In exit interviews, transparency in where players stand on their views toward an organization and the makings of it are always set up to be juicy. If news broke last week that Donte DiVincenzo was unhappy with the way the Sacramento Kings used him since his trade from the Milwaukee Bucks this February, his final conversation with media on Monday afternoon would not have been the wiser.
For DiVincenzo, the last 10 weeks were about a self-described transformation.
“Everything I’ve been saying is all about growth, so for me, going into the offseason, it’s going to be about keeping that growth,” DiVincenzo said. “And that’s what I’ve learned here these past two moths: no matter win or loss, just come in the next day and grow and get better every day. We’re trying to build habits and grow into the future and build something together.”
Beyond the rinse and repeat taglines of “building together” and ‘forming good habits’, there’s not entirely too much Sacramento has alluded to in what actual changes need to be made. DiVincenzo should most certainly remain a priority for the Kings to retain this offseason, as the defensive-minded skill set will make quite a splash in free agency.
“I don’t even know when free agency is,” DiVincenzo said. “I’m so focused on trying to get better. Everything’s going to take care of itself. Chips are gonna lay where they lay and I’m going to play basketball next year.”
The allusive disagreement that DiVencenzo and his camp held with Monte McNair teeters into “he’s gone” territory, but keeping expectations realistic that Sacramento see the value in him in trading for him twice gives indication that his presence on the roster his desirable.
DiVincenzo closed his exit interview with an homage to the Kings fans who, as always, leave a lasting impression on a player. The Big Ragu described Sacramento fans as “amazing’ and a fanbase that deserves better.
“There’s a lot of things I need to work on individually and there’s a lot of things we need to work on collectively. For me, it’s how do I use this offseason to make myself better and give everything I’ve got to this team? The fans are actually amazing in Sacramento and we weren’t getting the wins that those fans deserve. For me, that’s motivation: how can I get better to give those fans something to cheer for and make the playoffs next year?”
Do we take every player’s desire to get Sacramento into the playoffs with a grain of salt? Absolutely. The Kingdom can look to the offseason as a litmus test for this franchise in their vision of building a roster around De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis, while also keeping in mind the importance of their role players and the value they carry - especially when given the chance to leave for competency.