Drama. The Sacramento Kings have done their best to avoid the non-basketball related issues that often come with the NBA game, but they’ll walk into someone else’s firestorm Monday night in Phoenix.
The Suns have fired head coach Earl Watson just three games into the 2017-18 season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Phoenix has dropped all three contests, including a 48-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on opening night and a 42-point defeat at the hands of the Clippers on Saturday.
Before the firing, veteran point guard tweeted out a message that has since gone viral.
Whether Bledsoe was referring to Watson or his impending release is unknown at this time.
Watson leaves with a 33-85 record in parts of three seasons with the Suns. He took over for Jeff Hornacek midway through the 2015-16 season. According to Wojnarowski, Suns ownership and management is currently meeting with the team’s assistant coaches and Jay Triano is likely to be named interim head coach.
The Kings head to Phoenix Monday to take on the Suns. It looks like If it were up to Suns guard Eric Bledsoe, he wouldn't be playing the Kings or anyone else with his current team.
On Sunday, Bledsoe let out his frustration with the following tweet:
The Suns fell to 0-3 on Saturday after getting crushed by the Clippers, 130-88, Sunday in Los Angeles. They are losing by an average of 30.7 points as their defense is allowing 128.7 points per game.
With the ball in their hands, the Suns' offense isn't much better, averaging a pedestrian 98 points per game.
Former teammate DeAndre Jordan chimed in on Twitter after Bledsoe's tweet too. Bledsoe spent his first three years in the NBA with Jordan on the Clippers.
Bledsoe, 28, is averaging 15.7 points and 3.0 assists per game in the young season. Over his eight-year career, Bledsoe has put up averages of 13.1 points and 4.6 assists per game.
Dave Joerger likes to think outside the box. He’s a coach that loves to talk hoops and he’s always looking for a fresh approach. In preparation for the 2017-18 season, he reached out to friends in the college and high school ranks with the hopes of gleaning a some small bit of information about coaching an extremely young roster.
When it came time to assemble his staff, Joerger brought back his entire coaching group from last season and even added local product Phil Ricci to the mix to aid in the development of the team’s 10 players with two years of NBA experience or less.
It’s a deep bench of basketball lifers, including Elston Turner, Bryan Gates, Duane Ticknor, Bob Thornton, Jason March and Larry Lewis. On Friday, that staff grew by one with the announcement that former WNBA player and coach, Jenny Boucek, is coming aboard as an assistant player development coach.
Boucek visited the team multiple times last season and has been a fixture in the Kings practice facility for most of training camp. With a young an inexperienced roster, Joerger and the front office made the decision to bring her on full-time.
“We have a lot of really good young talent that is really hungry to learn and be in the gym,” Boucek told NBC Sports California. “I know a big part of my role is going to be helping to develop this talent, to just work with this staff and to fill in wherever is needed.”
Joerger and Boucek have known each other for years and share a similar passion for game. Over time, they have used each other as sounding boards for ideas and have a strong respect for one another.
Boucek is no stranger to Sacramento. She coached the Monarchs from 2007-2009, compiling a 40-41 record over her two plus seasons with the team and she spent the last three seasons at the helm of the Seattle Storm.
“I couldn’t be more excited to get back in this basketball city that just loves and lives for basketball and try to bring an exciting team to this fanbase,” Boucek said.
With the hiring, Boucek becomes the third female assistant coach in NBA history, joining Becky Hammon and Nancy Lieberman. Hammon currently works as an assistant on Gregg Popovich’s staff in San Antonio and Lieberman spent the 2015-16 season as an assistant for George Karl in Sacramento before taking leave for family reasons last season.