The Kings’ front office search is heating up. After choosing Mike Forde of Sportsology to lead the process, under the watchful eye of both Joe Dumars and chairman Vivek Ranadivé, NBC Sports California confirmed on Tuesday that the team has requested permission from six different teams to speak to currently employed executives.
It’s a good list of names, some of which might be obtainable, others who might be completely out of reach. Minnesota Timberwolves executive vice president Sachin Gupta, Miami Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon, Denver Nuggets GM Calvin Booth, Houston Rockets assistant GM Monte McNair and former Atlanta Hawks GM Wes Wilcox are the five names the Kings now are working with after New Orleans Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon reportedly withdrew his name on Wednesday.
Initially the Kings were looking for a general manager candidate, but this list goes beyond that. Most of these names are in line for a heftier title more in line with VP or president of basketball operations.
Here is a quick look at the five candidates that currently are being sought after by the Kings, with the understanding that this list might change over the course of the next few weeks.
Sachin Gupta, Executive VP of Basketball Ops, Minnesota T-Wolves
Gupta is about as intriguing a name as you are going to find in basketball circles. He was Sam Hinkie’s lead lieutenant in Philly and the architect behind the trade with the Kings that sent Jason Thompson, Carl Landry and Nik Stauskas to the Sixers for a future first-round selection and two potential pick swaps.
Before that, he got his start in Houston as a handpicked add by newly hired GM Daryl Morey in 2006. Morey met Gupta at an MIT function while he was still with the Celtics. When he landed the job in Houston, he stole Gupta away from his computer engineering job at ESPN, where he had helped develop the Trade Machine.
Gupta checks a lot of boxes for the Kings. He is young, wildly creative, loves analytics, has a vast understanding of the NBA’s salary cap and he has been part of some very successful situations in the league.
He’s currently the executive VP of basketball operations in Minnesota, but he has had stops in Houston, Philadelphia and Detroit over the last decade.
Adam Simon, Assistant GM, Miami Heat
If you are swinging for the fences, then Simon needs to be on the list. He’s spent the last 25 years working his way up through the front office in Miami under NBA legend Pat Riley. Simon has been in the running for jobs in Chicago, Charlotte, Denver and Milwaukee over the past few seasons, but he has chosen to stay with the Heat, where he started as an intern in the video room working for now head coach Erik Spoelstra.
While the Heat are known for chasing superstars, they’ve also been extremely successful mining for talent and developing them. Simon was part of the draft process that landed Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, Justise Winslow and Josh Richardson in Heat jerseys. He also helped find players like Derrick Jones, Jr., Duncan Robinson, Kendrick Nunn and Hassan Whiteside to add to the mix.
At just 46 years old, Simon has two and a half decades of experience working for one of the best organizations in the NBA. Whether the Kings can talk him into leaving the comforts of South Beach is a huge question.
Calvin Booth, GM, Denver Nuggets
Booth, 44, finished his NBA career with a seven-game stint in Sacramento during the 2008-09 season. He began his life on the other side of the business in 2012 as a scout with the Pelicans and his rise in basketball circles has been swift. He joined the Timberwolves as a scout in 2013 and worked his way up to director of player personnel before joining the Nuggets in 2017 as an assistant GM under president of basketball operations Tim Connelly and general manager Arturas Karnisovas. When Karnisovas left to take over the Bulls earlier this year, Booth was promoted to GM.
With a new title and increased responsibilities with the Nuggets, Booth might be tough to pry out of Denver. He’s the lone former NBA player left on the list after Langdon turned down the opportunity and he’s considered a big time up and comer in the executive ranks.
Monte McNair, Assistant GM, Houston Rockets
Do we sense a theme? The Kings under Ranadivé have long been enamored with analytics, so it would make sense to search the Daryl Morey executive tree. Hired by the Rockets as an analyst in 2007, McNair has worked his way up through the organizations, holding director of basketball ops, VP of basketball ops and now the assistant GM title since 2018.
A true analytics guru, McNair works directly with the coaching staff to translate the numbers to success on the court. Houston is in the middle of eight consecutive playoff seasons, so something is working. He's an extremely important piece to Houston's front office, but he's never held a title above assistant GM.
Wes Wilcox, Special Advisor, Atlanta Hawks
Wilcox worked his way through the NBA, beginning as a scout and video intern for the Miami Heat in 2001. After a season in New Orleans as a video coordinator, Wilcox joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, where he spent the next six seasons working a variety of positions within the organization, including assistant coach and director of player personnel. In 2012, he was hired as an assistant GM with the Atlanta Hawks and then promoted to general manager in 2015.
In 2017, Wilcox resigned his role with the Hawks after Mike Budenholtzer stepped down from his position as head of basketball operations. He was disciplined earlier in the 2017 season for making a racially insensitive remark at a season ticket holder event. It is unclear what role he has, if any, with the Hawks currently, but he interviewed earlier this year for the Bulls opening, a potential job in Detroit’s restructured front office and he also is a contributor to NBA TV.