Divac’s phone rang on Friday and Kings primary owner Vivek Ranadivé told Divac that he was passing the management authority to former Detroit Pistons GM Joe Dumars. Divac knew his time was up. “It’s a part of life. You have to make tough decisions,” he said. “I didn’t expect it but then I wasn’t surprised either. We didn’t accomplish what we expected this season. That’s the bottom line...That’s my responsibility.” Divac said his immediate plan is to stay in Sacramento. He said he will always support the Kings. “I like this place,” he said. “Down the road who knows? But for some time I’m gonna be here.”
Starting this weekend, the Mavericks are in the NBA playoffs. The Kings are making news for another dismissal. Was this draft pick a major issue between him and Ranadivé? “Yeah,” Divac said. “That was my decision,” he said. “I still believe Marvin has big upside. But I needed more time to prove it. I’m sure Marvin is going to prove everybody wrong. But in this league, you need to produce right now. People don’t have patience but I’m OK with that.”
Shams Charania: Kings assistant GM Peja Stojakovic is expected to step down from his role, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Knicks GM Scott Perry has been floated as a possibility for the newly opened Sacramento job following Vlade Divac’s firing Friday. Sacramento consultant Joe Dumars, Perry’s boss in Detroit, is running the GM search. According to a source, Bill Duffy, RJ Barrett’s agent, may be considered.
Dumars will be part of the process to name a day-to-day general manager, sources told Yahoo Sports, but he isn’t expected to operate quickly. He could take next season to evaluate the executives around the league and determine who’s the best fit to work with the franchise — a move that seems prudent given where the Kings are and not wanting a quick fix alteration to assuage the fan base.
It’s a different league in the executive rooms, and Dumars wants to work his way through the league to learn, to listen and then strike when the time is right. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him tap a young executive and guide him through the nuances, similar to his own road when he took over as a 37-year-old, not far from retirement.
It ended in a way he wouldn’t have liked, not meshing with new owner Tom Gores after a simpatico partnership with late Pistons owner William Davidson. It didn’t mean he became stupid overnight, or lost his basketball acumen. It merely meant it was time to move on after 29 years with one franchise in one city, and he needed to recharge his batteries, take a step back and re-evaluate an evolving league.
Sources say Divac had a phone conversation with Kings owner Vivek Ranadive about the future of the front office, and a major shift to their agreed-upon structure was proposed: What if, Ranadive told Divac, Kings adviser and former Detroit Pistons player and executive Joe Dumars assumed a larger role in which he would have the final say on the roster and the two of them would work side by side? Divac, sources say, had zero interest.
So this notion of giving up personnel power, in Divac’s eyes, was a nonstarter. Divac and Ranadive then decided to take a break from the discussion and circle back, sources say. Divac, who had told Ranadive he would not accept the proposal, informed Ranadive that he would conduct exit interviews with his players in Sacramento and that they could speak again afterward.
Sources say Divac will be paid the remainder of his contract, which runs through the 2022-23 season. As for a possible ripple effect on coach Luke Walton, who was hand-picked by Divac in April 2019 and given a contract that also runs through the 2022-23 campaign, sources say he’s safe.
Divac’s inexperience with the inner workings of the general manager position would be problematic, with agents and opposing team executives complaining about having to deal with the Kings. Divac not adding to the front office was criticized throughout his tenure. Divac was determined to do things his way. The confusion, and what league executives saw as a sign of Divac’s inexperience, resulted in the Kings having a limited number of in-person draft workouts, even when picking in the lottery. Divac had not been an NBA executive and had assistant general manager Mike Bratz as his second in command.
The end mirrored the beginning in some ways. Divac took the job with no experience and no knowledge of the salary cap, and it showed. He was almost immediately clowned by Philadelphia in a trade that cost it a lottery pick and merely allowed the Kings to overpay veteran players they didn’t need in free agency.
Overall, however, the impression the Kings left was that they were too reactive, too heavily staffed with Divac’s Serbian cronies and too lightly staffed everywhere else. While the Kings made a decent-sized investment in analytics, you never got the sense it seeped very far into their basketball operations or coaching decisions.
Sources told The Sacramento Bee discussions about parting ways with Divac intensified as the Kings concluded their season with a 31-41 record, the franchise’s 14th consecutive losing season. One line of thinking within the organization was that the team had no choice but to stay the course after a season plagued by injuries and enormous financial losses stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Others felt a change was necessary.
A respected league executive said earlier Friday that Divac sealed his fate with a series of bad decisions over the past five years, pointing specifically to the decision pass on Luke Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft. “When you pass on generational players, you can’t win in this league,” he said. “You just can’t.” The source predicted Dumars would take on a larger role within the organization, saying “that would help, but they need to get somebody younger in there.”
