Brandon Williams

Kings Sign GM Vlade Divac To Extension

10:37am: The Kings have issued a press release officially announcing Divac’s extension through 2022/23.

“It is an exciting time to be in Sacramento and I am honored to continue my work of building towards sustained success for this franchise,” Divac said in a statement. “I believe our team has what it takes to win and make the playoffs. I want to thank (owner) Vivek (Ranadive), the entire Kings organization and the fans for all their support.”

10:29am: Divac is pushing to consolidate his power as the Kings’ top basketball executive and is seriously weighing the possibility of dismissing Joerger, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Woj, Divac and Joerger will have a meeting today.

Meanwhile, Divac is currently meeting with Williams and has decided that the assistant GM won’t be retained for next season, per Amick (Twitter link).

8:21am: The Kings have reached an agreement on a contract extension with general manager Vlade Divac, sources tell Sam Amick of The Athletic. According to Amick, Divac’s new deal will run for four years, keeping him under contract through 2022/23. Previously, his agreement with the team was set to expire in 2020.

Although the Kings couldn’t snap their league-high 13-year playoff drought this spring, the franchise showed promising signs of growth, with second-year point guard De’Aaron Fox and third-year shooting guard Buddy Hield both enjoying career years and exhibiting All-Star potential.

Other young players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Marvin Bagley, and Harry Giles also took steps forward, and Sacramento was able to add forward Harrison Barnes at the trade deadline. All of the Kings’ core players were acquired by Divac’s management group.

With the general manager now locked up to a long-term deal, the focus in Sacramento will now shift to head coach Dave Joerger, whose fate rests “solely in Divac’s hands,” sources tell Amick. Joerger has one year remaining on his own contract.

While the Kings exceeded expectations this season, the team didn’t finish particularly strong, losing 17 of its last 26 games, including a few defeats at the hands of clubs that didn’t seem to be trying too hard to win, Amick notes. Joerger also clashed with assistant GM Brandon Williams earlier in the season. Based on those factors, league insiders don’t view Joerger as a lock to return, per Amick.

Marc Stein of The New York Times first reported that the Kings and Divac were expected to explore an extension at season’s end.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Kings, Vlade Divac Expected To Discuss Extension

The Kings are expected to open contract extension discussions with general manager Vlade Divac following the club’s regular season finale, reports Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Divac’s current deal runs through the 2019/20 season.

Although the Kings couldn’t snap their league-high 13-year playoff drought this spring, the franchise showed promising signs of growth, with second-year point guard De’Aaron Fox and third-year shooting guard Buddy Hield both enjoying career years and flashing All-Star potential.

Other young players like Bogdan Bogdanovic, Marvin Bagley, and Harry Giles also took steps forward, and Sacramento was able to add forward Harrison Barnes at the trade deadline.

With the Kings pointed in the right direction, Divac – once a target for constant criticism – deserves much of the credit for the team’s transformation, as all of the core pieces on the current roster were drafted or acquired by his management group.

While Divac appears to be in line for a new deal, there’s still some uncertainty surrounding head coach Dave Joerger and assistant GM Brandon Williams, Stein tweets. Joerger and Williams reportedly clashed this season, raising questions about whether the duo can coexist going forward.

Joerger’s current contract also expires after the 2019/20 season, and NBA teams rarely ask their head coaches to enter a season on lame-duck deals, so it will be interesting to see if Sacramento also looks to extend Joerger this offseason.

Amick’s Latest: T. Chandler, Walton, Joerger

Before he signed with the Lakers, Tyson Chandler gave legitimate consideration to joining the division-rival Warriors instead. As he tells Sam Amick of The Athletic, Chandler loves Golden State’s style of play and was told the team would be interested in adding him, but he knew there may not be much of a role for him when DeMarcus Cousins returned.

“For me, it became (a question of), ‘Where would I make the most impact?'” Chandler said. “Do I want to go there and — back-to-back champs — just a well-oiled machine, be one of the guys, maybe be that vet on the bench after DeMarcus comes back? Or do I want to come to the Lakers, where they were teeter-tottering a little bit, struggling at the time, but I’d seen it coming alive, and I’ve always loved the draft picks and the young players that they had here, and then (LeBron James) coming here, and then (Rajon) Rondo, and then having those vets? I’m like, let me go ahead and hop in that dogfight.”

