the people who have helped me get here and prepared me for this moment right now. Not the least of which is my wife, Leah – we got married 12 years ago and it was her idea (that) we should always do what we love to do, no matter what it was. So, here I am. My wife – who’s 50 times smarter than I’ll ever be – decided to go the route of non-profit, worked here at Alameda Health Consortium, always fought the good fight, and I can’t say enough about her, how much I love her, my little daughter, Kate, and (my son), Benjamin. I’m so happy to be in this community right now. My mom and dad … flew in from N.Y. late last night. To have a family like that, I can’t even tell you how that prepares you.
“It’s been about opportunity for me. I think back, my uncle Pete – he was a fisherman on Long Island – used to take me out at 12 years old. I spent a lot of hours – while the nets were dragging and his crew was going – (reading a) book there. It was called ‘Basketball’s Fastest Hands’ – I mentioned it in my interview. It talked about all the great players in the League, the fast players – it was what I wanted to be – guys like ‘Tiny’ Archibald, Calvin Murphy and ‘Slick’ Watts … it made me dream about being in the League. It became pretty clear by the time puberty hit that wasn’t going to happen for me, but I wanted to be in it. I followed the League, I enjoyed the League – I had my David Thompson poster on my wall vs. my friend who had Reggie Jackson.
“When I enrolled at St. John’s University … it was almost as if Coach (Lou) Carnesecca recruited me. I never knew the man, (but) he was my idol, he was the guy who I looked at like, ‘Wow, I’m going to go to the same school (as) Lou Carnesecca.’ I actually called my eighth grade guidance counselor, who knew Coach. I said, ‘How do I get to meet Coach? I want to do something – I’ll be a manager, I’ll be anything.’ He turned around to me and said, ‘Pete, just tell him that Butchy sent you!’ So, I walked into Coach’s office, I knocked on his door and Connie answered … she said to me, ‘Oh, Coach is expecting you!’ I never have been that nervous in my life. He made me a video guy – there were no video coaches at the time – so I had a chance to sit down with Red Sarachek, Al LoBalbo, Ryan Mahoney and Ron Rutledge. To be 17, 18 years old and breaking down film with them, my education was basketball, in that regard.
“After that, I decided I’ll go to law school … I take a little diversion and I end up going into politics. I meet Rick Lazio, who’s a Congressman in N.Y., and he gives me the charge of running his campaign, which again, was another opportunity.
“I wanted to get back in sports, called Coach Carnesecca (who) said there was a guy in D.C. named Bill Pollock, who he had a lot of respect for … nine months later, after sending Bill extensive memos about his upcoming negotiations, he called me and said, ‘How quickly can you start?’ I said, ‘Tomorrow.’ The rest is history – Bill taught me for seven years. I went from answering his phones to negotiating deals … these people in my life have just been unbelievable, and the chances that they’ve given me, it’s just humbling.
“Then, (Warriors Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations) Chris Mullin called me – I get to know Chris while working for Bill (since) Bill represented him. He said, ‘I have the job at Golden State – would you come work with me?’
“(It was) an unbelievable run. We had a vision going in there about bringing excitement back to the Bay and we did. It was the first eighth seed to beat a one. Even the last year I was there, we had 48 wins – I think it’s a record for the amount of wins (by a non-Playoff team).
“When I left Golden State, about a year later, I get a call … it (was Nuggets General Manager) Masai Ujiri. I called my wife (and) said, ‘I can’t tell them this because this would make me a really bad negotiator, but I’d volunteer for this job’ – because we were about to work on one of the biggest deals and franchise-changing deals in recent history. I met with (Nuggets President) Josh Kroenke and Masai – just unbelievable people. That’s what it’s all about.
“You check your ego at the door in this business if you’re going to be good and you work as a group. I see this right here as a group. I see Michael Malone and it blows me way that I get a chance to work with (him).
“Right now, it’s about Sacramento – it’s about pulling this thing together. I’m so personally excited about working with this ownership group, this owner and this coach, … and (having a) partnership with this community. It’s Sacramento – I was there when those teams were packing out the arena and the cowbells were going everywhere. This community is great – it’s a basketball town … this is a place we need to bring winning basketball back to.”
On his decision to choose Sacramento over Denver:
“It was an unbelievable opportunity in Denver, and like I said, we had a really tight-knight group. I think there’s a time in your life when you have to look and say, … ‘When are you going to step out? When are you going to do your thing? When are you going to actually take a leap and believe in what you can do?’
“What really did it for me was sitting down with Vivek, Raj (Bhathal), Mark Mastrov … if I’m going to do that, then this is where I’m going to do it.”
On assembling his executive staff:
“The great thing is, Michael’s been here – you’re a seasoned veteran now with two weeks’ experience.
“The beauty of this business is you have a network – you have people you trust. Even without having a staff, I have my people – I have the people I trust in this industry who are excellent. I will be getting great advice (from) unbelievable brains out there, and I want to get this staff together as quickly as I can without making a mistake. The most important thing you can do is think not just three years ahead, but eight, 10 years ahead. I will move quickly, but I will also take a very steady approach.”
On evaluating the Kings roster:
“I think we have some very nice young talent and some very potent talent. Offensively, this team can score … I see real opportunity, real potential to develop players. I see potential within this Draft.
“I do like the talent on this team – I do think it’s there, and I think in the second half of the season, you saw a lot of that. With that said, I have a lot of work (to do). I have a lot of agents to call, I have to sit down with these players – Michael and I will do that together. I feel the future is really bright.”
On using advanced metrics:
“It’s still emerging in the NBA … everyone has an analytics department, (but) there are only a few people using it the way I think it needs to be used. Those teams are really doing a good job at it.
“I’m with a group that is so technologically advanced and at the forefront of things, that I can’t help but think that we’ll be one of those teams.”
On DeMarcus Cousins:
“He’s an unbelievable talent. I can’t speak more highly about him as a player. I will be getting in touch with him, for sure. He’s unbelievable. He’s a very important part of what we’re looking to do.”
Kings Head Coach Michael Malone
On working with D’Alessandro:
“I had the chance to get to meet Pete a few years ago. We have a similar background, being from back in N.Y. We’ve spoken probably around five or six times – we had breakfast this morning – and I’m thrilled he’s here.
“When Pete was hired, I felt very comfortable and confident in him. The most important thing for me was hiring somebody who I’d be able to communicate with openly, in an honest fashion, and who’s going to share the same work ethic, same ideals that we’re going to try to build around here. In Pete D’Alessandro, we have all those things, so I’m thrilled about the hire. We’ve already started talking about the Draft, who we’ve worked out, who we need to see. We talked a little bit about our roster, free agency – all those kinds of things … we’re going to be together at the hip because we have a lot of work to do.
“We share a lot of the same traits and it’s going to be a great match for both of us moving forward.”