Pete D'Alessandro was in a comfortable place.
He could have stayed in Denver and angled to be the Nuggets' new general manager, continuing to work with team president Josh Kroenke.
But D'Alessandro wanted to take a chance on himself.
"I've always been that second guy," D'Alessandro said. "I've always been the guy who can help, and we've had success wherever I've gone. I feel I'm ready."
D'Alessandro is no longer the second guy after being introduced as the Kings' new general manager Monday at Sleep Train Arena on his 45th birthday.
D'Alessandro replaces Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie, whose contract expires at the end of the month.
Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive admitted a bias toward hiring someone with experience to run basketball operations.
Ranadive initially viewed D'Alessandro as a "long shot" for the job but was captivated by D'Alessandro's intelligence and vision.
And D'Alessandro falls in line with many of today's new general managers. He didn't play in the NBA or even in college. Statistical analysis is a strength, and he has worked for a sports agency.
D'Alessandro is also a lawyer.
"The 21st-century GM has to understand the complexities of (salary) capology, the development in technology, the use of analytics," Ranadive said. "And if a good chess player thinks two moves ahead, in Pete we have a guy who can think four moves ahead."
D'Alessandro spent four seasons with Golden State (2004-08). He spent the past three seasons with the Nuggets, serving as vice president of basketball operations last season.
Rather than assume the role his "brother," Masai Ujiri, had in Denver before leaving for Toronto, D'Alessandro wants to put his beliefs into practice in a new situation with the Kings.
D'Alessandro inherits a team coming off seven consecutive losing seasons with major decisions to make before the NBA draft on June 27, followed by the free-agency period.
D'Alessandro said the Kings showed, especially over the second half of the 2012-13 season, they are talented - offensively.
But it will take time speaking with coach Michael Malone and the players to see how they fit with the new Kings regime.
"I have a lot of agents to call," D'Alessandro said. "I have to sit down with these players and Michael, and I will do that together. But I feel the future is really bright."
Ranadive said something "clicked" when he met D'Alessandro.
Ranadive questioned all the candidates about the Kings' roster and their plan for the team.
After being impressed by D'Alessandro, Ranadive called Chris Mullin, who was the candidate's boss at Golden State.
Mullin, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer as a player with Golden State and Indiana who became an executive with the Warriors, endorsed D'Alessandro.
Mullin has been offered a job as a consultant with the Kings.
"We'll have to look at how we can have Mully help us," Ranadive said. "He's a legend in the area, and we all know him well, and it would be great to have his help."
D'Alessandro said he wants to move quickly to put his staff in place but won't risk disrupting the future with a hasty hire. He said he leans toward a smaller staff with diverse backgrounds.
Not everyone will be a statistical guru, nor does he want a staff of yes men.
"You check your ego at the door in this business if you're going to be good and you work as a group," D'Alessandro said. "And I see this right here as a group."
Before being hired by the Kings, D'Alessandro studied draft prospects for Denver, which picks 27th in the first round.
The Kings select seventh overall, which changes D'Alessandro's approach.
"I think this team is more of a clean canvas," D'Alessandro said. "We have some strong pieces in there, but there's a lot we can do to get it in the right direction."
D'Alessandro said he will rely on Malone and a network of "wonderful brains out there" as he prepares for the draft and free agency and hires a staff.
Malone, who has been on the job for more than two weeks, is ready to advise D'Alessandro on draft prospects and the Kings' roster.
"For the next couple of weeks, this is going to be my wife," Malone joked as D'Alessandro's wife, Leah, watched the news conference with their daughter Kate and son Benjamin. "We're going to be together at the hip because we have a lot of work to do."