The contrast is stark. Former Kings general manager Vlade Divac loved to tell a joke or give a one line zinger in his press conferences. Oftentimes to his own detriment.
New GM Monte McNair doesn’t play those games. He gets into a press conference, handles his business in as few words as possible and then disappears until the next major event pops up that requires his presence.
It’s refreshing on some fronts and leads to far fewer opportunities for fans to create memes and sell t-shirts. Other times it feels like McNair is Sir Alec Guinness waving his hand as Obi-Wan Kenobi politely telling the media, “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”
Were the Kings buyers or sellers at the trade deadline?
“I think really we saw this year that there were maybe some traditional buy/sell moves, but I think where we categorize ourselves was like, value buyers,” McNair said. “We kinda explored all opportunities and this is what came to the forefront.”
Try wearing “value buyer” on a sweatshirt without someone mistaking you for a worker at an electronics store or maybe a discounted grocery outlet. It isn't nearly as catchy as Divac's, "Super team, just young" statement from a few years back.
Is McNair going to re-sign Richaun Holmes in the offseason?
“I won’t get into all the offseason plans, but Richaun has been amazing for us this year, he’s really having a career year and is the key to I think a lot of what we do on both ends,” McNair said. “The energy he brings, his untouchable floater that everybody loves and defensively, the ability to play in the paint and on the perimeter. He’s been amazing and we’re excited to see him continue to do that for us.”
What is Luke Walton’s future?
“Luke’s been great and done a great job to keep the guys steady through those tougher patches and also not let them get too high,” McNair said. “We’ve had some good stretches as well and just keep them even keel and ready to go.”
The Warriors just had 12 players vaccinated, how about the Kings?
“We certainly support all the efforts the NBA is doing to get players and staff vaccinated,” McNair said. “For us, it’s about continuing to work with the local and state authorities to make sure that we’re able to do that at the correct time. Hopefully soon. I think it’d be great for the guys when that will happen.”
Did the Kings research the troublesome off-court issues with newly acquired Terence Davis?
“On the off-court stuff, we certainly take all that stuff very seriously,” McNair said. “His case is closed and I think going forward, we’ll of course uphold the standards that we’ve set here. On the court, I think his combination of shooting. And on the defensive end, tough-nosed, hard-nosed defense. The ability to get him in, see what he can do and potentially make him part of our future was worth [a second round pick].”
This isn’t an act and McNair certainly isn’t overwhelmed. He’s a Princeton grad who keeps his information as close to the vest as possible. He isn’t going to sell many newspapers or add a lot of clicks, but maybe that’s what this franchise needs.
McNair added length, defense and depth to his roster at the deadline. He brought in players that better fit the system in place and while the haul isn’t going to grade out at the top of any free agency winners and losers list, he improved the team without dealing away the core or damaging the long term flexibility of the franchise.
Like his first NBA draft and free agency period, McNair’s first trade deadline was calculated, under the radar and will need more time to process. He isn’t afraid to listen and make calls, but the conservative approach might actually help stabilize the organization after more than a decade of chaos.