Vlade Divac is out. Joe Dumars is in. Well, sort of.
An interim tag is one thing, but is Joe Dumars now running the Sacramento Kings?
If he is, that is owner Vivek Ranadivé’s prerogative and we can move forward.
But the messaging isn't clear on this subject, which potentially could impact any true general manager search in Sacramento.
There is one list of candidates that would love nothing more than to get a crack at running an NBA franchise, making executive decisions and taking ownership of the product on the court. That should be every executive’s motivation as they grow in experience around the league.
And then there is another list of folks who are willing to come in and be a voice -- just not the final one. They can be a role player that supports the larger vision of what is being built.
Who are the Kings looking for in this situation? Do they want someone with a preexisting relationship with Dumars? Can they find someone who can compliment him as an executive and help fill in any gaps in his expertise?
Or are they looking for a legitimate frontman who will take control of the franchise and lead it down a new path?
When Divac stepped down from his position on Friday, he reportedly did so because he refused to share decision-making duties with Dumars.
According to a league source, Dumars will help guide the Kings through free agency and the draft process. That doesn't exactly sound like an interim position, and if it is, that doesn't sound like any standard operating procedure we have seen from an NBA team in the past.
Whoever is applying for the GM job should be asking real questions of the Kings. Questions that might get uncomfortable.
Will they have final say in personnel decisions? Do they get to build their own staff? Who makes the final decision on the fate of Luke Walton or the four 2020 draft picks, or whether the team trades Buddy Hield or what kind of offer the team might or might not match for Bogdan Bogdanovic?
These are crucial issues facing the Kings that carry long-term ramifications for anyone looking to take on a job with Sacramento. Ranadivé needs to thoroughly vet any candidate before making an official hire, but he also can’t just put an asterisk on everything that happens this offseason and point to that period of months when Dumars was running the franchise on an interim basis.
The initial reaction is that the Kings have brought in a seasoned basketball executive who has won two NBA championships as a player and another while running the Detroit Pistons to guide them through a compacted offseason schedule.
On its face, that should be good news.
But even without looking at Dumars’ career and breaking it down to create a broad picture of who he is as an executive, there are some serious concerns about the process and what is next for this team.
If Dumars is the guy, then he’s the guy. That decision will be judged accordingly when the time is right.
If he’s not the guy, then that opens the door for the Kings to sift through all of the candidates that are available and make a decision for the long-term direction of the franchise.
There are two distinct paths here for the Kings. These paths have two different lists of potential GM candidates. And which of those two lists the Kings are choosing from matters.