Mike Bratz Rumors
How did you figure out how to work the salary cap and the details of the draft and free agency? Who did you lean on in those areas? Vlade Divac: I leaned on Mike Bratz. He’s a guy who’s been in basketball for 30 years and a big help in the process. My idea was: If you want to change the culture, you can’t do it overnight, and you can’t do it with the foundation we had. So many young guys, and we had to do something completely opposite. So when we decided to go after the crazy trade that everybody thinks was stupid, I knew that down the road that was the only way. Because we don’t want to rebuild, we don’t want to take time – we want to win right now. This franchise and these fans deserve to have a winning team after suffering for 10 years.
Q: What was your plan to settle things when the George Karl-DeMarcus Cousins situation became national news? Vlade Divac: I knew why (there was a problem). There was a lot of frustration with everybody, and (everyone) just needed time to get out of here, spend some time in the summer away from basketball, away from the pressure, the media. I was hoping I could use the summertime to individually talk to Coach and DeMarcus and find the right moment to bring them together. And I really didn’t pay attention to what people were saying about Coach and DeMarcus. I know he’s one of the best coaches and he’s one of the best players. They didn’t understand each other, they didn’t trust each other, but that all comes from frustration from the previous year. Actually, years for DeMarcus and the last 30 games for Coach. My job was to take them away from each other and make sure I build the trust and start fresh. And I’m so happy with the meeting we had in Las Vegas, and they realized only together we can do it and separately we’re not going to do it, no matter how much talent and experience we have. And now we are on that page. Everybody. Not just DeMarcus and Coach but (assistant general manager) Mike (Bratz), the front office, coaches, players. And that’s what you need to hear.
“Fortunately, Vlade Divac is still here and Mike Bratz, our player personnel director . . . we have enough guys to make it work,” George Karl told John Lund and Greg Papa on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday. “The draft day is kind of the beginning of that change and free agency comes very quickly after that and . . . maybe a possible trade here or there and you can take a 30-win team to hopefully a 45, 50-win team. That’s the goal,” Karl added with Lund and Papa.