Now, Temple, who is also a VP of the NBA Player’s Association, has a new platform. He was among those who pushed Ranadive to speak after the first protest. That night, along with Doug Christie and Vince Carter, he met with community activist Barry Accuis, the leader of the protest, after the game. In a hallway, they spoke for 45 minutes, discussing tangible next steps. Then, on Sunday, Temple helped spearhead the T-shirts, and worked on the PSA. He is well aware that, had he never made an NBA roster, his opinions wouldn’t carry this kind of weight. “It’s not right, but it’s life,” he says. “It’s just the way things are. That’s one of the things I talk to kids about. Not to think their words don’t mean anything right now, because they do. But if they aren’t being listened to or the things they want to see changed aren’t changing, then use that as motivation to continue to pursue whatever you’re passionate about so you can get a to a level where people have to listen. A lawyer, a doctor, an athlete obviously. The bigger the platform, the more people listen. That’s just the way the world works.”
Now though, sitting in a plush chair in the owner’s room, four flat screens shimmering behind him, he is hesitant to take credit, or to say anything of substance on the record. Over the course of 35 minutes, he takes great pains to praise “his folks” and “his team”, which include Kolokotronis and VP of Communications Joelle Terry, both of whom sit in on the interview and chime in at various points, speaking for Ranadive or declaring comments on or off the record. Pushed on what comes next, Ranadive says they are discussing ideas, but nothing specific is set. Asked if he sees this as an opportunity to speak out more forcefully, perhaps in the manner of Kerr and Popovich, Terry interjects to make a distinction. “They have a lot more interaction with the media,” she says.
Perhaps it is a learned caution (Ranadive has a history of putting his foot in his mouth). Regardless, he sticks to platitudes. “We just want to do the right thing Chris,” he says when I ask about concrete actions. “So many people have helped me along the way and so many people have stood up for me and given me opportunity and given me the benefit of the doubt, so there’s kind of a feeling that if you’re in a position to help and support somebody else, that’s right and fair and just.”
Steve Kyler: I continue to hear the Kings have eyes for Mario in free agency. I would imagine there are connections with Vlade and Peja.
Ailene Voisin: That's a good question, and, no, I did not. What is interesting, though, is that while Kings execs acknowledge a relief/lightness of being after the trade, they retain a fondness for Boogie and wish him well. But he had to go. He needed an Anthony Davis, can't be the lead singer. twitter.com/kingjv91/statu…
Jason Jones: Yes, Vlade Divac’s job as general manager is safe, especially since he’s signed through 2020. Granted, these things change daily, but there’s no reason to believe Divac has anything to worry about. It wouldn’t make sense to start another rebuild and change directions after less than a year. How long that holds true depends a lot on next season and if the organization would allow Divac to go into his final year without a deal beyond 2019-20.
The Kings fired scouting director and former assistant general manager Mike Bratz, who was previously an assistant coach in Sacramento under Rick Adelman and Eddie Jordan. "We agreed to part ways and appreciate all of his contributions to the Kings," the team said in a statement. "We wish him nothing but the best."
Sean Cunningham: In his many roles over the years, Mike Bratz, once a former Kings assistant coach, served as assistant general manager and most recently as Kings Dir. of Scouting and Sr. advisor to GM Vlade Divac.
Here’s the issue. The Kings brought in Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter during the offseason and still have Garrett Temple on the roster. These are respected vets who can play. These are vets brought in to help a young team, and according to sources, were brought in with the promise of a team aiming to be playoff competitive. But that promise was made to them by Scott Perry, who since left Sacramento and now makes personnel decisions for the New York Knicks. So the direction of the franchise has shifted since Perry left. An organization that brought in veterans aiming to win now is aiming to lose. Not surprisingly, Hill isn’t happy, according to multiple sources And the other veterans can’t be too happy, either. So the Kings have a mess on their hands. I’ve always liked Hill’s game, but when he signed in Sacramento, I questioned the prudence of the Kings bringing him on board when they just drafted De’Aaron Fox, the quicksilver point guard from Kentucky.
Randolph, who hired a chef to help him lose weight and eat healthier, wants to play a few more years, but admits to pondering the NBA afterlife. Player development, maybe. An NBA front office position, maybe. A job in Memphis is his preference, but if not, Sacramento would be fine.
The Sacramento Kings today hired Galen Duncan as Vice President of the Kings Academy and Professional Development, according to General Manager Vlade Divac. In his role with Sacramento, Duncan is responsible for implementation of the Kings Academy program, a developmental, player-centric curriculum aligning multi-faceted organizational philosophies and ideals to help athletes mature into well-rounded professionals. Under Duncan’s oversight, Kings Academy will augment on-court progress with access to practical material and experiences that help balance on-court priorities and personal responsibilities with opportunities to become impactful contributors in the community.
