Kings' Divac Makes Number Of Firings After Contract Extension
NBA Kings VP/Basketball Operations & GM Vlade Divac "received a contract extension Thursday morning and immediately executed a series of strongman moves," firing coach Dave Joerger and Assistant GM Brandon Williams "hours after the team concluded its best season in more than a decade," according to Jason Anderson of the SACRAMENTO BEE. Divac then "took full responsibility" for the firings. He said, "It was my decision." The Kings this season "generated excitement among fans and garnered notoriety around the NBA with a talented, young roster and new up-tempo style." The Kings also "posted their highest win total" since their last playoff appearance in '05-06, but still "failed to reach the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season." The Kings, in addition to Joerger and Williams, also fired Dir of Media Relations Chris Clark, who had been with the organization since '00. The team is now "entrusting" Divac with the "responsibility of making the Kings a championship contender" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 4/12). ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski cited sources as saying that Divac is "using the muscle" of his new contract extension to "consolidate power around him." Sources also said that "tension between management and Joerger regarding playing time for certain young players and relationship strains impacted Divac's decision" to fire him (ESPN.com, 4/11).
WAIT-AND-SEE APPROACH: THE RINGER's Riley McAtee wrote Divac has "earned at least a little benefit of the doubt." McAtee: "It's not like the Kings fan base should hand Vlade a blank check, mind you, but not every decision by the franchise can be viewed through the same old ... prism anymore." Over the past few years, many of the team's decisions were "seen as catastrophes at the time, but have yielded more good than bad" (THERINGER.com, 4/11). However, ESPN's Amin Elhassan said Divac's decision to fire Joerger, Williams and Clark is "what dysfunctional organizations do." They "make decisions that are puzzling" and they "can't manage their structure from within" ("The Jump," ESPN2, 4/11). CBSSN's Adam Schein said the Kings are "still dysfunctional." Schein: "Vlade's getting more power? Why?!" ("Time to Schein," CBSSN, 4/11).