HoopsHype Vivek Ranadive rumors

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Yet before delving deeper into basketball issues during an exclusive interview last week with The Bee, he insisted on clarifying Vlade Divac’s status in the reshuffled front office. “Vlade makes the decisions,” said Ranadive, noting that Divac’s title as vice president of basketball and franchise operations positions him above general manager Pete D’Alessandro. “Two people report directly to me. Chris Granger, who runs the business side, and Vlade from the basketball side. I want to make that clear as we move forward. We have a lot of work to do, and we are all in this together.” Sacramento Bee

“I made mistakes,” Ranadive said, “and I’m sure I’ll make more mistakes. Hopefully, I’ll make different ones. But I am successful at everything I do, and that’s not going to change. We are trying to build something special here, not just for one year, but for many years. And I’m learning that the journey is not going to be easy.” NBA owners routinely come in wedded to the mistaken belief that operating professional franchises compares with running billion-dollar companies. They confuse widgets with human beings. In his early years with the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban intruded into team huddles until future Hall of Famers Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki complained. Warriors owner Joe Lacob traded popular guard Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut – a terrific move, as it turns out – but he was tone deaf to the public reaction. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer behaves like a clown while seated courtside during games. The Knicks’ James Dolan plays a mean guitar but is reviled inside and outside Madison Square Garden. Sacramento Bee

His first gaffe, he said, was hiring coach Michael Malone before assembling a front office and selecting a general manager. “Absolutely,” Ranadive said. “People told me not to do that. But I knew Malone from when he was an assistant with the Warriors, and again, with the draft only weeks away, I had to make very quick decisions. I didn’t know any GMs. At some level, this isn’t rocket science. You hire a guy who is proven and successful, you hire a promising assistant, or you hire a college coach. We saw what happens when … ” Sacramento Bee

“All of us have different skills,” Ranadive said, “and everyone has their roles. Vlade is a unifier, a conductor, and he is very smart. People probably don’t realize that when he was back in Serbia (as head of the Olympic committee), he was dealing with political leaders at the highest level. He can interact with the person who carries your bag and interact with the president of a country. And he has a strong stomach. He wears big-boy pants. George, he is a future Hall of Fame coach. I have always respected him as a coach, and now I am getting to know him as a human being. And, yes, I ask dumb questions, and I am still an irritant. But I am counting on Vlade to pull this all together.” One of the most interesting parts of the conversation, which Divac and D’Alessandro joined briefly, was Ranadive’s thought process behind the recent hirings. For someone who normally approaches problems in a methodical, analytical manner, his two most important and impressive changes seem more instinctive than calculating. Sacramento Bee

April 21, 2015 Updates
April 8, 2015 Updates

Vlade Divac has quietly emerged as the new lead voice of the Sacramento Kings' front office, according to league sources. ‎Sources told ESPN.com ‎that Divac, who was recently hired by the Kings under the seemingly broad title of vice president of basketball and franchise operations, is indeed regarded as the team's top basketball official by owner Vivek Ranadive after months of turbulence in Sacramento. ESPN.com

The Kings have yet to formally announce their new power structure, but sources say that Divac has supplanted both general manager Pete D'Alessandro and former Kings adviser Chris Mullin -- who just jumped to the college game as the new coach at alma mater St. John's -- as Sacramento's lead basketball decision-maker. The future of D'Alessandro in Sacramento, especially after the departure of his closest ally in the organization in Mullin, is unclear. Sources say, however, that the Kings have already launched a search to add another front-line basketball executive to work alongside Divac whether D'Alessandro stays or departs. ESPN.com

April 1, 2015 Updates
March 31, 2015 Updates

In a meeting Monday with The Sacramento Bee editorial board, he expounded on his vision for NBA 3.0 – and even for “Civilization 3.0,” the title of his forthcoming book. Ranadive, who made his fortune in Silicon Valley, said the new arena being built downtown will be the most technologically advanced ever. Fans who opt in will be “recognized” by the arena, directed to their seats and the shortest concession line and presented with special offers and information. Likewise, he envisions the surrounding mixed-use development as the “smartest block on the planet” – not just a collection of chain stores, but a gathering place for Sacramento that will be a model for what a 21st century city can be. He sees the controversial Jeff Koons sculpture, which he embraces, as only one piece in a public art collection that stretches across downtown. Sacramento Bee

Yet even as he pursues this exciting global vision, he has some very important business closer to home. That includes making sure taxpayers get a fair return on their investment of at least $255 million in the arena. It must be a good deal not just for the “whales” who bought into the team, but also for the minnows – the folks who are making the arena possible. Much of the economic boost from the arena would come from the surrounding $500 million development. Ranadive and Kings President Chris Granger acknowledged the “chatter” that they may seek another city subsidy – which would be problematic – but said it’s too early in the budgeting process to know for sure. Sacramento Bee

March 21, 2015 Updates
March 19, 2015 Updates

So enough about George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins. As the Kings limp toward the finish line and another appearance in the NBA draft lottery, members of management have issues to resolve before devoting their attention to potential trades, draft picks and free-agent signings. Will they play together? Will they trust, learn, grow? Will they develop into a cohesive unit or expand on the definition of dysfunction? Vice president of basketball and franchise operations Vlade Divac. General manager Pete D’Alessandro. Assistant general manager Mike Bratz. Special adviser Chris Mullin, whom high-ranking team executives claim resisted the hiring of Karl and Divac, the beloved former Kings center. Factor the strong-willed, accomplished Karl into the equation, and the mix is potentially toxic, if undeniably talented and intriguing. Sacramento Bee

Again, enter Ranadive: He insisted on hiring Karl, a future Hall of Fame coach, and empowered him to begin the player auditions. He dictated hiring Divac, despite resistance from D’Alessandro and Mullin, and crafted a position designed to capitalize on Divac’s unique abilities and background in basketball and business here and abroad. Asked if he had concerns about the cool reception from some of his new colleagues, Divac said, “I’m here. We’ll see.” D'Alessandro declined to discuss Divac on Monday. In a text Tuesday, he said, “Of course. We are happy to have him.” Sacramento Bee

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