The rumor mill is rumbling in Sacramento.
The Kings announced Monday that interim head coach Alvin Gentry will not return for the 2022-23 NBA season, with The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick reporting, citing sources, that a search for a new coach would begin “immediately.”
So, who will replace Gentry and try to end Sacramento’s 16-year playoff drought next season? Cue the speculation -- and some familiar faces.
Per Charania and Amick, Warriors assistant coaches Mike Brown and Kenny Atkinson are in the mix of candidates to replace Gentry. Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee also reported the same.
It’s no surprise that Brown and Atkinson are rumored candidates for the position, as both have head coaching experience: Brown with the Cleveland Cavaliers (2005-10, 2013-14) and Los Angeles Lakers (2011-12), and Atkinson with the Brooklyn Nets (2016-20). Plus, the Kings’ last two coaches, Gentry and Luke Walton, previously served as Golden State assistants under Steve Kerr.
Brown, 52, joined the Warriors as an assistant in 2016 after compiling an impressive .616 winning percentage as a head coach over the years. He has since served as Kerr’s right-hand man and helped the Dubs win two NBA titles. Last summer he coached the Nigerian National men’s basketball team in the Tokyo Olympics.
Brown’s success with Golden State has caused his name to be mentioned frequently when it comes to annual head coaching vacancies, and the trend is clearly continuing this offseason.
At 54 years old, Atkinson has been patrolling NBA sidelines since 2008 and brings a wealth of experience and personality to the game. He amassed a 118-190 record with the Nets before joining Kerr’s coaching staff prior to this season.
Kerr has said Atkinson is an out-of-the-box thinker with infectious energy, so it’s no wonder he’s also rumored to be a head coach candidate for the Kings. Atkinson, on the other hand, told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole ahead of the 2021-22 season that he’s not eager for another head coaching role -- but that’s not to be mistaken for a lack of desire.
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Along with Brown and Atkinson, The Athletic mentioned Nets consultant and longtime head coach Steve Clifford as another rumored candidate for the Kings’ coaching position. Mike D’Antoni, Darvin Ham, Mark Jackson, Charles Lee and Terry Stotts are also potential candidates, per The Sacramento Bee.
Whoever ends up at the helm in Sacramento will have quite the opportunity to turn things around for the organization.