Kings Blog

Analysis: Scoreboard on Kings coaching candidates

Sacramento Kings GM Vlade Divac explains George Karl firing

The Sacramento Kings on Thursday, April 14, 2016, fired coach George Karl, the fifth-winningest coach in NBA history, following a season in which the team fell well short of their playoff expectations.
Up Next
The Sacramento Kings on Thursday, April 14, 2016, fired coach George Karl, the fifth-winningest coach in NBA history, following a season in which the team fell well short of their playoff expectations.

The Kings have been in the market for a coach since April 14, when George Karl was fired.

While other teams have filled their coaching vacancies, the Kings and general manager Vlade Divac are taking a methodical approach. They are interviewing numerous candidates, and there’s no timeline for a decision.

Three attractive coaches already have taken jobs: Tom Thibodeau with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Scott Brooks with the Washington Wizards, and Luke Walton with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Kings still have a long list of candidates as the search enters its third week.

Sam Mitchell

Résumé highlights: 2007 NBA Coach of the Year and two playoff appearances in six seasons with Toronto, 185-242 record

Most recent job: He was 29-53 as Minnesota’s interim coach this season.

Status: Interviewed

Pros: He’s known for a no-nonsense approach and has worked with both young players and veterans.

Cons: One winning season might not be enough to command respect in the Kings’ locker room.

Vinny Del Negro

Résumé highlights: Four playoff appearances – two each with Chicago and the Los Angeles Clippers – in five seasons, 210-184 record

Most recent job: He guided the Clippers to a 56-26 record in 2012-13 but was fired after they lost to Memphis in the first round of the playoffs.

Status: Interviewed

Pros: He has finished below .500 only once, and in 2012-13, he directed the Clippers to their best season ever at the time. He’s one of only two former Clippers coaches with a winning record.

Cons: He reportedly lacked the support of his top players in Chicago and Los Angeles.

210-184 Vinny Del Negro’s record with the Bulls and Clippers

Mike Woodson

Résumé highlights: Five playoff appearances – three with Atlanta, two with New York – in nine seasons, 315-365 record

Current job: Assistant coach with the Clippers

Status: Interviewed

Pros: Woodson, a member of the original Sacramento Kings team, dealt with strong personalities with the Hawks and Knicks, so he would be ideal to deal with the Kings.

Cons: He has had a winning record in only three seasons.

David Blatt

Résumé highlights: Reached NBA Finals as Cleveland’s first-year coach last season, 1 1/2 seasons, 83-40 record, 2014 Euroleague champion and Coach of the Year, four-time Israeli League Coach of the Year

Most recent job: He was fired by the Cavaliers this season despite a 30-11 record.

Status: Interviewed

Pros: He’s one of the most accomplished international coaches and was successful in the NBA.

Cons: He’s not known as a great communicator, which contributed to his departure from Cleveland.

Kevin McHale

Résumé highlights: Three playoff appearances – all with Houston – in seven seasons, including Western Conference finals berth last season, 232-185 record

Most recent job: He was fired by the Rockets this season after a 4-7 start.

Status: Discussions but no formal interview

Pros: He has a reputation as a player-friendly coach who doesn’t annoy his team by bringing up his Hall of Fame playing career.

Cons: There are questions about McHale’s ability to control the locker room after his sudden dismissal.

Henry Bibby

Résumé highlights: Led USC to three NCAA tournaments, including the Elite Eight in 2001; 132-120 in 10 seasons; won championships as a player or coach in the NCAA, NBA and CBA

Most recent job: Assistant coach with the Detroit Pistons in 2013-14

Status: Interview scheduled for Monday

Pros: He has extensive coaching experience at all levels, including in the WNBA.

Cons: He’s never been an NBA head coach.

James Borrego

Resume highlights: Assistant with New Orleans, Orlando and San Antonio; was 10-20 as interim head coach after Jacque Vaughn was fired by Magic last season.

Current job: Spurs assistant coach

Pros: Even though he’s only 38, he has plenty of NBA experience and might bring a fresh perspective to the Kings. Most of his career has been with the Spurs, one of the NBA’s top organizations with a winning tradition.

Cons: The Kings might want a more experienced coach after a decade of losing.

Patrick Ewing

Résumé highlights: Longtime assistant has worked for some of the NBA’s top coaches (Jeff Van Gundy in Houston, Stan Van Gundy in Orlando, Steve Clifford in Charlotte) and with some of the best big men, including Dwight Howard and Yao Ming.

Current job: Charlotte assistant coach

Status: Interview to be scheduled

Pros: He has a strong personality and would command respect, and he would be an ideal mentor for Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

Cons: Being a first-time head coach in Sacramento could be difficult.

Jeff Hornacek

Résumé highlights: 101-112 in three seasons with the Suns

Most recent job: Fired by Phoenix in February after a 14-35 start

Status: Expected to interview this week

Pros: He showed he can design a scheme that fits a roster and maximize his talent.

Cons: Kings could view the Suns’ winning percentage dropping in each of his three seasons as a negative.

Mark Jackson

Résumé highlights: Two playoff appearances in three seasons with Golden State, record improved every season (121-109 overall)

Most recent job: He was fired by the Warriors after they lost to the Clippers in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.

Status: Interview to be scheduled

Pros: He would make defense a priority and would be a strong voice and leader.

Cons: He reportedly had difficulty working with his superiors at Golden State.

121-109 Mark Jackson’s record with the Warriors

Nate McMillan

Résumé highlights: Five playoff appearances – two with Seattle, three with Portland – in 12 seasons, 478-452 record

Current job: Indiana assistant coach

Status: Interview to be scheduled

Pros: He has had six winning seasons, including three with 50 or more victories.

Cons: If McMillan considers leaving the Pacers, the Kings will face competition from more stable teams.

Ettore Messina

Résumé highlights: Four-time Euroleague champion, two-time Euroleague Coach of the Year, four-time Italian League champion, five-time Russian League champion

Current job: San Antonio assistant coach

Status: Interview to be scheduled

Pros: He has a great basketball mind and is one of the most respected coaches in the world.

Cons: His only NBA experience is two seasons with the Spurs, so it’s uncertain how he would he adjust to a rebuilding Sacramento franchise in his first NBA head-coaching job.

Elston Turner

Résumé highlights: Veteran assistant coach served on Rick Adelman’s staff in Sacramento.

Current job: Memphis assistant coach

Status: Interview to be scheduled

Pros: His relationship with Divac should facilitate progress, and he could improve Kings’ defense.

Cons: He would be a first-time head coach under an inexperienced general manager and owner.

Corliss Williamson

Résumé highlights: Three seasons as Central Arkansas coach; NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2002

Current job: Kings assistant coach for three seasons

Status: Expected to interview this week

Pros: He’s familiar with Kings’ culture and what needs to change; he has the respect of the players and would stress accountability.

Cons: The Kings might not want to promote someone who has been part of the last three coaching staffs.

Ailene Voisin visits former Kings coach George Karl at his home in Carmichael. He talks about his disappointment, anger, Kings situation and his recovery from knee replacement surgery.

Jason Jones: @mr_jasonjones, read more about the team at sacbee.com/kings.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee

  Comments