SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Pete D’Alessandro has wanted a leading role in professional basketball since his father first took him to watch Julius Erving and the old New York Nets on Long Island in the 1970s.
On his 45th birthday, that wish finally came true.
The Sacramento Kings formally introduced D’Alessandro as the team’s new general manager Monday, handing over basketball operations to the former Denver and Golden State executive who has spent a lifetime waiting for such an opportunity. He joins coach Mike Malone, hired just two weeks ago by new owner Vivek Ranadive, who said D’Alessandro emerged from the “long and arduous process” as the clear candidate.
“This is the foundation for the new era of the Sacramento Kings,” Ranadive said.
Ranadive said he searched for the smartest, most eager and most passionate person. He touted D’Alessandro’s use of analytics, understanding of the league’s salary cap and ability to communicate with players, agents, coaches, scouts and basketball executives.
After interviewing D’Alessandro late last week, Ranadive sought the advice of Chris Mullin. The former Warriors All-Star and general manager — whom D’Alessandro worked under from 2004-08 in Golden State’s front office and is likely to take an official consultant role with the Kings soon — left Ranadive convinced he had found his man.
D’Alessandro spent the past three seasons as vice president of basketball operations in Denver, which won an NBA-franchise record 57 games last season before losing GM Masai Ujiri to Toronto and firing NBA Coach of the Year George Karl after falling to Golden State in the first round. He replaces Geoff Petrie, who has overseen Sacramento’s basketball operations since 1994.
Short and scrawny since he could remember, D’Alessandro’s dream evolved over time. He had once hoped to play in the NBA, as many young boys often imagine.
“It became pretty clear by the time puberty hit that that wasn’t going to happen for me,” D’Alessandro said. “But I wanted to be in it. I really wanted to be in it.”
D’Alessandro often went out on a boat with his uncle Pete, a commercial fisherman whom he was named after. He would take time on the boat to reflect and read the book “Basketball’s Fastest Hands: Little Men Who Make Big Plays.”