Nuggets Lose Another Key Exec As VP/Basketball Ops D'Alessandro Joins Kings
The NBA Kings on Saturday reached an "agreement to hire" Nuggets VP/Basketball Operations Pete D'Alessandro, who spent the past three seasons as a "well-regarded assistant" to former GM Masai Ujiri, according to Jason Jones of the SACRAMENTO BEE. D'Alessandro was "considered a top candidate to replace Ujiri," who left the Nuggets late last month to become Raptors GM. He is "noted for his statistical analysis and understanding of the salary cap" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/16). Jones reports Kings Managing Partner Vivek Ranadive today will officially introduce D'Alessandro "at a news conference at Sleep Train Arena." The Kings also have offered ESPN's Chris Mullin a "role as a consultant." Sources said that Mullin "likely will accept" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/17).
TOO NICE OF A NUGGET? In Denver, Mark Kiszla wrote while former Nuggets coach George Karl has "done his best to portray" team President Josh Kroenke as an "impulsive son of a billionaire whose recent basketball decisions have been stupid, the large hole in the team's organizational chart is the result of something else." Kroenke has "been too nice of a guy," particularly "with Ujiri." Kroenke was asked if that is true and responded, "That's a tough one. That's a question I've had to be honest with myself. When personal and business becomes mixed, it's not a good situation. But I know we're going to be OK here. People got on me when I hired Masai. ... Was I too soft with Masai? Part of me feels that way. But part of the way I am as a person, whether it's Masai Ujiri or whoever is in the front office, if somebody has a dream opportunity, I'm not going to hold them back" (DENVER POST, 6/16). Also in Denver, Christopher Dempsey noted D'Alessandro's departure "means the Nuggets probably will have to hire a general manager from outside the team." However, interviews for that job will "take place mostly after the Nuggets' coaching situation has been settled" (DENVER POST, 6/16).
GAME OF THRONES: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson "recounted some of the behind-the-scenes action" in his effort to keep the Kings from relocating to Seattle. In Sacramento, Dale Kasler noted not only did "small-market Sacramento snatch the Kings back from bigger, wealthier Seattle, it rid itself of the unpopular" former Kings Owners the Maloofs and "set the stage for an overhaul of its tired downtown." Johnson said that succeeding was "one of the highlights of his life." Johnson: "I didn't win a championship on the court. This is Sacramento winning a championship." He "had a key ally" during the process in NBA Commissioner David Stern. Strategic communications firm Fabiani & Lehane Owner Chris Lehane, one of the mayor's advisors, said, "There was a genuine relationship, a friendship between the mayor and the commissioner." Ranadive's role "proved crucial." However, he "took his time joining the fight" as he was "reluctant about leaving the Warriors," for whom he served as vice chair. Mercury Public Affairs Partner Adam Mendelsohn, who advises Ranadive, said when Ranadive saw he "could be the difference … that's the point where he stepped up" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/15). The SACRAMENTO BEE reported local group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork "intends to begin circulation petitions" this week to "put the city's downtown arena financing plan up for public vote in a special election." City officials said that the group must "collect 33,000 valid signatures from supportive registered city voters." That is "15 percent of the city's 220,000 registered voters" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/15).