Categories
Articles | Commentary | GM Search

Kings GM Candidate Profile: Sachin Gupta

A list of current and former NBA executives that the Kings plan to interview for their general manager position has been revealed, and the Timberwolves' Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Sachin Gupta, is on it.

The Athletic's Sam Amick and Shams Charania provided an update on the Sacramento Kings general manager search Tuesday, including an encouraging list of current and former NBA executives they plan to formally interview over the next several weeks. One of the names on that list was current Minnesota Timberwolves Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Sachin Gupta.

Gupta isn't a household name in Sacramento, but he has an oddly significant connection to the Kings organization everyone should be familiar with. As a member of Sam Hinkie's front office in Philadelphia, Gupta, according to Derek Bodner of Philadelphia Magazine, was the "driving force" behind the infamous trade that sent Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, and Carl Landry into 76ers cap space, costing the Kings an unprotected first round pick in 2019, and the rights to swap first-round picks with the Kings in 2016 or 2017.

For a rebuilding team like the 76ers, this trade accomplished everything Gupta's organization was looking for. It was a genius use of cap space considering they had no desire to add veterans (or wins) in free agency. Instead of signing players, they used that space to take advantage of an impatient Sacramento Kings organization, and stole some valuable draft assets in The Process.

Gupta has one of the more interesting NBA executive come up stories. Shortly after graduating from MIT with a degree in computer science, he landed a job with ESPN as a software engineer. While at ESPN, Gupta was tasked with developing the Trade Machine, a staple tool among NBA journalists and diehard fans of the league. In order to make the Trade Machine run properly, Gupta had to learn every aspect of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement. Gupta was a passionate sports fan prior to the Trade Machine project, but after months of studying the CBA in unfathomable detail, he had an education every NBA front office would be smart to utilize.

Houston Rockets General Manager and Managing Director of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey already had a prior relationship with Gupta through MIT (Morey spent years working for the Celtics in Boston before Houston hired him) and when an opening in Morey's analytics department opened up, Gupta landed his first gig in an NBA front office.

It didn't take long for Gupta to transition from analytics developer to Morey's trade whisperer. According to The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski, Gupta "figured prominently" in the deal that landed James Harden in Houston, in addition to presenting Morey with different trade ideas constantly.

“I remember I would stay up for two days straight before each All-Star break just combing through each team and coming up with several ideas for each team so Daryl was prepared,” Gupta said.

The ideas would come from all angles. He once told Morey of one that jumped into his head while he was taking a shower. The GM liked it so much he told him “to go get back in that shower.”

When Sam Hinkie left Morey's staff in Houston to rebuild the 76ers, he took Gupta with him. Hinkie has gone out of his way to praise Gupta at every opportunity. In Krawczynski's Gupta profile, Hinkie states:

“He was the driving force behind all the good ones [roster moves]. He’s so well respected, you wouldn’t think of doing something without asking what he thinks."

After Hinkie's run in Philadelphia met its demise, Gupta returned to Houston as one of Morey's special advisors, but this second tenure in Houston didn't last long. Shortly after Ed Stefanski took over the Pistons, he brought in Gupta for the 2018-19 season in an assistant general manager role. Gupta only spent one season in Detroit before following another Morey disciple, Gersson Rosas, to Minnesota with a promotion to Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations.

Gupta's natural next step is running his own organization, and by all accounts the Sacramento Kings would be wise to grant him that opportunity. There is no concrete track record for Gupta, as he's never been the primary decision maker in an NBA front office, but if the Kings are looking for a new school mind instead of a league retread, Gupta is near the top of that list.

There is inherent uncertainty about hiring someone that has never done the job before, but this is the pool of candidates an organization like the Kings has to consider. They aren't going to land a proven NBA winner like Daryl Morey, but they can find the next one, and according to everything you'll find published on Sachin Gupta, he has that potential.

 

 

Subscribe
Notify of
94 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Hong Kong Kings Fan
15 days ago

Just take the “BGmA” ……….(Best GM Available)

I don’t know if much credit should be given to Gupta, as he totally robbed a newbie GM (Divac) for that particular trade…..

I doubt Gupta can do the same to rob other teams if he really taken up this job.

But like I said before, if he is the best among the 5 candidates…then go after him.

Darren Van Blois
15 days ago

i can’t think of a single reason to consider him as GM.

Jake Whitaker
15 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago
Reply to  jdwhit

However, this was a live look-in at Gupta during the trade deadline.

