Kings’ Vlade Divac Stepping Down From GM Position

Kings general manager Vlade Divac is stepping down from his current position in the front office, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Joe Dumars, who had been serving as a special advisor, will become the team’s interim executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager, according to Amick, who adds that Dumars will be involved in the search for Sacramento’s next GM.

The Kings have announced Divac’s departure and Dumars’ new role, issuing a press release to confirm the news. The wording of a statement from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive suggests the team may have had a hand in Divac’s decision to “step down.”

“This was a difficult decision, but we believe it is the best path ahead as we work to build a winning team that our loyal fans deserve,” Ranadive said. “We are thankful for Vlade’s leadership, commitment, and hard work both on and off the court. He will always be a part of our Kings family.”

News of the Kings’ front office shakeup comes on the heels of a report suggesting Divac’s job likely wouldn’t be in danger, since he still had three years left on his contract. Based on the framing of his departure as a resignation, it’s unclear whether Divac will be paid some or all of his remaining salary.

Divac joined the Kings in March 2015 and was promoted to the general manager position just a few months later. Over the course of his five years in Sacramento’s front office, Divac has had his ups and downs. He got a solid return – including Buddy Hield – when he traded DeMarcus Cousins, and drafted a potential franchise cornerstone in 2017, snaring De’Aaron Fox with the No. 5 pick.

However, Divac has been unable to add enough talent to turn Sacramento into a playoff team — the Kings’ 39-43 record a year ago was their best mark since 2006, the last year they made the playoffs. A handful of questionable roster and draft decisions during Divac’s tenure have hurt the club.

The most memorable misstep came during the 2018 draft, when the Kings passed on Luka Doncic to take Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 pick. Bagley was hampered by injuries this year and has yet to develop into a reliable NBA contributor, while Doncic won Rookie of the Year honors in 2019 and was a legitimate MVP candidate in his second professional season.

Although the Kings will seek a new general manager, they’re hopeful that their interim structure will provide enough stability through the draft and free agency, and may not fill the GM opening until after the draft, reports Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter links). Dumars could be considered for the permanent job if he’s interested, Spears adds (via Twitter).

Meanwhile, Amick reports (via Twitter) that head coach Luke Walton‘s job remains safe despite the upheaval in the front office. Even though Walton was hand-picked by Divac, there “won’t be another domino falling here,” according to Amick.

While Walton appears safe for at least next season, James Ham of NBC Sports California suggests (via Twitter) that the new GM will likely be permitted to decide on the fates of some staff members, including executives Peja Stojakovic and Ken Catanella.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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31 thoughts on “Kings’ Vlade Divac Stepping Down From GM Position

  1. dirtbagfreitas

    Should have been fired for drafting Bagley over Luka. Not to mention drafting Papagiannis.

    • wagner13

      We have Cousins at center and nobody else. Who should we draft? A second-round quality center!

  2. Sillivan

    Kings have tons of talents. Those talents are much better than Bulls.

    My best idea for Bulls is

    1. Sign Mark Jackson 3 years contract
    2. then former Bulls Steve Kerr to take the Bulls to NBA final 5 times in a row.

  3. Sillivan

    Kings need a draft pick expert right away.
    By comparison:
    Kings passed on Luka Doncic to take Marvin Bagley III with the No. 2 pick.
    Pistons passed on Dwyane Wade to take Darko Darko Milicic with the No. 2 pick.

    • Sillivan

      Let’s say there is a Kawhi at 14th and Giannis at 15th pick on this draft.
      And Edwards is Fultz and Ball is Ball.

      Then you pass on Kawhi to take on Fultz and pass on Giannis to take on Ball.

      Those GMs are just terrible, and should take negative salary.

      • GoLandCrabs

        This makes zero sense. If teams knew Kawhi or Giannis were going to be that good, they would have been drafted #1.

      • Lionel Muggeridge

        Nobody knew the Freak and Kawhi were going to be that good. Nobody

    • hiflew

      Just about every GM would have drafted Darko over Dwyane Wade, including the Miami GM. He was universally recognized as the #2 draft prospect behind LeBron. And there would have been lots of GMs that would have also drafted Bagley over Luka as well. Neither of those picks were bad at the time of the draft. You can’t punish a GM for not being able to see the future, because no one can.

      • Lionel Muggeridge

        The average Joe on his couch is as good as a so called draft expert at deciding on young talent

      • Appalachian_Outlaw

        I’d agree- it’s not fair to judge a GM through hindsight when it comes to the draft unless he passes on a highly ranked player to reach for a much lower one. When you’re talking about a scenario where he takes the higher thought of prospect or chooses one of the two equals, he did what he was supposed to. When a lower ranked player surprises, you just have to give credit to the player and drafting franchise.

