Dave Joerger, who coached the Memphis Grizzlies to three consecutive playoff appearances before being fired Saturday, will be introduced Tuesday as the Kings’ new coach at a 10 a.m. news conference, the team announced Monday.
Joerger (pronounced YAY-ger) flew to Sacramento with his family on Sunday to interview with Kings general manager Vlade Divac, then met with principal owner Vivek Ranadive on Monday, when an agreement was finalized.
Joerger’s contract reportedly is for three years and $12 million.
“I am thrilled to welcome Dave to the Sacramento Kings,” Divac said in a statement. “He is a strong and passionate leader with a proven track record of producing results. Dave shares our focus on creating a long-term culture of winning, and I look forward to a bright future ahead for the Kings with his leadership on the court.”
Joerger, 42, was 147-99 in three seasons with the Grizzlies. He was not fired for his in-game coaching, according to Memphis general manager Chris Wallace.
Wallace did not elaborate Saturday, but reports circulated for some time that Joerger was at odds with the front office. After his first season with the Grizzlies, he interviewed for the Minnesota Timberwolves’ coaching vacancy in 2014 and reportedly wanted to meet with Sacramento while employed by Memphis.
The Kings’ front office and former coach George Karl were not in sync this season. Sacramento could be hiring a coach in Joerger who openly voices his opinions about personnel.
This season, Joerger managed to get an injury-depleted Memphis squad into the playoffs, where the Grizzlies were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round. The Kings have missed the playoffs in the past 10 seasons.
Joerger likely will have to earn the acceptance of a locker room adjusting to the team’s fourth coach since December 2014.
Though Joerger was successful with the Grizzlies, some would credit the foundation set by his predecessor, Lionel Hollins, who remains popular among his former players. Joerger was an assistant under Hollins.
While the Kings are expected to make some roster changes this offseason, center DeMarcus Cousins, forward Rudy Gay and guard Darren Collison are core players under contract for next season along with last year’s first-round draft pick, forward-center Willie Cauley-Stein. Gay played with Memphis when Joerger was an assistant, and Kings center Kosta Koufos was with the Grizzlies during Joerger’s first two seasons as coach.
Memphis’ front office underwent changes during Joerger’s time with the team, with Wallace returning to control of basketball operations after being in a supporting role for a while. Wallace also was a candidate to be the Kings’ general manager in 2013.
The Kings searched for Karl’s replacement for more than three weeks. More than a dozen names surfaced, including Vinny Del Negro, Mike Woodson, Nate McMillan, Patrick Ewing and Elston Turner, a former Kings assistant. Turner was on Joerger’s staff in Memphis and could return to Sacramento as an assistant.
With so many names to sort through, it appeared the Kings would spend even more time researching candidates. But once Joerger became available, they moved quickly.