All media days are lighthearted, but Monday's Sacramento Kings version had a particular freshness to it. This was highlighted by a comical exchange between Kings head coach George Karl and Vlade Divac, vice president of basketball operations and general manager.
The Kings public relations team had just told the media scrum around Karl that this was the last question and he needed to move along. During his final answer, Karl was in the middle of discussing the importance of passing and the flow of the Kings offense, but before he could finish Divac yelled from the back: "Are you going to make the playoffs?"
Not skipping a beat, Karl responded, "I feel good about that challenge, but the puzzle hasn't been put together yet, you just threw all these pieces on the table."
Divac: "Well, I'm confident you can put it all together."
Karl: "I'm very excited about the challenge. The challenge of us being a winning team I think is the first step, I think we'll get that done. And then, of course, the next challenge is to make the playoffs."
The exchange was amusing and Divac, in a way, had every right to ask that question. He has done his job after all, bringing in defense (Kosta Koufos and Willie Cauley-Stein), shooting (Marco Belinelli and Seth Curry) and veterans (Caron Butler, Rajon Rondo and Omri Casspi). It's up to Karl to make it all work.
After Divac replaced Karl in the seat for his own media session, he recalled when he spoke to Karl on his first day. Karl, according to Divac, had marked up the board in his office to illustrate the holes in the roster and asked him to fill them in.
"I hope I filled all those holes and I'm very confident that he's going to make it happen. I think we have a lot of talent, we have a deep team, and a lot of veterans, a lot of young guys that can learn from them so we'll just go step by step," Divac said.
DeMarcus Cousins would later give credit to Divac for being a unifier.
"His talent as a player has carried over to GM, president, whatever his role is," Cousins said with a laugh. "It's been great so far and I'm glad he's our leader."
The fun has already begun ladies and gentlemen.