How Vlade Divac's departure impacts Kings' upcoming critical offseason


Vlade Divac is out as the Kings' general manager. So, what does that mean for the offseason ahead?

It’s a complicated question. The Kings have major decisions on plenty of their core players and a few veteran free agents who were impactful as well.

On the plus side, interim executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars has been around the team this season. He's a seasoned hand who should have a solid grasp on the team as it’s currently constructed.

Here's a look at some of the decisions that Dumars will face over the coming months as he tries to redesign the Kings’ roster in his image.

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De’Aaron Fox's contract extension

Divac already had the Brinks Truck halfway to Fox’s house, and that won’t change at all this summer. Fox is about to enter the final season of his rookie-scale contract, and is in line for a max-money extension.

Regardless of who is running the Kings, Fox is going to get paid handsomely, especially after his breakout third season.

Prediction: Fox stays out of team politics and is in Sacramento to play basketball. He’ll sign a max extension with the Kings and remain the face of the franchise.

Bogdan Bogdanovic's new deal

The Kings had a free-standing four-year deal on the table for Bogdanovic throughout the season, but he can get more than the $51.7 million offer the Kings had on the table once the NBA’s calendar year resets.

How much more? That will depend on what kind of offer sheet the 27-year-old shooting guard lands on the open market. Bogdanovic is the team’s most versatile player, and his play in the NBA's Orlando bubble stood out.

Prediction: The Kings will match a reasonable offer for Bogdanovic and he'll stay for another four seasons, even without one of his heroes manning the team.

Buddy Hield's future

This is where things get dicey. Hield is coming off a really bad eight-game stretch in the bubble, but he is one of the NBA's best 3-point shooters. He lost his starting job to Bogdanovic, but Hield long has been a favorite of Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé.

Luke Walton still will coach the Kings next season, which means more sixth-man action for the Bahamian sharpshooter. Hield was clear in his final video conference call with the media that he wasn’t happy about his role with the team, but he’s about to enter the first year of a four-year, $86 million contract.

Prediction: Hield either will get his way and rejoin the starting lineup next season, or he will push for a trade. With Divac out, this might come down to Ranadivé, Dumars and whether they can convince Walton that Hield is the answer at the two. The ultimate decision could impact Bogdanovic’s role with the team as well.

Kent Bazemore

Bazemore came on strong for the Kings in the second half of the season, and if Walton had his way, the veteran likely would be back for another tour of duty. Baze isn’t going to make the $19 million he did last season, and finances are getting tight in Sacramento, even before the coronavirus shut down everything.

Prediction: This is a coin flip. If there is a robust market for Bazemore, he’ll likely leave. If the Kings can lock him down on a nice short-term deal that doesn’t break the bank, he'll stay. It's 50-50 at best at this point, regardless of Divac’s departure.

Nemanja Bjelica

Like Bogdanovic, Divac is one of Bjelica’s Serbian heroes. He signed a three-year deal in Sacramento after Divac and Peja Stojakovic came calling.

Now the Kings have the choice: Either pick up Bjelica's $7.2 million contract for next season or walk away owing no guaranteed money. Bjelica has been serviceable for the Kings, and he stepped in for long stretches when Marvin Bagley got injured, but his time in Sacramento might be coming to an end.

Prediction: With Harrison Barnes ready to play more four and Jabari Parker likely to pick up his player option at $6.5 million, it’s hard to see where Bjelica fits, especially if Bagley is healthy. Just a guess, but the Kings likely will use the $7.2 million elsewhere this offseason, especially with Divac out of the picture.

Alex Len

The 2003 NBA Draft is one of the best in NBA history, and Dumars selected Darko Milicic at No. 2 overall over Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. It was a horrible decision, but the point is Dumars likes his defensive bigs, and Len fits the bill.

Len has struggled to stay on the court, but he has seemed to be one of Walton's favorites during the coach's time in Sacramento.

Prediction: The Kings will have a 7-footer like Len on the roster. Whether or not that is Len will depend on the dollars and cents, but Dumars’ presence undoubtedly helps the big man's chances of remaining with the Kings.

Harry Giles

Divac’s decision not to pick up Giles’ fourth-year rookie-scale option still is a head-scratcher. It’s one of the main reasons the fan base began turning on Divac this season and, if nothing else, it was poor asset management.

Giles isn’t a star, but he’s a hugely popular and talented young player. He brings a passing ability the Kings need in the post, but this ship likely already has sailed.

Prediction: This one will hurt a lot of fans, but there's a good chance that Giles has played his last game for the Kings, regardless of who is running the team. He likely will sign somewhere closer to his home in North Carolina, despite the outpouring of love from Kings fans.

[RELATED: Passing on Luka not only reason Divac is out as Kings GM]

Additional assets

Dumars has some minor decisions on players such as Justin James, DaQuan Jeffries, Kyle Guy, Corey Brewer and Yogi Ferrell. Dumars also has a lottery pick and three second-round draft picks with which to work.

Will Dumars value the assets the Kings have in the same way as Divac and his staff did? That’s an interesting question.

For now, the Kings are in the very capable hands of a longtime executive and Hall of Fame player. Dumars was the architect of some great Detroit teams, and there is a good chance that he has the ability to draw in a major addition for the now-vacant GM spot.

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