NBA rumors: Mike Brown arriving to Sacramento with mandate to make Playoffs

The Sacramento Kings have agreed with Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown on a four-year contract to become the franchise’s next coach, sources told ESPN. The Kings finalized a deal with Brown on Sunday after meeting with him over two days late last week, sources said. Brown comes to the Kings with a clear organizational mandate: End the longest playoff drought in the NBA and return the Kings to the postseason for the first time in 16 years.

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The Kings connections, present and past, didn’t stop there, either. Former Kings coach Luke Walton was in attendance, as was Alvin Gentry, the coach who replaced him in an interim fashion when he was fired in late November. Both men are former Warriors assistants and, thus, part of the same Golden State tree that Ranadivé has been fixated on since his days as a minority owner with the organization. (That chapter ended for Ranadivé when he became the lead owner of the Kings in 2013.) Sources say neither Jackson nor Brown was aware that Ranadivé was planning to be in attendance, so it was unclear if there was any substantive meaning to the visit. What’s more, sources say neither Brown nor Jackson was offered the job as of late Saturday evening. As our Shams Charania reported on Friday, Jackson already has interviewed for the Lakers’ coaching job as well.
Former Orlando and Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford has interviewed and so has former Golden State coach and ESPN analyst Mark Jackson. Sources say, Mike Brown, the Golden State associate head coach whose team is tied, 1-1, in its West semifinal series with Memphis, spent informal time with Kings officials on Wednesday and has his formal interview on Thursday. As Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer noted on Tuesday, there is indeed a strong sense from sources close to the situation that Jackson is the preferred candidate of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive. But the Kings insist there’s a level playing field, and that second-year general manager Monte McNair will be given the leeway to make the final decision.
Meanwhile, in Sacramento, Los Angeles and Charlotte, the search for a coach of his caliber continues. The Kings, who briefly considered Williams as an option in the 2019 offseason before then-general manager Vlade Divac moved quickly to hire Luke Walton, appear likely to fill their vacancy sooner than the Lakers or Hornets. A decision between the three finalists, sources say, is expected by the week’s end. Former Orlando and Charlotte head coach Steve Clifford has interviewed and so has former Golden State coach and ESPN analyst Mark Jackson. Sources say, Mike Brown, the Golden State associate head coach whose team is tied, 1-1, in its West semifinal series with Memphis, spent informal time with Kings officials on Wednesday and has his formal interview on Thursday.
Sam Amick: Source says the Kings are meeting with Mike Brown today. His Warriors, of course, just got back from Memphis after Game 2. Much more here on the Kings coaching search, at @TheAthletic https://theathletic.com/3289972/2022/05/02/kings-coaching-search-dumars/
Jackson has long been a darling of Ranadive, who was vice chairman of Golden State when Jackson piloted the upstart playoff contender in the early stages of the Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green era. In 2020, Ranadive urged the Sacramento front office to consider Jackson for the associate head coach position that went to Gentry, sources said.
Today, Jackson's candidacy appears staked in a few key areas. The Kings are prioritizing previous head coaching experience and defensive identity, but Ranadive is also said to be searching for a vocal leader who can introduce a much-needed element of day-to-day identity to the organization. A head coach is often a franchise's loudest public voice, speaking to the media following every practice plus before and after every game.
When do you think we will find out who the next head coaches for the Sacramento Kings? James Ham: Okay, so last week I was told they thought it would be a two to three week process, where probably most of the way or not, if not all the way done with Zoom interviews, then there will be a round two, which will start anytime which will include in-person visits. So the thought originally was to whittle the list of seven names, down to potentially two to four, with the outside chance that maybe someone just blows you away, and you add them in as a fifth in person. Some of these guys are in the playoffs so the Kings plan on traveling to them if they need to. A lot of these guys are actually in the playoffs right now. But you know, if you want to get a full feel for these people, that's what you have to do. And even like a guy like Mark Jackson, he's still covering the playoffs. So it's not like he's available just to fly out. I mean, maybe he is but yeah, getting someone in the building right now is going to be a little bit difficult.
In the wake of the Kings narrowing their list of coaching candidates down to three finalists — Steve Clifford, Mark Jackson and Mike Brown — sources say they’ve begun the second and final round of interviews in Sacramento. The first round took place via Zoom, and general manager Monte McNair, assistant general manager Wes Wilcox and (now-departed) chief strategy officer Joe Dumars took part without Ranadivé’s involvement. As our Shams Charania reported Monday morning, Dumars — whom the Kings hired in June 2019 — has accepted a role as the league’s executive vice president, head of basketball operations.
