by Charlie O. Mallonee
On Thursday morning, the Sacramento Kings announced that the contract of General Manager Vlade Divac had been extended through the 2022-23 season. That certainly appeared to be good news as it means there will stability in the upper management of the Kings organization for the next four seasons.
Divac made some big moves quickly
First, he fired assistant general manager Brandon Williams. Williams had been the focus of controversy since last December when coach Dave Joerger threw him out of the Kings practice facility. Joerger believed that Williams was trying to have him fired for not using Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles III properly in games.
The unresolved tension between Joerger and Williams hung in the background of the basketball operation all season long. No one really talked about the problem, but everyone knew it existed and was unresolved. That changed Thursday morning.
One down – one to go
After Divac sent Williams packing, there was some thought that Dave Joerger may have won the battle over Williams. Then the word came down, Joerger had been summoned to Divac’s office and the rumor leaked that Joerger was going to get a pink slip.
It did not take long for the news to be confirmed. Joerger had indeed been fired, and the Kings were in the market for a new head coach following their most successful season in a decade.
Divac tried to explain things in a press conference
Here are the highlights of his comments:
- Divac thanked Joerger for being a “good teammate” and for a job well done over his three years as head coach.
- Divac also expressed that he had been evaluating the team since the All-Star Break and how they could rise to the next level.
- The Kings GM also expressed that he thought the team could have (reporters emphasis: should have) made the playoffs this season.
- He was very clear that taking things to the next level meant going into the playoffs.
- Divac made it very clear that the decision to fire Joerger was his and his alone. He did indicate that he had informed ownership of his decision.
- The GM feels the Kings timing is good because they have plenty of time before the draft and free agency begins to get a new coach in place.
- Divac – to no one’s surprise did not name any potential candidates for head coach. Most reporters and analyst believe that Luke Walton is the number one target on Kings’ list even though he is still employed by the Lakers as of today.
- Divac also stated that Williams will not be replaced. His duties will be absorbed by Peja Stojakovic and Ken Catanella.
Joerger did not do much to save his job
In this reporter’s opinion, Dave Joerger did not make a full court press to keep his job as head coach of the Sacramento Kings. His team went a pitiful 3-7 in their final 10 games in their effort to finish 41-41. When he should have been angry and ready to tear someone’s head off, Joerger remained stoic and apologetic for his team.
I think Joerger knew he was “a dead man walking” and had moved into a role of caretaker until the end of the season. It really is a sad ending to what was three years of hard work by Joerger and his coaching staff.
The search and interviews begin. The Kings hope that they will be able to wrap up their coaching search quickly and with positive results.