The Sacramento Kings pulled off the first trade of the young NBA season this week, picking up forward Derrick Williams from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for forward Luc Mbah a Moute.
But general manager Pete D’Alessandro told HoopsWorld.com that he’s not done looking for ways to upgrade the roster of the Kings, who are 4-9 and in last place in the Pacific Division.
“I think we always have to be aggressive, I really believe that,” D’Alessandro said. “We can never be satisfied, There are really only two or three teams in this league that can feel satisfied and really only one team that should be satisfied. So in terms of aggressiveness, we in particular always need to be aggressive because we have a lot of work to do here.”
The Kings recently demoted John Salmons, Marcus Thornton and Patrick Patterson from the starting lineup and there has been a general sense that at least Salmons and Thornton could be had for the right price.
Salmons had been starting at the small forward spot and was replaced by Mbah a Moute. But the departure of the Cameroon native doesn’t mean Salmons is getting the job back. It appears the newcomer, Williams, will get the first crack at the gig.
“I think he’ll start at the 3, initially, but I don’t like to lock any player into any position,” D’Alessandro said. “It always depends on the matchup and my coach is remarkable in terms of his vision and understanding of those types of matchups. At times, you hear the knock on him is that he can’t match up on the defensive side. Well, if you look at the offensive side, there are certain 3s and certain 4s that would struggle if they tried to guard him. I leave the creativity and that part of it to my coaching staff, but I look at Derrick and see a guy who is an athlete, who is still just 22 years old and who has a lot of potential. That’s an exciting thing for the Sacramento Kings and our fans.”
The Kings have only made the playoffs 11 times in their 27 seasons in Sacramento and eight of those were during Rick Adelman’s run from 1999-2006. But the Kings haven’t been back to the playoffs since Adelman left in 2006 and former general manager Geoff Petrie ran through a host of players and coaches—five in seven seasons—and the closest Sacramento even came to .500 was in 2007-08, when they were 38-44 under Reggie Theus. But the team got off to a 6-18 start the following year and Theus was fired. Of the last seven seasons, Paul Westphal lasted the longest, going 51-120 before he was fired seven games into the 2011-12 campaign.
So while the new regime in Sacramento—owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager D’Alessandro and coach Michael Malone—is off to a slow start, it important to keep in mind what a disjointed mess of a roster they inherited.
But D’Alessandro, it seems, has an idea of the magnitude of the rebuild he’s being asked to accomplish and after living through the last, dying years of the Maloof family ownership of the club, fans have to be pleased that there is simply a plan and a sense of hope for the first time in ages.
The honeymoon won’t last forever, but acquiring Williams was a bold move and a sign that the new braintrust isn’t afraid to take a risk.