Kings

Kings coach Dave Joerger on Timberwolves job: 'My focus is right here'

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USATSI

Kings coach Dave Joerger on Timberwolves job: 'My focus is right here'

SACRAMENTO -- The NBA coaching world took another casualty Sunday when the Minnesota Timberwolves fired Tom Thibodeau after a chaotic and slow start to the season.
 
Despite delivering the team’s first playoff appearance in 13 seasons in 2018, the 60-year-old ran into trouble in his dual role as both coach and president of basketball operations for the club -- most notably his handling of the Jimmy Butler situation early in the season.

Rumors already have started to swirl about who will replace Thibs in Minnesota, and one name mentioned is none other than current Kings coach -- and Minnesota native -- Dave Joerger.
 
In case you don't recall, Joerger interviewed for the Timberwolves job with owner Glen Taylor back in 2014, after his first season as Memphis Grizzlies coach.
 
Joerger ultimately decided to return to Memphis, where he coached another two seasons before joining the Kings in 2016. The 43-year-old appears happy in his role with the Kings, but like everyone else, he hears the rumors.
 
“I think all of us will always say that we don’t listen to that stuff, but come on, we do,” Joerger said before the Kings beat the Orlando Magic on Monday night. “You’ll hear things or see things that most of the time aren’t true. And that does affect you, and it does affect your family. But we have a job to do. We all enjoy doing our job and working with our guys. It’s an unfortunate part of the business.”
 
Following the media session, NBC Sports California had a chance to further the discussion with the Kings coach.
 
“Obviously I’m a Minnesota kid, so it’s interesting, but at the same time, my focus is right here, right now,” Joerger said. “I mean, we’re having a great time with our guys. We’re watching them grow every day. I feel like I’ve worked my tail off, I know the players have and the coaching staff -- to put us in a position where we have tremendous chemistry.” 

[RELATED: Haberstroh: Thibs' firing could bring Fred Hoiberg back to Wolves]
 
At 20-20, the Kings have an opportunity to finish the first half of the season over the .500 mark for the first time since 2005. They currently sit just outside of the playoff picture, but there is a lot of season left to play.
 
“We have an identity, and we’re giving ourselves a chance to be in the playoff race,” Joerger told NBC Sports California. “I think every coach and every player, that’s all they ever want in their careers, is an opportunity to be in the playoffs, and that’s really where my mindset is now.”

Sacramento has Joerger under contract for one more season. With the team’s sharp turnaround this season, it’s likely that he could seek an extension this summer or even sooner. 

Willie Cauley-Stein believes Dewayne Dedmon fits Kings better than he did

Willie Cauley-Stein believes Dewayne Dedmon fits Kings better than he did

When the Kings agreed to a three-year, $40 million contract with center Dewayne Dedmon at the start of free agency this summer, it seemed like a small move compared to the rest of the craziness in the NBA.

Nevermind that, though. The former Hawk could be the perfect fit in Sacramento. Just ask the player he's replacing. 

“I think it fits better for them in that role for what they want -- shooting 3s, rim protecting, all that,” former Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein recently told Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “Obviously, they felt I didn’t do a good job at it. I think (Dedmon) is one of the good ones in the league who does that, so for them I think that’s a big-time move.”

Cauley-Stein signed a two-year, $4.4 million deal with the Warriors this offseason when the Kings made him an unrestricted free agent. He's expected to play the rim-running role that JaVale McGee previously occupied. Dedmon will have a much different role on the Kings. 

Dedmon, who turns 30 in August, didn't attempt a single 3-point shot the first four seasons of his six-year NBA career. That changed two seasons ago in Atlanta. The 7-footer put up 133 3-point shots during the past two seasons and made 38.2 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc last season. 

Cauley-Stein, by comparison, only has four 3-pointers to his name in his four-year NBA career. He's only attempted 18 and isn't seen as a reliable shooter. 

[RELATED: Source: Ex-Kings big man Koufos agrees with European club]

The Kings are expected to shoot plenty of shots from deep this season under new head coach Luke Walton. Even as the big man down low, Dedmon will be called upon to let it fly from long distance. 

“I like to get up and down the floor and shoot 3s,” Dedmon said to The Bee. “It’s definitely something I look forward to. That fast pace, getting up and down the floor, running, catching lobs, shooting some 3s, it’s going to be fun.”

Source: Rookie Isaiah Pineiro, Kings agree to one-year contract

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AP

Source: Rookie Isaiah Pineiro, Kings agree to one-year contract

The Kings must have liked what they saw out of undrafted rookie Isaiah Pineiro during the Las Vegas Summer League.

NBC Sports Bay Area's James Ham has confirmed that Pineiro and the Kings have agreed to a one-year, partially guaranteed contract.

The Athletic's Michael Scotto was first to report news of the agreement.

Pinerio averaged 4.6 points per game during Summer League action.

Pineiro, who graduated from the University of San Diego last spring, grew up in the Kings' backyard. The 24-year-old hails from Auburn, Calif. and grew up routing for the Kings.

"It’s a little surreal. You grow up with a really close hometown team and you see them playing all the time,” Pineiro told Kings.com. “So, to put on that jersey – it’s a good feeling.”

[RELATED: Mason, Bucks agree to two-way contract]

If Pineiro sticks with the Kings, he'll likely spend most of the 2019-20 season working on his game with the G League Stockton Kings.