NBA rumors: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive not happy with front office, coaching

Frustration has been mounting among Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and others within the ownership group over the franchise’s front office and coaching, multiple sources tell The Athletic. Sources say Ranadive has shared his frustration with both front office and coaching decisions in a variety of unfiltered ways, including private conversations with business associates and in text messages during a season-long group chat with Divac, coach Luke Walton, assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic and Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. The complaints, sources say, have been focused on the team’s underachievement and the part they all played in it.

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As it stands, however, sources say there is no indication that a change to the front office or coaching staff will be made anytime soon. But the tension that has returned to the Kings’ environment begs the question: Will Ranadive stay the course, prioritizing stability in the front office after all these years of turnover, or perhaps look to make a change in the summer?
Ranadive, sources say, ramped up his interest in learning all about his team’s scouting process earlier this season and sought more insight about their collective network, with the belief that it was a reaction to previous draft events and the looming questions about why Doncic wasn’t selected.
Throughout the Kings’ pre-draft process in 2018, the Kings scouted Doncic heavily, including a dinner with the young prodigy led by Ranadive that also included Vivek’s son, Aneel, and Divac; the gathering was shared on Aneel’s social media. There was ownership support for the drafting of Doncic at No. 2 overall, but Divac, along with then-assistant general manager Brandon Williams and Stojakovic had concerns about his upside compared to Bagley’s, sources said. As The Athletic reported last month, the belief that Doncic’s ball-dominance would limit Fox’s ability to grow and that they were better suited pairing him with a talented big like Bagley were driving forces behind the decision.
James Ham: Continuing to hear that no changes to coaching staff or management is on the horizon for the Kings. They need to work it out with the group in place.
Know this much about this Kings’ landscape: Barring a drastic change in current conditions, it appears extremely unlikely that any of the principals are getting fired anytime soon – not Walton, nor general manager Vlade Divac. Both men are on the same contractual track, with Divac having been given an extension through the 2022-23 season in April. And both of them, it seems, are in agreement that the answers must be found by staring into that unflattering image in the mirror.
Jason Anderson: The Kings have announced several staff additions and promotions. pic.twitter.com/cBoyA5r4uZ

