Sacramento Kings extend contracts of general manager Monte McNair, assistant GM Wes Wilcox

Back in September, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive summed up his thoughts with two words when asked about general manager Monte McNair’s uncertain future in Sacramento and the possibility of signing him to a contract extension.

“Let’s win,” Ranadive said.

McNair has held up his end of the bargain. Now, Ranadive has, too.

The Kings reached an agreement on a contract extension with McNair on Tuesday, a league source told The Sacramento Bee, confirming a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported the new deal is for three years, aligning McNair’s contract with the four-year deal coach Mike Brown received when he was hired in May.

The Kings formally announced the new deal Tuesday evening, saying they had signed McNair and assistant general manager Wes Wilcox to contract extensions. McNair and Wilcox have worked closely to reshape the roster over the past two years, orchestrating a remarkable turnaround in Sacramento.

“This has been an exciting season and I’m proud to have the opportunity to continue building a winning franchise in Sacramento,” McNair said in a news release. “I am especially grateful to Vivek, the entire Kings organization and the fans for supporting me every step of the way. I’d like to thank our players and coaches for their hard work on and off the court. And I’m excited to have Wes Wilcox’s continued counsel and partnership, along with the rest of our fantastic front office and staff. We recognize we have more work to do, and I look forward to what’s ahead.”

Ranadive praised McNair and Wilcox for their work in Sacramento.

“Monte is an integral part of this organization, and I am thrilled to announce his extension,” Ranadive said. “Since joining the Kings, Monte and Wes have proven to be thoughtful and strategic decision makers who have shown their ability to execute a long-term vision for the team. The work continues, and I have confidence in this front office to keep driving our efforts forward.”

The Kings (27-19) are trying to end the longest playoff drought in NBA history after 16 consecutive losing seasons. They are first in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference with 36 games remaining in the regular season.

McNair, who previously spent 13 years as a front office executive with the Houston Rockets, has made a series of smart moves since he was hired in September 2020 to turn the Kings into a playoff contender. He signed De’Aaron Fox to a max extension; used first-round draft picks to select Tyrese Haliburton, Davion Mitchell and Keegan Murray; traded Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers in the deal that brought two-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis to Sacramento; traded for sharpshooter Kevin Huerter; signed Malik Monk as a free agent; and hired Brown after six seasons as Steve Kerr’s lead assistant with the Golden State Warriors.

McNair set out to surround Fox and Sabonis with shooters who could spread defenses and space the floor. He did that with the additions of Huerter, Monk, Murray and Trey Lyles, who was acquired in the multi-team deal that sent Marvin Bagley III to the Detroit Pistons.

The results have been stunning. Sacramento has emerged as perhaps the biggest surprise story in the NBA this season with Fox and Sabonis forming one of the most dynamic duos in the league. The Kings are No. 1 in the NBA in scoring (120.3 ppg). They are No. 2 in offensive rating (117.9) and true shooting percentage (.609), No. 3 in effective field-goal percentage (.573) and No. 6 in net rating (+3.4).

McNair declined to discuss contract talks in a conversation with The Bee last month in Milwaukee, but he made it clear he wanted to remain in Sacramento to continue his work with the Kings.

“I’ll just say my family loves it in Sacramento and we’re very happy with how things are going,” McNair said. “We’re just focused on winning and continuing to keep this thing growing.”

McNair’s comments echoed Ranadive’s remarks when he was asked about McNair’s contract status in September.

“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,” Ranadive said. “I think right now the focus is: Let’s win.”

Mike Brown, left, the new head coach of the NBA Sacramento Kings basketball team poses for a photo with Kings general manager Monte McNair, right, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Brown, who this season was an assistant coach with the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, is taking over the franchise with the longest playoff drought in NBA history. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Mike Brown, left, the new head coach of the NBA Sacramento Kings basketball team poses for a photo with Kings general manager Monte McNair, right, in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Brown, who this season was an assistant coach with the NBA Champion Golden State Warriors, is taking over the franchise with the longest playoff drought in NBA history. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)