Ican Hascheezburger
14 days ago
Reply to  jdwhit

comment image

andy sims
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

There are several listed above. I hope that helps.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

You mean, aside from all the reasons listed in the article above, the fact that he’s played pretty much every other FO role including on that is often above the GM in org flow charts, is highly constantly praised by many of the best FO minds in the business, has a deep, nuanced understanding of the most complex element of the GMs job, and, based on stories brings a high level of creativity and work ethic.

Besides all that, no. No reason to consider him as a GM.

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago

so, basically he knows the collective bargaining agreement, he thinks up a lot of trade ideas, and he’s a fan of basketball. Add one year for the Pistons which might have the worst roster in the nba, then one year for the mighty TWolves.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

Not one for details or nuance, eh?

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago

I got the nuance: you want the kings to hire a tank commander.

Rory Cornell
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

comment image

Eric W
13 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

No, I want them to hire a farm team manager.

J Man
13 days ago

Because Eddie loves “farm livin’”

comment image

Greg Wissinger
Admin
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

Also those other years upon years of experience with Houston and Philly, but I guess those don’t count?

It’s fine if you don’t like a candidate, but your arguments aren’t making a lot of sense.

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago
Reply to  Greg

I counted those years. He came up with a lot of trade ideas in Houston and Philly. That’s what the article says he did.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

I mean, as much as you’re trying to dismiss them, understanding and manipulating the CBA and coming up with smart, actionable trade ideas are BIG parts of the job.

Last edited 14 days ago by BestHyperboleEver
J Man
14 days ago

But can he come up with great PR terms like “Superteam, just young”?

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  Jman1949

No, but they have in-house marketing people and copywriters. I’m sure there’s at least one hack-y enough to come up with something similar.

Rory Cornell
14 days ago

Make the Superteam Young Again

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Make our mascot unironic again!

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago

Just win (the 8th seed), baby!

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Just eKING by!

Ican Hascheezburger
14 days ago

comment image

Last edited 14 days ago by Kosta
Kevin Lam
14 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

comment image

Kas Keyes
14 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

I’m in!

Rory Cornell
14 days ago

people around here talk about the CBA wizardry of Ken Catanella because he hides part of the Kings veteran free agent tax in the partially guaranteed last year of the contract. Gupta went from creating the trade machine to being involved in some of the most complex/clever trades over the years. I think that should count for something.

Rik Smits
14 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Once he perfects the draft machine and cap management machine, Vivek can replace him with one of his robots, which can also pour drinks on gameday in the concession stands.

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

It counts for a good assistant.

Rory Cornell
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

What I’m about to tell you may blow your mind, so I hope you’re sitting down. A lot of good top executives were formerly good assistants before being promoted.

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

And a lot of good assistants remained good assistants.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

So what exactly is you point in all this? Do you want the Kings to go poach an already successful GM with tons of experience.

Why not just hire Danny Ainge, amirite?

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Kings leak list of GM candidates including Ainge, Ujiri, Morey, Buford, Presti, and Riley.

I would have included Frank, but he isn’t experienced enough.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago

My sources also say they are interested in trading for LeBron James, but only if he wins the title this year.

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

My point is the Kings can find someone more qualified. Below, Rordog talks about two possible combinations: one is having a GM who came up on the basketball side of things (former player / scout) and hiring an analytics guy as an assistant. The other is having a GM who is an analytics guy who hires a basketball guy as his assistant. Of those two options, I would rather go with the basketball guy. Of note, BHE notes that managerial skills are paramount, which didn’t really shine through in the article about Gupta. Furthermore I should add that there is no indication that Gupta preferred certain trade ideas over others. Brainstorming ideas is different from selecting the best course of action. And every team should have one or two CBA experts and trade feasibility experts. It’s not rocket science. I really think building a competitive team requires getting back to basketball, not trying to win with a computer program.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

But isn’t that why Vlade failed. He used old school basketball intuition and was a pal to the players, but he could have used a computer program.

John Navickas
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

So the Gruden plan isn’t going to work?? Shit!

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

There are exactly zero teams that try to win with a computer program. But the best ones incorporate as many data points and points of view as possible. Including advanced high level analytics. The Stats vs “Basketball” false dichotomy is ridiculous and lazy.

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago

My lengthy and thoughtful response talks about priorities. Obviously data, analytics, and computers are important and that’s why I think Gupta could be a good assistant. But at the top, at GM, I would prefer a basketball guy. From there people can take the low hanging fruit and pick on Vlade, or you could reach for a better example like Petrie or Ainge or hundreds of others who came up through basketball.