Brandon Williams, who has two children – Bailey, 13, and Remington, 5 – certainly liked what Divac was selling. He ranks No. 2 in the Kings hierarchy and controls day-to-day operations of a club he says “is farther along then the Sixers when I arrived. There are more pieces here.” In contrast to the 76ers, where he oversaw the G-League development affiliate, he will be used more extensively in contract negotiations, trades and the often-contentious discussions with agents.
During the ensuing nine years in the league office – and with strong backing from former Commissioner David Stern and his successor, Adam Silver – his career arc continued to ascend, with one promotion after another. “I had the benefit of working directly with Brandon,” Silver wrote in an email, “and know firsthand why his basketball acumen, experience and management skills are well regarded around the league. He’ll be a terrific addition to the Kings organization.” Among his many tasks with the league, Williams helped craft the “Respect the Game” policy that imposed a dress code and was instrumental in creation of the Replay Center in Secaucus, N.J. Somewhere in there, he also found time to get married, have a baby and graduate from Rutgers law school in 3 1/2 years.
The Sacramento Kings today hired Brandon D. Williams as Assistant General Manager, according to General Manager Vlade Divac. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Marc J. Spears: New Kings Asst GM Brandon Williams tells @TheUndefeated he's "really excited" about new gig and credits Scott Perry for helping open door.
Marc J. Spears: Kings have hired Sixers VP of Basketball Administration Brandon Williams as their new Assistant General Manager, source told @TheUndefeated.
James Ham: Confirming that the Sacramento Kings have hired Brandon Williams as an assistant GM. Marc Spears first.
Williams will report to Vlade Divac, who is charged with turning around the franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs since 2006. The Kings traded All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins last season to signify a true rebuilding effort had begun.
Brad Turner: Otis Smith has withdrawn his name as consideration for VP of basketball operation with Sacramento Kings. per source.
Former Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith has met with Sacramento Kings officials about the franchise's vacant Vice President of Basketball Operations job, league sources told ESPN. The Kings are searching for a new No. 2 executive to report to general manager Vlade Divac.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Scott Perry has agreed to a five-year contract to become New York's general manager, league sources tell ESPN.
Tommy Beer: The Knicks now have the rights to just one second-round pick over the next four years (thru the 2021 NBA draft). twitter.com/TommyBeer/stat…
Jeff Zillgitt: This is the kind of job Scott Perry has sought for some time now. Helped Kings in short time and will try to do same with the Knicks. twitter.com/sam_amick/stat…
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Sacramento, New York still working out terms of financial compensation to clear way for Perry to take Knicks' GM job. twitter.com/wojespn/status…
David Aldridge: Deal between Kings VP Scott Perry & Knicks for vacant NY GM gig is not done but heading that way. Perry one of most respected execs in game.
Sam Amick: Kings are waiting on word of Scott Perry's future after granting him permission to speak with Knicks. Unclear if they'd seek compensation.
The Sacramento Kings granted the Knicks permission to meet with Perry, and the two sides sat down in New York on Thursday, league sources said. There is no agreement yet in place, according to league sources.
The Knicks are recruiting Perry with a promotion to the GM title, and Kings ownership has shown a willingness to allow Perry to leave for a more prominent title and dream job in New York, league sources said. Perry would report to Steve Mills, who will elevate to Knicks president, according to sources.
The two-time FIBA Basketball World Cup winner has called on players worldwide to support FIBA’s new competition calendar, describing it as ‘win-win for players, fans, national federations, leagues and clubs.’ “Representing your country is the ultimate honor and I know that many of you feel the same way. The new calendar means that, for the first time, they (players) will have one free summer in every four-year cycle, reducing the pressure and providing the time needed to rest and recover from an already arduous schedule. It is really important that the new global calendar will also create opportunities and help develop new talent by enabling younger players from more countries to play international basketball.”
Ben Standig: Otto Porter update: The Sacramento Kings contingent, including Vlade Divac, just left meeting at David Falk's office. #Wizards
The stunning departure of Chris Granger, who resigned as Kings’ president Monday to pursue other challenges, is a major loss to both the franchise and the community. If the Golden 1 Center is his crowning achievement – and it is – the former executive has been a soothing, stabilizing presence since he was first dispatched by former NBA Commissioner David Stern to oversee the Kings’ marketing and ticket sales divisions decimated during the Maloofs’ repeated attempts to relocate the franchise.