Marc J. Spears: Won’t be surprised if Kings reach out to the new regime Knicks for permission to talk to GM Scott Perry about opening. Perry played a key role in the Kings drafting De’Aaron Fox and signing vets like George Hill & Vince Carter in short stint. Also worked for Dumars with Pistons.
Marc Berman: Hearing Sacramento could have some interest in Bill Duffy, RJ Barrett’s agent. Duffy lives in that region. Sac could try the Leon Rose/Rob Pelinka/Bob Myers thing. Scott Perry’s name already been floated. Perry left Kings after five minutes to join Steve Mills’ Knicks.
The Sacramento Kings announced today that Vlade Divac has stepped down as General Manager. In the interim, Joe Dumars has been named Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations and will immediately assume General Manager duties. “This was a difficult decision, but we believe it is the best path ahead as we work to build a winning team that our loyal fans deserve,” said Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “We are thankful for Vlade’s leadership, commitment and hard work both on and off the court. He will always be a part of our Kings family.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the General Manager for the Kings,” said Vlade Divac. “I want to thank Vivek for the opportunity and recognize all of the incredible colleagues who I had the great pleasure of working with during my tenure. Sacramento and the Kings will always hold a special place in my heart and I wish them all the best moving forward.”
Sam Amick: Source also tells @The Athletic that Kings coach Luke Walton is safe. While the two were on the same contractual timeline (through 2022-23), and Vlade hand-picked Luke, there won't be another domino falling here.
James Ham: According to a team source, the Kings will allow the new GM to make a decision on the fate of the staff, including Peja Stojakovic, Ken Catanella and coach Luke Walton.
Marc Spears. It is possible Dumars could be considered for the Kings GM job if he is interested, a source said.
Marc Spears: The Kings are hopeful that the interim structure provides stability through the draft and free agency, a source said.
Sam Amick: Kings GM Vlade Divac is stepping down, source tells @The Athletic. Joe Dumars (advisor previously) will be interim executive VP of basketball ops and immediately assumes GM duties. Dumars will be involved in the search for a new GM.
Sean Cunningham: Several sources confirm Vlade Divac stepping down to allow the organization search for a new GM. Joe Dumars to oversee in the interim, as @Sam Amick reports. Dumars has been assisting the Kings front office over the past year - not once has spoken publicly to the media.
Sean Cunningham: Sacramento Kings Asst. GM Ken Catanella worked under Joe Dumars during their time in Detroit. Dumars had also employed Scott Perry.
The future of Vlade Divac as general manager is front and center for the frustrated fanbase and some local media, in large part, because of a comment he made in Feb. 2017 about his willingness to resign if the DeMarcus Cousins trade didn’t pan out. But as I reported back in late April, sources still say there’s no indication Divac (or Walton, for that matter) is going anywhere anytime soon.
As is the case with so many teams, the financial pain felt by this pandemic is sure to make any owner think twice about paying anyone to go away after suffering these kinds of losses. The Kings have suffered major losses tied to the real estate they control surrounding the Golden 1 Center, sources say, while having layoffs on the business side as well. There’s just no way that reality doesn’t come into play with any decision of consequence.
Rival executives have highlighted the increased influence of Kings advisor Joe Dumars as a sign of trouble for Divac, as sources say he has become a valued voice for owner Vivek Ranadive after being added to their group in June of 2019. The two were together in Orlando to watch the early Kings’ action from the outside-the-bubble seats, but sources close to the situation insist there is synergy and trust between Divac and Dumars here. That being said, Dumars — who lives in Los Angeles — is expected to have an increased role going forward.
Divac and Walton are both in the first year of four-year contracts. Firing them now would mean paying them for three more years — and paying their replacements — something the organization would have been reluctant to do even before the coronavirus pandemic caused tens of millions of dollars in revenue losses. The Kings have underachieved this season, but ownership will want to see what Walton, their 10th coach in the past 14 seasons, can do with a healthy roster before changing course yet again. Divac will get at least one more season as well, although his ultimate fate might have been sealed when he passed on Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft.
All that improvement, it appears, lowered the temperature on the hot seats of both Walton and general manager Vlade Divac. As we reported on Feb. 12, owner Vivek Ranadive had made his frustrations known with both the front office and coaching staff during the Kings’ 15-29 start. Questions arose about whether he might be compelled to make changes in the offseason, but sources say Divac and Walton appear very likely to remain (their contracts run through the 2022-23 season).
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the pairing of head coach Luke Walton and Vlade Divac is likely to continue into the 2020-21 season, at a minimum. “Owner Vivek Ranadive had made his frustrations known with both the front office and coaching staff during the Kings’ 15-29 start,” Amick writes. “Questions arose about whether he might be compelled to make changes in the offseason, but sources say Divac and Walton appear very likely to remain (their contracts run through the 2022-23 season).”
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.
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
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.
