There was quite a reaction to yesterday’s news that, in addition to hiring Monte McNair as the new GM, the Kings had hired Joe Dumars to the new role of Chief Strategy Officer. In the comments, on Twitter, and on Facebook, there was a chorus of here-we-go-again.
It’s an understandable reaction, given Vivek RandivÃ©’s history with advisors. Vlade Divac was an advisor before abruptly being being above then-GM Pete D’Alessandro in the decision-making hierarchy. Joe Dumars was an advisor before the day Vivek told Vlade that Joe was going to have final say over decisions, which led to Vlade’s resignation.
Given that track record, it’s no wonder why fans may feel skittish about Dumars’ continued presence. But I believe the concern could be overblown. I’ll write this with the caveat that it could look extremely foolish in a few years (or even months), but having Joe Dumars around might not be a bad thing.
When the Kings hired Joe Dumars as an advisor in 2019, most of the reactions were pretty positive. Dumars’ tenure in Detroit had ended quite poorly, but the man also built a fantastic championship team with the Pistons. If Dumars is truly going to be around to advise and offer input, he could be a valuable voice. Most NBA front offices have many intelligent voices offering ideas.
As for Dumars stepping in over Vlade, think for a moment about what led to that. The Kings were struggling. Whatever good momentum the team had under Dave Joerger had been destroyed. Fans were angry. Anyone with a good understanding of basketball could see that the Kings were a mess. If any of us had been in an advisor role with access to Vivek, wouldn’t we have been voicing concern? Wouldn’t we have been suggesting that Vlade needed to be replaced?
The problem isn’t Joe Dumars. The problem is Vivek’s tendency to suddenly change his mind over who he listens to, and his unwillingness to ever directly fire someone.
If Joe Dumars wasn’t around, someone else would have Vivek’s ear (like the Kings COO). He’s always going to have someone around him telling him how things should be different. Joe Dumars is probably as good an option as any.
My hope — and it may be a foolish hope — is that Dumars expressed concerns about Vlade for the same reasons we all had concerns about Vlade. Perhaps Dumars will be perfectly content to focus on other aspects of Kings business as long as McNair is running the team well.
Time will tell how this all plays out, but I’m going to hope for the best.