SACRAMENTO -- Trouble never is far away when you're an NBA team.
For the Sacramento Kings, the behind-the-scenes battle between coach Dave Joerger and assistant general manager Brandon Williams isn’t going away.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, Joerger was uncomfortable with Williams' presence following practice Wednesday, and when the assistant GM showed up for the team’s shootaround Thursday, the Kings coach asked that he be removed from the floor.
Williams, who had been away from the team for more than a week while dealing with a personal matter, is believed to be at the center of Chris Haynes' Nov. 17 Yahoo! Sports story that detailed management's displeasure with Joerger, despite the Kings' quick start to the season.
The former player-turned-executive Williams was seen sitting in the stands for an extended period talking with Haynes during the Kings' matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 10, leading to speculation that he was one of the sources behind the story.
Per Sam Amick, Kings GM Vlade Divac issued the following statement:
Kings GM Vlade Divac issues a statement re: our story...
"I have advised my front office and coaching staff to not focus on drama and rumors, but instead to focus on continuing to develop our young and exciting team. And that's what we're going to do." https://t.co/pC7NlRS4Q1— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) November 29, 2018
It’s a sordid tale, and the chain of events leading to this moment are many. Disagreements over direction of the training staff led to the departure of longtime Kings staples Pete Youngman and Manny Romero. Joerger was not on board with the exits.
According to sources, Williams and Joerger also were on separate pages when it came to free agent targets, which led to additional discord.
Whether the relationship can be repaired is unknown, but at this point, there is clear distrust between the two men.
Joerger is under contract for all of this season and next season. He has the Kings sitting at a surprising 10-10 on the season, and he and his staff's efforts in developing young players such as De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and Marvin Bagley have not gone unnoticed around the league.
Williams joined the Kings in the summer of 2017 after Scott Perry left to join the New York Knicks. Williams takes care of a lot of the team's day-to-day operations.
There is no word yet from the team on any resolution to the current situation, with the Kings set to play the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night at Golden 1 Center.