As the Sacramento Bee, like newspapers and media outlets across the country, wrestles with how to deal with lies, baseless claims, misstatements and “alternative facts” on the nation’s political stage, let me suggest the newspaper get some practice with mere King-size shenanigans.
As a start, the Bee should delve into the claim made by Kings general manager Vlade Divac that he was fully responsible for the stunning trade of DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans. Divac insists the team’s primary owner, Vivek Ranadive, did not instigate the trade and the public humiliation of Cousins at an All-Star Game news conference Sunday evening.
“I just told him what I am going to do,” Divac said. “He has full faith in me to do basketball decisions.”
Two weeks ago, Divac publicly declared that Cousins would not be traded. In fact, he told ESPN the Kings were leaning toward signing their All-Star to a five-year contract worth about $219 million.
Was Divac fibbing then or is he fibbing now? Is he a general manager given to wild impulses and unpredictable changes?
Followers of the Kings know that Ranadive has meddled in basketball matters, even suggesting the team could learn a thing or two from his 12-year-old daughter’s basketball squad. But Ranadive has assumed a lower profile since the days when he was hailed for keeping the Kings in Sacramento. One might almost think the owner is in hiding.
Although the trade comes as a relief to many fans, myself included, who were fed up with Cousins’ tantrums and losing ways, the timing was lousy and the immediate benefits meager. Other than a chance to start fresh, the sudden trade throws the team into disarray, scuttles its chances for a Western Conference playoff spot and challenges fan loyalty.
Is Divac the guy responsible for all this, and is he the fellow in charge of the Kings’ future? Or is someone else pulling the strings?
The Sunday evening trade seems to have caught the Bee, Sacramento’s only daily newspaper, completely by surprise. That morning, the sports section featured two stories: how coach Dave Joerger had the Kings in the hunt for a playoff spot and how Cousins intended to go all out to help his team.
Today, the paper was awash with trade stories, compiled by five different reporters, and yet there was no effort to go beyond Divac’s dubious account. I saw no quotes from Ranadive, other team owners, coach Joerger, Cousins, Cousins’ former teammates, Kings president Chris Granger or even former Mayor Kevin Johnson.
I’m sure fans who buy season tickets, as well as city residents worried about paying off the arena debt, would like to know what the heck is going on with the Kings.