Divac Steps Down as Kings GM

Custom NBA Background

  • The Sacramento Kings announced on Friday that GM Vlade Divac has stepped down.
  • Divac had been the Kings General Manager since 2015.
  • Former Detroit Pistons Hall of Fame Joe Dumars will take over in an interim capacity.

Vlade Divac has stepped down as the General Manager of the Sacramento Kings.

This was announced by the team on Friday. The Kings also announced that Joe Dumars has been appointed as Executive Vice President for Basketball Operations and will take over the General Manager position. The team will work with Dumars “to develop a long term strategy for the team’s basketball operations structure”, the statement said. This includes the immediate search to hire Divac’s replacement.

Popular Figure In Sacramento

Sacramento hired Divac in 2015 as Vice President of Basketball Operations in March 2015. He was also named as the team’s General Manager after Pete D’Alessandro’s departure. The Kings did not make the playoffs in any of Divac’s five seasons as GM. To his credit, Sacramento had already missed nine straight trips to the postseason when he arrived.

The Kings’ current 14-year playoff drought is the longest active streak in the entire NBA. The drought ranks second all-time to the Los Angeles Clippers who missed the playoffs from 1976-1991. With the way they’ve performed under Divac, the Kings were looking at breaking the Clippers’ miserable record.

Divac was a popular figure in Sacramento. He was a key player and was the starting center of the team for six seasons from 1998 to 2004. During that period, the Kings emerged as the chief rivals of the Los Angeles Lakers’ dynasty led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquillle O’Neal.

Bad Mistakes

Divac’s disastrous tenure wasn’t just about not making the playoffs. It was also about committing one too many bad mistakes in the front office. Most notably, Divac passed on the opportunity to draft Luka Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft. Instead, he picked Marvin Bagley III who though promising, has dealt with injuries and has underperformed in his first two sessions in the league.

Last season, Divac also fired head coach Dave Joerger despite the latter leading the Kings to their best record in 12 seasons. He replaced Joerger with Luke Walton who didn’t do any better and finished with two losses fewer than Joerger in 2019 despite playing 10 less games due to the pandemic.

Then who could forget Divac trading away first round picks- a protected pick and swapping two picks with Philly, so that the Sixers will accept Carl Landry and Jason Thompson in a salary dump. The Kings wanted to clear space to sign Monta Ellis but the latter ended up signing with the Indiana Pacers.

Change of Direction

The Kings have thought about replacing Divac before. In 2017, they got permission to speak to Sam Hinkie, the author of “Trust the Process” in Philadelphia, but nothing came out of it. Sacramento has also hired top level executives like Ken Catanella, Brandon Williams, and Scott Perry but all of them played second fiddle to Divac.

Divac was signed to a four-year extension last year so that his contract would coincide with Walton’s. But missing the playoffs for the 14th straight year was perhaps the last straw. Divac had been under heavy criticism since the 2018 NBA Draft. The Kings have given him a long leash but he could not deliver.

Dumars won back to back NBA titles as a player with the Detroit Pistons. As an executive, he was the architect of Detroit’s 2004 title team. The Hall of Famer guard has been working with the Kings as an advisor with the Kings since 2019. Sources say that Dumars had gained influence within the organization, suggesting that he could be staying for good in Sacramento.

Sub Categories:
Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher.