NBA Rumor: Kings Coaching Search

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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.

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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.

Mike Brown prepared to accept Kings coaching job if offered to him

The Kings were awaiting the arrival of Golden State Warriors assistant Mike Brown on Thursday as they entered what could be the final hours of their coaching search. One question that has lingered in league circles is whether Brown would be willing to leave a good situation with Golden State to take on a reclamation project in Sacramento, where the Kings are trying to end an NBA-record 16-year playoff drought. NBA agent Warren LeGarie, Brown’s representative at WGL Management, addressed that question in an exclusive interview with The Sacramento Bee, saying Brown is prepared to accept the job if the Kings offer it to him.

“Mike is willing to take the job based on the fact that he knows he’ll be supported and have a chance to win,” LeGarie said. “He sees this as a good job and looks forward to being asked to be the head coach.” LeGarie said the job is appealing to Brown for a number of reasons. “First and foremost, he likes the people who are working there,” LeGarie said. “He loves the arena. He thinks that’s a natural resource that will help attract players because you’ve always got to have a place where the fans are involved and the facilities are terrific. And he believes the team has enough talent to give them a real solid chance of becoming a playoff contender.”

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.

Harrison Barnes, De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis were all asked whether or not they would give their input into the search and the range of answers was all over the board. Barnes was taken aback by the suggestion that he, one of the longest tenured Kings, would be consulted on something as important as the new coach. “I don’t anticipate my opinion being solicited at all, actually,” Barnes said with almost a chuckle. “But I appreciate you thinking about that.”

McNair offered broader parameters when asked if previous head coaching experience will be a prerequisite. “I think there’s a lot of characteristics that coaches will bring to the table,” McNair said. “We’ve seen successful coaches from many different backgrounds, so we’re not going to put any specifics or priorities on that. We’re going to interview. It’s going to be very comprehensive. We’re going to have a lot of people we’re going to talk to and we want to let them tell us what they’re excited about with the team as well as, certainly, our own thoughts.”
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June 28, 2022 | 11:13 am EDT Update
The Nets and Irving did come close to an agreement late last week, sources said, before talks stalled out. Sources said Irving had three potential opt-in-and-trade options available to pursue before making his final decision. Across the league, there are only five teams with projected salary-cap space: Detroit, San Antonio, Orlando, Indiana and New York, with all wanting to build around younger players or prioritizing other free agents. For their part, the Lakers were much more motivated to have Irving sign as a free agent than they were in acquiring the three-time All-NBA guard via trade, sources said. And as Irving went through his opt-in-and-trade options — as well as the potential of joining the Lakers in free agency — the decision to return to Brooklyn crystalized.
Irving’s agent, Shetellia Riley Irving, and the Nets front office held extensive and productive extension discussions over the past six days, with sources on both sides describing good-faith negotiations to reach a new deal. The Nets and Shetellia Riley Irving worked through various proposals, including a two-year max extension that included incentives based on games played as well as a four-year max that included two years guaranteed and triggers for years three and four based on the games played in years one and two, sources said. Irving showed a willingness to accept an incentive-based deal before a final counter was made to the Nets, according to sources: a short-term contract extension protecting both sides with a player option. Brooklyn declined.
Several teams are expected to continue to pursue Irving via trade, but his opt-in makes clubs consider more closely whether to trade assets in a deal for a player who will enter unrestricted free agency in 2023. Teams across the league understand Irving’s talent, and now a full season in 2022-23 allows him the opportunity to prove himself once again, then return to the market and earn a maximum contract next summer. Multiple sources with knowledge of his decision said Irving wants to prioritize winning a championship next season and show why he’s one of the best players in the league.