NBA rumors: Kings hire Wes Wilcox, Phil Jabour, Paul Johnson

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Sean Cunningham: The Sacramento Kings eliminated several notable positions yesterday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to several sources. Stockton Kings GM Anthony McClish was among them. He played an important role in the scouting of the team dating back to the Michael Malone days.
The Sacramento Kings won’t renew the contract of Stockton Kings general manager Anthony McClish, league sources told HoopsHype. McClish spent seven seasons with the Kings in various roles, including salary cap management and scouting.
McClish spent the last three seasons as general manager of Sacramento’s G League affiliate and had several players receive two-way contracts, including Gabe Vincent, Wenyen Gabriel and DaQuan Jeffries. Under McClish’s reign, Kalin Lucas, Aaron Harrison, Reggie Hearn, David Stockton, Cody Demps, Cameron Reynolds and Eric Mika also received call-ups to the NBA.
Sacramento owner Vivek Ranadivé, his son Aneel and interim executive VP Joe Dumars held in-person interviews with their three finalists in San Francisco: Minnesota’s Sachin Gupta on Sunday and McNair and former Hawks GM Wes Wilcox on Monday. Both Gupta and Wilcox had strong interviews. Interim head of basketball ops Joe Dumars joined owner in the in-person interviews and is expected to remain with the franchise as an advisor, sources said.
Salman Ali: Monte McNair becomes the 6th person from the Rockets front office to land a head of basketball operations job. Some others: Daryl Morey Sam Hinkie Dennis Lindsey Gersson Rosas Arturas Karnisovas
Jason Anderson: Increasing talk in NBA circles the Sacramento Kings will hire Sachin Gupta from the Minnesota Timberwolves to head basketball operations, but source says no decisions have been made. Pairing Gupta with Monte McNair is possible but other options may exist.
Carmichael Dave: More on the Kings front: Hearing in person interviews yesterday and today consist of Vivek Ranadive, Joe Dumars, and Aneel Ranadive (Vivek’s son)...... Assumption being interviews are both phone/online and now in person as follow up, so two dynamics.
Why he makes sense: It’s no secret Ranadive is a fan of former 76ers GM Sam Hinkie, best known for “The Process,” which involved losing as many games as possible with the hope of landing generational talents in the draft. If Ranadive cannot hire Hinkie, why not hire someone who worked closely with Hinkie in Gupta, who was second in command?
Will Guillory: Sources tell @TheAthletic that Pelicans GM Trajan Langdon has informed the Sacramento Kings he will not be involved in their search for a new head of basketball operations. Langdon, one of the hottest names on the market, is heading into his second season with New Orleans.
The Kings haven’t reached the playoffs since 2006, the longest active streak in the NBA and one short of matching the Clippers franchise for most consecutive seasons missing the playoffs. Of course, this wasn’t just about the struggles on the court. Webber’s teammate, Vlade Divac resigned as general manager. Peja Stojakovic, another former teammate, resigned as assistant general manager. So it’s deeper than what most fans might feel about the situation. “They’re going to have to work hard,” Webber said. “It’s been frustrating to watch. I think everyone tried their best and I’m very happy that at least in the interim — Joe Dumars is a great leader and I think he’s consulting the team right now. So for me, as a Kings fan, it makes you feel a little bit better but you feel bad knowing that Vlade gave his all.”
Still, this is personal for Webber, whose No. 4 has been retired by the franchise. He is no ordinary fan. “Of course I played there and I was a big part of it so anything I say will be taken out of context so I don’t want to speak in any way that could,” Webber said. “I feel sorry for Vlade, they have the best fans, the city’s going to be resilient, they are going to make the playoffs, they are going to get in the right direction and I just wish the best for the organization. It’s kind of hard to be professional when you’re asking a question about an organization I care so much about, so I’ll shut up.”
Several sources across the league Tuesday believed there may have been a difference in mindsets among Kings officials and Dumars on the next course of action, with some wondering if the Kings weren’t setting themselves up for yet another power struggle just days after the one that led to Divac’s departure. But Kings sources insist that synergy in this process has been achieved. And despite so many questions about Dumars’ strategy here, with so many rival executives wondering if he was pushing to secure the top front office position rather than help fill it.
The new GM will answer to Kings owner Vivek Ranadive — and not to Dumars. This is key for any executive who wants to know that he has full control of the roster, with the owner’s voice and influence omnipresent as always.
A number of potential candidates have emerged in the early stages of the Kings’ search for a new general manager. League sources expect the Kings to hire an executive search firm to help them fill the position that was vacated when Vlade Divac resigned on Friday, but several names have already come up in conversations with people around the league.
The preliminary list of candidates in Sacramento could include San Antonio Spurs vice president of basketball operations Brent Barry; Toronto Raptors general manager Bobby Webster; New York Knicks general manager Scott Perry; Boston Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren; Miami Heat assistant general manager Adam Simon; and Los Angeles Clippers assistant general manager Trent Redden.
Joe Dumars, who joined the Kings organization as an adviser last summer, will serve as interim general manager and executive vice president of basketball operations. The team said it will work with Dumars to establish a long-term strategy for the organization’s basketball operations structure, including the search for a permanent general manager.
“My role as interim Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations is to immediately assume General Manager duties during this transition period and assist Vivek in developing a long-term strategy for the basketball operations department,” Dumars said in a written statement provided to The Bee. “As part of that process, I will support a thorough national search for a permanent General Manager over the coming months. The search will be run by an outside firm and Vivek will have the final decision-making authority.”
“I’m thankful for the opportunity of being a GM,” he said. Does he feel bitter? “I’m not going to throw anyone under the bus,” he said. “You never know if another opportunity will come up for me but I’m not going to chase it. What’s far more important than having a goal is the way you act on the way to your goal. My satisfaction will come when the Kings start winning.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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