Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac is planning to fire coach Dave Joerger in a face-to-face meeting Thursday, league sources told ESPN.
Despite Joerger engineering an improbable 39-win season — the Kings’ most since 2005-2006 — Divac is using the muscle of his new contract extension through the 2022-23 season to consolidate power around him, league sources said.
Divac fired assistant general manager Brandon Williams earlier Thursday morning, sources said, and plans to meet with players immediately after dismissing Joerger.
What makes Joerger’s pending dismissal confusing to many inside and outside the Kings’ world is simply this: He transformed the Kings’ style of play into into one of the league’s fastest, most exciting brands of basketball. Point guard De’Aaron Fox has developed into one of the NBA’s bright young stars.
Tension between management and Joerger on playing time for certain young players and relationship strains impacted Divac’s decision, sources said. Still, most around the NBA believed the team’s rapid improvement under Joerger and significant overperformance based up on preseason expectations would’ve forced the organization to consider a contract extension.
Joerger, who has a 98-148 record without a playoff appearance in his three seasons with the Kings, has one year remaining on his contract. Prior to joining the Kings, he coached the Memphis Grizzlies for three seasons and has an overall NBA coaching record of 245-247.
The Kings, in announcing the new four-year deal, praised Divac for helping in the team’s rebuild.
“Vlade has been vital to what we are building here,” owner Vivek Ranadive said in a statement. “Throughout his entire career, Vlade is someone who has always made those around him better, both on and off the court.”