When Vlade is the GM Misery Happens

Vlade Divac and Vivek Ranadivé, the two people who have kept the Sacramento Kings in the gutter by their lack of planning, strategy, or consistency, have divorced. Remember the old days when DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Caspi were out and Buddy Hield, Langston Galloway, and Tyreke Evans were in? That was three years ago but in King-speak, three years is a wasteland. It could have been three minutes, three months, or three decades. It all comes back to the root. The Kings are chaotic. It’s a thing for them.

Looking back at Vlade’s swing at the fences three years ago, these are the Kings pieces, what Cousins was good for. Tyreke Evans who the Kings initially drafted and who was Rookie of the Year. Evans never developed as a combo guard. Sure, in his heyday he could drive and attack but he had no jump shot to speak of. Knee injuries compromised his quickness. His last NBA game was April 10, 2019.

Buddy Hield was a good Vlade get but he’s been miserable ever since he’s been in Sacramento. He thinks he’s a starter. Granted, Hield can make shots but he is a black hole who doesn’t move the ball and his rebounding is nothing special. Basically, he is a one-dimensional three-point shooter and not a great one at that. His athleticism is average. This season Hield is good for 19 points and an abysmal defensive efficiency.

Langston Galloway, a nothing special bench scorer, left Sacramento soon after the trade. He got out in time.

Three years ago, sycophants anticipated what Vlade would do in the draft, but the rest of us knew the Kings were dysfunctional and in a free market economy they gave away a Mercedes in Cousins for a bicycle. They didn’t want to pay Cousins the $200 million he was due as specified in the new and improved Collective Bargaining Agreement. A max player like Cousins who is not on his rookie contract, and who is on the team that drafted him, and if he has less than 10 years in the league, is eligible for a sweetheart deal. However, a little known fine print is that after signing said sweetheart deal trades are halted for a year. So the Kings had to make a decision. They did. It just was the wrong one. Not trading Cousins. But trading him and getting nothing. They would have done better trying to pry some of the young talent off the Lakers. With this deal they had Hield and that’s it.

Under the category that history repeats itself, Sacramento has always done this. Ever since the Chris Webber era ended, they have been falling down and getting up bloody. It makes sense that they would jam themselves on their own sword the very weekend when their last great player, Chris Webber, was announced as a Hall of Fame candidate. The Kings have been organizationally clueless, dysfunctional, the blind leading the blind, and laughable to the point of incompetence.

What do I mean?

Vlade hired George Karl then fired him and then didn’t fire him and then waited to fire him and then didn’t fire him and finally fired him. The Kings owner, Vivek Ranadivé, believes you can build a team like the high school girls basketball team he coached. The inmates are not running the asylum. Even they could do a better job than this.

Vlade is responsible for passing on Luka Doncic. It was a Sacramento thing to do. His chosen pick, Marvin Bagley III, sprained his foot in the bubble. Not to be undone by his Doncic brain freeze, Vlade also signed Harrison Barnes to an $85 million dollar contract. He did this as GM.

  • 2015: Willie Cauley-Stein (#6). Signed a second contract with Golden State Warriors.
  • 2016: Marquese Chriss (#8) Traded to the Suns. Traded to Houston. Traded to Cleveland. Signed with Warriors.
  • 2017: De’Aaron Fox (#5). 16.2 points. 6.1 assists.
  • 2018: Marvin Bagley III (#2) 14.8 points. 7.6 rebounds. 

So here you have an organization that doesn’t have aptitude in scouting and/or keeping young talent, doesn’t have the ability to maintain coaches: it is the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing and expecting different results.

Vlade hired Luke Walton who failed up. Now he’s out of the GM business after 5 years. Perhaps Joe Dumars forced him out. Perhaps it was just time to go considering Sac town’s ineptitude. The fact of the matter is that Sacramento wasn’t better because of what Vlade did. Perhaps if/when De’Aaron Fox becomes an All-Star, Vlade and his pal Peja Stojakovic, who also resigned, will be redeemed.

Dare I remind the uninitiated that the numbers are all that matters. 14 years out the playoffs for Sacramento. The longest drought in the NBA.