After an offseason in which their roster moves were praised, the Kings are doing their best to ensure the front office is full strength before the start of training camp in September.
The Kings met with former Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith on Wednesday about filling the position left by former vice president of basketball operations Scott Perry, who left to become New York’s general manager, league sources confirmed.
The Kings also have expressed interest in former Los Angeles Lakers assistant general manager Ronnie Lester, according to league sources.
The Kings’ roster is set at 15 guaranteed contracts, thanks in part to Perry’s contributions before the Kings allowed him to leave for the Knicks.
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But the Kings want to avoid entering next season as they did the previous two, with the front office lacking another veteran executive to be second in command to general manager Vlade Divac. That would be a step backward after a successful summer.
It might not seem urgent, because the Kings like their roster and plans this offseason, but until their front office is complete, they run the risk of missing on future deals should opportunities arise.
Draft picks cannot be traded for 30 days after signing their contracts and players signed this summer cannot be dealt until Dec. 15 or in some cases Jan. 15.
Perry’s influence made a noticeable improvement. Divac had been unable to find someone to fill the role when he assumed control of basketball operations in 2015.
Divac added Peja Stojakovic vice president of player personnel and development before the 2015-16 season and assistant general manager Ken Catanella in May 2016.
With Perry, the Kings’ pre-draft process was as good as its been under Divac and Sacramento’s free agency efforts (George Hill, Zach Randolph, Vince Carter) were widely praised.
Smith has spent the last season with Detroit as an assistant coach and director of player development. He coached Detroit’s development league team in Grand Rapids from 2014-16.
Smith was Orlando’s general manager from 2006-12, which included a trip to the 2009 NBA Finals. Smith was a second-round pick by Denver in 1986 and also played for Golden State and Orlando.
Lester was most recently a scout for Phoenix from 2013-15. He was the Lakers’ assistant general manager from 2001-2011, a span in which they won four championships. He was a scout for the Lakers from 1987-2001.
Lester would know Divac well. He was with the Lakers when Los Angeles drafted Divac in 1989 and was there for both of Divac’s stints as a player and his time working for the Lakers as a scout.