Vlade Divac has resigned his post as general manager of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, the franchise he directed for the previous five years. His decision to step down from the role was announced by the team on Friday in a statement released on their official website.
In the press release, Kings owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé thanked Divac for his hard work, but affirmed his belief that the move would ultimately prove to be in the best interest of the club.
“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,” he said. “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.”
For his part, Divac expressed gratitude for being given the opportunity to run Sacramento’s basketball operations. He also stated that the Kings — a group with whom he had spent six seasons during the late 1990s and early 2000s as a player — would continue to “hold a special place” in his heart.
Although the Kings enjoyed their best run since their early days as the Rochester Royals with Divac teaming up with Chris Webber, Mike Bibby and Peja Stojakovic to lead the charge during his playing career, he failed to achieve any level of sustained success as an executive. The Kings haven’t finished above 0.500 since the 2005-06 season. While he is responsible for drafting the club’s current cornerstone piece in De’Aaron Fox and also made the move to acquire sharpshooter Buddy Hield, he has also missed the mark with personnel decisions.
His draft-night move to bring in Georgios Papagiannis with a lottery pick in 2016 proved to be especially fruitless, as the Greek big man was waived before he could even play out his initial rookie-scale contract.
With Divac out of the picture, former Detroit Pistons guard and executive Joe Dumars will assume the roles of executive vice president of basketball operations and general manager on an interim basis. He will team up with ownership to formulate a long-term plan for the organization while it searches for a permanent manager.
Divac has been a fixture in the NBA for the last three decades, having begun his American playing career with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989 after competing in his native Serbia (then Yugoslavia). The seven-footer averaged 12.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per contest over 1,134 games as a player for the Lakers, Kings and Charlotte Hornets.
Divac isn’t the only prominent figure in the league to find himself out of a job on Friday, as the Chicago Bulls also relieved Jim Boylen of his duties as head coach.