What’s Inside McNair’s Head?


If Kings fans could only get inside Monte McNair’s head.

Fourteen years! That’s how long it’s been since the Kings last made the playoffs.

It’s McNair’s job as the Kings’ new General Manager to end that drought. But what is he thinking? Does he want to blow it all up? Or does he think there is enough talent in Sacramento that the Kings, with a few tweaks, could contend for a playoff spot?

Kings fans are arguably the best fanbase in the NBA. They have endured so much frustration, yet they have the patience of Job. They aren’t asking for a championship, just a playoff spot. That’s it. The whole city of Sacramento would do flips if the Kings just make it to 8th place in the Western Conference! They might even schedule a parade! There would be balloons! Confetti! Noise Makers! Everybody could have the day off.

Rebuild or Retool?

So does McNair want to blow up the current team and effectively rebuild it “in his image and likeness”? We can say with 99.9% certainty that McNair is not getting rid of De’Aaron Fox. The speedy point guard is the “head of the snake” according to coach Luke Walton. The Kings’ previous regime passed on Luka Doncic because they didn’t want to take the ball out of Fox’s hands.

Does McNair trade Buddy Hield? He’s supposedly unhappy in Sacramento because he wants to start and doesn’t like Walton. (It should be noted that Hield didn’t like the Kings previous coach, Dave Joerger, either.) The problems are that Hield’s trade value has taken a hit because he is coming off a “down” year and because he has openly expressed his unhappiness.

Keeping Hield does make sense because he is one of the elite three-point shooters in the NBA…unless they can package a deal to bring Indiana center Myles Turner to Sacramento. Turner would provide one of the things that the Kings are missing, an interior defensive presence. Plus, Turner can hit the three point shot at a reasonable clip to space the floor for Marvin Bagley.

With the draft coming up on Wednesday, what is McNair thinking? Does he trade up? The Kings currently have the 12th pick in the first round, plus three picks in the second round. They have the ammunition to move up. The Kings have been linked to three “wings”: Devin Vassell, Patrick Williams and Aaron Nesmith. All three possess “plus” skills, but all three also have question marks in their games. Would they even be around when the Kings draft at 12? Is it worth trading up to grab one of the three…or does McNair have his eyes on somebody else?

There are many other questions. Does McNair re-sign Bogdan Bogdanovic? Does he bring back Kent Bazemore, who was a nice addition on the floor and in the clubhouse? What about Alex Len? Harry Giles? Does he value Harrison Barnes’ steady play and positive veteran influence?

The only thing we know so far about Monte McNair is what he said in his initial media briefing: he wants to maintain flexibility. What does that mean? If only Kings fans could get inside his head.

Follow us on Twitter @Kings_Lead for the latest Kings news and insight.

About Dave Andrade

Sports Director, KRCR-TV Redding 1968-81; Shasta College football & basketball play-by-play; marketing rep; retired, but still doing a daily sports report & commentary for KKXS 96.1 FM, Redding; contributor at Kings Lead

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