Amick’s wide-ranging article on The Athletic also touches on several other topics, including whether or not Kevin Durant should (and would) shoot more three-pointers, Austin Rivers‘ adjustment to Houston, and more. Here are a few other highlights:

  • The dynamic between Lakers head coach Luke Walton and team management is complicated enough that it’s worth keeping an eye on for the rest of the season, says Amick. However, a source close to the situation tells him that there are “no signs of imminent danger” for Walton.
  • There has been speculation that Dave Joerger could be a good candidate for the Timberwolves‘ head coaching job since he’s a Minnesota native and has fans within the organization. There’s no indication that it’s likely though, according to Amick, who hears from sources that Joerger is still extremely high on the Kings‘ young core.
  • Previous reports, including a couple from Amick, have suggested that there’s tension between Joerger and Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams, but that situation appears “more tenable” as of late, per Amick. Sources tell The Athletic that Williams spent a lot of time on the road during the weeks after Joerger asked him to leave a November shootaround, in a concerted effort to relieve tensions. All signs now point to Joerger remaining safe in Sacramento at least through the end of the 2018/19 season, Amick adds.
  • For what it’s worth, here’s what Joerger told James Ham of NBC Sports California when asked about the Timberwolves‘ job: “Obviously I’m a Minnesota kid, so it’s interesting, but at the same time, my focus is right here, right now. I mean, we’re having a great time with our guys. We’re watching them grow every day. I feel like I’ve worked my tail off, I know the players have and the coaching staff — to put us in a position where we have tremendous chemistry.”

Pacific Rumors: Booker, Warriors, Jones, Joerger

Suns star guard Devin Booker will take a cautious approach after re-aggravating a hamstring injury against the Lakers on Sunday, Gina Mizell of The Athletic tweets. There’s no timetable for Booker’s return, Mizell adds. Booker, who missed the team’s previous game against Orlando, departed after 17 minutes. He is averaging 23.5 PPG and 6.7 APG. Booker has been starting at the point and rookie Elie Okobo could pick up some of Booker’s minutes.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors dealt with a meningitis scare last March, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports. An outside vendor who handled the team’s food on a daily basis contracted a contagious form of the disease. Extensive precautionary measures were taken to ensure the meningitis didn’t spread to the team, Amick continues. A majority of the Warriors’ players and some members of the basketball operations staff took vaccination shots and a team practice was relocated to Oracle Arena while the team’s practice facility in downtown Oakland was sanitized, Amick adds. The health scare appears to be what David West was referring to when he made cryptic comments in the spring about the private challenges the team had dealt with.
  • With Damian Jones likely out for the season, the Warriors are evaluating whether to make a roster move, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic details. Jones tore a pectoral muscle in Detroit on Saturday. Willie Reed, currently posting big numbers in the G League, could be a candidate. Robin Lopez and Enes Kanter could be options if they’re bought out after the trade deadline, Slater opines. But the Dubs have Marcus Derrickson on a two-way deal and DeMarcus Cousins should return soon from his Achilles injury, so they may elect to stand pat, Slater adds.
  • The issues between Kings coach Dave Joerger and assistant GM Brandon Williams is par for the course in a dysfunctional organization, Jason Jones of The Athletic notes. Details of Joerger’s increasingly uncomfortable situation became public last week. With the perception of a divided front office, it wouldn’t be a shock if Joerger seeks another coaching job, Jones adds.

Tension Growing Between Kings, Dave Joerger

The Dave Joerger situation in Sacramento is getting increasingly uncomfortable in his third season, with Joerger requesting that assistant GM Brandon Williams not be present at a team shootaround on Thursday, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. 

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports first reported the team’s tension with Joerger nearly two weeks ago, a sentiment denied by Kings GM Vlade Divac. The report stated that the Kings were unhappy with Joerger’s handling of their young core and the minutes they were receiving, particularly No. 2 pick Marvin Bagley.

“Dave [Joerger] has our full support and confidence,” Divac said at the time, according to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee. “We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”

Joerger, according to Amick’s report, believes Williams purposely leaked the false information to Haynes in order to jeopardize his job security. Joerger pushed the Kings to punish Williams, but the organization has yet to take a firm stance on the matter.

Divac attempted to calm the conflict by scheduling a meeting between Joerger, agent Warren LeGarie, owner Vivek Ranadive and himself on November 21, Amick reports, and Joerger left that meeting feeling somewhat satisfied with a belief Williams would be punished. However, in the absence of any punishment, there’s now “an even stronger sense than before” that the Kings aren’t fully behind Joerger, per Amick.