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Sean Cunningham: The Sacramento Kings have hired Joe Dumars as a Special Advisor to the General Manager. In this role, Dumars will report to General Manager Vlade Divac and will serve as a resource to the front office.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the Kings are set to announce on Friday that Dumars will be a special advisor to Divac. He’ll bring the kind of front office experience that few can boast, with Dumars having resided over the Detroit Pistons from 2000 to 2014 and orchestrated a title (2004) and six consecutive Eastern Conference Finals appearances along the way. Most recently, Dumars was serving as president of the basketball division for the Independent Sports and Entertainment agency that has more than 300 clients from the NBA, NFL and Major League Baseball. But now, as he re-signs there and plans on continuing to reside in Los Angeles while taking on this challenge remotely, it’s back to the team side for the 56-year-old who Sports Illustrated deemed one of the best sports executives of the decade in 2010.
“Our new coach has to bring, first of all, the style that we had last year,” Divac said. “This is the Kings’ style. We’ve got to play that way.” Divac also indicated he would want a new coach on board quickly as the team moves into a critical offseason with approximately $38 million to spend in free agency. “I want my coach to be right next to me and we can talk about the team and what’s out there for us to make our team better,” Divac said. “I want my coach on the same page.”
Could Joerger and Williams coexist? Would there be lingering resentment between Joerger and Bagley? What message would it send to the locker room if Joerger was fired while Williams, suspected of committing the most fireable offense, remained in the front office? Divac refused to choose sides. Instead, he decided both men had to go. “I just felt that, moving forward, we needed to make some changes, and this was a big one,” Divac said. “I’m very confident we did the right thing.”
Sean Cunningham: The Kings are also parting ways with Assistant General Manager Brandon Williams, sources say. Hard to believe that both he and coach Joerger would be out after rift earlier in the season, when it seemed as if folks were on one side or the other. Both out today
Sean Cunningham: Kings officially announce the four year extension for general manager Vlade Divac. “It is an exciting time to be in Sacramento and I am honored to continue my work of building towards sustained success for this franchise,” Vlade said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Vlade Divac is pushing to consolidate his power as Kings top basketball executive, seriously weighing dismissal of coach Dave Joerger, league sources tell ESPN. Divac/Joerger set for meeting today. Joerger led Kings young core to a 39 win season. He has a year left on deal.
According​ to two sources with​ knowledge of the​​ situation, Kings president of basketball operations Vlade Divac has agreed to terms on a four-year deal that runs through the 2022-23 season. Divac, the beloved former Kings players who was hired in March of 2015 and who built this young core that is widely considered one of the most promising in the NBA, was rewarded for this surprise season that will now be followed by one key question.
Two years ago, Divac made a deal with New Orleans Pelicans general manager Dell Demps, putting his job and his reputation on the line with a trade that sent DeMarcus Cousins to the Pelicans and brought Hield to Sacramento. Well, Demps was fired on Friday while people in Charlotte were praising Divac. “Vlade has believed in these guys, especially Fox and Buddy, telling me a long time ago they were going to change the trajectory of the team,” Webber said. “The great part about it as a Sacramento fan is, I know Vlade, he doesn’t just work for the organization, but he is a fan of the city. He wants it to be great, not only on the court but in the community as well. “And, yeah, he’s going to (turn) it around. He already has. He said, ‘Give me two years.’ He’s done that. Just wait till we give him a little bit more time.”
Jason Anderson: I asked Vlade Divac about The Athletic story tonight regarding his conference call with minority owners. “I just told them about my plan,” he said. The story says you told them to stop meddling and leaking stories. “Yeah, that’s my plan,” he said.
Does this success change your plan as we get closer to the (Feb. 7 trade) deadline? (Divac, clearly, wasn’t ready to move on to the next topic when there was another one-liner to be delivered) Vlade Divac: I didn’t have experience as a GM, so I didn’t know the salary cap and somehow we end up with $50-60 million (in cap room) this summer. I was lucky, I guess. (Laughs).
I hear you. But this season, I just wonder if it changes things. Are you still going to shop for a first-rounder? Is that a priority? Vlade Divac: No. Even that day when I made the deal with Philly for this (season’s) pick that’s coming (that they don’t have), my thought process (was), ‘Ok, if I’m not winning in three years, we shouldn’t deserve to have that pick, and I did everything to accomplish and bring players that can help DeMarcus. So I had to do crazy stuff. But I knew, if that doesn’t work I’m going to shift to Plan B, and Plan B worked. So now, I don’t need those picks. I have so many young guys that we have to develop. Of course I would love to have (more picks).
So does the organization need to pick sides and someone has to go? That’s not happening as of now. Williams was scouting college talent in Maui last week, not the action of someone on the way out. Nor is Joerger on his way out. Divac has no plans to fire Joerger and the coach has one more season left on his contract.
But with the latest developments it wouldn’t be a shock if Joerger has his eyes on another gig. He’d certainly be viewed sympathetically if the Kings continue to play well amid what is now perceived as a divided front office. Divac would love for all of this to pass and hope winning can be a cure. One of his greatest strengths as a player was his ability to be a unifier and after not making that happen with Karl, he has a chance to forge some harmony this season.
For the Sacramento Kings, the behind-the-scenes battle between coach Dave Joerger and assistant general manager Brandon Williams isn’t going away. According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Joerger was uncomfortable with Williams' presence following practice Wednesday, and when the assistant GM showed up for the team’s shootaround Thursday, the Kings coach asked that he be removed from the floor.
According to sources, Williams and Joerger also were on separate pages when it came to free agent targets, which led to additional discord. Whether the relationship can be repaired is unknown, but at this point, there is clear distrust between the two men.
As The Athletic reported on Nov. 19, Joerger has long been of the belief that Kings assistant general manager Brandon Williams would like to replace him as coach and was, in essence, working against him internally. But that story, and the fact that it came at a time when the Kings were off to one of their best starts in more than a decade, have only made matters even worse.
According to sources, Joerger on Thursday asked that Williams not be present for the team’s shoot-around in advance of the Kings’ home game against the Clippers. Williams, who had returned from an extended stretch of travel on Wednesday that had helped avoid these sorts of conflicts, subsequently left the shoot-around with Divac as a result of Joerger’s request. Joerger, the sources say, believes that Williams was the source of the story and is upset with the organization for not levying any discipline against Williams.
What makes the Kings’ situation more complex is that the front office hasn’t been respected like others in recent years, with some blaming Vlade Divac, others blaming Vivek Ranadive or the influence of chief operating officer Matina Kolokotronis on multiple areas in the organization. From people I’ve talked to around the league, the only consistency has been that it’s been a mess dealing with Sacramento in the past and structure and stability were needed.
Jason Anderson: I want to stress that we don't have confirmation, but this has been rumored since the story broke Saturday night. Williams and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports were seen having a lengthy conversation during the Kings-Lakers game Nov. 10.
Jason Anderson: Safe to say there is disagreement within the organization over playing time and rotational decisions -- so that part of the story was true -- but I'll repeat what I said Saturday night: Firing Dave Joerger is not a consideration for the @SacramentoKings right now. Not even close.
That connection has been very important for the Serbian team as two important players are bound by the Kings at the moment – Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica. Djordjevic noted that Divac understands the situation as he also experienced the same problems during his career and has provided real help: “Huge! Divac is exceptionally positive towards us, he understands our obligations. There are a few more details to be taken care of regarding Bogdanovic but as far as Bjelica goes it’s done. Bogdanovic underwent a surgery at the end of the season, so we have to keep an eye, but Vlade is a man who remembers the problems he had while playing with NBA teams and he is exceptionally willing to help. We’ve been in touch for the past three or four nights talking about it. I’m so glad both of them are on his team because it will help them in their further careers”, Djordjevic told the Serbian press, per Basketballsphere.