Eminently approachable and polite, Granger mingled with patrons, fielded complaints, checked on all the details – everything from the length of the lines at restrooms and concession stands to the positioning of the bike racks outside the main entrance. “I’m really sad Chris is leaving,” Ranadive said Monday afternoon from his cell phone, “but when I recruited him, I also knew it wasn’t going to be forever. He built the arena. He stayed a year (afterward). I told him, ‘I’d like to keep you, but I also understand you don’t want to be selling sponsorships your whole life.’ He’s a big time guy.”
That was the deal-maker, the Divac proclamation. The Kings were unwilling to invest an estimated $200 million in a Cousins extension and no longer content to half-step the rebuilding process. They were all in. The owners, the front office executives, the picks and the shovels. “In some respects, I was relieved,” Divac said. “When I got here (February 2015), and then Pete (D’Alessandro) left just before the draft, I wanted to study everything and not make quick decisions I would regret. I put myself into working with George (Karl), DeMarcus. But when I realized it wasn’t going to work, I thought, ‘Go young and start over.’ ”
The much-debated Cousins deal was his trade. The directive to audition the younger players for the final weeks of the season came from his lips. The draft selections and/or draft day swaps – same as they were in 2015 and 2016 – will be his decisions. The hiring last week of Luke Bornn as vice-president of analytics and Scott Perry as executive vice president of basketball operations were his calls. “I knew the staff I wanted to put together,” Divac said the other day. “There was always so much (drama) going on ever since I got here, it took up a lot of my time. Finally I have been able to find people who believe in what we are trying to do and who I am very comfortable with. I like our staff very much now, with Scott (Perry), Luke (Bornn), Ken (Catanella), Mike (Bratz), Peja (Stojakovic). We filled some holes.”
But what most attracted Divac to Bornn was his ability to synthesize data and succinctly present information. Though Divac and head coach Dave Joerger value analytics as a tool in acquiring talent and coaching teams, neither perceives players as widgets nor believes players can be pieced together on assembly lines. “Basketball is not science,” Divac said. “You have talent, you develop your players, you play hard. But you want to get players who complement each other, and analytics helps in that regard. Marc Gasol the other day said stats are killing the game because a lot of stuff that’s important can’t be quantified. Luke is able to identify what’s important and explain things in language we can understand.”
“Basketball is not science,” Divac said. “You have talent, you develop your players, you play hard. But you want to get players who complement each other, and analytics helps in that regard. Marc Gasol the other day said stats are killing the game because a lot of stuff that’s important can’t be quantified. Luke is able to identify what’s important and explain things in language we can understand.” The addition of Perry, 53, is even more significant given his prominent role as Divac’s right-hand man, coupled with his experience in both the NBA and college ranks. Described as diligent, engaging and extremely intelligent, the new vice president thus fills that gaping hole in the front office. That he can schmooze with the best of them is no small attribute. The most successful NBA teams have someone – or sometimes more than one individual – whose relationships with college coaches, international and NBA executives and scouts afford access to practices, counselors, tutors, and, ultimately, to invaluable inside information.
“I like the direction we’re going,” Divac said. “I keep hearing that we have a weak front office, and I’ll take all the criticism. But I don’t think that’s true. Our young guys got better, the chemistry improved, you could see progress. Now we are in position, because of good cap space, our picks and possible trades, to do some things. And we will be active. We don’t just want to build a team to get the eighth seed. We want to be more than that. We want to be the Kings that we were before – contenders for a title. We are working for that.”
According to numerous league insiders, NBA team executives have found it difficult to negotiate with the Kings because of their thin and inexperienced front office. The Kings had also struggled in recent offseasons to schedule visits and workouts from top draft prospects, even while holding a top-10 draft pick. No lottery picks worked out for the Kings last year. Adding the well-respected Perry gives the Kings an executive who knows the league well and can help Divac navigate what will be another important offseason.
The Sacramento Kings today hired Scott Perry as Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, according to General Manager Vlade Divac. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Perry will report directly to Divac and assist in all aspects of the day-to-day operation of the Kings front office, including roster management and development, player personnel matters, scouting strategy and free agency negotiations.
“I'm thrilled that Scott will be joining our front office team,” said Divac. “His extensive experience in the league and management talents will help build on our progress are we work to develop a winning franchise.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sacramento is hiring Scott Perry to a high-ranking front office job, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Perry will join Kings as Executive VP and work closely w/ Vlade Divac, league sources said. Perry spent past 5 years as Magic assistant GM.
Sam Amick: Perry was previously assistant GM in Orlando, but was let go when GM Rob Hennigan was fired recently. @Adrian Wojnarowski first on the hiring.
