Vlade Divac met with the Sacramento media Monday, the day after news broke that he was trading DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.
Divac said the deal, which includes Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and New Orleans’ 2017 first and second round picks, was the best offer the Kings had (other than the offer the Kings had two days prior), that it was the right time to make the move and that the Kings want to change the culture.
The Kings general manager said the team will play hard, continue to try to make the playoffs and if they don't, he said they have put themselves in a good spot to move forward to establish a winning culture.
Divac wished the talented big man well:
"I love DeMarcus, I think he did great things here in the community and for this team and I wish him nothing but the best in New Orleans, but on the second hand, I have to do my job and I felt like this was the best time to move forward, changing the culture, moving forward making a better organization."
For the full press conference, click here.
Following the press conference, Divac spent a few minutes with Sactown Royalty. Below are excerpts.
Recently, at least publicly, you guys had said you want to build around Cousins. Most of the season that is how you felt, right?
Most of it, yeah.
You didn't offer much detail on timelines in terms of the thought process on changing that direction.
I can't talk details. I can just tell you about the decision we made, why we made it and where we're going.
A lot of the fans have mixed emotions right now because they have been hearing about how you aren't willing to trade Cousins, and now it happened. Do you understand that frustration from the fans?
Fully, and I think one of the reasons why I did it is to [send a] clear message and direction where we're going because we were kind of in no-man's land.
The message had been that you were fighting to get the 8th seed.
We'll still compete, but our ultimate goal is to not just make the 8th seed ... we want to build a championship team hopefully in the future.
So if Cousins did stay and you guys made the 8th seed – some of your guys are pushing 30 years old – did you see that there wasn't much future there even if the Kings did make the 8th seed this season?
Pretty much, yeah.
You talked about it in the press conference, but just to confirm: Vivek [Ranadive] was not involved in this? You said he has confidence in you to make these decisions?
He has faith in me making a basketball decision.
You gave the final sign off?
Yeah, it was me.
The recent game against the Boston Celtics has been brought up. Was it you that saw this game and liked how they were playing? Was it Vivek? Was it both of you?
All basketball decisions is on me so I just made a comment, somebody asked me ... They asked me how I would like to see us moving forward. I tried to compare and I would love to see that, for example. But it doesn't mean that we are better or worse because of the Boston game. It has nothing to do with that.
Some are questioning whether the Kings got enough in return in this deal. You said the offer two days ago that disappeared was better than this one?
Slightly better, but it disappeared because a lot of reasons.
I am assuming you have got many offers over the years for Cousins from other GMs just testing the waters, was that one better than anything you have seen since you have been here?
It [offers] was going down [in value].
It was worse than say a few years ago?
I don't know, I wasn't here two-and-a-half years go. And we didn't talk about moving DeMarcus, it was recent. I mean we listened, but we never had an engaged, serious talk.
You said you texted and called DeMarcus after the All-Star game last night. Did you hear back from him?
Not yet, actually I talked to his agent and he said he was going to call me with him together, but they didn't.
So when was the last time you actually talked to him?
Actually, we were texting each other that day, in the morning.
Of the All-Star game?
You brought in a lot of guys last year, Rajon Rondo, Marco Belinelli and others, and then you brought in a lot of guys this season. Do you feel like you gave this current squad with Cousins enough time to let him take it to the next level?
I believe so.
What was Dave Joerger’s involvement in this decision?
We talk about a lot of different stuff. We talk about the team; we talk about future so I can have a sense of when I have to make a decision where we’re going, I try to be on the same page ... I informed him where I was going, where I was leaning.
Was he supportive?
Well, we discussed different angles and he was, yeah, he was on the same page.
You have a ton of shooting guards now – you have Malachi Richardson, you have Ben McLemore, you have Garrett Temple.
We have to score.
What is the plan No. 1, in terms of the future of this team? And are you trying to switch to how the league is going right now with more outside shooting?
No, we still have Willie [Cauley-Stein], Papa [Georgios Papagiannis], Skal [Labissiere], great prospects that I really like and they are developing very well and ... we're going to make improvements and we are always open to improving our team and making it right.
For more background on the deal, make sure you check out the Vertical Podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks.