After interviewing virtually every available coach West of the Mississippi River, the Sacramento Kings may be close to getting their man — someone surprisingly jettisoned by a team just east of the Mississippi.
The minute Dave Joerger was let go by the Memphis Grizzlies — reportedly because he asked if he could speak to the Kings about their open coaching job — he leapt to the front of the line in Sacramento. The two sides met on Sunday, and while the first reports were that Sacramento decision maker Vlade Divac wanted to step back and not rush a decision, it sounds like the two sides are very close to a deal.
The Sacramento Kings are progressing rapidly in discussions with Dave Joerger, with a Monday meeting that will include owner Vivek Ranadive being the final hurdle to Joerger’s hiring as head coach, league sources told The Vertical….
Joerger will have the autonomy to hire his own assistant coaching staff, and there’s doubt about his commitment to bringing members of his Grizzlies staff with him to the Kings, league sources said. Elston Turner is expected to join him, and another candidate – veteran NBA and college coach Bill Bayno – is likely to join Joerger on the bench as well, sources said.
Bayno has worked individually with Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.
Ranadive should not be an impediment to this deal. As the owner he has every right to meet with his new coach, but hopefully he’s learned to stay out of basketball decision making and leave that to the basketball people.
Marc Stein of ESPN added this.
Don’t be shocked if the last year of that is a team option.
For Joerger, that would be a doubling of the below-market salary he got in Memphis.
The Sacramento job comes with a lot of opportunities — moving into an amazing new building, for one — and challenges. DeMarcus Cousins falls into both categories. Joerger did a great job in Memphis installing a system that took advantage of Marc Gasol‘s traditional talents as a big man, if he can do that in Sacramento and establish a real bond with Cousins it will be a big step in the right direction for a team that hasn’t seen the playoffs in a decade.