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. 

Bobby Jackson hired to Kings' staff as assistant player development coach


Bobby Jackson hired to Kings' staff as assistant player development coach

Dave Joerger is making changes to his Sacramento Kings coaching staff.

After Jenny Boucek's departure earlier this offseason -- she joined Rick Carlisle’s staff in Dallas -- the Kings had a vacancy. On Thursday afternoon, they filled the spot with fan favorite Bobby Jackson.

Jackson will work as an assistant player development coach after spending the last three seasons as a collegiate scout for the team. 

This is the second go-around on Sacramento’s staff for Jackson, who spent two seasons as an assistant coach for Paul Westphal from 2010 to 2012 after retiring as a player in 2009. 

Jackson spent 12 seasons in the NBA, including two stops in Sacramento. He averaged 9.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists for his career. In 2002-03, Jackson was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year with Sacramento when he averaged 15.2 points per game. 

Source: Kings in recruiting phase with forward Nemanja Bjelica


Source: Kings in recruiting phase with forward Nemanja Bjelica

After a slow start to free agency, a source has confirmed to NBC Sports California that the Kings are in the recruiting phase with unrestricted free agent Nemanja Bjelica. 

No contract has been discussed, but the team is attempting to convince the Serbian forward that there is value in staying in the NBA.

News of potential interest between the parties first broke Wednesday afternoon.

Bjelica agreed to a one-year, $4.5 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers on July 5, but he never signed on the dotted line and informed the team earlier this week of his decision to return to Europe this season.

The 6-foot-10 combo forward spent the last three seasons coming off the bench for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He posted 6.8 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game under coach Tom Thibodeau, but his opportunities were limited in the T-Wolves' system.

At 30, Bjelica is older than most of the Kings’ recent targets, but he potentially could fill a glaring hole in the roster as a shooter at both the three and the four. Bjelica split his minutes between both forward positions in Minnesota last season, knocking down a career-best 41.5 percent on 2.7 attempts per game from behind the arc. 

There is no word yet on the exact dollar figure offered by the Kings. Sacramento has a whopping $20.5 million in salary-cap space to work with, and the free agent market is nearly dried up. 

While four years older, Bjelica compares favorably as a player to the Spurs’ Davis Bertans, who signed a two-year, $14.5 million contract to return to San Antonio earlier this month as a restricted free agent. 

According to a source, Sacramento likes Bjelica’s versatility and believes he can eat minutes at small forward this season, as well as shifting over to play the four.