In the wake of Vlade Divac’s resignation two years ago, Joe Dumars was reportedly to run the Kings’ front office for at least a year.
Instead, Sacramento hired Monte McNair as general manager and has reportedly given him more autonomy than any executive under owner Vivek Ranadive. Initially hired as an advisor to Divac, Dumars took the title of “Chief Strategy Officer” reporting to Ranadive. Intrigue swirled ever since about Dumars’ level of power within basketball operations.
With the Kings in the midst of a coaching search, Dumars just bolted to work for the NBA league office as “Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations.”
To state the obvious here, it’s quite unorthodox to have a high-ranking team official head for the exits just days after his voice was taken into consideration during a coaching search. But Dumars’ contract was expiring, and I’m told he wanted more direct control over the front office if he was going to return. In Dumars’ desired structure, McNair would have reported to him rather than Ranadivé.
Ranadivé didn’t share an interest in that sort of setup
There’s nothing wrong with Dumars, who built the Pistons’ 2004 championship team, seeking front-office control. Sacramento doesn’t seem like a great place to work. Final decision-making power would be a perk that could make the job more enticing than the position Dumars lined up with the NBA. It’s common to seek accommodations at a current job before accepting another offer. What’s the worst that happens? The current employer says no? No harm.
It’s also probably healthy that Ranadive said no. If McNair were deemed the right front-office leader just two years ago, it’s hard to see why that would have changed. Dumars’ late track record with Detroit means he’s not a no-brainer option. McNair deserves some room to see his plan through.
However, as has been the case with Ranadive, potential dysfunction lurks around the corner.