“We want to move forward,” Divac said during an 11-minute news conference at Golden 1 Center. “And I felt very strong that we’re not going in the right direction and we had to do it.”
Divac also asserted the decision to trade Cousins was his and not subject to principal owner Vivek Ranadive’s approval.
“I just told him what I’m going to do,” Divac said. “He has full faith for me to do basketball decisions.”
“First of all, I love DeMarcus,” Divac said. “I think he did great things here in the community and for this team, and I wish him nothing but the best in New Orleans. But on the second hand, I have to do my job, and I felt like this is the best time to move forward and change the culture moving forward to make a better organization in the future.”
Divac countered Monday by saying he felt the Kings would have gotten less in return by waiting longer to make a deal. In fact, he said, the Kings had “a better deal” offered for Cousins two days before, but it was taken off the table.
“When you make a deal, you want to get the most, and right now I think it’s the best time and it was the best offer we had,” Divac said.
Asked whether the trade makes the Kings better, Divac answered, “Right now? No. But it’s a process of trying to make a right thing for the future of this team and organization.”
Hield was drafted sixth overall last year after winning multiple Player of the Year awards as a senior at Oklahoma. The 6-foot-4, 214-pound shooting guard is averaging 8.6 points in his rookie season and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December.
“Talented guy,” Divac said. “I talked to him (Monday) and, you know, his work ethic is exactly what we want here. Energy, trying to improve his game and our team. So he’s something that we’re looking forward to.”