TNT commentator Kenny Smith is reportedly among the candidates for the Kings' open general manager position.
USA Today Sports reports that Smith, a two-time champion with the Rockets back in the mid-1990s, has had conversations with the new ownership team in Sacramento about replacing Geoff Petrie, who has reportedly been informed that he will not return for the 2013-14 season.
"We've been talking; we've been talking," Smith said. "That's all I'm going to say."
Asked if he has been on the lookout for front office opportunities, Smith said, "Honestly, I've been looking at both — coaching, and a lot of things have been coming these last couple of years, and this time I've been taking it serious. 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. But I just started taking it serious."
Smith, 48, was Sacramento's first-round pick in the 1987 draft, and he spent two-plus seasons with the Kings before going on to play for the Hawks, Rockets, Pistons, Magic and Nuggets. He holds averages of 12.8 points and 5.5 assists over his 10-year career.
Shortly after his retirement in 1997, Smith joined Turner Broadcasting and has been a longtime presence on Inside The NBA with host Ernie Johnson and analyst Charles Barkley.
The Kings were recently sold by the Maloof family to an ownership group led by TIBCO chairman Vivek Ranadive, who was formerly the minority owner of the Warriors. Ranadive moved swiftly to replace coach Keith Smart with Warriors assistant coach Michael Malone.
Although Smith has no previous NBA coaching or management experience, the same could be said about former ESPN commentator Mark Jackson before he was hired to coach the Warriors in 2011. Jackson guided the Warriors to the Western Conference semifinals in his second season on the job this year; one wonders whether Jackson's successful media-to-basketball operations transition played any role in Ranadive's interest in Smith, as both Jackson and Smith are charismatic, well-liked and well-connected in basketball circles and both boast successful track records as former players.
Former Pacers executives Larry Bird and David Morway, former Clippers executive Mike Dunleavy, former Warriors executive Chris Mullin, Grizzlies executive Chris Wallace and Nuggets executive Pete D'Alessandro are among the names linked to the open Kings GM position in recent reports by USA Today Sports and CBSSports.com.
Smith isn't the only Inside The NBA panelist to be linked to a move from the studio to a front office over the last few months. Back in April, Barkley expressed interest in the Suns' GM position after Phoenix parted ways with Lance Blanks, but that job ultimately went to Celtics executive Ryan McDonough. Petrie has been with the Kings since 1994.