Vlade Divac and Brandon Williams discuss Kings' trades, direction
Throughout the season, Jason Jones answers readers’ questions about the team in a weekly Twitter mailbag. Tweet your questions with the hashtag #JonesHoldsCourt.
Q: How does @bgoodvlade still have a job? Two of the players he drafted in 2016 have either been traded or waived. Waiving a lottery pick that’s been in the league for less than two seasons seems unforgivable.
– eli, @knewnez
A: If Vlade Divac’s time as general manager comes to a halt, his decisions to take Georgios Papagiannis in the lottery and waive him after less than two seasons will be pointed to as a big reason.
But why does he still have a job? First, the Kings extended his contract through 2019-20 before the season, a sign ownership has bought into his vision.
Divac has been in this role since 2015 but he’s essentially now viewed through the lens of the Kings’ post-DeMarcus Cousins era. It’s been about a year since the deal and he’ll be given another draft to try to land a possible franchise player.
Divac said at the time of the Cousins trade he’d step down if the Kings weren’t better off in two years.
There’s one more year before we can assess that. “Better” is relative, and with so many young players, that might buy Divac more time than his two-year self-imposed deadline.
Q: What are the odds that all three of Shump, Kosta and Temple opt in for next year?
– Kyle Tooley, @k_tools
A: Iman Shumpert, Kosta Koufos and Garrett Temple all have player options for next season and the odds are good all three will opt in.
Shumpert has been dogged by injuries this season, and there’s no reason for him to enter free agency like that when he could choose $11 million guaranteed.
Koufos has an option worth $8.7 million and Temple’s is for $8 million.
The market for players who aren’t superstars is viewed as uncertain at best, so it makes sense they’d all take the guaranteed money rather than risk signing for much less in the offseason.
Bear in mind, that does not mean the Kings will keep all three for the duration of next season.
Q: Do you think that Caboclo will have minutes this season? Sampson is going to sign a full-time contract with Kings? Thanks Jason.
A: Bruno Caboclo was the forward the Kings acquired from Toronto for Malachi Richardson. I’d expect he’d receive some playing time, but he’s not a part of the core the Kings are focused on developing.
The Kings have stated they want to maintain flexibility with the roster. That would indicate they do not plan to sign JaKarr Sampson for the rest of the season.
Once Joe Johnson’s buyout becomes official, the Kings will have an open roster spot they could use to look at players on 10-day contracts or something longer.
The Kings will have the ability to recall Sampson when needed, but once Skal Labissiere is able to play, the priority will be to give him minutes to further evaluate his place with the franchise for the future.
Now for this week’s non-Kings question:
Q: Favorite road city or a top five.
– Pete Pranica, @PetePranica
A: No. 1, Los Angeles: It’s my hometown, so even when I’m on the road, I’m really at home. Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles, Fatburger and the overall scene will always be No. 1 for me.
No. 2, Brooklyn: The hip-hop lover in me can’t get enough of this city. Love the vibe, the culture and the people. It also helps that one of my best friends in the world lives in Brooklyn.
No. 3, New Orleans: I’m a foodie. Need I say more?
No. 4, Portland: I’m a Nike junkie, so this is pretty easy to explain.
No. 5, Philadelphia: Solely because my hotel is a short walk from the Mitchell and Ness store.
Honorable mention: Dallas (barbecue), Memphis (barbecue), Miami (because it’s Miami), Chicago (Harold’s Chicken).