NBA Rumor: Kings Coaching Job

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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.

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.

Mark Jackson more likely to get coaching gig in Sacramento

Mark Jackson was indeed a Klutch client in the past and, sources say, maintains a strong relationship with Klutch CEO Rich Paul, whose foremost client, of course, is the Lakers’ LeBron James. There is undeniably a level of support within the Klutch camp for Jackson’s candidacy with the Lakers, but Jackson’s chances of finally getting another NBA coaching shot after an eight-year wait are much stronger with Sacramento.

Mark Jackson the preferred candidate of Kings owner Vivek Ranadive?

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.

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.

Alvin Gentry would likely take Kings job if Luke Walton dismissed

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.

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.
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