Sean Cunningham: Kings GM Vlade Divac on the hiring of Joe Dumars: “As an experienced and talented basketball executive, I’m excited to have him serve as a special advisor and expert resource for our incredible front office team.”
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.
The Kings and Walton were clearly moving forward with their working relationship on Tuesday. According to sources, Walton and Kings general manager Vlade Divac met with former Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek in Sacramento about the possibility of him being the team’s lead assistant coach. There was one other known interview for a lower level coaching position that took place on Tuesday as well, with Divac and Walton also taking part. Those interviews had been scheduled before the allegations surfaced.
“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.”
James Ham: According to Vlade Divac, he does not intend to fill the role left by the firing of Brandon Williams. Ken Catanella and Peja will help fill the role.
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
Chris Mannix: Divac has long preferred a small circle of close confidants, source familiar with Kings dynamic tells @TheCrossover. Peja Stojakovic -- an ex-teammate turned assistant GM -- is an example. But strong organizations build out strong, deep staffs.
James Ham: According to a league source, both Dave Joerger and Brandon Williams are being let go today by the Sacramento Kings.
Sam Amick: Sources, @TheAthletic: Kings GM Vlade Divac is meeting with assistant GM Brandon Williams right now, and has made the decision that Williams will not return next season.
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kings GM Vlade Divac is planning to fire coach Dave Joerger in a face-to-face meeting today, league sources tell ESPN.
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).
But haven’t you guys been pushing for a pick the last couple months? Or no? Vlade Divac: Well, I have room to do that (by taking on another team’s ‘bad’ contracts in exchange for the pick). So if I can convert (that into a pick), yes. But it’s not something (where) I’m desperate to do it. If it comes, great. If it doesn’t, I’m fine. I have other things to do.
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.
In response to the Athletic story, Divac issued a statement on Thursday afternoon. “I have advised my front office and coaching staff to not focus on drama and rumors, but instead to focus on continuing to develop our young and exciting team,” Divac said in the statement. “And that’s what we’re going to do.”
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've been holding back on this, but there is widespread speculation that @SacramentoKings assistant GM Brandon Williams was the primary source for the Yahoo Sports story suggesting Dave Joerger's job could be in jeopardy due to philosophical differences with the front office.
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.
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.”
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.
August 10, 2022 | 4:20 am EDT Update
Furthermore, the first-year head coach said one wrinkle he will implement and stick with is having the offense run through Anthony Davis, and James concurred, sources said. The team has been encouraged with Davis’ offseason progression and believe he’ll be in optimum shape to avoid serious injuries and carry a heavier load.
James is finalizing a destination to host the team’s annual minicamp prior to training camp, with San Diego being the likely landing space over Las Vegas, sources said. He’s hoping to build a better rapport with teammates before entering the 2022-23 season. The meeting was deemed productive and informative. Pelinka made his feelings clear that he wants James to retire as a Laker and promised to provide him with every resource possible to compete for a championship each year he’s with the organization, sources said.
And while contract dialogue was broached, the majority of the hour-long meeting was about expressing concerns, and hearing out strategies and opinions to assure there wouldn’t be a repeat of last season’s epic failure, league sources told Yahoo Sports. James, sources said, drilled home the importance of consistent competitiveness and cohesion, noting that last season’s team didn’t give themselves a chance on many nights. The focus for the future Hall of Famer is competing every night in order to give themselves a chance to compete for a championship.
As for roster tinkering, Pelinka explained patience will be key in any potential moves the team makes, sources said. In a collaborative effort, all parties appear to be aligned on a common vision of seeing how the roster plays out before any drastic moves are sought.
Do you get the sense that the Lakers are trying to make two separate trades using the firsts? One with Westbrook and one with Horton-Tucker/Nunn/etc.? — @crownroyalpapi_ Jovan Buha: Yes, insofar as I think the ultimate price to trade Westbrook will include attaching two first-round picks. If the Lakers can finagle an alternate outcome — be it a pick swap or two second-round picks — that’s a win for them, in my opinion. That seems unlikely, though, which is why there’s a possibility Westbrook isn’t traded. Between the two trades mentioned, the Lakers would prefer the Irving option. I think that’s a deal they’d eventually be willing to include two first-round picks for. I don’t think they’d be willing to do so in the Indiana deal.
Nets star Kyrie Irving wants to make it clear he does not hate coach Steve Nash or general manager Sean Marks despite what a source told The Post about his feelings Monday. “I am not sure where this narrative is coming from but Kyrie does not hate Steve nor Sean. That’s not a part of his being nor how he represents himself in the world. He’s about peace, love and acceptance,” his agent and stepmother Shetallia Riley Irving told The Post.
Durant, among other things, was not consulted on the Nets’ firing of assistant coach and director of player development Adam Harrington when the season ended, the source believes. “There are simple things that erode a relationship. You fired someone he was close to and didn’t have a conversation about it,” the source said.