Sacramento isn’t exactly known for being a premier free agent destination. The last time a major free agent signed with the Kings, it was Harrison Barnes, and that was only after they traded for him. Before Barnes, it was Vlade Divac, who’s arguably the player they’ve ever acquired via free agency.
Twenty years after Divac signed with the Kings as a player, he signed another contract with Sacramento: a contract extension to keep him as the team’s general manager through the 2022-23 season. In the year that has passed, the Kings haven’t improved much, which has only brought the mistakes Divac has made as the team’s general manager — from the Nik Stauskas trade, to the 2018 NBA Draft — back to light.
In spite of his many missteps, Divac is still confident in the direction the Kings are headed — a direction he believes will make Sacramento an attractive free agent destination in the near future. In an interview with Jason Jones of The Athletic, Divac talked about what the Kings need to do to lure free agents:
Divac said free agency isn’t “too different” from when he signed with the Kings in how players move. What is different is Sacramento is not as quiet on a late night as it was 21 years ago.
“The big markets, it’s still easier for them to bring the key players, but in the small markets like Sacramento, we have to make it an environment where we are a good team,” Divac said. “And obviously everyone knows about our fans and that’s a plus. And Sacramento, from the days I played and now is a different city. You have a lot of restaurants, a lot of new places, a new arena, our ownership is together and supporting. That all plays a key in free agency.”
The question is whether or not the Kings have the pieces in place to make Divac’s dream a reality. While there are no shortages of reasons to be pessimistic about the team’s future, Divas is confident in his team:
Divac believes the Kings are in position to make that happen in the near future.
“I really do and I think we are in the right place right now,” Divac said. “Finally we’ve got a core group of players, they’re working hard and playing well, especially before in the month the season was suspended. So I expect a lot of good days ahead.”
That being said, the players that Divac should be concerned with right now are the players on his roster. Not only is Bogdan Bogdanovic due a new contract in free agency, but De’Aaron Fox will be eligible for a contract extension in the offseason, too.
He’ll also be tasked with trying to reverse a mistake he made at the start of the season, when he declined the fourth year of Harry Giles’ rookie contract. Now, Giles will enter unrestricted free agency, and the Kings will be financially restricted with how much they can offer him.
Vlade has a lot of great plans — the results are what the fans are still waiting on five years into his reign.