Check out quotes from Tuesday’s presser, featuring Kings Owner Vivek Ranadivé, General Manager Pete D’Alessandro and Kings Advisor to the Chairman Chris Mullin.
Kings Majority Owner Vivek Ranadivé
“It’s a great privilege and an honor for me to announce today that Chris Mullin will be joining the Kings family. I’ve been a huge fan of Chris over the years and this man is a true legend. He’s a Hall of Famer, two-time Olympic gold medalist – he’s part of the lexicon of basketball. He was a member of the Dream Team. When people say, ‘Run TMC,’ they’re obviously talking about Chris as part of that threesome.
“Chris also exemplifies all of the values of the new-era Kings: commitment to excellence, integrity, openness, hard work and having fun. Chris has been helping me throughout this process, and I was finally able to twist his arm to convince him to become a full-fledged member of this organization.
“I had some experience with the Warriors when Jerry West was a (consultant) to the organization, and when we completed the transaction to buy the Kings, Chris Mullin was my first choice in having a (consultant) for myself and for the organization. I also want to say that Chris is going to be involved as my advisor in all aspects of the game – coaching, hiring, personnel decisions. He’s going to be involved with the arena, he’s going to be involved with the business side.
“I took him with me to a meeting to sell the CEO of one of the world’s largest companies on sponsorship and naming rights opportunities. We had a great presentation that (Kings President of Business Operations) Matina (Kolokotronis) and her team had laid out, and of course, the CEO had no interest in that – he wanted to talk to Chris. That’s the kind of impact that this man has – (to) people in the room, he just commands attention.
“I just want to conclude by saying that when I became an entrepreneur, the best advice I ever got was to surround myself with people smarter than me, and not being that smart, I’ve been able to do that. I’ve done that with my business and I’m doing that with the Kings organization. So, we’ve brought in some amazing talent to add to the talent that we have with people like Matina. We brought in Pete (D’Alessandro) as the G.M., Coach (Michael) Malone, Chris Granger on the business side, and now being able to add the great Chris Mullin is just a huge privilege and honor. Welcome, Chris, and it’s great to have you as part of the team.”
On Mullin’s immediate impact:
“One of the things that I very strongly believe in is hiring the very, very best people for every single position. Recently, we wanted to hire a strength coach, and Pete and his organization, they did their research, they looked at a number of candidates, they finalized a few, they checked them out, they put them through the bases and then they finally said, ‘This guy is the guy.’ They brought him to me, and I said, ‘I don’t know if he’s good enough. You know what? I’m going to call Chris and ask him.’
“Chris spends some time, he researches (him) and he says to me, ‘I checked him out –every place he ever worked – and I spoke to a couple of my buddies – spent an hour with them on the phone – and they say he’s the best man. Well, who are the two guys you spoke to? ‘One guy named Phil Jackson, another guy named Michael Jordan – they both said he’s all right.’ So, this is what this man can do.”
Kings Advisor to the Chairman Chris Mullin
“Thanks, Vivek. This is a privilege and an exciting time for me to get back in a team setting. The Kings organization, to me, is going to be the model organization moving forward – the future is so bright. I had a chance to spend some time with Vivek this summer (and met) his ownership group – (which is) very impressive (and) determined – and for me, it was an easy decision to join them.
“All the hard work that was put into keeping the Kings here in Sacramento has generated tremendous excitement. Having played here for so many years, this is one of the toughest places to play – one of the best fanbases in the NBA – and it’s really exciting that the team is here for good in Sacramento.
“Much like Vivek stated, any time I had success in any area of my life, it was always because of the people around me – I look at Vivek and his ownership group, Pete D’Alessandro as the G.M., Michael Malone and his coaching staff.
