Dave Joerger

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.

Pacific Notes: Joerger, Anthony, Clippers, Bradley

Kings coach Dave Joerger sidestepped questions about his job status following Saturday’s game, relays Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports. Joerger has Sacramento off to a surprising 8-8 start after last year’s 55-loss season, but a report last night suggested philosophical differences exist between the coach and front office regarding minutes for younger players.

“Well, usually, I would say, ‘I’d be happy to answer all your questions about tonight’s game,’ but in this case, I’m going to tell you that my focus is with our team,” Joerger said. “And coaching our team and getting better every single night. And we’ve got young guys, and they’re mixed with older guys, and go in there and rally them up.”

Joerger turned away follow-up questions about his job, saying, “I’m not going to get into that stuff.” He has a 67-113 record with the Kings and is signed through the end of next season.

There’s more news from the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers have been rumored as a possible next stop for Carmelo Anthony, but LeBron James is refusing to comment on the possibility of adding one of his closest friends, writes Liam Blackburn of The Sporting News. “I have no idea, to be honest,” he said when asked about the chance to acquire Anthony. “We don’t even have a roster spot open right now, so that’s not a question for myself.”
  • After missing the playoffs last season, the Clippers are making a strong statement with a 10-5 start and will be in position to get even better next summer, notes Tom Ziller of SB Nation. The team is 5-1 since inserting rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander into the starting lineup and ranks first in the league in opponents’ effective field goal percentage. With only five players signed beyond this season, L.A. could have up to $63MM in cap space in July, enough to offer two max contracts. However, Ziller states that the Clippers’ ultimate plan is to attract Kawhi Leonard, re-sign Tobias Harris and add a few complementary players around them.
  • The Clippers are expected to add another key piece tomorrow when Avery Bradley returns from an ankle injury, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times“I still don’t feel like I’ve been able to get a consistent offensive flow here in this game and what I can bring to the team,” said Bradley, who has missed the past six games. “I still think there’s an area of shot-making that I can contribute to this team.”

Kings Considering A Coaching Change?

The Kings‘ surprising start may not be enough for head coach Dave Joerger to keep his job, writes Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Joerger is locked in a philosophical battle with the front office over minutes for some of the team’s younger players, Haynes explains. Management sees this as a development year for the organization, while Joerger is focused on winning as many games as possible.

Of particular concern is the way  Joerger is treating Marvin Bagley III, the second player taken in this year’s draft, who is playing just 22.3 minutes per night. The 19-year-old is putting up decent numbers despite the limited playing time, with per-36-minute averages of 18.7 PPG and 8.9 RPG.

The front office wants to build around a core of Bagley, point guard De’Aaron Fox and young forwards Harry Giles and Skal Labissiere. Joerger has preferred to rely on veterans, including 30-year-old Nemanja Bjelica, who has started every game this season.

While management recognizes Joerger’s contributions to an 8-7 start, there are concerns that may lead to a coaching change. Several voices in the organization are calling for more playing time for Bagley, who many in the front office projected as a starter before the season began. Bagley is still seeing much more action than Giles, who is averaging 10 minutes per night, and Labissiere, who is at a career-low 5.6 minutes and has gotten into just five games.

The discontent in the front office, coupled with frustration from players over lack of consistency in their roles, could prove too much for Joerger, even though his contract runs through next season.

However, GM Vlade Divac responded to the report with a statement of support for Joerger, tweets James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. “Dave has our full support and confidence,” Divac said. “We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”

Coaching Rumors: Rivers, Joerger, Clifford, Magic

With the 2017/18 season now in the books for the Clippers, Doc Rivers has one year remaining on his contract with the team and sounded uncertain before Wednesday’s finale about what exactly his future holds.

“I love what I do, but that doesn’t mean that you keep doing it every year, do you know what I mean?” Rivers said, per Elliott Teaford of The Daily Breeze. “I can’t even answer the question. I love where we’re at as a franchise. I will say that. I would honestly say that a year ago I don’t know if I would have had that same feeling. So, we’ll see.”

