By locking up Divac and Joerger, Kings cement long-term leadership


By locking up Divac and Joerger, Kings cement long-term leadership

For years, the Sacramento Kings had stability under president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie and head coach Rick Adelman. The two worked in unison, one stuffing the roster with talent and the other managing the players to near perfection. 

When Adleman walked away from the Kings following the 2005-06 season it started a revolving door of coaches and eventually front office personnel. Over the last decade Eric Musselman, Reggie Theus, Kenny Natt, Paul Westphal, Keith Smart, Michael Malone, Tyrone Corbin and George Karl have all manned the head coaching position, with none of them lasting more than 171 games coached. 

Last season’s coaching search in Sacramento dragged on for weeks, before general manager Vlade Divac and the management team decided on Dave Joerger. On Wednesday morning, the franchise decided to commit to both Divac and Joerger for the long term.

Divac’s contract has been extended through the 2019-20 season and after just a year on the job, Joerger’s fourth year option was picked up. The duo have the next three seasons to right the Kings’ ship which has been well off course since the departure of Adelman.

“We wanted to do this together, I love working with him,” Joerger said. “Whether we got this done or not, I love working with him. Even so, now knowing though that we’re going to be standing shoulder to shoulder for three years for sure, and hopefully we can get this to be a perennial 50-win team.”

The Kings haven’t won 50 games since the 2004-05 season, and since the departure of Adleman, their best season is 38-44. But there is hope that the stability of Divac and Joerger working as a cohesive unit will lead to better days in Sacramento.

“Together with Dave and his staff and the front office and the entire ownership group, we have a vision of where we want to see this franchise in a few years,” Divac said. “I’m so excited we are on the same page and moving forward.”

Joerger took a gamble on Sacramento last season. After three successful seasons in Memphis, he joined a team that hadn’t made the playoffs in a decade. Midway through the year, his star big man, DeMarcus Cousins, was traded to New Orleans and the rebuild of the Kings began in earnest.

According Joerger, he knew that it was possible coming in that the team would take a dramatic new direction. Late in the season he began to refer to the season as “year zero.” Getting that fourth year gives him a true fresh start with this season becoming year one of the rebuild.

“This helps look at the broad strokes, which we would have done anyways, but it really cements the stability and the partnership going forward for the long term,” Joerger said. 

Joerger raved about the development of Divac as an executive and he knows that the heavy lifting has now shifted to the coaching staff as they attempt to develop a young and inexperienced roster. Divac also knows that he needs a top notch collaborator in this process as the franchise builds from the ground up.

“Dave is a great partner to be in this,” Divac said. “He’s working so hard and it’s fun to watch him every day, how he can help those guys to improve. I’m so confident that he’s the guy that should be here.”

The Kings have chosen a direction and given both management and coaching staff the backing to move forward. Now the real work begins. 

Report: Former Kings star offers to pay for Stephon Clark's funeral

Report: Former Kings star offers to pay for Stephon Clark's funeral

Former Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins reportedly reached out to Stephon Clark's family and offered to cover the cost of his a funeral, according to The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones

Sacramento police shot and killed Clark, a 22-year-old African-American father of two, on Sunday while he was holding a cellphone in the backyard of his grandmother's home. Clark was unarmed. 

During his six-and-a-half year tenure in Sacramento, Cousins was not only the face of the Kings on the court, but the face of outreach efforts off of it. He paid for the funeral of Sacramento-area high school football player Jaulon "JJ" Clavo, who was shot in 2015, and ran free children's basketball camps for the city's children during the summer.

He continued to run a camp last summer following a midseason trade to the New Orleans Pelicans, and has spoken at length about how much he treasures maintaining strong ties to Sacramento. He told The Sacramento Bee last February that he "still consider[s Sacramento] a home."

“It’s very important to me,” Cousins told The New Orleans Advocate in October. “I’ve built relationships in a lot of the different places I’ve been. My biggest thing is helping those kids and helping families in need. I was once in their position, and it would’ve done wonders if I could’ve had a little bit of help coming up. I’m just doing my part.”

