‘Let’s win’: Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé addresses GM Monte McNair’s future in Sacramento

HECTOR AMEZCUA/nlevine@sacbee.com

Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé addressed general manager Monte McNair’s contract status for the first time Wednesday, telling The Sacramento Bee he is happy with McNair’s work but all parties have been too focused on the upcoming season to discuss an extension.

Ranadivé appeared at a news conference to discuss his recent purchase of Minor League Baseball’s Sacramento River Cats before the team’s final home game of the season at Sutter Health Park in West Sacramento. In an exclusive interview with The Bee following the news conference, Ranadivé was asked for his assessment of McNair’s work and whether the two sides have engaged in contract talks.

“Everyone’s just been heads down, focused on the season, so we’re just really focused on this season,” Ranadivé said.

Ranadivé went on to praise McNair and assistant general manager Wes Wilcox, specifically pointing to the hiring of coach Mike Brown, trades for Domantas Sabonis and Kevin Huerter, and the selection of first-round draft pick Keegan Murray.

“I think Monte, Wes, the whole front office, the coaches they hired, the coaching staff, the process they went through, the trades they made, the rookie they picked, I’m very pleased with everything that’s happened,” Ranadivé said. “I think right now the focus is: Let’s win.”

McNair addressed uncertainty about his future in Sacramento at Kings media day Monday when asked if he had begun contract talks with the organization as he enters the final year of a three-year deal.

“Is my deal, like, on the internet or something?” McNair quipped. “Look, for me and my group, we’re excited about what we’ve done. We’re excited that coach Brown is in here. I’m the GM right now and I’ve got a bunch of work to do, so I’m going to do that until they kick me out, and I hope I’m here for a long time.”

The Kings hired McNair to replace former general manager Vlade Divac in September 2020. They went 31-41 in McNair’s first season and 30-52 in his second season amid major turnover as McNair worked to overhaul the team’s roster and coaching staff.

There is renewed hope in Sacramento entering the 2022-23 season as the Kings seek to end an NBA-record 16-year playoff drought. McNair has assembled the deepest and most-talented team the Kings have had in years, providing point guard De’Aaron Fox with a collection of shooters and a gifted big man in Sabonis.

Getting through the gauntlet in the Western Conference won’t be easy, but many fans are beginning to believe this could be the year the Kings finally return to the playoffs. Ranadivé shares their optimism.

“I know it’s been a long time and I know that we haven’t performed well on the court,” Ranadivé said. “We have the best fans in the world and they deserve success. I think our future is really bright. I think we have an incredible front office. We have a great coaching staff. We have really exciting players and so I’m super excited for this season.”