Kings hire Rockets executive Monte McNair as new head of basketball operations, per report


The Sacramento Kings are hiring Houston Rockets executive Monte McNair as their new head of basketball operations, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick. McNair replaces Vlade Divac atop the Kings hierarchy, and the two could not come from more different backgrounds. Divac was hired off of the strength of his tenure as a player for the Kings, and a number of his top lieutenants, including Peja Stojakovic, similarly lacked front office experience. 

McNair, on the other hand, comes from an analytics background, and has spent over a decade learning the ropes in one of the NBA‘s best organizations. He was hired by the Houston Rockets in 2007 and has steadily risen through the ranks to become one of Daryl Morey’s top deputies. He was promoted to assistant general manager in 2018, and now, he will attempt to lead Sacramento back to the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

In doing so, he will have a number of difficult decisions to make. Head coach Luke Walton was hired only a season ago, but the Kings regressed from their near-postseason appearance under Dave Joerger with Walton at the helm. He feuded with recently-extended shooting guard Buddy Hield, who has been involved in trade rumors ever since, and slowed down the team’s pace despite the success it had in transition under Joerger. Key shooting guard Bogdan Bogdanovic is a restricted free agent, and former No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley continues to struggle with injuries. 

The Kings had previously been run by former Detroit Pistons guard and general manager Joe Dumars on an interim basis. It is unclear at this point what role Dumars will have in McNair’s front office, if any, but he had earned the trust of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive. McNair will be a first-time general manager, so an experienced staff could be beneficial. 

The Rockets, meanwhile, have lost key staffers across the entire organization over the past several years. In addition to McNair, former Houston executive Gersson Rosas left in 2019 to take over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Most of the coaching staff was turned over in 2019, and head coach Mike D’Antoni left the team following its second-round loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Morey is still in place, but the staff that helped him bring the Rockets within a game of the NBA Finals in 2018 is now, largely, gone. 

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