Bodycam footage from the officer-involved shooting was released on Wednesday, setting off protests on Thursday. Protestors blocked traffic on Interstate 5 both ways, according to NPR, before locking arms and surrounding the Golden 1 Center ahead of Hawks-Kings that night. Those protests delayed the start of the game by 15 minutes, and an estimated 15,000 fans were unable to enter the arena. 

Kings find themselves in middle of protest as sports, politics collide: 'It has to stop'

Kings find themselves in middle of protest as sports, politics collide: 'It has to stop'

SACRAMENTO -- Basketball took a backseat Thursday evening at Golden 1 Center. Protesters surrounded the Sacramento Kings’ facility, locking arms and blocking the entrance to an estimated 15,000 fans. The game was delayed by nearly 15 minutes and the limited number of ticket holders that made it into the building were basically put on lock down and supplied with free food for the evening.

This issue at hand was the officer involved shooting death of Stephon Clark, a local South Sacramento man that was killed Sunday evening.

Video of the shooting was released by the Sacramento Police Department Wednesday afternoon, setting off community outcry in Sacramento.

In perhaps his finest moment as owner and chairman of the Sacramento Kings, Vivek Ranadivé took center court surrounded by his players to address the undersized crowd.

“On Sunday, we had a horrific, horrific tragedy in our community and on behalf of the players, the executives, ownership and the entire Kings family, I first of all want to express our deepest sympathies to the family. What happened was absolutely horrific and we are so very sorry for your loss.

I also want to say that we at the Kings recognize your people’s ability to protest peacefully and we respect that. We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously and we stand before you; old, young, black, white, brown and we are all united in our commitment.

We recognize that it’s not just business as usual and we are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting in our own community. We are going to work hard to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again.”

Protests continued throughout the night in the courtyard adjacent to Golden 1 Center. Security and police stood guard at each entrance, trying to keep the events outside the building from spilling into the team’s two-year-old facility.

The locker room was quiet. Despite the 105-90 victory by the Kings, basketball was the last thing on anyone’s mind.

"I just want to say I 100 percent agree with the protest outside,” Garrett Temple said following the game. “If I didn't have a job to do, I probably would have been out there with them peacefully protesting, because what's going on has to stop. It has to stop.”

Sacramento’s leader behind the scenes, Temple has been active in reaching out in the community and fostering conversation with local youth. He wasn’t able to play in Thursday evening’s game due to a left ankle sprain, but that didn’t stop him from waiting around to field questions.

“I think the protest did what it was supposed to do, it brought a light to what’s going on, I think that’s what protests are for,” Temple added. “After that, something has to change. Us not playing a basketball game isn’t going to change the fact that police unfortunately view black and brown men as a threat, when they are certainly not.”

Temple said that he had viewed the video and admitted that it was dark. A split second decision by a police officer cost Clark, a 22-year-old African American, his life. According to published reports, Clark was holding his mobile phone and not a weapon as officers believed.

The tragic events played out in seconds, but it’s storyline that many communities around the country have had to face on countless occasions.

Temple isn’t one to sit by idly by and bite his tongue. He may have addressed the shooting on his own with or without the protest going on outside the arena. But with the events of the night, politics and sports intersected at 500 David J. Stern Walk, opening a door for Temple to express himself.

“To those that say politics and sports don’t intertwine, this is a democracy, people have a voice and we’re people at the end of the day,” Temple said. “Obviously, sports and politics definitely intertwined tonight. The protesters did what they wanted to do in terms of bring light to the situation.”

In addition to Ranadivé’s comments following then contest, the Kings put out two separate press releases. The first came out around 7 pm to update fans of the current status of the game.

"Tonight's game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund."

The second press release came later to insure fans that they would receive a refund.

“Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remained closed as tonight’s game proceeded with a delay. In the coming days, guests who purchased tickets for tonight’s game directly through the Sacramento Kings or Ticketmaster will receive detailed instructions to facilitate a full refund.”

The Kings return to the court Sunday afternoon for a 3pm matinee game.