Kings GM End-of-Season Q&A Part 1
In the first of a four-part series, Pete D'Alessandro discusses his first year as the team's General Manager, his relationship with Coach Malone and more.
How would you characterize your first year as a general manager?
“It was probably the busiest year of my life. I think you expect that when you get the head position somewhere, I always would expect that, but you don’t know what that actually means until you live it. It really gives you a whole new respect for the people you worked for in the past.”
How is it different from being an assistant general manager?
“It’s a lot more managing an entire organization. When you’re an assistant GM, you have a specialty. Some are focused on personnel, some are focused on rules and contracts, and others are focused on statistics. Some teams have multiple-system GMs. When you become the head, you have a coaching staff that you work with on a regular basis, you have your administrative staff you work with on a regular basis, your statistics staff – which we’ve been building out this year – along with your regular, more conventional front office staff, and let’s not forget the players.
“When I was an assistant GM, my focus was on negotiations and contracts. I dealt with many agents and was very involved on the phones. So I had a lot of the business-side knowledge, but the ability to manage an entire organization is something you need to learn, something I need to learn, and I’m learning it every day.“
How has your past experience as an agent impacted your first year in Sacramento?
“I understand and have some compassion for where they’re coming from and some of their business challenges, frankly, because there are business challenges that I recognize through their words. They’re not necessarily telling me but I get where the motivation is coming from a lot of the time, so I can empathize with some of those things. At the end of the day, I think that’s a blessing and a curse.
“We work with agents and have very good relationships with agents – we need to because we’re in the same business – but at the same time we’re also competing with agents when we’re doing a contract. You might understand why, but you also need to advocate for your organization. So it’s a constant battle for me having been on the agent side to almost ignore some of the things I know are going on in the background.”
How has your relationship with Coach Malone evolved over the past season?
“I think we both learned quite a bit. For me – and I’ve talked to Michael about this – at the beginning of the year, I was very focused on our team – the Sacramento Kings – and the personnel we had because I was trying to get to know it. So I traveled a lot more and I was with them a lot more.
“The second part of the year, I turned my focus to the Draft and traveling on my own. You kind of disconnect from the team in that situation. Where I feel like I’ve failed in some ways, as a GM, you really have to make an effort to keep that communication with your coaching staff throughout the year, and I think Michael handled it really well. When I look back on it, luckily, there weren’t any issues because we did have that communication and had a really good foundation to begin with, but I need to be better when I turn that focus to college and I am on the road – that I’m channeling a lot of energy and communication directly towards the coaching staff as well. So that was just a lesson for me, but I think it went fabulously well with Michael and me this year, and I look forward to it down the road.”