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Vlade Divac on trading DeMarcus Cousins: “I was relieved”

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Vlade discusses his mindset as he pushed the reset button

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Vlade Divac has made many roster and personnel decisions since taking over as general manager of the Sacramento Kings two and half years ago, but the decision to trade DeMarcus Cousins will go down as a key point in his tenure. In a recent interview with Ailene Voison of the Sacramento Bee, Vlade discusses the decision to trade DeMarcus, the steps the team is taking to rebuild, and how important the upcoming draft is. The peek into Vlade’s decision to trade DeMarcus stands out as the most fascinating.

That was the deal-maker, the Divac proclamation. The Kings were unwilling to invest an estimated $200 million in a Cousins extension and no longer content to half-step the rebuilding process. They were all in. The owners, the front office executives, the picks and the shovels.

“In some respects, I was relieved,” Divac said. “When I got here (February 2015), and then Pete (D’Alessandro) left just before the draft, I wanted to study everything and not make quick decisions I would regret. I put myself into working with George (Karl), DeMarcus. But when I realized it wasn’t going to work, I thought, ‘Go young and start over.’ ”

The unasked question that looms is when Vlade realized it wasn’t going to work. The phrasing in his answer indicates that he means when DeMarcus and Karl wasn’t working, but I take it to mean when he realized it just wasn’t going to work with Cousins. I’d love to know when Vlade made that decision.

This week’s draft moves and next week’s free agency period will go a long way towards whether or not that decision is judged as a wise one. Nail the 5th and 10th pick and build a team from the ground up, and a lot of Vlade’s past mistakes will start to be forgiven.