The more things change for the Sacramento Kings, the more they stay the same. In the latest power shuffle of his front office, owner Vivek Ranadivé has reportedly made the recently hired Vlade Divac the Kings’ top management decision-maker.
Here’s ESPN’s Marc Stein:
Sources told ESPN.com that Divac, who was recently hired by the Kings under the seemingly broad title of vice president of basketball and franchise operations, is indeed regarded as the team’s top basketball official by owner Vivek Ranadive after months of turbulence in Sacramento.
The Kings have yet to formally announce their new power structure, but sources say that Divac has supplanted both general manager Pete D’Alessandro and former Kings adviser Chris Mullin — who just jumped to the college game as the new coach at alma mater St. John’s — as Sacramento’s lead basketball decision-maker.
This news comes just five weeks after Divac was hired as vice president of basketball and franchise operations, his first role as a NBA executive.
Stein also reports that the fate of current general manager Pete D’Allessandro – who, like us, disagreed with the decision to fire Mike Malone in December – is up in the air. Considering the departure of adviser Chris Mullin to the college basketball ranks and Divac’s troublingly rapid ascent up the front office hierarchy, the writing seems on the wall for D’Allesandro’s future with the Kings – despite his past relationship as a member of the Denver Nuggets with newly appointed coach George Karl.
This is just the latest indication that Ranadivé is in over his head as a NBA owner. While his zeal for the game and importance as a global figure are unquestioned, it’s become increasingly apparent that his lack of patience and overarching need to placate fans has Sacramento in hands barely more capable than those of the disgraced Joe and Gavin Maloof.
What makes Divac qualified to be the Kings’ head basketball honcho? Other than his seeming ability to play the role of “yes man” to Ranadivé, of course?
We’re in no position to judge Divac at the moment – his resumé as a decision-maker basically doesn’t exist. There’s a chance he really is the management genius ownership’s actions suggest, and we hope he is for the sake of DeMarcus Cousins and Sacramento’s dedicated fan base.
But yet another franchise shakeup under shady circumstances simply casts further doubt on Ranadivé’s approach to owning the Kings. Consider this, for instance: What sane up-and-coming NBA coach or executive would choose Sacramento over other suitors given so much organizational overturn in the past few months? This franchise needs that type of voice to emerge from the depths of lottery balls, and it seems unlikely Ranadivé will be able to find it – and he might not even want to.
Good luck to Divac. If he, Karl, and Cousins can defy the odds and turn the Kings into a playoff contender, though, one thing has been made readily apparent: It won’t be due to prudent decision-making by Ranadivé.