Only one day after the regular season ended, the Sacramento Kings made news by firing head coach Dave Joerger.
Kings fired coach Dave Joerger, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 11, 2019
Joerger had been on the hot seat earlier in the season due to reported differences between he and vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac. Divac apparently wanted Joerger to give more playing time to the team’s young pieces, while Joerger was playing the established veterans that were helping them win games and stay in the playoff race.
Ultimately the Kings missed the playoffs but Joerger, took a team projected to be at the bottom of the league and led them to 39 wins - Sacramento’s highest total since the 2005-06 season. He added 12 wins to the team’s total from a year ago, and helped lead the outstanding ascension of second-year guard De’Aaron Fox.
Firing him is beyond odd.
It is, however, emblematic of a power struggle that appeared to be happening in Sacramento. And it certainly seems like Divac is trying to clean house and start fresh.
The Kings have also dismissed Chris Clark, their long-time director of media relations, sources say -- to give you an extent of how wide-ranging the upheaval is going to be there today.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) April 11, 2019
Joerger engineered the Kings most successful season since 2006, but Divac is consolidating power around himself. Philadelphia assistant Monty Williams has been a primary target for Kings management, sources said. He's expected to be a candidate for openings elsewhere this spring. https://t.co/fyKLDDbRuH— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 11, 2019
With Joerger gone, the Kings are reportedly eyeing Los Angeles Lakers coach - and former Golden State Warriors assistant - Luke Walton. Walton was expected to be fired at season’s end, but the abrupt and unexpected resignation of Magic Johnson could potentially change things.
Can confirm @wojespn report that Kings GM Vlade Divac will fire coach Dave Joerger today. Lakers coach Luke Walton - if available - is the clear frontrunner here, per sources. Former New Orleans coach Monty Williams is also a strong candidate, as is Spurs asst. Ettore Messina.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 11, 2019
With Fox and Buddy Hield taking leaps forward, and Marvin Bagley III looking like a high quality prospect, the Kings are certainly on the up and up, and could meet the Warriors in the playoffs in the next year or two.
But they’ll surprisingly need a new coach first.