Pete D'Alessandro

Magic Notes: Front Office Changes, Isaac, Harris, Shooting

The Magic issued a press release this week announcing a long list of promotions and additions within their basketball operations department.

Among the most noteworthy of those front office changes was the promotion of Pete D’Alessandro – a former high-ranking executive in Sacramento and Denver – to the role of associate general manager. D’Alessandro had previously been an assistant general manager for Orlando.

David Bencs has been promoted to fill D’Alessandro’s old position as an assistant GM, while Adetunji Adedipe was named the Magic’s new vice president of player personnel. Kevin Tiller, meanwhile, has become the new GM of the Lakeland Magic, Orlando’s G League affiliate.

Here’s more on the Magic:

  • Magic players led the NBA last season in games missed due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols (449), according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel, who explores the health-related questions already facing the club this fall. As Price observes, the team will have to address the status of Jonathan Isaac, as well as Gary Harris, on Media Day next week. Isaac hasn’t played since 2020 due to an ACL tear and suffered a setback in March, while Harris underwent surgery this offseason to address a meniscus tear.
  • In a separate story for The Orlando Sentinel, Price identifies three storylines to monitor related to the Magic’s wing players. Besides Harris’ injury, Price will be keeping an eye on Franz Wagner‘s usage following a busy summer with the German national team and will be curious to see how the battle for minutes at power forward could affect the wing rotation.
  • After finishing among the NBA’s bottom four teams in three-point percentage in back-to-back seasons, the Magic hope to improve their shooting this season, Price writes for The Orlando Sentinel, though any upgrades they made in that area may be marginal. Price notes that second-round pick Caleb Houston was a solid three-point shooter at Michigan and suggests that play-makers like Markelle Fultz and Paolo Banchero may be able to open up better looks for teammates beyond the arc.

Southeast Notes: D’Alessandro, Batiste, Smith Jr.

The Magic will hire Pete D’Alessandro as their new assistant general manager, Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical tweets. D’Alessandro last served as an executive with the Nuggets, having previously served as the general manager of the Kings.

Just last month we wrote about the Magic adding Bucks executive John  Hammond to fill their general manager role following the departure of Rob Hennigan.

D’Alessandro will return to the basketball operations side of a franchise for the first time since his stint with the Kings which ranged from 2013 to 2015.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

Northwest Notes: Malone, Russell, Bjelica

Michael Malone sought Wednesday to dismiss the idea that he and Pete D’Alessandro had a poor relationship during their time as coach and GM, respectively, of the Kings, as Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post writes from Malone’s introductory press conference as coach of the Nuggets. D’Alessandro, whom the Nuggets hired to a front office position shortly before they hired the coach, and Malone reportedly weren’t on speaking terms before Malone’s firing in Sacramento, but Malone insists they’ve maintained a consistent dialogue, as Dempsey relays.

“Pete and I have always respected each other, have always gotten along,” Malone said. “It was just that sometimes, the environment that we were working in was not conducive to a healthy relationship.”

That apparent jab at the Kings aside, there’s more on the Nuggets amid the latest from around the Northwest Division:

  • Ohio State playmaker D’Angelo Russell is working out for the Timberwolves today, a visit that the team pushed for as its maintained that he’s a consideration for them with the No. 1 overall pick, reports Chad Ford of (Twitter link).
  • Wolves draft-and-stash prospect Nemanja Bjelica has told the manager of his Turkish team that he wants to head to the NBA, and the Fenerbahce Ulker team official assumes that Bjelica, the Euroleague MVP, won’t be back with the club (video link; translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia).
  • Joel Freeland doesn’t expect the Blazers to tender him the nearly $3.767MM qualifying offer it would take for the club to make him a restricted free agent this summer, as Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group hears (Twitter link). If that’s the case, he’d become an unrestricted free agent, but while the native of England is reportedly drawing interest from overseas, he’s said he’d prefer to stay in the NBA.
  • Nuggets team president Josh Kroenke, with duties that entail the work of ownership as well as those usually assigned to a GM, is clearly the man who calls the shots in Denver, as Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post observes.

