The Sacramento Kings' bench just got shorter.
Luke Walton's lead assistant, Igor Kokoskov, took a job with European powerhouse Fenerbahçe back on July 2, but with the intent to stay with the Kings through the NBA's restart.
Following the Kings' first game loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Kokoskov has decided to leave the NBA bubble and head to Turkey to begin his new journey.
“I’d like to congratulate Igor on his promotion to head coach of Fenerbahce and thank him for his dedicated time with the Kings,” head coach Luke Walton in a press release. “He has been a valuable member of my coaching staff and his natural ability to guide our players will continue to inspire the team as we move forward in Orlando. We wish him all the best.”
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Kokoskov came to the Kings last summer after coach the Phoenix Suns during the 2018-19 campaign. An NBA assistant for over 17 years, Kokoskov will take over for legendary Serbian coach Željko Obradović, who is considered one of the greatest coaches in European basketball history.
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In addition to his duties with Fenerbahçe, Kokoskov is also the head coach of the Serbian National team, which includes Bogdan Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica.
According to the official release from the team, Walton will hold a search for a new lead assistant during the offseason.
While Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov will travel to Orlando with the team, he has a new gig awaiting him after the NBA season concludes.
European basketball powerhouse Fenerbahçe Beko Istanbul announced Saturday that Kokoskov will be there next head coach.
Kokoskov has agreed to a three-year contract with Fenerbahçe, according to their press release.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Thursday that Kokoskov would take over Fenerbahçe. A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California's James Ham that Kokoskov would remain with the Kings through the completion of their 2019-20 slate.
Kokoskov, 48, has been an NBA coach since the 2000-01 season. He spent time as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and Kings. He also spent the 2018-19 season as the head coach of the Suns, where he amassed a 19-63 record.
The 2019-20 season was Kokoskov's first on Luke Walton's staff.
Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, who plays for Kokoskov on the Serbian National Team, congratulated his coach on his new job.
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Kokoskov and the Kings are scheduled to arrive in Orlando this upcoming week for the restart of the NBA season. They will participate in three scrimmages before playing eight seeding games. If they can remain within four games of the No. 8 seed, Sacramento would force play-in games for the last playoff seed in the Western Conference.
If the Kings can find a way into the playoffs, they can send Kokoskov out with a bang.
Head coach Luke Walton and the Sacramento Kings are going to need a new lead assistant coach.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, assistant Igor Kokoskov is leaving the Kings and heading to Turkey to take over European powerhouse Fenerbahçe.
While his exit from the Kings appears imminent a league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that Kokoskov will travel to Orlando with the team on July 8 and take part in the NBA restart.
A long time NBA assistant, Kokoskov joined Walton’s staff last summer after a season as the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. He is well respected around the league and his presence will be missed in Sacramento.
Kokoskov takes over for legendary Serbian coach Željko Obradović, who is considered one of the greatest coaches in European basketball history.
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Fenerbahçe routinely dominated the Turkish Super League and won the Europe Championship in 2017 with Bogdan Bogdanovic starring, and was the runner up in 2016 and 2018.
In addition to running Fenerbahçe, the 48-year-old Serbian native also coaches Bogdanovic and Nemanja Bjelica with the Serbian National team in the offseason.