The final round of Kings interviews, which now includes Ranadivé, is in person in Sacramento. Clifford, the former Charlotte and Orlando coach who spent last season as a Brooklyn Nets consultant, interviewed Sunday and continued his visit Monday. Jackson, the former Golden State coach who spent the past eight years as an ESPN analyst and who was with the Warriors during Ranadivé’s time there as a minority owner, is up next. Brown, the Warriors associate head coach whose team is in Memphis for Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday, is expected to present his vision for this team that went 30-52 last season later this week.
Shams Charania: Mark Jackson has emerged as a finalist for the Sacramento Kings head coaching job, sources tell me and @Sam Amick. Kings GM Monte McNair has begun to notify candidates whether they will move onto in-person meetings.
Domantas Sabonis said he’d like to give his input during the Kings’ coaching search, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. Sacramento opted not to retain Alvin Gentry as the team’s head coach. “I would like to be part of it and talk to everyone,” Sabonis said. “Give them my input, what I think, what I’ve seen, what could work, what could help.”
Jason Anderson: On having input in the coaching search, Domantas Sabonis says: "I would like to be part of it and talk to everyone, give them my input, what I think, what I’ve seen, what could work, what could help."
“There would be no reason whatsoever to discuss it right now,” Gentry said. “The season is going to be over in the next two weeks and then from there, we’ll sit down and talk and figure out the direction that everything should be taken.”
But sources with knowledge of the Kings’ plans say Walton is not in any imminent trouble and — barring a complete nose-dive in the second half — is likely to last at least through this season. There is a strong sense in coaching circles that Kings associate head coach Alvin Gentry would likely take over if Walton were eventually dismissed, but that time does not appear to be coming anytime soon. Sources say Walton, who was hired by former general manager Vlade Divac in mid-April of 2019, is owed a combined $11.5 million in the next two seasons of his four-year guaranteed deal.
Jason Anderson: League sources tell me a four-year deal between coach Luke Walton and the @Sacramento Kings has been finalized after a face-to-face meeting today in Sacramento, but at this point it's unclear when a formal announcement will be made.
Luke knew the Kings job was out there. If his Lakers exit wasn’t mutual, it certainly should have been. People had quietly been telling him for weeks that if the Lakers put him on ice, Sactown would be a potential landing spot. Dave Joerger did a nice job there, winning 39 games and keeping Sacramento in the playoff hunt for most of the season, but he was out of step with the front office. Players had reportedly soured on his leadership. Joeger was fired Thursday.
Jason Anderson: I can confirm that @Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac has already reached out to Luke Walton in the first hour after he was fired by the @Los Angeles Lakers. Unclear if a meeting has been scheduled at this point.
Marc Stein: The Kings have formally requested an interview with Luke Walton, as @Sam Amick just tweeted, and also intend to request permission from the Spurs to interview San Antonio assistant coach Ettore Messina, according to league sources
Brad Turner: Lakers announce they and Luke Walton have mutually agreed to part ways. Look for Walton to become a top candidate for Sacramento Kings head coaching job.
Sam Amick: As expected, source tells @TheAthletic that Kings GM Vlade Divac will now reach out to Luke Walton to schedule an interview now that his Lakers days are done. As I reported yesterday, Walton is Divac's first choice for this job.
“After evaluating the season, I determined that we need to move in a different direction in order to take us to the next level,” said Kings General Manager Vlade Divac. “On behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to thank Dave for his contributions to our team and I wish him all the best.”
Tension between management and Joerger on playing time for certain young players and relationship strains impacted Divac's decision, sources said. Still, most around the NBA believed the team's rapid improvement under Joerger and significant overperformance based on preseason expectations would have forced the organization to consider a contract extension.
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Kevin Durant holding out of training camp?

Brian Windhorst spent much of his Friday episode of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast talking about Durant’s situation. Windhorst said he felt the Nets won the recent showdown between Durant and team owner Joe Tsai. But Windy doesn’t necessarily think that means all is over between the sides. In fact, Windhorst says he now could see a world where Durant holds out of training camp. “A week ago, if you had asked me, ‘Will Kevin Durant hold out of training camp if he is not traded?’ I would have been like, ‘eh, I can’t see it.’ Now I can see it. That is what we are headed towards,” Windhorst said.