Pete D’Alessandro Leaves Kings For Nuggets

FRIDAY, 6:38pm: D’Alessandro has been officially named as the Nuggets’ Senior Vice President of Business and Team Operations, the team announced in a press release. “As KSE has evolved as a company, my role and duties within the company have evolved as well,” team president Josh Kroenke said. “Pete’s addition to our Operations team is a natural product of that evolution and his experiences over his professional career have put him in a unique position to assist me in multiple areas ranging from league operations to team budgeting.  I look forward to his assistance in creating additional synergy between our Business and Team Operations to help take our organization to another level on and off the playing floor.  All Basketball Operations remain the same and all Player Personnel inquiries should continue to be directed to [GM] Tim Connelly.

1:57pm: D’Alessandro’s move back to the Nuggets wouldn’t have a negative effect on Malone’s candidacy, sources tell Wojnarowski for a full story. D’Alessandro wouldn’t be working closely with whomever the team hires as coach, according to Wojnarowski, who writes that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive forced D’Alessandro into dismissing Malone as Sacramento’s coach.

D’Alessandro, who went as far as to talk contract terms with St. John’s, will answer to Kroenke in his job with the Nuggets, and Connelly will be able to consult him as a resource, Wojnarowski writes.

WEDNESDAY, 12:14pm: Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro has accepted an offer to join the Nuggets front office, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. He’ll work in a supporting role under team president Josh Kroenke with both the Nuggets and the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter links). Nuggets GM Tim Connelly is apparently on board with the idea, as Wojnarowski refers to him in another tweet as a “huge proponent” of the move. D’Alessandro, who worked for the Nuggets until leaving for the Kings two years ago, had the opportunity to join St. John’s University as athletics director but chose to return to Denver instead, Wojnarowski adds (Twitter link).

The move is an ominous sign for the candidacy of Michael Malone for the Nuggets coaching job, notes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (Twitter link). D’Alessandro was in charge of Sacramento’s front office when the Kings fired Malone in December. The Kings hired Vlade Divac as vice president of basketball and franchise operations in March, shifting control of player personnel to him and away from D’Alessandro. The departure of adviser Chris Mullin for the St. John’s coaching job reportedly restored some power to D’Alessandro, but it nonetheless appears as though it wasn’t enough to convince him to stay in Sacramento.

The now 46-year-old D’Alessandro served in Denver’s front office under GM Masai Ujiri for three years after he was the assistant GM for the Warriors for three seasons prior to that. The Nuggets were reportedly leaning toward hiring him as GM in 2013 when he instead jumped to the Kings.

Fallout From Pete D’Alessandro’s Kings Depature

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier today that Pete D’Alessandro is leaving the Kings to accept a front office post with the Nuggets. He’ll be working in a supporting role under team president Josh Kroenke with both the Nuggets and the National Hockey League’s Colorado Avalanche. D’Alessandro’s impending departure from Sacramento will end a tumultuous tenure that began with high hopes when new Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive brought him aboard back in June 2013, writes Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. In the article, Jones relays a number of details regarding D’Alessandro’s tenure with the Kings. Jones’ meticulously reported piece is worth a full read, especially for Kings fans, but we’ll pass along some highlights here:

  • D’Alessandro fought for the firing of coach Michael Malone last December, Jones writes. Parting ways with Malone sent the team into a tailspin and angered a number of the players on the roster, as Jones details. Ranadive said it was D’Alessandro and former Kings adviser Chris Mullin, who is now head coach at St. John’s University, who insisted that firing Malone was best for the team. This conflicts with Wojnarowski’s report, which indicated that Ranadive forced D’Alessandro into firing Malone.
  • The GM alienated some Kings players when he publicly relayed that Malone would have been fired even if the team had a winning record, according to Jones. The players viewed the termination of Malone as a personal vendetta that D’Alessandro acted on regardless of the effect it would have on the team, the Bee scribe adds.
  • D’Alessandro told center DeMarcus Cousins that he was against the hiring of George Karl as coach, multiple sources told Jones. Cousins later became upset when reports surfaced indicating that he was the one who was against Karl being named coach because of his loyalty to Malone.
  • D’Alessandro was the primary reason that former director player pro personnel Shareef Abdur-Rahim left the team before this past season, Jones reports. Abdur-Rahim disagreed with the GM’s decision to select Nik Stauskas in the 2014 draft, and he believed that Elfrid Payton would have been a better fit for the team, Jones relays.
  • Ranadive hired Vlade Divac, against D’Alessandro’s wishes, in order to add a basketball voice whom the owner believed wouldn’t allow personal feelings to impact his professional decisions, Jones adds.

