Top candidates to replace Dave Joerger as head coach of the Kings

Top candidates to replace Dave Joerger as head coach of the Kings


Top candidates to replace Dave Joerger as head coach of the Kings

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With the season behind them, the Sacramento Kings have moved on from head coach Dave Joerger and assistant general manager Brandon Williams.

As the vice president of basketball operations and general manager, former NBA star Vlade Divac will lead the search for the replacement. His longtime teammate Peja Stojakovic is the director of player personnel and basketball development for the Kings and will assist Divac.

Others linked to the position last time it was available included Nate McMillan, Kevin McHale, Mark Jackson, Vinny Del Negro, Patrick Ewing, Sam Mitchell, Jeff Hornaceck, Henry Bibby and David Blatt.

McHale was the candidate that reportedly most interested team owner Vivek Ranadive. This time around, expect some new names to emerge as the Kings begin their coaching search.

Luke Walton, Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach

The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported that Luke Walton would become the “clear frontrunner” if he is fired by the Los Angeles Lakers. Vlade Divac is described as a “huge fan” of Walton and they were teammates during the big man’s final season in the league as a player.

Walton was hired as a developmental coach for Los Angeles and while that clearly changed when they signed LeBron James, he showed some positive signs with his young core before they marque free agency addition.

It might not be a move that would make fans of the organization particularly happy.

Monty Williams, Philadelphia 76ers Assistant Coach

Jason Jones reported that Joerger lost the trust of the locker room during his time in Sacramento (via The Athletic):

“League sources and observers are curious to see how Joerger — who has been praised for his abilities as a tactician, but can come off as aloof or arrogant to some — can continue to connect with his players.”

There are few coaches in the league that are more universally well-regarded by their players than Williams. That would go a long way for rebuilding the personnel moving forward.

He brings front office and coaching experience and was the head coach of the New Orleans Hornets when Peja Stojakovic was on the team in 2010-11.

Ettore Messina, San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach

According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, the San Antonio assistant would “definitely want the job” coaching the Kings. He is a two-time Euroleague Coach of the Year and four-time Euroleague champion.

Messina is also a five-time Russian League champion who served as the head coach of the Italian national team from 2015 until 2017. When was with Real Madrid from 2009 until 2011, he coached Nikola Mirotic.

He was also considered a finalist for the Milwaukee Bucks head coaching vacancy last offseason and was considered to be on their short list back in 2016.

Stephen Silas, Dallas Mavericks Assistant Coach

The former Charlotte Hornets assistant was a candidate for the Atlanta Hawks vacancy before he was hired as the lead assistant for the Dallas Mavericks.

Chris Mannix wrote about why Silas is such a qualified candidate last year (via Yahoo Sports):

“His father, Paul, is a three-time NBA champion who spent nine seasons in the league as a head coach. While Silas got his first coaching opportunity under his father in Charlotte, he quickly established himself as a sharp basketball mind. He worked closely with Stephen Curry during a four-year stint as an assistant in Golden State from 2006-10 and was elevated to associate head coach in Charlotte before the start of this season. Silas was a finalist for the Houston head-coaching job in ’16 and interviewed to be Warriors coach Steve Kerr’s top assistant the same year. The six weeks Silas spent filling in for Clifford this season provided invaluable experience — perhaps making Silas the most head-coaching ready of the bunch.”

Given his experience with Curry, he could bring an insightfulness that provides tremendous help for the development of Sacramento’s young backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield.

It’s also worth mentioning that his father Paul Silas was one of Divac’s assistants in Charlotte.

Nick Van Exel, Memphis Grizzlies Assistant Coach

While a frontrunner for the head coaching vacancy at his alma mater Cincinnati, the former NBA point guard was teammates with Divac, who essentially maintains full control of the franchise.

As a rookie, Van Exel led the Lakers in assists while Divac posted the most points and rebounds for Los Angeles. The following year, they both posted scoring averages of at least 16.0 points per game. They were teammates for three seasons.

Here is what New York Knicks head coach David Fizdale has said about Van Exel (via The Undefeated):

“He has head coaching experience. He is a basketball genius who sees the game two or three steps ahead. The way he views the game overall, he does a great job of stepping back and looking at the big picture. He is one of the best I’ve ever seen at developing a point guard and making him understand the responsibility. His disposition is perfect for the seat. He’s genuine, he communicates well and is super organized.”

With the keys to the franchise handed to Fox, there are few better options to help build the pedigree of the point guard.

Dan Burke, Indiana Pacers assistant coach

Last year, Kevin Arnovitz named one of Indiana’s top assistants as a top name to watch (via ESPN):

“Every year, a handful of brainy head coaches name longtime Pacers assistant Dan Burke, who has spent 21 seasons with the club. They see a coach’s coach who has earned an interview for his acumen and deeply understands that the NBA is all about the players — an essential ingredient in 2018.”

If there is someone in Sacramento who knows about Burke, it’s Stojavokic who played for the Pacers during the 2005-06 season. But there is another tie to the organization as well.

His mom’s brother was Rick Adelman and he was a part-time employee to chart home games on video.


David Adelman, Denver Nuggets Assistant Coach — His father, Rick Adelman, served as head coach for Sacramento from 1996 until 2006. This season was the most wins that the Kings had since Adelman coached them. 

Ty Corbin, Orlando Magic Assistant Coach — He played for Sacramento during the 1999-00 season with Divac and Stojakovic and was an assistant for the Kings in 2014 before becoming their interim head coach during the 2014-15 season.

Elston Turner, Sacramento Kings Assistant Coach — Currently the lead assistant for the team, Elston Turner was first with Sacramento from 2000 until 2006 before returning in 2016. The team, however, seems to be facing an entirely new culture for their coaching. 

Byron Scott, Los Angeles Lakers Head Coach (2014-16) — The former NBA player was teammates with Divac on the Lakers during two different stints before he was his assistant coach in Sacramento from 1998 until 2000 when Stojakovic was also on the team. He wanted to interview for the gig back in 2016.

Damon Jones, Cleveland Cavaliers Assistant Coach (2014-18) — While his experience may leave lots to be desired, he played alongside Divac and Stojakovic on the Kings in 2002-03 and was an assistant for Cleveland when they won a title in 2016. 

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