April 28, 2016 | 6:13 pm EDT Update
According to a person with knowledge of the Kings’ situation, they have already spoken to at least four candidates about their head coaching vacancy and still hope to connect with several more candidates before they’re done. The person spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the process. The Kings, who fired George Karl on April 14 after they finished 33-49 and missed the playoffs for the 10th consecutive time, are known to have interviewed Vinny Del Negro (former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers coach), Mike Woodson (former Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks coach; now an assistant with the Clippers), Sam Mitchell (former Toronto Raptors and Minnesota Timberwolves coach) and Kevin McHale (former Timberwolves and Houston Rockets coach).
They plan to speak with at least four more candidates as well: Nate McMillan (former Seattle SuperSonics and Portland Trailblazers coach); now an associate head coach with the Indiana Pacers), Mark Jackson (former Golden State Warriors coach), Ettore Messina (renowned European coach, former Los Angeles Lakers assistant who is currently an assistant with the San Antonio Spurs), and Elston Turner (longtime assistant coach who spent four seasons with Kings president of basketball operations Vlade Divac in Sacramento and is currently on Dave Joerger’s staff in Memphis).
Is Messina interested? Clarity is tough to come by, but it’s safe to say the Lakers’ position is a much more intriguing opportunity. He is known to be on their short list. Folks close to Messina are skeptical that he has interest in the Kings’ position.
Is Luke Walton in the running? To this point, all indications are that the Golden State Warriors assistant coach has no interest in the position. Divac has made it clear that he would like to speak with Walton, but Walton – who owns a property in Manhattan Beach, Calif. and lives there during the offseason – clearly has his focus elsewhere. The Lakers and Houston Rockets have both received permission to speak with Walton, though he is only willing to take part in interviews between rounds of the playoffs. The Warriors closed out their first-round series against the Rockets on Wednesday, meaning that time could be now.
“We are focused on building a winning team and part of that process is ensuring we have a sound front office structure,” said Divac. “We are thrilled that Ken Catanella is joining the Kings to help us build on our progress and drive success on the court. Ken’s unique statistical and player expertise will provide a significant boost to our basketball operations team.”