Pacific Notes: D’Alessandro, Draft, Clippers

Clippers coach/executive Doc Rivers denies that there is any rift between teammates Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, Arash Markazi of relays. “I can put this to rest: They get along great,” Rivers told Fred Roggin of The Beast 980. “Clearly, like everybody, they don’t get along all the time, and they don’t get along with me all the time, either, by the way. I don’t see that as an issue. I think all three, and I’m including Blake [Griffin] in this as well, understand how important the other guy is to them. Meaning, they all three need each other to win, and I think all three get that and all three know that and all three want to do it together. To me, that’s the most important thing.”

Here’s the latest out of the NBA’s Pacific Division:

  • The Clippers held workouts today for Phil Greene, Rayvonte Rice, Cady Lalanne, Maurice Walker, Bryce Dejean-Jones, and Matt Carlino, Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops reports (Twitter link).
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro is a “significant candidate” for the now vacant athletic director post at St. John’s University, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter link). D’Alessandro lost a significant amount of his authority when the team hired new president of basketball and franchise operations, Vlade Divac.
  • The Suns worked out Quinn Cook, Marcus Thornton (Georgia), D.J. Newbill, Tyler Haws, Matt Stainbrook, and Aaron Thomas, Scotto tweets.
  • When speaking about potential 2015 draftees Aaron Harrison and Kevin Pangos, both of whom recently worked out for the team, Suns coach Jeff Hornacek noted that both players may not get selected this June, but could have a shot at making an NBA roster because of the changes in how guards are used today, Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic writes. “There are probably more guys that are the combo guards because they’re not really true point guards,” Hornacek said. “They’re all scoring guys. They all come up with the scoring mentality. You try to find those guys that can do both those things. But especially in today’s game, the point guard, he may be a scorer but he’s still got to lead the team. He’s still got to have that ability to direct guys and not be afraid.

Voisin On Cousins, Ranadive, D’Alessandro

A few trade rumors have surrounded DeMarcus Cousins of late, and while the noise surrounding the All-Star isn’t at a high level, he’d be the league’s most prominent trade candidate, if he could indeed be considered a trade candidate. Cousins has complained publicly and privately about Sacramento’s fast-paced system, but the Kings have no plans to move him, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacrameno Bee. Vlade Divac, the Kings front office chief who’s apparently enchanted with the talent of the former fifth overall pick, wants Cousins’ tenure in Sacramento to endure, as Voisin details.

“DeMarcus is here,” Divac said forcefully, according to Voisin. “It’s a process of growing up. And I really believe that, behind that shield of his, he is a really good guy. I want to create a healthy environment where we trust each other, and I want to see him in a situation when he’s winning games. What, five losing seasons? Winning changes everything. Like I told DeMarcus, he played so great for coach George [Karl]. It will only get better when we get him more help.”

Voisin’s latest column has more insight on the seemingly ever-changing dynamics of the Kings front office and roster, and we’ll hit the highlights here:

  • Owner Vivek Ranadive has been less of a hands-on presence in recent weeks, allowing Divac and coach George Karl to perform their respective duties without undue influence, Voisin writes.
  • Divac replaced GM Pete D’Alessandro as head of the basketball operations, but the subsequent departure of former adviser Chris Mullin for the head coaching job at St. John’s has helped restore some power to D’Alessandro, according to Voisin. Some perceived Mullin, who was eminently powerful within the organization, as the team’s de facto GM, Voisin explains.
  • It’s uncertain whether D’Alessandro will remain with the Kings now that he reports to Divac, but Divac, in his comments to Voisin, seemed to make an appeal of sorts to the GM. “When I first came here,” Divac said of joining the front office in February, “I just observed everything and listened. I wasn’t sure [the front office] was going to work. But Vivek trusted me, trusted coach. I called everyone into a meeting and said, ‘If you want to be here, forget the past. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future. We need everyone’s help.’ Pete can be a big part of this. And these last two weeks, I see tremendous progress. We are getting along, functioning. Slowly we are fitting in together.”
  • Divac will prioritize the acquisition of a “lanky frontcourt defender” this summer, followed by shooting, playmakers and depth, Voisin writes.