“I have advised my front office and coaching staff to not focus on drama and rumors, but instead to focus on continuing to develop our young and exciting team,” Divac said. “And that’s what we’re going to do.”

The Kings have received praise this season from several coaches and players around the league for revamping their culture since trading DeMarcus Cousins. As Amick wrote, the rift between Williams and Joerger appeared to briefly settle down last week, but its evident the relationship must be repaired for the Kings to continue pushing a healthy atmosphere.

Sacramento has a promising young core of Bagley, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Willie Cauley-Stein and others, making it imperative that the group receives substantial playing time to develop their skills for the future. Joerger coached the Grizzlies to multiple playoff berths prior to joining the Kings in 2016.

Latest On Dave Joerger, Kings

Over the weekend, a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports suggested that Dave Joerger and the Kings‘ front office don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on the team’s priorities and direction, potentially putting Joerger’s job in jeopardy. General manager Vlade Divac swiftly issued a statement dismissing the report, suggesting that Joerger has the team’s “full support and confidence.”

Digging into the situation in Sacramento a little deeper today, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports that Joerger is not in danger of being fired anytime soon. However, that doesn’t mean that Haynes’ report is “much ado about nothing,” according to Amick, who says there’s a genuine disagreement within the Kings’ ranks about player development.

Haynes wrote on Saturday that Joerger is focused on winning as many games as possible, while team management would like to prioritize the development of young prospects a little more, and Amick’s report seems to confirm that. Sources tell Amick that there’s concern within the organization about insufficient playing time for Marvin Bagley III and other young prospects.

Here’s more out of Sacramento:

  • Although Joerger has another year on his contract beyond the 2018/19 season, his assistants are in the final year of their respective deals, per Amick, who describes the situation as “a second-level sort of lame-duck status.”
  • Joerger has believed since last season that assistant GM Brandon Williams was in the market for a new coach to replace him, sources tell Amick.
  • Amick describes Williams as a “major backer” of Bagley. Conversley, Nemanja Bjelica – the veteran power forward who is currently starting ahead of the club’s No. 2 overall pick – was a “Divac-driven” acquisition during the offseason, per Amick.
  • Now that the Kings have lost three of four games and have failed to deal internally with the possible discord within the organization, Joerger will face an even tougher task as he looks to hold his young team together, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.

Woj’s Latest: Cavaliers, Clippers, Kings, Jazz

In his latest piece for ESPN.com, Adrian Wojnarowski goes into extensive detail on the deadline deals completed last week by the Cavaliers, and offers some fascinating tidbits on how those trades got done, and one potential blockbuster that didn’t get done. Let’s dive in and round up the highlights…

  • Before making his series of trades, Cavaliers GM Koby Altman got an elusive face-to-face sitdown with LeBron James to let his star player know what he was working on. Altman later met with LeBron again to tell him that the trades for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, George Hill, and Rodney Hood were complete, and to ask for his blessing on the deal that sent Dwyane Wade to Miami, says Wojnarowski.
  • Altman had received ownership approval to trade Jae Crowder, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and the Cavs’ own 2018 first-round pick to the Clippers for DeAndre Jordan, according to Wojnarowski. Los Angeles was on board with the deal, but wanted to find a third team to take Shumpert and to give the Clips a center, since they didn’t want another shooting guard. Altman and Clippers GM Michael Winger weren’t able to find that third team, and since L.A. was unwilling to take on Shumpert (or Tristan Thompson or J.R. Smith) and the Cavs had some reservations about extending Jordan’s contract in the offseason, the deal ultimately fell through.
  • The three-way trade between the Cavaliers, Kings, and Jazz nearly fell apart on deadline day when Sacramento insisted that Georgios Papagiannis be included in the deal. According to Woj, Cleveland and Utah were “adamant” that Papagiannis had never been discussed, but Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams insists that his notes confirm that either Papagiannis or Malachi Richardson would be included.
  • As an aside, Wojnarowski writes that Williams was handling negotiations because GM Vlade Divac “seldom gets on the phone for the trade-building parts,” even though any Kings trade requires his approval, along with the approval of owner Vivek Ranadive.
  • The Cavaliers were very much against Papagiannis’ inclusion in the trade, since taking on his $2.3MM cap hit would have cost the club significantly more than that in tax payments. Utah also had no interest in acquiring the former lottery pick, with Wojnarowski suggesting that Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey was “livid” about the insertion of Papagiannis and was ready to call off the trade. As for the Kings, they were hoping to move 2016’s 13th overall pick to avoid the embarrassment of waiving him themselves, says Woj.
  • Eventually, Altman was able to work out a solution and talked Lindsey into it, per Wojnarowski. Papagiannis’ rest-of-season salary for this year and his guaranteed salary for 2018/19 totaled $3.2MM, and the Cavaliers were willing to pay that amount to Sacramento, but Cleveland was limited to sending out $2.1MM for the rest of this league year. Altman convinced the Jazz to send the Kings the remaining $1.1MM, with Lindsey getting a little something out of the deal: the ability to swap 2024 second-round picks with the Cavs. The Kings, having been compensated for Papagiannis’ remaining salary, simply waived him rather than insisting he be a part of the trade.

