5 Moves by Kings GM McNair that finally flipped the franchise

Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown talks to Domantas Sabonis. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings head coach Mike Brown talks to Domantas Sabonis. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Barring a complete disaster that almost seems impossible to make happen at this point in the season, the Sacramento Kings are going to finish this season with one of the strongest turnarounds in recent NBA history. It’s not their bounce back from last year’s record.

No, this Kings turnaround is about the turnaround the franchise is making right before our eyes in terms of where they stand in the league. At this point, they are on the verge of moving far away from the running joke they’d become in recent years.

There have been teases of this before, so one could ask why this year is already enough for us to consider it different than years past. Simply put, this team is more talented than those recent Kings rosters. Not only that, the entire vibe and energy around the franchise is something they haven’t had in who knows how many years.

This franchise has been flipped. Into what? We are still learning. They aren’t the laughable losers anymore, though.

One man has played a massive role in this turnaround. That would be Kings General Manager Monte McNair, who recently signed an extension with the franchise that without a doubt was well deserved.

McNair hasn’t been running the show for very long considering the massive strides the franchise has already taken under his leadership. There are a number of very important moves and decisions McNair made that didn’t make this list and we’ll start out with a few honorable mentions that just missed the cut for the top five.

Moves by Kings McNair that finally flipped the Franchise: Honorable Mentions

  • Selecting Davion Mitchell 9th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft

Mitchell was considered a safe pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and most would agree he has lived up to that title so far. He is the Kings backup point guard and brings most of the perimeter defense that gets played by this group.

While McNair could have swung for potential with this pick he went with the safe player at the only position that was already a strength for his team. Mitchell wound up having a bigger role because of a trade made down the road that we’ll discuss.

  • Trading away Marvin Bagley III in deal that returned Trey Lyles

Another one of the Kings bench role players this season is Trey Lyles, who McNair and the Kings added in a four-team trade that saw them move on from former lottery pick Marvin Bagley III.

It was a somewhat bold move to move on from a young and talented player like Bagley but as we have seen it play out, the trade worked best for all parties. Lyles is a very solid bench player and on his current salary, he is a great value. In that trade, the kings also got Donte DiVincenzo, though he is no longer with the team.

As a lot of these moves are related to one another or only worked out because of one that came before, ranking them in order is fairly difficult. Still, we made our best attempt to rank them in terms of how crucial they were on an individual level.

  • Signing Malik Monk

Monk needs to improve some things for the Kings but he has already become a crucial part of what the team is doing this year. His role and contribution off the bench are key to the Kings success this season and will be a key for the team moving forward.