Latest On Kings Front Office

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive indeed sees vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac as the team’s primary basketball decision-maker instead of GM Pete D’Alessandro, league sources tell Marc Stein of The team put Divac above D’Alessandro on its organizational chart when it hired its former center in March, though it wasn’t immediately clear whether Divac would be at the controls. D’Alessandro’s future with the club is unclear, as Stein and Grantland’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link) write. Sacramento is looking to hire another front office executive to support Divac whether or not D’Alessandro remains with the Kings, Stein hears.

Former Kings adviser Chris Mullin, who left the team a week ago to coach at St. John’s, his alma mater, was D’Alessandro’s closest ally, according to Stein. Mullin lost influence with Ranadive when he refused to coach the team immediately after the midseason firing of Michael Malone rather than wait until next season, sources tell the ESPN scribe. Mullin and D’Alessandro resisted the hiring of Divac, though D’Alessandro said last month that he and others were pleased to have Divac aboard, as Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee reported then.

Ranadive’s appointment of Divac atop the basketball power structure means the owner has once more hired a top hoops executive after hiring a coach, since George Karl joined the team in February, though Divac has made it clear that he likes Karl, Stein notes. Divac worked in the Lakers scouting department after his retirement in 2005, and he served as president of Serbia’s Partizan Belgrade and as an adviser to Spain’s Real Madrid, as Stein points out. He’s also done Olympic and FIBA administrative work and has a reputation as a unifying force, according to Stein. That jibes with a recent report from The Bee’s Jason Jones that Ranadive has wanted to end the discord that’s marked the front office of late. Ranadive had lost faith in the front office’s plan, Jones tweets.

D’Alessandro came aboard shortly after Ranadive bought the team in 2013. The GM had been former Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri‘s chief aide, and Denver was reportedly leaning toward hiring D’Alessandro for its own GM vacancy in 2013, when Ujiri left to head the Raptors. D’Alessandro’s tenure in charge of Sacramento’s basketball operations was marked by an aggressive posture toward trades, particularly in his first season, when the team acquired Rudy Gay from Ujiri and the Raptors. The Kings under D’Alessandro pushed Gay to opt in for this season and signed him to an extension this past fall, and they gave DeMarcus Cousins a max extension the previous offseason.

Pacific Notes: O’Neal, Suns, Rondo, Kings

Family concerns will matter more than the relationships Jermaine O’Neal has with any city or team when the 36-year-old center decides whether to return to the NBA, and if so, which club he’ll play for, as O’Neal detailed today on his verified Twitter account (links here). O’Neal lives in Dallas and has reportedly long wanted to play close to home, and the Mavs are the apparent favorites to land him. The Warriors, for whom O’Neal played last, as well as the Clippers and Cavs are also said to be interested in the 18-year veteran. Of those teams, Golden State is the only one for which O’Neal has played previously, so it would seem that his remarks today are a harbinger that he won’t be returning to the Bay Area, though that’s just my interpretation. Here’s more news related to Pacific Division teams:

  • People around the league sense that the Suns would be more willing to deal Isaiah Thomas than Eric Bledsoe or Goran Dragic, Grantland’s Zach Lowe writes. Rival executives have picked up the impression that Dragic is the one among those three point guards whom Phoenix would most like to keep, as Ken Berger of reported this weekend.
  • The Mavs are “extremely confident” that Rajon Rondo will re-sign with the team, but the Lakers, among others, would love for the point guard to hit free agency, as Sam Amick of USA Today says in a video report. The Lakers were involved in trade talks with the Celtics about Rondo, and Chris Mannix of indicated last month that the Lakers are likely to pursue him in free agency.
  • Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro and former Kings coach Michael Malone weren’t on speaking terms during the months leading up to Malone’s dismissal, according to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Tyrone Corbin knows he’s only a short-term solution, according to Voisin, though Chris Broussard of hears that Corbin will have a legitimate opportunity to coach the team (Twitter link), as D’Alessandro has publicly insisted. In any case, Voisin implores the team to hire George Karl.
  • Miroslav Raduljica and Shandong of the Chinese Basketball Association have agreed to a buyout in which the center gave up $300K of his $1.5MM deal, reports Nick Bedard of The Clippers, in a series of money-saving moves this summer, acquired Raduljica from the Bucks and quickly waived him via the stretch provision.

