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Bringing stability to an unstable kingdom

The Sacramento Kings players, front office and fans need some stability. Is Vlade Divac the one who can provide that? He thinks so.

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Stability in the household for a child is important.

Stability at the company one works for is reassuring and lends itself to better work performance.

In fact, any relationship at any age in most settings is better off with a sense of stability.

That was the message about the Sacramento Kings organization from veteran Carl Landry after Monday's final home game.

"I think in any relationship consistency and stability is the main thing. When I come home from work every day I want to know that my wife is not going to be mad at me one day, and the next day happy … anything you're building you have to build it off consistency and stability," Landry told Sactown Royalty.

The Kings haven't exactly been building a culture of stability for the last several years. While the drama of the relocation threats has subsided, the spotlight has shifted to the inconsistency in the front office and how that impacts the play on the floor.

Enter 47-year-old Vlade Divac, who could be the most beloved person in the eyes of Kings fans to ever step foot in Sleep Train Arena. On game nights these days, you will likely find him sitting quietly near the end of the player tunnel on a stool security brings for him as the games begin - in the same spot former general manager Geoff Petrie would frequently stand to observe the team. The 7'1" Serbian is large both physically and in personality, and that is why he is here. His approachable presence is contagious. When he greets the people he knows it often comes with a bear hug and a smile. These are the "people-person" characteristics that helped him excel as a leader as a player and the characteristics that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive can utilize with him as the vice president of basketball and franchise operations. The traits Divac brings very well may have been missing from the front office up until this point.

His immediate responsibility appears to be to put out the fire that may not be smoldering at this point, but is still hot below the surface in the wake of Michael Malone's firing in December.

Or as Divac likes to put it, bringing stability.

We have a great coach, we have a couple of great players, we have a couple of talented guys, we have a couple of good role players, but we don't have stability. I felt bad for the players this year. -Vlade Divac

"Make sure that we are all on the same page," Divac said of the main thing Ranadive wants out of him. "Everybody - players, front office, ownership, fans ... We have a great coach, we have a couple of great players, we have a couple of talented guys, we have a couple of good role players, but we don't have stability. I felt bad for the players this year."

And there is a lot to stabilize: the future of DeMarcus Cousins, increasing the win total, streamlining the decision-making process at the top, building the trust of the players (after three coaches in one season) and fans that this ship is going to turn around; just to name a few.

The trade rumors are abound for Cousins. His body language while walking around in street clothes at Sleep Train Arena Monday was just as it has been on the floor for much of the second half of the season - a lot of scowling; a sense of distance. Cousins is about as hard of a read as there is in the NBA so it isn't productive to look too much into his demeanor, but there are tensions when it comes to him and the Kings hierarchy, that much is evident. And Cousins'  cryptic tweets don't help alleviate speculation.

Divac said he knows Cousins has to get more help out of the roster next season, but that he also needs to be an agent of change for the players around him.

"Yeah, he needs help, but he needs to also make sure that he makes everybody better on the floor, just to be present there," Divac told Sactown Royalty. "We have to do for him, to, again, bring stability and let him enjoy, let him play. He has the talent, he showed he can do it so I want to see how he reacts when things start a different way. I saw at the beginning of this season he did pretty good."

Having everyone at a table very soon to discuss the direction of the franchise will be key for the immediate future. Recently, Rudy Gay, whose demeanor was more jovial than Cousins' at Monday night's game, said that his main goal this season was to find out what the front office wants from him.

Divac had this to say about that.

"If somebody knows, Rudy knows. He's a veteran guy, he knows what he's going to do in the offseason, he has to just come and play," Divac said.

Divac, who was part of the Kings team that captured the attention of the world in the early 2000s through its style of play that was supported with strong chemistry and teamwork, wants the players to be able to have fun.

"They have talent, they showed they can play, we need to just give them freedom to have fun," Divac said.

And then there is the fluid nature of Pete D'Alessandro's position in the organization. D'Alessandro now reports to Divac. It has been reported that D'Alessandro resisted Ranadive hiring Divac. When asked how his relationship with D'Alessandro is Divac replied with this.

"Right now, or last week?"

He followed that up with it is great and this, "Everybody has to be on the same page. We are employees of the Kings organization so we have to do good work to help this organization have a very similar excitement like we had when I was here as a player and I believe I can do that. I can do that with respecting everybody in the front office."

On Monday, Ranadive, D'Alessandro and Divac sat separately along courtside - D'Alessandro along the sidelines, Ranadive in the owner seats at center court and Divac on his stool in the player tunnel. Following the game all three chatted outside of the media lounge together.

The other piece to the equation is George Karl, who like Divac, says everyone needs to be on the same page.

"An organization is a lot like a team, it's got to work together, it's got to believe in each other, it's got to trust each other and we have a very short period of time. People don't understand October 1 will come very quickly and we've got to make some good steps, some good decisions and take the good stuff that we have and magnify it with good commitment to make them better and make them develop," Karl said.

While all of this takes shape, the players enter another offseason filled with more questions than answers.

Landry, who had another rocky season himself as he dealt with returning from an injury and being shuffled in and out of the lineup, wasn't ready to say things are guaranteed to be better with Divac around.

"It's still early. We don't know what he can do, we don't know if he'll be here next year," Landry said. "I'm just looking at the history."

The history of this season will always be referred to with a slight cringe. The goal now is for Divac and company to make sure history doesn't repeat itself and to stabilize the future.