Sacramento Kings

Dave Joerger speaks on his love for Sacramento a day after losing Kings coaching job

Dave Joerger is no longer the coach of the Kings, but he still has a lot of love for Sacramento.

In a radio interview on “The Grant Napear Show with Doug Christie” on Friday, a day after he was fired, Joerger spoke highly and positively about his time at the helm and the community as a whole.

“Coaches come and go,” Joerger said. “My dream was to get the Sacramento Kings in the playoffs, and I’m looking forward to that group making the playoffs in the near future. That will make me feel as good as anything ever.”

The Kings had their most successful season since their last playoff team, winning 39 games for the first time since 2005-06. However, Sacramento went 9-16 after the All-Star break and finished nine games out of playoff contention. They’ve missed the playoffs for the 13th consecutive season, which is the longest active drought in the NBA.

On Thursday, hours after general manager Vlade Divac received a four-year extension, he let Joerger and assistant GM Brandon Williams go.

“After evaluating the season, I determined that we need to move in a different direction in order to take us to the next level,” Divac said about Joerger during a news conference Thursday at Golden 1 Center. “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.”

Joerger said he was grateful for his time as the Kings coach.

“I wanted to thank him for the opportunity and be very gracious about the chance to coach a good, young, up-and-coming team,” Joerger said. “We had a lot of fun. Vlade and I had a great relationship and will always have a great relationship.”

Joerger, who had one season remaining on his contract, went 98-148 in three seasons with the Kings. In about a 10-minute interview with Napear, he spoke on a number of topics.

On the status of the assistant coaches: “You hope you can find a place for them to land. They do a great job. I don’t know if anybody in the league developed players as well as our guys have over the last two years.” Divac said Thursday the decisions on them would be made in the coming days.

On his coaching ability: “I’m not where I want to be as a coach, I’m getting better, better days are ahead of me as well, so if you don’t have that moment to self-reflect, then I think you’re fooling yourself. ... I’m looking forward to continuing to improve and hopefully I have an opportunity to coach another team in this league.”

On Marvin Bagley III and why he didn’t make the No. 2 overall pick a regular starter: “It let a young guy come along. Marvin really found an identity with (the reserves). He gets to play against second-line guys, (but) he had success against front-line guys as well as we were able to mix him in there and he started finishing some games. I just think the sky’s the limit with Marvin, big time. He’s going to be an All-Star, without a doubt. I thought it was best for our team and for a guy to go in there and earn the respect of his teammates, nothing was given to him, I think that’s part of it that he’s going to get and have a level of appreciation for that.”

Near the end of the conversation, Joerger said he was appreciative of the love and support he got around the region and enjoyed the interaction he had with fans at the arena or just out and about. He plans on sticking around Sacramento and supporting the community as long as he can.

“I’ve bled purple. There is no doubt and that will always run deep for me,” Joerger said. “I see why Rick Adelman gave everything he had and how much he loved it here. Certainly I was trying to bring that level of success to Sacramento.”

The full interview, which aired on KHTK-AM (1140), can be heard here.

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Noel Harris is the assistant local editor for The Sacramento Bee. A former Kings beat reporter who still occasionally writes, he’s been in professional journalism for more than 19 years. His roles have included sports editor at The Modesto Bee and news editor at two smaller California newspapers, as well as online producer, page designer and copy editor.