The Sacramento Kings have spent this summer re-establishing themselves as a real NBA franchise after several years of shoddy, sale-courting stewardship of Joe and Gavin Maloof. With Vivek Ranadive now in charge, the Kings are going about assembling a functional front office. After hiring new general manager Pete D'Alessandro in June, they're now on the brink of bringing a Hall of Famer into the fold.
As reported by ESPN.com's Marc Stein, former Golden State Warriors exec and Northern California basketball legend Chris Mullin will soon have a role in the Kings front office:
Sources say that Mullin has been recruited by the Kings to expand upon his previous senior advisory role in support of new general manager Pete D'Alessandro and majority owner Vivek Ranadive. [...]
D'Alessandro broke into NBA management under Mullin when the Hall of Famer was running the Golden State Warriors' basketball operations from 2004-09, and he has been using Mullin's input on personnel moves since succeeding longtime Kings personnel boss Geoff Petrie in June. Ranadive, meanwhile, was a minority owner of the Warriors before emerging this past spring as the head of a consortium that won the battle with Chris Hansen's group in Seattle to buy the Kings from the Maloof family and keep the franchise in Sacramento.
When Ranadive hired D'Alessandro, he credited Mullin's strong recommendation as a key factor, saying: "[Mullin] told me Pete's the smartest guy out there."
This move makes sense for lots of reasons. Mullin and his family live in the Bay Area, he has ties to Ranadive, and he clearly respects D'Alessandro enough to forge a working relationship with him. It's unclear exactly what role he'll have or how much power it will involve, but the logistics of the hire present few complications.
The quality of Mullin's front office work, on the other hand, is a little unclear. In his time with the Warriors, Mullin made decisions both mind-boggling and intelligent. In his first few years, he handed out massive contracts to role players from contenders with limited skills (e.g. Derek Fisher) and homegrown talent who were far more valuable on their rookie contracts (e.g. Mike Dunleavy and Troy Murphy). However, Mullin also showed a willingness to correct his own mistakes, taking advantage of the Indiana Pacers' image concerns in 2007 to swap Murphy and Dunleavy for Stephen Jackson and Al Harrington. That move gave the Warriors a clear identity and created the memorable "We Believe" team that toppled the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in that spring's playoffs. In addition, Mullin drafted several players for excellent value (most notably Monta Ellis in the second round) and traded for Baron Davis at a time when the Warriors desperately needed a star (or really any hope for the future). He was far from a genius, but Mullin showed that he had some sense of when to make a bold move. At the very least, he would serve as another experienced voice in the Kings decision-making process.
It's perhaps best to think of Mullin as part of a group, not a single decision-maker tasked with a particular area of expertise. The Kings are turning themselves back into a franchise, not a set of related individuals.