Parker Wells
14 days ago
Reply to  eddie41

So basically you think Gupta is the same as Bill Simmons?

Darren Van Blois
14 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

I think Gupta as GM would be the same as a tank commander and the fact that no-one can name qualifications other than (1) knows the CBA, (2) brainstorms lots of trade ideas, and (3) fan of basketball, leads me to believe that people are backing Gupta only because they want to tank, something I would rather not do.

Maxwell Huss
15 days ago

Seems like he has the mind and the work ethic. I’d be fine with taking a chance on him (although I prefer someone more proven as lead decision-maker).

But obviously the main questions are:

A.) Will he want to come to this shit-show?
B.) Will Vivek give him complete control?

And Question A is likely very dependent on the answer to Question B.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I wonder how much, if any, impact Gupta’s Indian background would have on the situation. Particularly considering the Kings efforts to grow their business in India. I wonder if that would factor into how much money/power they would consider offering Gupta.

That said, i don’t how any idea how strong Gupta’s connecting to India is. I know he is an Indian-American, but that’s about it.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago

I would imagine it means something to Vivek. Obviously it shouldn’t qualify or disqualify a person, but if that’s what it takes to get Vivek to hand over the keys to someone capable… that’s fine by me.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

It certainly shouldn’t qualify or disqualify a person. But I think it could reasonably be considered a point in his favor all other things being roughly equal.

Rory Cornell
14 days ago

It’s funny how much we were sold a bill of goods by Vivek initially. He came in with this vision of making the Kings popular internationally. His “plan” to achieve that popularity, in part, was to hire the best people capable of using tech and analytics to give this team a competitive advantage. Instead, he basically just brought in a bunch of former players and former agent/lawyer.

I’m curious if Vivek uses this to go in a different direction. These lists can all kinda be split up into two types: people who come from an analytics background and people who worked their way up through scouting and player personnel side. Booth is the only former player, but he started as a scout, and I doubt Vivek will be as enamored by a NBA journeyman who averaged 3.3 points over his career.

As you’ve discussed, in a perfect world they’d hire a top guy with one of those two types of backgrounds, then also allow that person to hire a lieutenant with a background in the other. I guess technically in a perfect world you hire a guy with a demonstrated background of building a championship team, then allow that person to hire a Gupta and a Simon type. But we’re still talking about the Kings here so beggars can’t be choosers.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  RORDOG

Yeah, I mean ultimately in this position, being a great scout or brilliant analyst isn’t nearly as important as being a great manager. Assuming that manager is given the freedom and resources to actually manage, of course.

Bryant Strause
15 days ago

Interested to see the write up on Adam Simon. Gupta was my second choice when I saw the original list. Like many people have said before, it is hard to know how much these employees did with their organizations. I just love what the heat have consistently done with talent development, drafting, and G league player development. Drafting and development is one of the big reasons the kings have been terrible over the last decade.

Gupta seems like someone Vivek would hire based upon his basketball 3.0 vision.

andy sims
14 days ago
Reply to  Peja

Don’t be shitty.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  Peja

As we’ve discussed in other places, I’m as interested in who the hire brings in to fill out the department as I am in the individual. There’s no reason Gupta couldn’t/wouldn’t bring in someone with a Simon-esque player development, scouting background (ala, well, Simon or Tolzman). Just as there’s no reason Simon couldn’t/wouldn’t bring in a Gupta/McNair style analytics-focused person.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago

Agreed. And it won’t mean much who the GM is if they are not allowed to fully staff their department as they see fit.

Jon Reeves
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Yeah. This is my concern. With Amick mentioning low salary being an issue with this hire, hard to imagine they’ll pony up, like they should, to fill out a staff.

Rik Smits
15 days ago

Hire Sachin “The Trade Machine” Gupta!

Ican Hascheezburger
15 days ago

The first 3 letters of his name are a good fit here!

Kevin Lam
14 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

comment image

Rik Smits
14 days ago
Reply to  Kosta

Huh, what does Gup stand for?

andy sims
14 days ago

Gupta, according to Derek Bodner of Philadelphia Magazine, was the “driving force” behind the infamous trade that sent Nik Stauskas, Jason Thompson, and Carl Landry into 76ers cap space, costing the Kings an unprotected first round pick in 2019, and the rights to swap first-round picks with the Kings in 2016 or 2017.

