Mike Bratz Rumors
“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.
Vlade Divac is the first to admit he doesn’t know everything about preparing for the NBA draft. So in the weeks leading up to this week’s draft combine, the Kings’ vice president of basketball and franchise operations has been meeting daily with general manager Pete D’Alessandro and assistant general manager Mike Bratz before they watched hours of game footage of college and international prospects. The meetings are aimed at ensuring the Kings make the best selection in the draft June 25. But they’re also intended to build rapport in the front office and establish a singular goal of improving the team.
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.”
Soap operas have beginnings and endings, often with misdirection plays aplenty. The latest Kings episode aired Monday when Divac returned from a two-week trip with the team and moved his belongings into an office. The deep chill he encountered wasn’t caused by the air conditioning. The internal dynamics have been undeniably altered the past several weeks, and though principal owner Vivek Ranadive has copped to several rookie mistakes, he won’t be slipping into the background. The hiring of Karl and Divac were Ranadive’s decisions, with strong pressure from at least two of the team’s influential investors. As one owner said, this was an obvious do-over. Pressed for time after he purchased the team in May 2013, only four weeks before the NBA draft, Ranadive’s first faux pas was hiring a head coach before a general manager.