“I did take my time. I took the summer and chipped in and really, I think as Vivek was analyzing me – if I fit into this organization – I was doing the same thing in each day that passed, each hour that passed. It was the perfect fit and it’s really about the people. You get good people, you work together, you’re open and much as when I played, I always felt like you play to your strengths and you stay away from your weaknesses. You work on your weaknesses in practice, but come game-time, you play to your strengths. Vivek is hiring people with certain strengths and we’re going to go to them – if there’s an area that I’m needed and it’s in my wheelhouse, 100 percent of my effort and energy will be put into making that a success. So, it’s my pleasure to be here with the Sacramento Kings and I look forward to some great things. And really, the future is so bright – that’s what brought me here.”
On how his prior experience will benefit the team:
“As I stated, we all have our strengths and we have weaknesses, as well. Obviously, having held different positions in organizations in the past, I think (with) my experience, I can go across the board. Basketball is my life … the greatest gift you can give to yourself is to be able to wake up in the morning, go work in a place where you can’t wait to get there and you’re surrounded by great people.
“The team itself here, I think there are two focuses. One is to become an unselfish team – move the ball better, share, include everybody, be open with each other on the court – (and the second is) defensively, be better individually, be better collectively. So as Michael Malone is preaching and teaching that, that’s how our front office is going to be. We’re going to be open with each other – we talked about being a team. It’s probably by necessity that I relied on my teammates, but it’s a strength. I don’t think it’s anything different when you’re in the front office – you develop chemistry, you develop trust with each other, you reach out for help.”
On advice he’ll give the team:
“It varies – Vivek will call me anytime (with) whatever he needs. If I don’t have the answer, I’ll go look for it or someone else will find it. It’s not like I have all the answers, but I’ll do everything I can to find out what he needs.
“The NBA is an ever-changing business – Vivek and his group are so intelligent, so ahead of the curve with the software and technology, they’re thinking years ahead. I think our job, on the basketball side, is to take care of that team.
“I love the young talent. I do think – if you look at the great teams over the history of the NBA – the analytics has become a big part of the NBA. It’s a very exciting and big piece and we’re going to use it extensively, but … as I watch the game – the eye-test – (to see) the things (which) will win a game for you (and to see) the things (which) will lose a game. Defense, rebounding, turnovers, free throws – the fundamentals. The way to get better each and every day for the young players that we have, I think is daily habits. (There’s) the cliché of changing the culture and all these different terms that are out there, but I do think (the keys are) old-fashioned hard work, being diligent, being dedicated and just working on those daily habits. Michael Malone is going to be great at that. I watched him on the court through workouts and I know his vision – he’s going to be a great coach for this young team.”
On priorities with the current roster:
“I think right now, it’s really about getting in camp … that’s really the time of evaluation – the first few weeks of training camp – (when I can) really analyze the changes that have been made. Like I said, from a general basketball standpoint, I think the two areas of focus that I’m looking at are, Can this team play better together? Can they share the basketball offensively? I think Pete’s made some nice moves there. I think (Greivis) Vásquez is an up-and-coming, big-time point guard. I think he’s a pass-first guy, which will benefit everybody. I like (Luc) Mbah a Moute – his individual defense is important. Carl Landry was a key player, I thought, for the Golden State Warriors – (he’s a) wonderful addition along the frontline. And then defensively – that’s Michal Malone’s specialty, that’s his wheelhouse. I think those two areas, to see improvement there will go a long way.”
Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro
“I’d like to say, when I first interviewed with Vivek, he talked about this vision of a 21st-century franchise. Frankly, it was really exciting to me – it’s different – what he was talking about is something that I hadn’t seen before. But I had, because I had worked with Chris before. Anyone who has worked with Chris or played with Chris Mullin, he’s the consummate team player. You talk to any player, any guy who’s now retired who’s played with him from his high school days, it’s always about the team quality that he brings. That’s who he is. That’s what Vivek was really talking to me at my meeting about, so when Vivek actually approached the idea and brought it up to me to (hire) Chris – if I seem like I’m beaming, I am. It’s a special day for me to know that our organization gets to share the input of someone like Chris, who is exactly the model of the franchise that (Vivek) was talking about to me.”