Jeff Zillgitt: Kings' new VP of strategy and analytics Luke Bornn was head of analytics for A.S. Roma of Italy's Serie A soccer league. pic.twitter.com/0f0ya0G9ny
Sam Amick: Kings announce hiring of @LukeBornn as VP of Strategy & Analytics. Very interesting... pic.twitter.com/dNjJeI6sgp
Roland Beech: Sources: After two years in Sacramento, Roland Beech, VP of Basketball Results, leaving Kings. Beech was well-paid analytics hire from Mavs.
Divac also did not rule out adding to the front office. Assistant general manager Ken Catanella was added last offseason. “We’re open, always, to improve,” Divac said. “The team, the front office, everything is always open for improvement. I’m very happy and confident in what we have right now, but we should be open if something can make you better.”
Chris Mannix: It was reported last week that the Kings are talking to Sam Hinkie and, in a general sense, they are looking for an executive to put above Vlade Divac. Now, Sacramento came out and inmediately denied that was happenning. They're lying.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has shown interest in finding a front-office executive to usurp Vlade Divac’s authority and turn the franchise’s general manager into a “figurehead,” league sources told The Vertical. In a contradictory move on the day that league sources say Sacramento received formal permission to meet with former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, the Kings quickly issued a public statement saying, “The Kings are not hiring Sam Hinkie and have no plans to bring anyone in over Vlade.”
Nevertheless, Ranadive has been canvassing the NBA for possible candidates and has been mostly intrigued with Hinkie, who is living in the Northern California area now. There has been discussion at the Kings’ ownership level about keeping Divac in a player-personnel role, but transferring the overall management of basketball operations to someone else, league sources said.
Hinkie had been cautious in his interest with Sacramento, league sources said, but GM jobs are rare in availability, and as dysfunctional as Ranadive’s tenure has been, there’s no guarantee that Hinkie will have the chance to take over another franchise.
Jason Jones: Another name to remember: If the talk about bringing in another exec continues, you'll probably hear Jason Levien's name come up.
Kristian Winfield: Same Kings who said multiple times they had no plans to move DeMarcus Cousins before the trade deadline. - RT: Sam Amick: Statement from Kings on ESPN's Sam Hinkie report: "The Kings are not hiring Sam Hinkie and have no plans to bring anyone in above Vlade."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kings: "The Kings are not hiring Sam Hinkie and have no plans to bring anyone in above Vlade." (They're searching for someone above Vlade).
The Sacramento Kings have expressed exploratory interest in former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive sought and received permission directly from Sixers counterpart Josh Harris to speak with Hinkie.
Sources say Hinkie has long intrigued Ranadive, whose franchise has been thrust into a rebuilding mode not unlike Philadelphia's status under Hinkie in the wake of trading DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. Neither Hinkie's level of interest in a position with Sacramento, nor the sort of role Ranadive envisions for Hinkie in a front office currently run by popular former Kings player Vlade Divac, was immediately known.
Marc Stein: Story posting now: League sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me that the Kings have received permission to speak to former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie.
Marc Stein: League sources say Kings have interest in bringing Hinkie into their front office. Neither exact role nor Hinkie's interest level yet known
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has been quietly searching for an executive to place over Vlade Divac, league sources tell @The Vertical.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As ESPN reports, Sam Hinkie is a target. Ranadive has casually talked with Hinkie, sources say, but Hinkie unsure his interest in job there.
Adrian Wojnarowski: From Sac's minority owners and NBA, there's been pressure on Ranadive to make Kings front office more professional -- starting at top.
Is there any part of you that wants to talk to Ranadive or Divac? DeMarcus Cousins: Nah. For what? It was a coward move, so I’m pretty sure I will get a coward response. For what? And I’ve seen this happen before. I’ve been there through all same types … I was there with [coach] Mike Malone’s [firing]. I’ve seen how they operate. I know what kind of answer I will get anyway. So, what is the point?
A person close to Cousins said he was “blown” by the trade for myriad reasons. Losing nearly $30 million because he won’t be able to sign a designated maximum player contract worth more than $200 million was significant but only part of his frustration. Kings general manager Vlade Divac had told Cousins days before the deal that he wouldn’t be traded, only to ship him out for an uninspiring package from the Pelicans. Over the past few years, Cousins had developed a deep distrust of team management, which often told him one thing and did another.
Adrian Wojnarowski: (Vlade Divac's) M.O. as a GM is not to be on the phone with everybody on the league, and to be pursing out different deals. He has not embraced that part of the job, to put it mildly. He's difficult to get on the phone for a lot of GMs.
