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NBA Rumors: Vlade Divac, Kings Agree to 4-Year Contract After 39-43 Record

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 11, 2019

Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, left, and Vlade Divac, the Kings vice president of basketball operations and general manager walk off the court together after the Kings defeated the Houston Rockets 96-83 in an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 11, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The Sacramento Kings' organizational musical chairs will not continue, as the team has reportedly elected to retain general manager Vlade Divac.

On Thursday, Sam Amick of The Athletic reported the Kings agreed to a four-year contract extension with Divac that will run through the 2022-23 campaign.

The Kings, still in rebuilding mode, are trending in the right direction after winning 39 games this season—a 12-game jump from last—and affirmed their commitment to Divac with this move as they look to build a consistent winner with talented young pieces such as De'Aaron Fox, Marvin Bagley and Buddy Hield.

Divac, 51, struggled in his post almost from the outset of becoming GM in 2015. His hiring was a messy undermining of then-general manager Pete D'Alessandro, who left for a second spell with the Denver Nuggets.

The Kings have made a number of questionable decisions under Divac, highlighted by trading DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans over the 2017 All-Star break. Their haul of Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and first- and second-round draft picks was almost universally derided upon the trade's completion, which led to some speculation regarding Divac's job status.

The team denied reports it was looking to contact former Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie about a role. Ownership then doubled down in the following September, signing Divac to a contract extension through the 2019-2020 season—a seemingly unnecessary move given it had extended him in March 2016.

Divac also talked as if he was expecting to remain with the franchise heading into this past season. 

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"This year we decided in the second part of the season ... on minutes for the rookies," Divac told reporters in April 2018. "Sometimes it was automatic. Next year, it's going to be, 'Are you earning those minutes?' They have to fight for them."

With Divac's future secure once more following the team's improved performance, the question now is whether Dave Joerger will be the one to lead that group. Amick noted Divac's new agreement gives him final say on whether the Kings will retain their head coach, who has one season remaining on his contract.

"The flailing finish has fueled the notion that the 45-year-old Joerger is in peril," Amick wrote, pointing to a 9-17 stretch to end the season, including losses in the final two games against a New Orleans Pelicans team without Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Julius Randle and a Portland Trail Blazers side without Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

Amick also reported there are "trust issues" between Joerger and assistant general manager Brandon Williams that "led to a great divide between the two that was never bridged."

Divac now has even more power to decide the organization's future, and the status of his head coach may be one of the first things he addresses.

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