Vlade Divac, Kings Agree on New Contract: Latest Comments and Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 30, 2016

Retired Sacramento Kings center Vlade Divac, of Serbia, talks with reporters before the Kings played the Atlanta Hawks in NBA basketball game in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March 16, 2015.  Divac has recently been named the Kings Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings and vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac reportedly reached an agreement Wednesday on a multiyear contract extension.

James Ham of CSNBayArea.com confirmed the new deal is in place. Marc Stein of ESPN.com initially reported the news and noted the franchise is in the process of adding a "seasoned NBA executive" to the front office as well. Former Indiana Pacers general manager David Morway is reportedly the leading candidate.

Divac, who spent six seasons with the Kings during his playing career, joined the team's front office last March and became the team's VP of basketball operations in August.

The extension comes with Sacramento on pace to miss the playoffs for the 10th straight season. The current campaign has featured no shortage of turmoil, mostly surrounding the relationship between Divac and head coach George Karl, which led to rumors about a potential midseason firing, per Stein.

In February, Divac told Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee the franchise wasn't going to let the longtime NBA coach go amid the speculation. Instead, he plans to meet with Karl after the season to discuss what's best for both sides, per KHTK (via Jones):

Yeah, he has a contract with the team, but as the GM, I try to improve not just the coaching position but the players. We will talk at the end of the season and see where we are. I think we should be much better than (we are) right now. If we show improvement, we will sit down and talk and see where we want to be in the future.

The season also featured trade buzz surrounding the team's leading scorer, DeMarcus Cousins, but he ended up staying with the Kings as well.

It sets the stage for a potentially busy offseason in Sacramento. Locking Divac into a contract extension now suggests the organization is comfortable with his leading the decision-making process. It's unclear what role a potential hire like Morway would fill.

Not everybody is convinced the 48-year-old former NBA forward is the right fit for the job, though. Bill Simmons of The Ringer commented on Sacramento's decision:

Ultimately, this summer is crucial for Divac. He must restore order to a franchise that's lost its way for the past decade and currently features some powerful personalities on the roster like Cousins and point guard Rajon Rondo, who's an unrestricted free agent at season's end.

Divac is right to suggest the Kings have more talent than their record would suggest. All of the key players, besides Rondo, are signed beyond this season. But there's still a lot of work to do.

Between finding the missing pieces to the playoff puzzle and deciding Karl's fate, Divac faces a lot of pressure after signing his new deal.