Kings exec on Cousins trade: Winning begins with culture, character matters
Former Sacramento Kings center and current General Manager Vlade Divac certainly knows a thing or two about winning basketball.
The 49-year-old player-turned-executive was part of the franchise’s most successful teams of the early 2000s alongside Chris Webber, Peja Stojakovic and Mike Bibby, among others.
He also played a hand in one of this season’s biggest mid-season trades so far, dealing distraught franchise player DeMarcus Cousins with the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
In an official statement shortly after the swap went down, Divac detailed the team’s inevitable parting of ways with the temperamental All-Star.
“It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization,” he told reporters, as relayed by The Score. “Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward.”
Unintentional or not, Divac’s initial statement seemed to have been a parting shot toward Cousins’ overall attitude and character.
Still, he thanked the Kentucky alum for his contributions for the past seven and a half seasons and assured the Sacramento fanbase of good things ahead.
“We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud,” he said.
Cousins, along with reserve forward Omri Casspi, is headed to the “Big Easy” in exchange for guards Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and two picks.
Many have questioned the Kings’ organization for seemingly giving up their most talented player in exchange for lesser talents.
Divac, who feared Cousins’ value would deteriorate the longer he waited, admitted that he turned down a superior offer just days before their trade with New Orleans.
“I had a better deal two days ago,” he confirmed. Khristian Ibarrola / ra