Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. It’s a mantra that has hung over the Sacramento Kings franchise for more than a decade. The day after a brutal loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in the season finale, there is a cloud hanging over the team once again.
Difficult decisions lie ahead for a franchise that finished with their best record since Rick Adelman exited stage left following the 2005-06 season.
The first order of business was quickly taken care of Thursday morning when the team announced a three-year extension for general manager Vlade Divac through the 2022-23.
It’s a well-deserved reward for the man who helped rebuild a franchise by making a handful of difficult decisions.
His first decision of the day appears to be the dismissal of assistant general manager Brandon Williams. Rumors have been heating up for the last 48 hours on Williams’ future with the team, but they are not new.
An early season run-in with head coach Dave Joerger caused a rift behind the scenes that has never truly been put aside. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Divac is moving to consolidate power within the front office.
His next order of business is to decide the fate of Joerger, who posted a surprising 39-43 record, but saw his team struggle to a 9-17 record down the stretch as the team missed the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season.
Joerger has one year left on his contract at $5 million. According to Amick, part of Divac’s ascension in power comes with the ability to decide the fate of Joerger and his coaching staff.
Joerger became just the third coach in the Sacramento-era to win 39 or more games for the Kings. Gary St. Jean won 39 in back-to-back seasons in 04-05 and 05-06 and Adelman accomplished the feat eight straight times between 1998-2006.
Posting 39 wins for just the third time in 34 years since the team moved to Sacramento might not be enough.
After an exhaustive search by Divac for a new head coach in the summer of 2016, the Kings quickly jumped at the opportunity to add the former Grizzlies coach when he became available.
If Joerger is not retained, expect the Kings to once again jump into a deep dive into the NBA’s coaching circle. Sources have Spurs assistant coach Ettore Messina high on Divac’s wish list.
The 59-year-old has spent the last five years working under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.
Prepare for a whirlwind of activity as the Kings attempt to sure up continuity inside of their organization heading into a very important summer. They have an up and coming young team and $38 million in cap space to spend.