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Sacramento Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro Talks Team, Sandwiches, Duck-Sized DeMarcus Cousins On Reddit

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Q: What are some of the biggest needs you see for our team to turn us into a playoff caliber team?

A: I think it’s still shooting and playmaking.

Q: What do you love most about being with Sacramento?

A: I think the energy and excitement of being part of a startup organization.

Q:  How would you assess Ben McLemore’s rookie campaign?

I think he had a great opportunity and coach put a lot of faith in him. In talking to Ben after the season ended, he understands how important this summer is to take the next step. We’re excited about his future.

Q: A lot of Kings fans talk about adding a true center next to Demarcus so he can play powerforward as he did in his rookie year. What is your perspective on this?

A: It’s something I’ve honestly been considering since the day I got here. It is amazing that a big man can be so versatile and we’re really fortunate that we can even have this discussion and I’d really like to know what our fans think about this. Can we get a little help from redditors… DeMarcus at PF or C???

Q: What factors do you believe will draw free agents to Sacramento despite our recent history of poor performance?

A: I think clearly a combination of ownership, a new arena, staff and most importantly our fans.

Q: What are your plans regarding the stockpile of power forwards on our roster?

A: Got any others I should be considering?

Q: How do you assess this upcoming draft and what are your plans concerning the draft?

This is the first time I’ve had ample time to prepare for the Draft and as I said in my interview with Vivek, I like using all resources from scouts to analytics to even reaching out to our fans. Any of you who have met me have probably had me ask you your opinion of the Draft and free agents. I’m wide open to any thoughts, thoughts??

Q: Who is your favorite player on the team and why is it Travis Outlaw?

A: Not only is he a great person, teammate and player. How many pro athletes have a day named after them???

Q: Can you describe the process of the Rudy Gay trade? Specifically who approached whom (did you have a discussion with Memphis before?), how you envisioned him fitting into the offensive system with other high usage players, and the sort of negotiations involved in a trade like that.

A: Rudy was someone early on who we identified as being a good fit for our team and specifically alongside DeMarcus. In general trades develop over time and there is an early conversation which leads to subsequent talks. Many times the first conversation may appear to be a dead-end but then ultimately becomes a trade. The Rudy Gay trade followed a similar path.

Q: Who surprised you the most this season?

A: Ray McCallum, I’m so impressed a guy can go from being on the bench to playing 40 minutes a game. Anyone who has played basketball knows how much of a challenge that is.

Q: What was your homework for Travis Outlaw to prepare for next season?

A: To join /r/Kings

Q: Will you be attending Travis Outlaw day?

A: Yes, if I can get 10 or more /r/Kings redditors to join me. Road trip?

Q: 1) What inspired you to make so many moves this last season? The opening night roster was nearly completely different from the closing night roster, something previously unheard of in Sacramento Kings basketball. 2) How close are you with Vivek and Coach Malone? What is the dynamic between you three like? I imagine it is pretty close, probably closer than most GM’s/owners/coaches. 3) We’re not supposed to ask about free agency or draft choices, but hypothetically, which current NBA player would be your first choice to build a team around? In other words, if you had first pick in an entire league-wide expansion draft for the upcoming season, with no protected players, which player would you take and why? 4) There’s never been a GM AMA on reddit that I’ve seen, so I want to ask what a typical day in the life of a GM consists of.

A: I’ll answer what I can here… One thing I know for sure is if something isn’t working we have to change and that goes in any business. We will never sit complacent in this organization under Vivek. Vivek, Coach Malone and I speak daily about EVERYTHING in the organization. I believe that culture starts with staff and organization, and Vivek has set the tone. I don’t think I’m the first, Rockets GM Daryl Morey has done a few. I was kind of hoping to get a question from him on this AMA. He missed his opportunity. Sorry Daryl! ;) The typical life depends on the time of year. One thing is consistent and that is your cellphone never stops. Thanks for the great questions!

Q: Hey Pete! DeMarcus Cousins has been established as the franchise cornerstone this year, and I was wondering what your thoughts were as to his ideal frontcourt partner. I know it is the opinion of many that a shotblocker of some sort would probably be best but there are obviously more factors involved.

A: I think the great part about DeMarcus is his versatility whether he’s at the 5 or the 4, a defensive-minded front-court partner could help the team.

Q: Coke, Pepsi, or RC Cola?

All-time favorite Mello Yello – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pw_slOkXUYE%5B1%5D

Q: I’m a 2012 graduate with a BS in Sports Management. Every organization I apply to, I get the same generic “you need more experience” line. The problem is that I can’t get the experience if I can’t get the job. Plus, internships that I find specifically ask for current college students. What can I do to help myself get the necessary experience for a career in the sports industry?

A: … [B]e willing to work in any capacity in pro sports. My first sports job after law school, I convinced an agent to allow me to answer his phones and a year later I was negotiating contracts.

Q: You can only keep one this offseason: Isaiah Thomas or Rudy Gay. Who do you choose?

A: There’s rules against me talking about free agents right now but that is one heck of a choice and those are two very talented players.

Q: Hi Pete. Born and raised in Sacramento, my parents were season ticket holders from 1985-2009, I am a HUGE Kings fan. I had a question about you and your career.

My question is, how did you make the jump from the legal profession to the NBA? I know you worked as a video coordinator at St. Johns and then at a sports agency. Did that help you land the director of basketball operations job with the warriors? I am a young attorney and always dreamed of doing something similar to your career path. Any advice to those who would like to follow in your footsteps?

A: My first job in the NBA was at a sports agency (I was previously a Campaign Manager for a Congressman). I decided to make the jump into sports and refused to accept ‘no’ as an answer. I literally took a job as a receptionist for a sports agent, worked my way to VP, which led me to director of Basketball Ops at Golden State and ultimately Assistant GM. My advice is be willing to sacrifice and be humble. Do whatever it takes to get into the field. Good luck!

Q: What is your favorite kind of sandwich, and why?

A: My grandmother who passed away was from Sicily. She used to make this sandwich on fresh Italian bread with tomato, olive oil and sea salt. I know how simple it sounds, but since she’s passed away, I’ve never had one so good. Seriously, love that woman and still feel her influence today.

Q: Hey Pete, How awesome is it to work for Vivek Ranadive?

A: One of the amazing things about working for Vivek is that he challenges us to think differently. He has changed the way I view the game. His vision of NBA 3.0 will surely transform not only this team but also the City of Sacramento.

Q: If Jason Williams circa 2000 was a free agent this summer would you look into signing him with this team?

Looks like he can still play. Shout-out to J-Dub!

Q: What are some of your favorite Sacramento institutions/eateries/shops?

A: Definitely a fan of One Speed in East Sac, Mulvaney’s and sometimes Corti Brothers for lunch but there are so many great places here to eat. I’m taking suggestions for other places if anyone has some recommendations.

Q: From the fans at Sactown Royalty: “Would you rather fight one DeMarcus Cousins-sized duck or 100 duck-sized DeMarcus Cousinses?”

A: C’mon guys, I wouldn’t even want to fight one mouse-sized DeMarcus Cousins. Next question…

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