by Charlie O. Mallonee
SACRAMENTO–Just when you thought things were settling down into an end of the season routine, bam! – here comes another rumor out of right field that Kings managing owner Vivek Ranadive may be looking to hire someone to head up the basketball operations department. That person would supervise Vlade Divac and the rest of the operations staff according to the rumor mill.
The executive the Kings are targeting may be as much of a surprise as the fact they are looking for additional front office help. The rumors say the Kings are pursuing former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie.
Hinkie has been out of the league for almost a year since the Colangelo’s (Jerry and Bryan) took over the Philadelphia operation. Hinkie is known as “the process” for his plans he put together to rebuild the 76ers especially by “tanking”.
Hinkie drafted Joel Embiid, Dario Saric and Jahlil Okafor. He also put together a deal with the Sacramento Kings that netted the Sixers Nik Stauskas plus the right to swap first-round picks in 2016 and 2017. The trade also results in Philadelphia receiving the Kings 2019 first-round draft pick. The Kings basically received salary cap relief and the rights to two little known Euro League players.
There have been persistent rumblings that minority owners have been putting pressure on Ranadive to bring in someone with more experience to run the basketball operations. The Kings have been very successful on the business and marketing side under the leadership of Chris Granger. The minority owners are looking for the kind of expertise that Granger brings on the business side to be put in place on the basketball operations side.
Does this story have legs? Six months ago, I would have said no but now I have to say maybe. The team who was never going to trade DeMarcus Cousins did move him and that makes everything fair game in this reporter’s opinion.
As of today, the Kings will two lottery picks in the 2017 NBA Draft. Those picks could determine the success or failure of the team for seasons to come. Having all the experience and expertise in the front office as possible at this critical time for the organization would be a major plus for the Kings.