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Sitting courtside at the Thomas & Mack Center before the Kings’ Las Vegas Summer League game against the Suns, Divac told the Tribune that LaVine, 23, has star potential that justified the lucrative offer and that he wasn’t concerned about a torn ACL that limited LaVine to 47 games with the Timberwolves in 2016-17 and 24 with the Bulls last season. “Zach is a very talented kid,” Divac said. “He works hard. I see him as one of the future elite shooting guards in this league. Before the injury, he showed a lot of progression. Now I believe he’s back where he was.”
Divac, who had a front-row seat to watch his No. 2 pick, Marvin Bagley III, take on Suns No. 1 pick Deandre Ayton, felt the high-flying LaVine would have been a natural fit with his roster. “We are trying to build a team that is exciting and up-tempo,” Divac said. “We have one of the fastest point guards in the league (in De’Aaron Fox). We are young, but we are making progress. From last year, we are definitely a better team. We need more pieces, of course, but we are going to be smart. We are not going to rush into something that we don’t feel comfortable with. We are going to stay put and try to help those guys develop.”
"We love it, we like to support and try to find a way we can help," said Kings general manager Vlade Divac. Divac also referenced center Willie Cauley-Stein, an artist who has designed hats for the Kings and has a clothing line. "We support that kind of stuff," Divac said. "Obviously we like them to know (basketball) is the priority but everything else, the talents they have, they can explore. Even the Kings Academy, we set that up for those things, so they can learn stuff during their career."
Marc J. Spears: The Kings have promoted Peja Stojakovic to assistant general manager. The former Kings star's role will now focus on player development, overseeing the G-League Stockton Kings and assisting with talent evaluation. The rest of the Kings' front office remains the same.
The Reno Bighorns have operated as a Sacramento minor league affiliate since their inception in 2008. They have been operated by the Kings since they purchased the club in 2016. “Our NBA G League team has been an incredible asset to help prepare players for NBA action and bringing the team closer to Sacramento will allow us to continue to build on that success and increase efficiency to this valuable development tool,” said Kings General Manager Vlade Divac. “Kings fans in Stockton will now have an opportunity to see the next-generation of NBA players each week.”
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.”
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 308 more rumors
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August 13, 2022 | 2:04 am EDT Update

