Kenny Smith In Talks With Sacramento Kings for GM Gig

Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 11, 2013

May 31, 2012; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; TNT analyst Kenny Smith before game three of the Western Conference finals of the 2012 NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Oklahoma City won 102-82.  Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

New Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has made certain that he won't be bound by the traditional limits of his position.

Since the super successful businessman led the ownership group that helped the franchise stay in Sacramento, he hasn't exactly gone by the book.

He has done the typical housecleaning that most new regimes embark on, relieving coach Keith Smart and general manager Geoff Petrie of their respective duties. But his proactive decision to bring in former Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Malone to lead his team before having a new general manager in place hinted at his ability to think outside the box.

Apparently, those non-traditional thoughts have continued.

According to Sam Amick of USA Today, Ranadive has added former NBA player and current TNT analyst Kenny Smith to his search for a new GM. Smith, who began his 10-year playing career with two-plus seasons in Sacramento, confirmed that the two sides have "been talking."

Smith admitted that he's entertained offers in the past, but said this is the first time he's really open to the idea of leaving his current position.

"A lot of things have been coming these last couple of years, and this time I've been taking it serious," Smith said. "My kids are at an age where I feel comfortable. And the other years, the kids were just too young. I didn't want to be in it."

Amick added that Ranadive would like to see his organization led by a "two-tier" leadership structure, featuring a well-known name and an experienced executive sharing decision-making duties.

And Ranadive isn't aiming low for that seasoned presence, either. He's reportedly already interviewed Hall-of-Famer Larry Bird, longtime coach and executive Mike Dunleavy, former general managers Chris Wallace (Memphis Grizzlies) and David Morway (Indiana Pacers) and current Warriors assistant GM Travis Schlenk.

Ranadive saw firsthand a similar strategy work during his days as a minority owner of the Warriors. That ownership group handed over its coaching duties to Mark Jackson, who, like Smith, lacked in direct experience but was well-known as both a player and a broadcaster.

And who was Jackson's seasoned sideline presence to help him get his feet wet? Malone, Ranadive's new coach.