When the Kings were thumbing through résumés for their general manager opening in 2015, a couple of team icons were among the stack.
Vlade Divac ultimately earned the job, but Chris Webber revealed to Logan Murdock and Raja Belll on The Ringer’s “Real Ones” podcast that he wishes he'd gotten the chance.
“I don’t want to start nothing,” Webber said. “What I said was the truth -- I went there and interviewed, it was nothing more that I wanted and I loved it. I got things to do now. That ship has sailed but that was what I wanted more than anything in the world.”
Webber played for the Kings from 1998 to 2005 and made four of his five All-Star appearances with the franchise. He hasn’t transitioned to any front-office role since retiring, but now Webber is staying busy as an NBA commentator for Turner Sports among other pursuits, like teaching a course for Morehouse College and tapping into the cannabis business.
More than five years later, though, it’s clear Webber wanted to call the shots for his former team, which retired his number in 2009.
“Nothing that I wanted to do more than run that team in Sac,” Webber said.
Webber also made sure to add that it wasn’t a jab on his former teammate Divac, who failed to lead the Kings to the playoffs in his five years as GM before resigning in August.
“Definitely you have to give Vlade the job,” Webber said. “This has nothing to do with me talking about Vlade.”
The team hired Monte McNair to fill the vacancy in September after he built a reputation as an analytics-minded assistant general manager with the Houston Rockets. As the first half comes to a close, the Kings are 13-21 and floundering near the bottom of the Western Conference with coach Luke Walton on the hot seat.
Webber said he remembers Sacramento as “basketball heaven” and that he wanted to come back in 2015 to help re-energize the fan base in a front-office role. Webber added that he still has good memories of serving up pizza to fans who camped out to get playoff tickets during his playing days.
“That’s Sacramento,” Webber said. “That’s why I love Sacramento. The people are the best, man.”