Kings: Big changes in the front office as Scott Perry joins the Knicks as GM

by Charlie O. Mallonee

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Scott Perry NYK Gen Mgr. Photo NBA.com

Just as everything appeared to be on the way to stability for the Sacramento Kings — BAM! — big changes have been announced in the front office operations for the team. Executive vice-president for basketball operations Scott Perry has been hired by the New York Knicks to be their new general manager. Reports have Perry receiving a five-year contract.

Perry joined the Kings front office on April 21. The Kings could have told Perry no because he was under contract and told the Knicks to go look elsewhere for a new GM. The fact the team did not block Perry from interviewing for the NYK job says a great deal about the organization’s respect for him as a person and as an executive.

There are some that are questioning the Kings decision to let Perry walk away from the team including two NBA executives that were quoted in the New York Post on Friday:

“It’s a little strange, getting fired in Orlando, then going to Sacramento and they’re willing to let him go so soon after a few months,’’ an NBA executive said.

The SacKings front office was the target of criticism

vlade and peja
Divac and Stojakovic

In 2016, the Kings could not get top lottery picks to come to Sacramento for tryouts and interviews. Agents viewed the organization as being in disarray and it was almost like if they avoided Sacramento their clients would not be drafted by the Kings.

There were also rumors that NBA executives were frustrated because they could not get call through or calls back from Kings executives in the front office. The lack of a traditional front office structure appeared to hurting the Kings ability to get things done operationally.

Sacramento had also been criticized for having the smallest scouting staff in the NBA. Experts felt the Kings needed to see more college talent to be successful in the draft.

Perry received much of the credit for the Kings draft and free agent signing success

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Analyst have given the Kings very positive reviews for the job they did in the 2017 draft. Virtually everyone loves the selection of point guard De’Aaron Fox out of Kentucky with the number five overall pick. Most experts approve of the team taking SF Justin Jackson (North Carolina), PF Harry Giles (Duke) and PG Frank Mason III (Kansas) in the draft with their other picks. Some have said Mason might be one of the “value picks of the draft”.

“One of the top evaluators of talent in the NBA,” said one NBA executive who has worked with Perry. “The evidence is Sacramento’s free agency this year.” New York Post July 14, 2017

Sacramento then went to work signing three veteran free agents to play for a team stacked with young players. George Hill gives the Kings a veteran at point guard while Fox and Mason develop their skills at the NBA level. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter who played for Dave Joerger in Memphis were signed to play and mentor.

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Scott’s leadership was credited as being a major factor in why the Kings were able to pull things together so well in the all-important player acquisition period. The addition of analytics expert Luke Bornn along with the added experience of another year of working together for Vlade Divac and his staff also added to the success of draft and free agent signing period.

Perry is going to be trying to revive a franchise that is in shambles

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One the major problems the New York Knicks have to overcome is their owner. James Dolan who has a history of making questionable decisions when it comes to his NBA team. On draft night in June, he was in Manhattan playing with his blues-rock band while Phil Jackson and his staff made the choices on who the future players for the Knicks would be.

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James Dolan NBA owner or rock star?

Of course just days later, Dolan and Jackson parted ways in a very public break up. If Dolan was planning on replacing Jackson, why did he wait until after the draft? The bottom line is that it is just another in a long line of bad decisions made by Dolan when it comes to his NBA franchise.

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Knick, Cavalier, Rocket?

The other major problem that Perry faces in his first days with the Knicks is what to do with Carmelo. Anthony has been making noises about being willing to accept a trade to another team like Houston or Cleveland. His salary and what the Knicks will want in return pose a real problem for the team to actually move Carmelo out and really begin a true rebuilding process.

Perry will work for the Knicks former general manager Steve Mills who will now be the team’s president.

Kings get cash and a future second-round draft pick but what about “Hamilton” tickets?

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The Kings will receive an undisclosed amount of cash and a future second-round draft pick as compensation for releasing Perry to sign with the Knicks. Cash? Overrated. Second-drafts picks can be helpful in closing trades.

But Vivek and Vlade, what everyone wants is tickets to “Hamilton” on Broadway. Think about the promotion your marketing team could have put together with a block of “Hamilton” tickets for the week the Kings play the Knicks and Nets in New York. Broadway and Basketball: it would have been a spectacular promotion.

If you do anymore deals with the Knicks or Nets, they must include tickets to “Hamilton”.

Manager’s Decisions

By Jerry Feitelberg

One of the most difficult jobs in all of baseball has to be the manager of the club. The manager has many tasks that he has to perform every day. One of those tasks is making out the lineup for each and every game. Some managers like to use a set lineup so that that the players will be hitting in the same spot every day. The Detroit Tigers, for example have Miguel Cabrera hitting third and Prince Fielder hitting fourth. The Tigers do this as it is most beneficial to the especially in the late innings. Other managers like to make changes daily. A’s manager, Bob Melvin, has used, if you can believe this, 132 different lineups in the 152 games the A’s have played so far this year. Some lineup changes are made by necessity as a player may be injured or may have a personal matter that requires him to be away from the club. Melvin, however, is blessed this season with a deep lineup and he can go with a lineup that meets the clubs need on a given day. For instance, if an opposing club is starting a left handed pitcher, Melvin can use the switch hitters and right hand hitters Josh Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes everyday. Melvin can then use right handed hitters at first base, second base, left field and maybe right field. When the A’s are facing a righty, Melvin uses his lefty bats at catcher, DH, second base, first base  and left field. These moves don’t always work but they give him a lot of flexibility so that the A’s can win.

Another task is deciding what roles the pitchers are to have. Who will be the starters. That again depends on the health of the players. Once  the manager establishes the starting rotation, he has to decide which pitcher will be his “long man.” The long relievers come in when the starter has a bad outing and has an early exit from the game. Decisions have to be made on the “set up “ guys. Who will pitch the seventh inning? Who will pitch the eighth? Who will be the closer ? And who will pitch if any of these key pitchers are unavailable due to a heavy workload. The manager has to make decisions all through the game. Do I bring in a lefty to face a lefty? Decisions are made on how well a particular pitcher gets out a certain hitter. For example, Melvin brought in Jerry Blevins to face the Angels’ Josh Hamilton the other night. Hamilton hits from the left side and has a lot of power. Blevins, however has great numbers against Hamilton. Melvin brought him in to pitch in a key situation and Blevins struck Hamilton out. Melvin is a genius. In another game with the A’s leading 4-2, Melvin brought in his closer, Grant Balfour, to face Hamilton. This time Hamilton won the battle as he hit a two run homer to tie the game in the ninth and the Angels eventually won the game. Have to remove the genius tag.

There are so many more decisions that a manager has to make during the game such having the runner steal a base or putting down a sacrifice bunt to move a runner into scoring position. So many more things going on in the manager’s mind as the game moves along and far too many to list at this time.

So, when you go to the game, it’s fun to see if you can guess what the manager is going to do. Also, keep in the mind, the opposing manager is doing the same game and it is this mind game that makes baseball the magical game that it is.