Vivek Ranadivé will always be a divisive figure for Sacramento Kings fans. We’ll always appreciate that he helped keep the Kings in Sacramento, and that he genuinely cares about this team and wants it to be successful. But we’ll also lament his continued involvement in basketball operations, often to the detriment of the team. Every year we ask if this will finally be the year Vivek steps aside. So this year, we’ll instead just wonder not if he’ll be involved but how involved Vivek will be.
We regularly hear that Vivek is taking a backseat and letting Vlade Divac run the team. But those statements are too often countered by anecdotes to the contrary. When the Kings suddenly pulled the trigger and traded away DeMarcus Cousins, there was rampant speculation that the front office couldn’t wait for a better offer because they had to strike while Vivek would allow the trade. And then we heard that Vivek had long-admired Buddy Hield, the centerpiece of the return package the Kings received for Cousins. Vivek even went so far as to tell Hield that the Kings still wanted him even as he played for the New Orleans Pelicans.
In his 2 games in Sacramento as a member of the Pelicans, Buddy Hield said Kings owner Vivek Ranadive would say: 'we're still gonna get you'— Sean Cunningham (@SeanCunningham) February 23, 2017
And Vivek’s infatuation with Hield was only surpassed by his continued infatuation with turning the Kings into the Warriors.
Source familiar w/ Kings’ thinking: "Vivek thinks Buddy [Hield] has Steph Curry potential.” Am told that fixation was a key driver in deal.— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) February 20, 2017
And we got yet another anecdote on Wednesday, in a story on Andre Iguodala’s free agency. ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports that Vivek was a major part of the Kings pitch meeting. In context, it was probably a smart play. Iguodala is known for his love of the tech industry, which is Vivek’s area of expertise. And while it somewhat surprisingly sounds like the Kings might have actually had a legit shot at landing Iguodala, we get this extremely Vivek anecdote:
Ranadive, meanwhile, was lodging at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel across the street and wasn't checking out until he received word from Iguodala's camp, which needed some rest.
Vivek is an owner who cares. He gets involved. Any of us would probably do the same thing if we owned the Kings, if we’re honest with ourselves. And yet it seems like every involvement just gives outsiders another punchline, another Kangz moment, another gaffe.
Vivek is going to stay involved. We can only hope he keeps his involvement and his distractions to the team to a minimum.