Report: Vivek Ranadive frustrated by Kings underachieving, passing on Luka Doncic

Dan Feldman
NBC Sports

Days since a report of major turmoil within the Kings: 440 0

Shams Charania, Sam Amick and Jason Jones of The Athletic:

Frustration has been mounting among Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and others within the ownership group over the franchise’s front office and coaching, multiple sources tell The Athletic. Sources say Ranadive has shared his frustration with both front office and coaching decisions in a variety of unfiltered ways, including private conversations with business associates and in text messages during a season-long group chat with Divac, coach Luke Walton, assistant general manager Peja Stojakovic and Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis. The complaints, sources say, have been focused on the team’s underachievement and the part they all played in it.

The group chat that includes Ranadive, Walton, Divac and Kolokotronis is, in part, a forum for Ranadive to air his issues and feelings toward the coaching situation, according to sources.

Ranadive, sources say, ramped up his interest in learning all about his team’s scouting process earlier this season and sought more insight about their collective network, with the belief that it was a reaction to previous draft events and the looming questions about why Doncic wasn’t selected.

As it stands, however, sources say there is no indication that a change to the front office or coaching staff will be made anytime soon.

The Kings made their bed last summer, giving Divac a contract extension and firing Dave Joerger (who reportedly wanted Sacramento to draft Luka Doncic over Marvin Bagley III).

But the Kings don’t have to lie in it.

Choosing Bagley over Doncic will loom over Sacramento a long time. Executives are far more fungible. Even on a contract that runs through 2023, Divac holds only moderate job security – especially given his boss.

Addressing a previous draft controversy, Ranadive said:

Even now, with Vlade, I have a private joke with him, that if his choices don’t work out with him in a couple of years, that he’ll be shaving his head.

First of all, Ranadive publicly describing a “private” joke is hilarious. But there’s also probably truth behind the humor. Ranadive has been quick to place blame.

Ranadive should investigate why the Kings passed on Doncic. It was a colossal error. Ranadive should consider firing Divac, who has done a poor job.

But Ranadive is also central to the problem. He has repeatedly failed to hire proficient executives and position them to succeed. Even if he drops Divac, Ranadive can’t be trusted to find a quality replacement.

As little stability as Divac holds, Luke Walton has even less. Coaches are often the first fired. Sacramento’s problems run much deeper than Walton, but Joerger did a better job last season. As Joerger’s second-guessing of the Bagley-Doncic decision gains even more credibility, the former coach’s shadow grows larger.

The Kings’ struggles predate Walton, Divac and Ranadive. But the history of losing informs the current situation. Sacramento finally looked competitive and has just fallen flat.

Someone usually pays a price for that.

It won’t be the owner. Good luck to everyone downhill.

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