Kings GM On Knicks Trade, Rookies, Collison

Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro offered some comments on the team’s offseason thus far, including the thought process behind their recent trade with the Knicks, the impression that the rookies have made at this point, and how he expects Darren Collison to significantly contribute next season. D’Alessandro covers several other topics in his recent Q&A session with, but you can find some of the interview’s more notable highlights below:

On dealing Quincy Acy and Travis Outlaw to New York and what it meant for Sacramento:

“First, I would say Quincy did a phenomenal job for us – we loved Quincy. I think when we looked at our positioning and the positions we had filled, it became much more difficult. So we worked with Quincy – in a partnership with him – to make something happen that worked for him and worked for us. And we’re really happy for him because I think he’s going to play really well for the Knicks. On our end, we give ourselves a little flexibility. We took some protection off a pick, which we now have in an unconditional manner and we got a young player who has a chance to make our team and who’s an exceptional shooter. So we have flexibility and also we have other players in which we’re negotiating with who we think could fill the role that Travis played, which was a huge role.

Travis is another hard guy to let go – he was such a good citizen and a really good player for us. So overall, it was a broad brush of things that it did for us and cleaned some things up and it put us in position for future [moves]. For Quincy and Travis, we wish them the best and really do thank them – they are great guys and great players.”

On rookie Nik Stauskas:

“We have high hopes for Nik. He’s very young so we’re not going to put a lot of pressure on him this year, but I don’t think we don’t need to. He puts a lot of pressure on himself. We have very high hopes for him as a player, as a shooter, and as a guy who can help us to stretch the floor, so there’s a lot of opportunities for him… (What stands out about him right now is) confidence. If he gets three shots, he feels like he’s going to make all three. If he gets 20 shots, he feels like he’s going to make 20. He’s not a guy that will ever have the ball in his hands and feel like he’s not going to succeed with it and you saw that in Summer League. We didn’t go to him as often as we might have, but nothing really fazed him. He continued to shoot the ball well and do what he does. So we’re looking forward to his development.” 

On Deonte Burton:

“…With Deonte we see a guy with a lot of promise. A lot of guys saw him highly ranked, but he didn’t get drafted. And this Draft was such a tough one because it was so loaded and stacked. When you got to the second round you just didn’t know what was going to happen – there were teams who didn’t necessarily want to bring guys in, so they take guys who are stashed. Deonte’s not a guy who wanted to be stashed – he feels like he’s an NBA player and we would like to see what he has…“He [had] a great (draft) workout. He’s a great kid too – I think he fits in with what we’re trying to do. We’re excited that he’ll be part of this process and training camp and he’ll have an opportunity to try to make the team.”

On Eric Moreland:

“I thought [he brought] energy and he had an ability to block shots, but really just how hard he plays…These guys come in and play hard – they play really hard and we expect that out of Eric and that’s what it’s going to take for him to succeed in this league…(Players with his skill set) translate to almost any system because those are the guys who raise the energy of your team and the players around them. To me, you can insert a guy who’s 22-years-old and now it’s up to him. It’s up to him to step in and create a niche for himself.”

On how he expects Darren Collison to have an impact:

“[He’s another guy with a high] motor – a guy who can just go, flat-out go. He can help pick up our pace. He’s a great veteran and he’s a guy we look forward to bringing more than just his skills [to our team]…You’re talking about a guy who has playoff experience – a guy who has an expectation of winning. When I talk to Darren, it’s always ‘how do we make the playoffs? How do we get there?’ That’s something that’s important to me – that you have players that are thinking that way, and more important, acting that way…His ability to pull it together – we talk about the-straw-that-stirs-the-drink analogy and that’s [our] hope for him. We want him to be that guy that brings out the talent from everyone else, while also showing his talent and leadership in the process.”