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. 

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

Kings adamantly disagree with perplexing foul call at end of loss to Rockets

SACRAMENTO -- Every time the Houston Rockets tried to pull away, the Sacramento Kings answered Wednesday night in the team’s home opener. It was a heavyweight contender throwing body blows at a 100-to-1 underdog riding a huge home crowd advantage.

And then the ref called the fight.

With the Kings trailing 98-95 with 26 seconds remaining, the Rockets attempted to inbounds the ball and George Hill made a play. From the video replay, it appeared that the ball tipped off the fingertips of Houston's Eric Gordon and the nearest official called Kings ball.

Hill and teammate Garrett Temple celebrated the turnover and the sold out crowd went crazy.

The play went under review and not only was the call overturned, but Hill was assessed a personal foul. Gordon went to the line and hit two freebies to give the Rockets a 100-95 lead and effectively ended Sacramento’s chances.

In the confusion of the moment, it turns out that an official on the opposite side of the court called a personal foul and the replay wasn’t to check on possession, but to determine which Kings player would be assessed a personal foul.  

The Kings can’t call shenanigans on the officials, the league has stiff penalties for that. But they seemed just as confused as everyone else in the building when asked about the call during postgame interviews.

“I could have swore that the refs pointed out of bounds, our ball, but they said they called a foul, so it is, what it is,” Hill said following the game.

Hill avoided digging himself a hole with the league and a potential fine as reporters tried to dig deeper. 

Head coach Dave Joerger gave an account of what the officials said following the call, but he too seemed perplexed by the play.

“That was a foul,” Joerger said of what the officials told him on the sidelines. “I adamantly disagreed. They said they called it at the time, which I didn’t see. So that was more my argument than whether it was a foul or not.”

Sacramento continued to compete in the final seconds, but they were forced to foul intentionally down the stretch and the Rockets were able to hold them at bay to come away with the 105-100 victory.

Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?


Gameday: Can Kings slow down Rockets from beyond the arc?

Sacramento rebooted the franchise at the trade deadline last season and begin anew this season with veteran additions Vince Carter, George Hill and Zach Randolph to compliment a bevy of young players. 

Houston reloaded in the offseason, adding nine-time All-Star Chris Paul and a veteran defenders P.J. Tucker and Luc Mbah a Moute. They put on a show against the Warriors and look like one of the best the Western Conference has to offer once again. 


Rockets by 8


Kings defense vs. The 3-pointer -- Houston launched an incredible 180 3-point attempts versus Sacramento last season, hitting a robust 75 (41.7 percent) of those shots. It’s a new-look roster for the Kings, but they’ve had very little time to develop defensive chemistry. Dave Joerger and his staff will game plan to slow the Rockets perimeter game, but Mike D’Antoni has a deep group that comes at you in waves.


Kings: 0-0

Rockets: 1-0


Kings: SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (right ankle sprain) out, PF Zach Randolph (tooth) out

Rockets: PG Chris Paul (bruised right knee) questionable


The Rockets swept the Kings last season 4-0, including a 135-128 victory in the final week of the season. Houston leads the all-time series 124-88 and they hold an 83-42 advantage during the Sacramento-era. 


THE ROOKIES - The Kings walk into the 2017-18 campaign with five rookies on the roster, four of which should see time early in the season. De’Aaron Fox is the headliner, but don’t be shocked if Justin Jackson, Frank Mason and Bogdan Bogdanovic play important roles on this team.

ROTATIONS - With 10 new faces on the roster, Joerger needed more than an abbreviated training camp and six preseason contests. Expect the coaching staff to try different looks throughout the first 20 games of the season as they search for answers.

BALANCING THE ROSTER - Joerger has five veterans and 10 players with two years of experience or less. If he goes with the vets, fans will call for the rookies. If he plays the rookies and the losses stack up, fans will call for his head. It’s an unenviable position that will require patience and a little faith.


“I’m expecting a high-paced game. I feel like our fans are going to come out, they’re going to give us a lot of energy, playing a team as good as Houston is.” -De’Aaron Fox