In a move that will go a long way to help improve their reputation around the league, the Kings have bolstered their front office with the addition of Scott Perry as executive vice president of basketball operations.
Kings general manager Vlade Divac will still be in charge and have the final say on all basketball decisions, but Perry will step in to help make up for the areas the team has lacked experience and knowledge in over the past two years.
On Friday, Divac said he had his eye on Perry for a while.
“I have known Scott for a long time, and he is very well respected within the league, and with players and agents. I contacted him previously when he was with (former Orlando Magic general manager) Rob (Hennigan), and asked if they would let him go. They said no. But when he became available, I reached out and we talked about the possibility of him joining me. This was my guy. He’s another guy who likes what we are trying to do and has similar thought on players.
“He is that guy, the one who can talk to anyone and knows everyone in the league and (college).”
Divac’s short tenure in charge of basketball operations has been criticized because of the lack of experience in the team’s front office. After the Kings’ final regular-season game, Divac said he was open to adding to the front office.
When he joined the Kings in March 2015, Divac looked to add personnel to the front office. Until now, he had been unable to convince more experienced executives to work under him.
According to numerous league insiders, NBA team executives have found it difficult to negotiate with the Kings because of their thin and inexperienced front office.
The Kings had also struggled in recent offseasons to schedule visits and workouts from top draft prospects, even while holding a top-10 draft pick. No lottery picks worked out for the Kings last year.
Adding the well-respected Perry gives the Kings an executive who knows the league well and can help Divac navigate what will be another important offseason.
The addition of Perry – along with assistant general manager Ken Catanella last year – are major steps in showing prospective free agents and the rest of the league that the instability of the Kings might finally be changing.
Catanella gave the Kings a much-needed expert in the collective bargaining agreement and the salary cap.
Perry brings years of knowledge dealing with personnel.
Perry is an experienced executive who was director of player personnel under Joe Dumars in Detroit (2001-07), which included winning the NBA championship in 2004. He was also assistant general manager in Oklahoma City under Sam Presti (2007-08) before returning to Detroit as vice president of basketball operations.
Perry had been the assistant general manager in Orlando the past five years but was not retained when Hennigan was fired at the end of the regular season.
Divac’s first two offseasons included some moves that have been criticized, including his May 2015 trade with Philadelphia in which the Kings still owe the 76ers a first-round draft pick in 2019.
Philadelphia can also swap picks in the first round this year should the Kings move ahead of the 76ers in the draft lottery.
Highlights for Divac include the hiring of head coach Dave Joerger last year. The team also managed to acquire a first-round pick for Marco Belinelli after a disappointing 2015-16 season. The Kings used that pick on guard Malachi Richardson.
Divac’s biggest transaction was trading two-time All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in February, one that was both applauded and criticized.
Critics said Divac rushed to make the deal with New Orleans and could have gotten more for Cousins. The key assets acquired were rookie guard Buddy Hield and New Orleans’ first-round pick this year, which is top-three protected.
On Thursday, the Kings hired Luke Bornn as vice president of strategy and analytics.
“I feel very confident with these two hires,” Divac said. “Luke Bornn is somebody I have been paying attention to for a while. ... When he became available, I reached out out to him right away.”
All the Kings’ men
A look at the Sacramento Kings’ front office hierarchy heading into the offseason:
Vlade Divac: general manager
Scott Perry: vice president of basketball operations
Ken Catanella: assistant general manager
Mike Bratz: director of scouting
Peja Stojakovic: vice president of player personnel, GM of Bighorns
Luke Bornn: vice president of strategy and analytics