One day after the Sacramento Kings ended their season for the 14th consecutive year without advancing to the playoffs, Vlade Divac has decided to step down, per reporting from Sam Amick of The Athletic.
Kings GM Vlade Divac is stepping down, source tells @TheAthleticNBA. Joe Dumars (advisor previously) will be interim executive VP of basketball ops and immediately assumes GM duties. Dumars will be involved in the search for a new GM.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) August 14, 2020
The Kings confirmed his departure in a team statement.
“This was a difficult decision, but we believe it is the best path ahead as we work to build a winning team that our loyal fans deserve,” said Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé. “We are thankful for Vlade’s leadership, commitment and hard work both on and off the court. He will always be a part of our Kings family.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as the General Manager for the Kings,” said Vlade Divac. “I want to thank Vivek for the opportunity and recognize all of the incredible colleagues who I had the great pleasure of working with during my tenure. Sacramento and the Kings will always hold a special place in my heart and I wish them all the best moving forward.”
Divac had been a part of the Kings front office since 2015 and was the team’s vice president of basketball operations and general manager. Joe Dumars, who was brought in as an adviser in 2019 and has reportedly gained “increased influence” within the organization and with chairman Vivek Ranadive, will fill both of Divac’s roles in the interim.
The Kings signed Divac to a four-year extension in April 2019 to align him with their new head coach Luke Walton, who also received a four-year deal after being hired to replace Dave Joerger. The theory that was that Walton could not be on the hot seat despite the team regressing from the 2018-19 campaign so long as Divac was in charge. However, even with Divac gone, the Kings announced that they will make no personnel moves until they have a new GM.
Divac made numerous blunders as the lead man in the Sacramento front office, but perhaps none was as disastrous as selecting Marvin Bagley with the second pick in the 2018 NBA Draft ahead of Luka Doncic, who already received MVP votes in just his second season. There was no coming back from that decision, and it appears Divac saw the writing on the wall and stepped down.
Funny enough, this is the second straight season that Walton has seen his head of basketball operations unexpectedly resign within a day of the regular season ending. In both cases, it was a former star who couldn’t achieve the same success in the front office that he did as a player.
The Kings have a lot of work to do to get into the playoff race in the Western Conference. The search for a new general manager will be the most pivotal of those decisions.