So you’re saying that this guy owes us. Although is it really fair to denigrate the man who sold Doofac the magic beans?

Parker Wells
14 days ago

The biggest thing I want out of the new Kings front office is to correctly value assets in incoming and outgoing players. I feel like that is the greatest strength of Gupta based on his reported history. He’s probably 2nd on this list next to Simon, who I don’t think will leave Miami.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

I wonder how much Gupta had to do with the Wiggins trade. Because that was a thing of beauty for Minny.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

I’d say the Covington for Beasley, Juancho, Vanderbilt was a good one for them. Even the #11 + Saric for Culver was a smart one IMO, even if Culver hasn’t exactly set the world on fire yet.

That said, getting big credit for big roles in both the Sixers-Kings trade and bringing Harden to Houston are pretty big feathers in his cap. He seems to be somebody who keeps an eye on other teams’ situations and tries to figure out how he can benefit from the other team’s mistakes/challenges/desperation.

Last edited 14 days ago by BestHyperboleEver
Maxwell Huss
14 days ago

Those are good examples too. In Minny, they basically had to rebuild on the fly, since they went all in with Thibs and Butler…

So flipping RoCo, Saric, etc for young potential role players while hanging on to Towns was pretty brilliant. There was no way they could out of that horrible Wiggins contract by giving up anything other than a prime first round pick. So I think they did quite well by at least getting an all-star point guard back in the deal. And the fact they even got it protected 1-3 in 2021 is pretty savvy.

A core of Russell, Towns, and Anthony Edwards could be nice going forward. And they have options. If someone REALLY wants that #1 pick this year (hello Knicks), they could fleece someone and get back into the 2021 draft.

Just considering where they had to start, I think that FO did really well.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

If I were a betting man, I would say that as of today Minny will have a better record than the Kings next year. That’s how quickly things changed in Minny. It took one season of new management in Rosas and Gupta to drastically change things for the better.

Richie J
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

If I was a betting man, I’d bet that Minny & Sac will be the bottom 2 teams in the West.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago
Reply to  richie88

I don’t think either makes the playoffs, but the Kings have the best chance of being dead last…as things currently stand.

If Minny has a heathy KAT, Russel, and the #1 pick, they could do some damage.

Richie J
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Given the weakness of this draft & their defensive problems, I don’t think they’ll do well against most West teams.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago
Reply to  richie88

It’s true they are crazy young, but if their youngsters make a leap, they might surprise folks.

If James Johnson opts out of his deal (he won’t) the oldest guy on the team would be Layman at 26. Their core is all under 25.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah the best case for them would be to stay terrible for one more year, get a top 3 pick, and then make the leap in 2021-22.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

As I say in my post, even the worst team only has about a 40% chance of having a top 3 pick.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago

Yep, I was just pointing out if they could somehow Vlade their way to a top 3, that would be ideal for them. Since I don’t think they will really compete next year. But if somehow that pick is outside the top 10, and then they are in the playoffs by 2020, that Wiggins trade looks even better.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Yeah, I just think the new odds really do chance the equation. I don’t think a team like the Wolves who have two high level players on max contracts already, rightfully feel those contract clocks ticking. I don’t think they’ll be willing to throw away one of those years when there’s a 60% chance that they give away that pick anyway.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago

They definitely won’t tank for it. But maybe they’ll luck (AKA “Vlade”) their way into it 😉

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

That said, I don’t think they’re in a place to think about waiting a couple years to compete. For example, I don’t think they should avoid adding older players because of some theoretical window because KAT and DLo are young. Both are already on Max deals. As such, I would expect them to be more likely to use the 1st to go get someone like Jrue Holiday, or even someone like Rozier + 3 or a 2021 1st. Rather than tank for a year. Especially considering no matter how bad they are they’ll still only have roughly a 40% chance of getting a top 3 pick.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago

Oh, I like that Rozier and #3 for the #1. Not sure if the Hornets do that unless they are looking to move Rozier, but that could work for both teams.

If the Hornets do move Rozier to someone else, Buddy could then be of interest to them.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Yeah, I’ve pushed that one before. It was mostly part of my FULL BLOW UP scenario, but it doesn’t have to be. Rozier and Graham are clearly a terrible match. Personally, I’d say Hield and Rozier are roughly similar values-to-contract. Though I think I had a bigger deal in mind. It was something like:

Hield + Bagley + Joseph for Rozier + Batum + 32 + 2021 CHA 1st

Richie J
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Minny’s main problem is defense. That’s where they’ll need to make a leap.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  richie88

But that’s also arguably the easiest thing to acquire talent-wise.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago

Yup, they could go out and sign someone like Andre Roberson and turn around their perimeter defense real fast.

