By Sam Amick
USA TODAY Sports
Nearly two weeks after NBA ownersvoted to keep the Kings in Sacramentoand theteam was sold to Indian software magnate Vivek Ranadive, the reshaping of the franchise appears to be under way.
According to two people with knowledge of the situation, Ranadive has begun the process of finding a replacement for Kings President Geoff Petrie and is considering San Antonio Spurs President R.C. Buford, Golden State Warriors assistant general manager Travis Schlenk, and Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace. Former Indiana Pacers general manager David Morway may also receive consideration, and Ranadive's internal list is not thought to be limited to this group. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the search.
Ranadive, who was a minority owner of the Warriors until seizing this Sacramento opportunity, is known to be consulting with his Warriors colleagues on the search. That includes Jerry West, a Warriors consultant who worked with Wallace in Memphis and Schlenk at Golden State.
Ranadive's focus, as is clear from some of the backgrounds of the people being considered, is on establishing a smart, winning tradition in a small market after the Kings have missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons. He is likely to assume control of the team later this week, and the deal is expected to close on May 31.
Buford, who has been a staple of the Spurs' success since joining the team as a scout in 1994 and becoming general manager in 2002, is unlikely to have interest in the job but would make quite a small-market splash if he could be enticed into a new challenge. Schlenk, who worked under Chuck Daly as an intern in Orlando and Pat Riley as a video coordinator in Miami, moved up the Warriors ranks from assistant coach under Mike Montgomery to scout before he was promoted to assistant general manager nearly two years ago when former agent Bob Myers became general manager.
Wallace, who was hired by the Grizzlies in 2007 after serving as the Boston Celtics general manager under executive director Danny Ainge, built most of the Grizzlies roster that is currently in the Western Conference Finals for the first time in franchise history. Yet with his role drastically minimized after new ownership brought in a new front office in November, Wallace - who has two seasons left on his contract - would surely consider the position. Ranadive is also hoping to speak with Oklahoma City assistant general manager Troy Weaver but it appears unlikely that the Thunder will grant permission once he takes over the team officially.
Morway became the Pacers general manager in 2008 under then-president Larry Bird and helped the Pacers build the roster that has them in the Eastern Conference Finals. He was replaced by Kevin Pritchard nearly a year ago. Lastly, and perhaps most intriguing of all, was the mysterious appearance of former Minnesota Timberwolves general manager David Kahnat a Sacramento rallyto celebrate the saving of the team on Thursday. Kahn, whoreplaced as Timberwolves general managerby Flip Saunders on May 2, was a key figure in the construction of the arena formerly known as the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indiana in 1999 while working on the business side.
Petrie, whose contract expires at the end of June, was informed during a Thursday meeting with Ranadive that the new owner would be bringing in his own people once he assumed control of the team. While Petrie will assist during the transition, his league-long tenure that began in 1994 and included eight straight playoff berths and a Western Conference Finals appearance in 2002 will come to an end as expected. The Kings have missed the playoffs for seven consecutive seasons.
Ranadive is not expected to retain Kings coach Keith Smart, either, but clearly wants to have his new front-office in place before beginning that process. As was reported by USA TODAY Sports on May 17, Warriors assistant coach Michael Malone is held in high regard by Ranadive andwould be a strong candidate.