Mark Jackson. Doc Rivers. Pat Riley. Guys have made the jump from television broadcaster to successful NBA coach before, but that generally doesn’t make it a good idea.
And the jump from television commenter to front office guy is something else entirely.
But TNT’s Kenny “The Jet” Smith would like to do that with the Sacramento Kings, reports Sam Amick at the USA Today.
The former Kings player and TNT commentator told USA TODAY Sports on Sunday night that he has been in discussions with new owner Vivek Ranadive…
“We’ve been talking; we’ve been talking,” Smith said. “That’s all I’m going to say.”
Ranadive has been looking to hire a two-tiered GM system, reports Amick, similar to what has been done already in Golden State and Indiana. There would be a big, splashy name, and then with him would be a more traditional basketball guy. (You can guess who would do most of the work.)
The Kings have already hired their coach, Mike Malone, the lead assistant to Mark Jackson in Golden State last year.
Smith would make the best GM of any of the guys on the TNT set. Not that there is really stiff competition there. Remember Charles Barkley campaigned for the Suns GM job but they wisely went another direction. The Kings have interviewed Larry Bird, Chris Wallace (recent Memphis Grizzlies GM), Travis Schlenk (Golden State Warriors assistant GM), and David Morway (Pacers GM) for that gig.
Why have two GM’s? Marketing to the fan base? While there is no doubt a guy like Schlenk or Morway could do the job it’s not as exciting to sell to the fans, so they want a name that makes more of a splash.
Smith was drafted by the Kings in 1987 and played a couple years there before bouncing around the NBA in his playing career. He’s been part of the Inside the NBA crew for years.
But now he wants a new challenge. We’ll see if that’s with the Kings.