Kevin Durant, James Harden back on good terms

ClutchPoints: “From what I’m told, the two former teammates are back on good terms now despite [James] Harden forcing his way out of Brooklyn.” @ramonashelburne on the Sixers’ reported interest in trading for Kevin Durant.

Grant Williams addresses Jaylen Brown trade rumors

After speaking with children during the Jr. Celtics camp, Grant Williams was asked how he felt about the trade rumors involving Brown. Williams responded by talking about the business side of the NBA while also praising Brown’s mindset and value as a player. “I feel like JB is mature in his mindset, and he knows that. I talk to him, texted him, reach out of as often as I can. It’s one of those things. It’s the league. It’s a business. It’s one of those things that you can’t be discouraged by because we love JB. It also shows how valuable he is.”
Obviously, Durant is one of the greatest players of all time. Williams explained that Brown having his name mentioned as the potential centerpiece in a deal for Durant just shows how great the Celtics star is. “It kind of shows how valuable he is. The fact that, top-10 player in the world, you’re the focal point. It’s one of those things, I remember, back in the day with Al Jefferson and KG [Kevin Garnett]. It’s one of those things where you’re like, ‘oh dang, Al Jefferson.’ It’s not even like a difference,” said Williams.
“I think he’s going to approach it even better. He’s going to take it with a competitive mindset, too. So, if it doesn’t work out, which, I don’t know what it is or not, I’m not involved in none of those processes,” stated Williams. “But I think that he’s going to come back with a chip on his shoulder, and I love that. Because I know how JB responds, and he’s going to be very, very, very, very secure because he’s secure of himself and he’s secure of what he’s going to be.”
Green then admitted that it’s usually him who takes the high road. Curry and Thompson don’t always clap back, so when they do, Dray knows that he has to take a step back in order to avoid an escalation: “That’s just not how we roll,” Green said. “So I usually do the majority of the talking most the time. It either leads to us having a conversation and discussing what I think and what they think and how we can figure it out. If it’s in a heated battle, a heat-of-the-moment situation and I’m like ‘Klay stop shooting the ball’ and he cuss and yell back, then we just keep it pushing and I run on and he run on. Or if I say something to Steph and he gets mad and snaps back every two blue moons then he says something back and I just run off and go about my day.”

Dwyane Wade on Heat Big 3: 'The hate was because of our skin color'

It was at this point where Wade decided to drop a shocking truth bomb about how the hatred for the Heat was racially motivated: “We knew that some of the hate was because of our skin color,” he claimed. “Because of being Black men and deciding to control the fate of our careers. … So, when we had the power, when we had the moment, we took it. But some of the hate came because we were three Black guys who decided and changed the way that the NBA probably would ever be because of that decision.”
Dwyane Wade recently made a guest appearance on JJ Redick’s The Old Man & The Three podcast, and it was an opportunity for the Heat icon to get brutally honest with his thoughts on why their Big 3 garnered so much hate. Wade was quick to point out that the way they teamed up to win a title wasn’t much different from how other iconic teams did it in the past (h/t ClutchPoints on Twitter): “If you think about it, no one gives backlash to any championships that Larry Bird won, that Magic Johnson won, that Michael Jordan won,” Wade said. “… You don’t win championships without playing with other guys that are great, first of all.”
Clutch Points: Brandon Jennings has some thoughts on the state of today’s NBA… 🤔 Jennings mentions that he feels Chris Paul and LeBron James were among those who contributed to turning the NBA into a “player’s league,” which has hurt the league. (via @Tuff__Crowd) pic.twitter.com/0fKrdStGsK