        Imagine, without the benefit of hindsight, had a GM taken Wade over Darko at that time. There would have been an uprising in that fanbase on draft night. A slow start, and that GM is probably fired.

  4. Sillivan

    It would be a good move if Kings want to win a championship.
    Joe Dumars was a great GM for a championship.

    Kings don’t need to rebuild. Kings need to trade offensive players for defensive players or

    target 76ers, 3 players only

    target any overpaid young good players

    • x%sure

      Sillivans advice is useless as it relies on future knowledge and dreaming up fantasy teams impossible IRL.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      Are you suggesting the Kings get all three? I can’t see any scenario where a franchise has enough assets to do that. The Sixers may move Joel at some point for a better fit, but I have a hard time even seeing Sacramento as the lead bidder in that race alone.

  5. Michael Chaney

    Honestly, I don’t think you can really criticize the Kings for taking Bagley over Luka without having the benefit of hindsight. They already had Fox at that point, and Luka was really intriguing but was far from a sure thing at that point in time.

    Looking back, it’s backfired, but I don’t think it was a bad decision at the time.

    • Luke Adams

      Luka was widely considered the better prospect than Bagley. If you go back and look at big boards from before that draft, every notable draft expert (Givony/Schmitz, Wasserman, Vecenie, etc.) had Doncic ranked higher.

      At the time, the presence of Fox was cited as the primary reason the Kings passed on Luka, which is a pretty clear example of why most rebuilding/lottery teams talk about drafting for talent rather than fit.

      I’m not generally big on second-guessing draft decisions years after the fact, but I’m hesitant to let Divac off the hook for this one, since a lot of people questioned it at the time.

      • x%sure

        Looking at it as Divac drafting for fit instead of talent is probably the truest description.
        The Cavs will likely have that choice coming up, when the best talent will play the same position as their last two high picks.

  6. Simmons>Russ

    Imagine Fox Doncic and then trading Heild for a good 4/5 and making a solid trio.

    Could have done something like Harrison Barnes, Buddy Heild and a first for Tobias Harris and Al Horford.

    Then you’ve got Fox Doncic Harris and Horford good mix of defence and offence. Sixers would have better shooters to surround Simmons so I doubt they wouldn’t take that.

    Instead you have Fox, Heild on a huge deal, Barnes on a big deal and Bagley who in 2 years has done nothing

  7. illowa

    So if pistons took wade, who was he gonna take minutes from, billups or rip. If anything they should of picked carmelo and ran him along side tayshaun and ben wallace.

  8. x%sure

    Look, SAC was losing when Divac took over and they’re losing now. Sacto is not losing a genius. But Bagley over Doncic was solid at the time, and so are nearly any draft choices, since the order of preference comes more from pro scouts than ex-jock execs.

    The problem that overexposes Divac is the huge FA contract given to Harrison Barnes when they were showing some good signs with Iman Shumpert at the 3. It is easy to find flaw with Shumpert, on-court and off, and just as easy to see Barnes’ talent. It is harder to see the intangible advantages Shumpert has over Barnes. Team talent makes other players look better and puts them in position to do as intended (like with Fox being more comfortable as a leader); while solo talent may absorb success from others.
    It’s about seeing two levels deep instead of calling the first level deep “depth”.

    It is possible that setting sights on Barnes also blocked Doncic, since Doncic was viewed as a 3 as much as a 1 were they were set with Fox. But there were personal (familial) issues with Doncic in play there too.

  9. wagner13

    Let’s not forget some of his awful free agent contracts either. Cory Joseph, Dewayne Dedmon, and Harrison Barnes were pretty obvious overpays

  10. stevep-4

    Vlade can go ruin a Euro team now, or sell used cars. Or become an ESPN analyst.

  11. KnickerbockerAl

    Vlade had his shot. I think somewhere along the line he lost the team. Still don’t know what happened to Willie CS. Luka came in with doubts about playing PG in NBA. A lot of scouts saw him as a 3. I love the guy. But I didn’t think he’d be this good this quick. I would have took Bagley too. Considering I had Fox. Bagley can still become next AD. So all you need to chill. Luka definitely is a star. Like Bron he had NBA body coming in. He had played with men for 3 yrs. This is not a MJ thing. Give Bagley 2 more yrs. He’s only played one yr. He’ll be 21 next yr. Amazing how we give up on 23-24 yr olds. Just cause they were drafted at 19 yrs old.
    At 29 he played 25.3 mins. 7.6 reb n 15 pts. OK that’s easily 20 n 10 over 36 mins. Last yr he played 13 gms. Was avg basically the same. Before he went down. Yes Looking at it now. I like Luka better. But Kings future is Fox n Bagley. And that’s just starting now. If you are a real Kings fan. Relax you will be ok. Need to settle the Buddy thing. I sign Bogi and trade Buddy. Can get more for Buddy.

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