On an aside, they could be a team interested in Corey Joseph.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  richie88

We’ll see. They’re in such different positions. One has the tent poles but no tent. The other is all tent. If the Wolves can add a couple of the right role players, they could be in the hunt for the playoffs.

Richie J
14 days ago

I think they’ll have to have substantial defensive improvement to be in the playoff hunt.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  richie88

I don’t know. I mean, they were a better on defense than offense this season. They were just as “good” as the Kings defensively this year, and the Kings were “in the playoff hunt.”

They obviously need to improve in a number of ways, but just jumping from 20th in the league to 15th or so could be enough.

Parker Wells
14 days ago
Reply to  AirmaxPG

Theoretically I agree. But it all depends where that 2021 pick lands. And I think a lot of that has to do with what the Warriors can get with the 2 pick and/or Wiggins.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

Yeah I agree. But as I mentioned in the above response to BHE, the Wolves FO last year was really in a tough spot. Unloading that Wiggins contract was a huge task. They were going to have to give up something of substantial value. But they still got a young all-star back in the deal.

Eric W
14 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

In general, I think when assessing a FO, you have to judge moves within the context of the time they’re made. Judging in hindsight leads to giving them credit and/or blame for things outside their control.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago

Definitely. I think you also have to consider the moves that they DIDN’T make.

For example, during Gupta’s time in Detroit, I’m pretty sure it would have been a goal of theirs to get out from under Blake Griffin’s contract. Teams likely would require at least two high-end FRP’s to take that on. Nothing enticing came along, so it looks like they just stood pat.

Bottom line, people might look at that year in Detroit and count it against Gupta. But that FO didn’t do anything to handcuff themselves in the future, and they made smaller moves to get some young players with potential (like Mykhailuk for Bullock)… They are firmly in rebuild mode, and won’t compete for some time. They didn’t panic, and should be in good position to draft some cornerstone-type players in 2021 and 2022.

I think that’s how teams recover from crushing mistakes. Instead of compounding the mistake (like the Griffin deal), they try to work around it the best they can and just take their losses.

So that’s two less than desirable situations (Detroit and Minny) that Gupta inherited and those teams at least have some type of forward direction.

The more I read about this guy, I kind of like him for the job here in Sac.

Parker Wells
14 days ago

I didn’t intend to come across so down on that trade. Not having to attach another asset to Wiggins to get out from under that contract is a win itself.

Maxwell Huss
14 days ago
Reply to  Wonderchild

Definitely.

Rik Smits
14 days ago

OT:

RIP Emma Peel aka Diana Rigg. Loved the Avengers as a kid.

https://images.app.goo.gl/mEF9ReVQ7eUR7Yug7

My Neighbor Turturro
14 days ago
Reply to  RikSmits

Sad news. She was incredible in everything she was in, and was one of the only reasons I continued watching later seasons of Game Of Thrones.

Connor Adam
14 days ago

In a fictional universe we could hire Gupta and Simon. With them and Catanella it could be a front office super-team, just young.

Richie J
14 days ago

He sounds really good based on this article, but it makes me wonder why he’s the #2 in Minny.

Adam Dieter
14 days ago
Reply to  richie88

Because Minny hired Rosas (another Morey disciple) in 2019 to run their team. He then brought in Gupta a few months later. Their connections go back to Houston.

It’s crazy to think that there may be/were 3 GM’s coming out of the Morey school of thought: Hinkie, Rosas, and possibly Gupta. That’s like the Popovich school of coaching.

Richie J
14 days ago
Reply to  Adamsite

Ah. That makes sense.

A G
13 days ago

This is the guy I personally hope accepts the job. Even if he wants President of Basketball Ops, give it to him.

Dave Hackett
11 days ago

My first choice for GM as long as Vivek can give him the reins

trackback

[…] profiled Gupta, Booth, and McNair previously, so let's dive into Wilcox's resume in the […]

Badge Legend

Patreon Supporter
200 Up Votes    500 Up Votes    1,000 Up Votes    3,000+ Up Votes
50 Comments    100 Comments    250 Comments    500 Comments    1000+ Comments