Pacific Notes: Josh Jackson, Williams, Clippers

In a recent interview on Sirius XM NBA Radio, Suns rookie Josh Jackson said he is confident he won’t be part of a potential deal with the Cavaliers for Kyrie Irving. LeBron James is reportedly interested in bringing Jackson to Cleveland and is using his connection with new Phoenix executive James Jones to try to make it happen. The Suns have assured Jackson, the fourth pick in this year’s draft, that he won’t be traded, according to reports last month.

“I think if that was going to happen, it would’ve happened by now,” Jackson said in the interview. “A little talking to my agent, not really checking social media because that’s not the way to go. People just say whatever. I handled it the same way I tried to handle draft night. Coming in, I didn’t know what was going to happen, I still don’t know what is going to happen. I’m going to make the most of whatever situation I’m presented with. If I’m traded to China, whatever, I’m gonna come out, I’m gonna be happy, just try to make the best of it. I was kind of in the dark a little bit. But I got a feeling that the trade wasn’t going to happen.”

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Jackson said in the same interview that he is continuing to get taller, according to a tweet from PerSources. Listed as 6’8″ at Kansas, Jackson said he has grown to 6’10.5″ over the summer.
  • Brandon Williams, who joined the Kings‘ front office in late July as assistant GM, talked with Kyle Ramos of NBA.com about what he brings to the job. Williams, who holds a law degree from Rutgers, had brief NBA stops as a player for the Warriors, Spurs and Hawks. He is excited about the youth movement in Sacramento, which had three first-round picks in this year’s draft. “I’d encourage everyone to be patient because the great strength of our team is going to be in our belief that these players will improve, that chemistry will develop and that they will develop into professionals,” Williams said. “Our veterans are going to help mentor them and pave the way. It will happen over time – and you can believe that everyone in the front office and the coaching staff is working together, giving it everything we’ve got to do our part.”
  • The Clippers‘ plan for a new arena in Inglewood is being opposed by people who fear it will cost them their businesses, writes Nathan Fenno of The Los Angeles Times.

Western Notes: Kings, Rondo, Irving

The Kings‘ organization has had its share of dysfunction over the past few years, but Brandon Williams, who was recently named the team’s assistant GM, believes the franchise doesn’t get enough credit, as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee passes along.

“I started to feel like I know what a lot of people outside of the organization know, and reading reports. And who knows if that’s true?” Williams said. “There’s always a little bit of truth, but who knows until you’re a part of it? And what I felt being around him and others is that the organization might be a little bit misunderstood.

“I do think there’s a real strong desire to put good people in place and to compete for something special, and there’s certainly no disillusionment that it isn’t going be hard. It’s going to take a lot of grinding effort.”

Before joining the Kings, Williams worked in the Sixers’ front office during their rebuild and his time in Philadelphia should only help him as he looks to build the Kings into playoff contenders.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

Kings Hire Brandon Williams As Assistant GM

The Kings have hired Brandon Williams to be their new assistant GM, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated reports (Twitter link). The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are so excited that Brandon is joining our front office team,” GM Vlade Divac said (via Sean Cunningham of ABC 10). “He is an experienced and talented basketball executive. His knowledge of player development and basketball operations combined with his legal skills will be a strong addition to our team.”

Williams most recently served as the Sixers VP of Basketball Administration and GM of Delaware 87ers, the team’s G-League affiliate. Williams also previously worked within the NBA’s league office, taking on the role of Director of Player Development before becoming the Associate Vice President of Basketball Operations.