Where do I start?
As some of you already know, Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported late last week that Sacramento Kings General Manager (by title only) Pete D’Alessandro will be a ‘significant candidate’ for St. Johns now-vacant Athletic Director position. Of course, D’Alessandro is a St. Johns alumnus, and they just hired Chris Mullin to coach their basketball team last month. So, one could say that the writing is on the wall.
This prompted James Ham (Cowbell Kingdom) and Aaron Bruski (NBC Sports) to record a D’Alessandro tell-all podcast, which can be found here. It’s worth listening to.
Ham and Bruski presented their versions of the D’Alessandro timeline, and it was pretty damning, to say the least. Most of the information was already public in one form or another, but some of the smaller details we’ve had to speculate on until now were revealed. I’m not going to run down all the news tidbits here, just listen to it.
What I do want to talk about is D’Alessandro’s role with the Kings moving forward, and the Kings front office as a whole.
Let me just say that if what James Ham and Aaron Bruski said in that podcast is true, D’Alessandro should have been fired months ago. I would never accuse either Ham or Bruski of lying, but I can’t quite figure out why D’Alessandro is still here if everything went down the way they suggest.
Ham used ‘horrible atrocities’ as a way to describe what sources told him was going on in the Kings front office behind the scenes. Horrible atrocities? Either someone is seriously embellishing what they saw, or D’Alessandro needs to go. You can’t have it both ways.
Despite how succinctly Ham and Bruski told this story, I still have so many questions.
According to most with sources inside (or at the very least, close to the inside) of the Kings organization, Pete D’Alessandro was going to be fired at the end of the regular season. Ham and Bruski mentioned it. Carmichael Dave alluded to it. D’Alessandro was gone, or so we thought.
Something changed. We know George Karl is on D’Alessandro’s side. Vlade Divac has no first hand reason to be against D’Alessandro, as Divac was not brought in until well after most of the drama had subsided. Vivek is the only one in a ‘decision maker’ role who has been around for the entire D’Alessandro era.
If we are to believe Vivek Ranadive, Vlade Divac is in charge of basketball operations. If Divac and Karl have a good relationship (and we have no reason to believe they don’t) and Karl wants to keep D’Alessandro on board, well, that’s up to Divac now, isn’t it?
Divac is a team guy. Always has been, always will be. He knows what he’s good at, and he knows what he isn’t.
I’m about to defend flopping, so if that isn’t something you want to read, skip the next paragraph.
Vlade Divac might the only acceptable flopper in NBA history. He couldn’t defend Shaquille O’Neal in the post. He’s admitted it on multiple occasions. Instead of trying to do something he couldn’t, he took a different approach. He flopped and he flailed, he did whatever he could to get Shaq in foul trouble and keep him on the bench. Is that an honorable way to defend? I don’t know, but I do know that I respect the hell out of Divac for swallowing his pride and admitting it.
The point being, he didn’t try to defend Shaq straight up because he couldn’t. Knowing what you don’t know, or letting others do what you can’t is such an admirable quality.
Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee interviewed Vivek Ranadive last month, and in that column she noted, “D’Alessandro was assured by Divac that his negotiating skills and salary cap acumen are appreciated”.
I believe that is Vlade admitting that he can’t run this team by himself. Which is, on some level, obvious, and on another, very respectable.
People with D’Alessandro’s skill set do not grow on trees. No one grows on trees, actually. But you know what I’m saying.
As awkward and as dysfunctional as the relationships in the Kings front office may be, no one knows the Kings asset and cap situation like D’Alessandro. No one has been scouting this years draft class like D’Alessandro. The Kings are in a tough spot if D’Alessandro leaves, and the Kings are in a tough spot if D’Alessandro stays.
In an effort to be completely honest, up until this last week I was fairly pro-D’Alessandro in the sense that I thought a D’Alessandro who has to put his every move through a Vlade Divac sized filter can, would, and should work.
The front office flowchart was finally starting to make sense. D’Alessandro does the legwork, but Divac has the final say.
I’m starting to question my own judgment now, and I think that’s healthy. Maybe D’Alessandro has soured too many relationships to the point of no return. Maybe he hasn’t. Despite how much we know about the inner workings of the Kings front office thanks to the fantastic work of reporters like Ham and Bruski, we know a lot less than what we don’t know.
What I’m about to close with, some may not agree with. It’s going to sound like the Kings can’t lose, but this is how I feel.
Whatever the Kings decide to do with D’Alessandro is the right call. If they keep him on board, that tells me that some of these relationships were repairable. If they let D’Alessandro go, or if D’Alessandro runs over to St. Johns, that tells me the relationships were irreparable. It’s as simple as that.
Before I end this, I want to say that there is a DeMarcus Cousins layer to this story that needs to be unpacked. If D’Alessandro was directly responsible for ruining Cousins relationship with this organization, again, he should have been fired months ago.
Cousins is the only irreplaceable asset the Kings have. If you’ve alienated him the point where he’s done with you, then you have to go.
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