Sean Cunningham: Most telling quote from Kings GM Vlade Divac in that statement: "Winning begins with culture and character matters."
The Kings attempted to recruit longtime team executive David Morway, who had previously been with the Milwaukee Bucks and now consults for the Utah Jazz, to serve as Divac's deputy. Discussions fizzled when Morway couldn't get iron-clad assurances the organization would pony up sufficient dollars to upgrade its lean infrastructure in areas such as analytics, medical and player development. In April, the Kings ultimately settled on Ken Catanella, who spent the previous five seasons in the Detroit front office and is well-versed in the salary cap and a devotee of analytics. Observers wonder whether Ranadive will defer to Divac and Catanella -- and director of scouting Mike Bratz -- enough to break up a long string of decisions that didn't pan out.
There is little optimism that Ranadive will voluntarily step back from basketball operations. Though he insists in conversations that Divac has been empowered to make player personnel decisions -- he told one source that the only decisions he has made are trading for Gay and refusing to deal Cousins -- not a single league source for this story outside of Sacramento said that ultimate authority resides anywhere but with Ranadive.
And they have to stay on message. Within the past two weeks, three different team executives complained the Kings once again were sending mixed signals. Divac was receptive to moving Cousins, while Ranadive was still meddling and still leaning toward keeping Boogie.
Sources close to the Kings' nerve center say chief operating officer Matina Kolokotronis was the catalyst behind Divac's hire. "She's the only person in the organization that Vivek really trusts," says a longtime league executive. "She's the connective tissue of the organization. Her institutional knowledge is second to none, and she's politically wired in Sacramento. She knows where every body is buried." Now in her 20th season with the Kings, Kolokotronis is the team's one-woman ode to continuity. She has done it all, including negotiating player contracts, housing international players in her guest house, running the team's foundation and working the back channels of Sacramento's civic power structure. Her critics see her as a consigliere who is far too involved in basketball matters.
Sources say that Kolokotronis saw Divac's predecessors in management, Pete D'Alessandro and Chris Mullin, as driven by self-interest and prone to cracking on Ranadive on background to the media. League sources say that after the NBA's vice president of basketball operations Kiki Vandeweghe declined an offer from the team following general manager D'Alessandro's departure in June 2015, the Kings turned to Divac in the name of finding someone who would be loyal to Ranadive at a moment when the franchise's favorability ratings needed a boost.
What they didn't get was someone with his finger on the pulse of the team-building arcana. By way of example, league sources say -- and Divac denies -- that when the Kings and Sixers struck a deal to send Nik Stauskas to Philadelphia, Divac was surprised to learn that the trade had to be confirmed on a conference call with the league. Multiple agents express astonishment at how poorly versed Divac is in the NBA's collective bargaining agreement.
September 25, 2022 | 7:41 pm EDT Update
Russell Westbrook was wearing a bucket hat, flip-flops and a smile inside the conference room in his Avenue of the Stars offices. Trade talks stalled, training camp on the cusp and Westbrook hardly had to consider the question: Do you feel wanted by the Los Angeles Lakers? “I don’t need to,” Westbrook told ESPN recently. “I need to just do my job. Whether I’m wanted or not doesn’t really matter. I think the most important thing is that I show up for work and I do the job like I’ve always done it: Be professional and go out and play my ass off and compete.”
Westbrook spoke of getting back to work in the gym sooner in the past offseason than he has ever done in his career, about a summer full of conversations with Lakers coach Darvin Ham, about a “connection” and “trust” with Ham’s vision to utilize him in a way that impacts winning on these Lakers. Maybe that’s as a starter or maybe it’s off the bench. “I’m all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” Westbrook said. “I’m prepared for whatever comes my way.”
He sure isn’t here to tell you that his and the Lakers’ debacle of a season caused him to have to fight to keep his confidence. “No, I didn’t have to fight that,” Westbrook said. “I had to fight my response on how it affects the people close to me. To me, that was the important part. Confidence is not something I lack. Yes, there were times last season that I wanted to play better — that I should’ve played better — but my confidence never wavers. Having bad games is part of the NBA, and I understand that. The only thing it affected for me was the impact that it had on the people closest to me — my mom, dad, wife, brother, close friends. We’ve never had to deal with that as a family. That was the most difficult thing — being booed in the arena and having my kids there.”
Shams Charania: Sources: The Lakers plan to sign G/F Matt Ryan on a non-guaranteed deal. Four-year NBA veteran Dwayne Bacon is also working toward training camp deal with the Lakers. Ryan was with the Celtics on a two-way last season.