Big changes are happening in Sacramento. General manager Vlade Divac and his lead lieutenant Peja Stojakovic have left the Kings and a search for their replacements is underway.
In a normal offseason, players typically are long gone before moves are made. Chasing them down during the offseason for comment on events like this usually doesn’t happen.
However, this isn’t a normal offseason and Harrison Barnes isn’t your typical NBA player.
On the latest episode of the Purple Talk podcast, Barnes dropped by to discuss shaving his beard, the Kings’ disaster in the bubble and he even answered questions about Divac and the changes at the top.
Divac traded for Barnes at the 2019 trade deadline and when the 6-foot-8 forward opted out of his contract, it was Divac who talked him into signing a new four-year, $84 million contract.
“I’m definitely thankful for all that Vlade’s done, not only for me, but for the Kings,” Barnes told NBC Sports California. “I remember where this franchise was in 2012 when I was first drafted. I think with the talent he’s brought in, the work he’s done, he’s definitely set this franchise up to be successful.”
Divac was let go after his team struggled to a 3-5 record in the bubble and missed the playoffs for the 14th consecutive season. Five of those years were on his watch after he returned to his former team with intentions to turn the franchise around.
“It’s unfortunate that he won’t be able to see it through, but that’s part of the business,” Barnes added.
After posting a 39-win season last year and appearing to be on the right path, Divac let head coach Dave Joerger go and his offseason roster adjustments didn’t play out as planned.
The Kings were rolling before the NBA shut down on March 11, but they never found a rhythm in Orlando. Sacramento finished the season with a 31-41 record, which translates to a 35-win performance in a normal 82 game season.
With Divac out, the Kings are relying heavily on Hall of Fame player and former Detroit Pistons executive, Joe Dumars. Barnes has been around the league for eight years and has crossed paths with Dumars in the past.
“Joe Dumars is a guy that I’ve known for a while,” Barnes said. “He’s a respected voice in this league and I’m sure he’ll do what’s best for this franchise moving forward.”
The intention is for the Kings to possibly have a new executive in place before the draft and free agency period opens later this year. Dumars and owner Vivek Ranadivé might have gotten a slight reprieve in their search timeline with the league likely pushing back the summer schedule.
Barnes is the first player to speak out after Divac’s departure and with the uncertainty regarding the 2020-21 season, he might be the last we hear from for a while.