SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Update: 4:15 p.m.
After signing a new four year contract with the Sacramento Kings as General Manager, Vlade Divac said the decisions he made Thursday morning were about reaching the “next level”
Kings fans were abuzz after Head Coach Dave Joerger was fired Thursday morning. The former Kings coach had just led the Kings to their best performance since 2005-06.
In Thursday afternoon press conference, Divac said he believes the decision is putting the Kings in a better position, and said that the Kings are better than the 39 wins they got this season.
Noting that there was room for the team to improve, Divac added that a new coach for the King's will have to come with the King’s style of up-tempo play, moving the ball, communication, defined roles, and belief in the team.
Regarding Joerger, Divac acknowledged that it was his decision, noting that he began looking at ways to improve the team around the time of the All-Star break.
“We want to be going forward and try to reach that next level," Divac said. "I felt like, you know, we need some changes there.”
When Divac let go of Joerger, the owners were said to have been supportive.
“I think he did a great job to make that step [to the next level], but moving forward I just felt like we got to go in a different direction,” Divac added.
The Sacramento Kings fired Head Coach Dave Joerger after he led the team to its best record since 2006, officials announced Thursday morning.
The team announced early Thursday morning it signed General Manager Vlade Divac to a four-year contract extension. Divac announced that he fired Joerger just hours later.
“After evaluating the season, I determined that we need to move in a different direction in order to take us to the next level,” Divac said in a statement.
The move comes as the Kings wrap up their third season under Joerger, finishing 9th in the Western Conference with a 39-43 record. It was the team's most successful season since 2006 when they finished 8th in the West with a 44-38 record. They eventually lost to the 1st place San Antonio Spurs.
With the extension, Divac, the former all-star center, is now in charge of the young, up-and-coming team for the foreseeable future.
“It is an exciting time to be in Sacramento and I am honored to continue my work of building towards sustained success for this franchise,” Divac said in a statement. “I believe our team has what it takes to win and make the playoffs. I want to thank Vivek, the entire Kings organization and the fans for all their support.”
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said Divac is a "vital" part of what the team has built in the past few years.
"Throughout his entire career, Vlade is someone who has always made those around him better, both on and off the court," Ranadive said. "I look forward to our bright future ahead as we work to make Sacramento Proud."
Divac played 16 season in the NBA, six of which were for the Kings. During the Kings' 2001-2002 season, which ended in a Western Conference Finals loss to the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers, the center averaged 11.1 points, 8.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
The Kings hired Divac in 2015 as their Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations, and was promoted to the team's GM months later.
Earlier this month, it was announced that Divac would be inducted into the 2019 Hall of Fame class.
The Kings also parted ways with Assistant General Manager Brandon Williams and Public Relations Manager Chris Clark.
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