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Vlade Divac: “If I’m wrong, I’ll step down”

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In a revealing interview, Vlade says he has two years to be proven right

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Vlade Divac has taken a lot of criticism since trading DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans just over a week ago. But to his credit, the Sacramento Kings GM hasn’t shied away from criticism or the media. At times, such as stating he had a better offer two days before actually making the trade, Vlade’s candor has hurt him. There’s still an argument to be made for transparency, and in an interview with the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voison his candor takes minor steps towards restoring credibility. It’s a wide-ranging interview, so I highly encourage you to read the whole thing, but we’ll hit the highlights here.

Accountability

I totally understand why some fans would be upset. They supported DeMarcus, and I like DeMarcus a lot. But I believe we are going to be in a better position in two years. I want to hear again from these same people in two years. If I’m right, great. If I’m wrong, I’ll step down. But if I go down, I’m going down my way.

Vlade throws down the gauntlet on himself. He takes responsibility for the trade and gives us a timeframe with which to judge him on it. And while I don’t necessarily believe Vlade’s insistence that Vivek Ranadivé had no involvement, I actually can agree with Vlade here. He’s made a big move, and in the aftermath many of us have called for Vlade to be replaced. I’ve been in that chorus. But it’s fair to wait and see how this all plays out.

A better deal two days ago

When I was first talking with the Pelicans, it was about Buddy (Hield) and two first-round picks. I talked to DeMarcus’ agents (Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana) to inform them we were having talks, negotiating terms, and they called teams and threatened them, saying that if Cousins was traded, he would not sign an extension. They got scared and dropped it down to a second-round pick

This is still something Vlade should have kept to himself. He doesn’t come out looking good by admitting he lost the negotiations, but he saves some face by acknowledging that it was negotiations with the Pelicans, and not that there was another mystery team with a better deal available.

Why now?

It was a lot of things, but basically, I thought it was time to start over. There was a lot of bad stuff happening here the last five years, a lot of bad habits. There were always issues, many you don’t even know about.

I’ve heard this echoed in the past week from connected reporters around the league. There’s no doubt that Cousins was an issue. For years I’ve heard that there were things happening that never got reported.

So why not earlier?

It’s easy to be smart after everything. But I wanted to take time with DeMarcus, work with a new coach, put some veterans around him. And don’t get me wrong. DeMarcus did a lot of good things here. He played hard. The problem is that I wanted the team to play together. And it just wasn’t working, not for where we want to go.

Yes, it’s easy to look smart after the fact, but that doesn’t change the fact that this whole ordeal was handled sloppily at best, incompetently at worst.


In whole, I don’t think this changes how anyone is going to feel about the trade or how it was handled, but it does shed some light on the topic. We may disagree with how the Kings handled things, but we know how they’re justifying those actions. That’s something, I suppose.

What do you think? Does this article change your opinion of the trade or Vlade at all?