Despite Rivers’ uncertainty, he’s expected to return to his job next season, league sources tell David Aldridge of TNT (Twitter link). We’re not even 12 hours into the 2018 offseason, so it’s possible the outlook for Rivers and the Clippers could change once the two sides formally meet, but based on Aldridge’s report, it doesn’t sound like the franchise is eager to move on from the veteran head coach.

According to Aldridge, Dave Joerger is also expected to return to his position as the Kings‘ head coach next season.

Here are a few more coaching notes and rumors from around the NBA:

  • Hornets head coach Steve Clifford will meet with new president and GM Mitch Kupchak on Friday in Charlotte, tweets Chris Mannix of Yahoo Sports. According to Mannix, Clifford figures to push for a decision on his status, since he’s highly regarded in coaching circles and could draw interest for other openings around the NBA if Charlotte lets him go.
  • Mannix also weighs in on the newly-opened Magic job, tweeting that Jazz assistant Igor Kokoskov could be a dark horse candidate to replace Frank Vogel. Current Orlando GM John Hammond helped bring Kokoskov to the NBA, Mannix notes.
  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders relays what he has heard on head coaching situations around the NBA. Besides examining the five teams without a permanent coach in place, Kyler also takes a look at the Hawks, Hornets, Pistons, and Clippers.

California Notes: Ball, Lillard, Joerger, Sampson

For the second time this season, the Lakers were visibly upset with Nuggets guard Jamal Murray. Head coach Luke Walton said that Murray’s trash talk was “disrespectful” and several Lakers players were just as critical, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk writes.

In particular, Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball said the Lakers did not forget Murray’s antics from Dec. 2 when he forcefully dribbled past Ball late in the game. Ball’s teammate Julius Randle fouled Murray as a sign of frustration.

“We remembered it,” Ball said. “It’s a punk move. But like I said, we’re not going to get into it. [Murray will] do whatever he’s going to do.”

This is an out of character statement from Ball, who is normally even-tempered and speaks highly of his opponent. However, with two separate incidents with Murray in the last three months, it’s clear that Ball and the Lakers agree that Murray’s antics are out of line.

“Like I said, he going to do the circus stuff — I’m not feeding into it,” Ball said.

Check out other news from California’s teams:

  • California native Damian Lillard lit up the Staples Center earlier this week, scoring 39 points in a victory over the Lakers. He will not be a free agent until 2021, so the possibility of the Lakers trying to lure Lillard to Los Angeles is far away and far-fetched. However, Mark Whicker of the Orange County Register writes that Lillard’s performance is indicative of how having superstars on the roster change the entire dynamic of a team.
  • When the Kings hired Dave Joerger as head coach, he was 53 wins shy of 200 for his career. It has taken him nearly two full seasons to reach the milestone; the Kings have not played well and their roster has generally been underwhelming. Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee relays that Joerger hopes to continue building something with the Sacramento.
  • JaKarr Sampson has bounced between the G League and the Kings as a two-way player this season. Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee profiled Sampson, who still lives with his mother, earns a modest $75K salary and hopes to latch on the Kings full-time. By his own words and that of his peers, Sampson’s energy has made him a favorite with the Kings organization and its fans.
  • The Kings have not made the postseason in over a decade as the organization tries to figure out a path to compete. Dennis Chambers of Basketball Insiders examines the steps the team can take to improve and eventually compete for the postseason.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Kings, Ballmer, Pachulia

Suns center Tyson Chandler is unsure when he’ll be able to play again because of a neck injury, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic reports. Chandler has missed five of the last six games due to swelling in a neck joint. That swelling has caused his neck to spasm and even lock up, Chandler told Bordow. “Coming back from the All-Star break I was looking forward to playing really well down the stretch,” Chandler said. “So it’s disappointing coming back having to deal with this.” The Suns miss Chandler’s leadership when he’s out, Bordow writes in a separate piece, noting the Suns are 5-25 when either he or Devin Booker doesn’t play.

In other news around the Pacific Division:

  • The fact that Kings coach Dave Joerger has agreed to a 10- or 11-man rotation shows that he has a good working relationship with GM Vlade Divac, Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee writes in a mailbag column. Joerger had been asked to expand the rotation to get more minutes for his younger players, even though he’d probably prefer a shorter rotation, Jones continues. Divac also consults with Joerger on when to send players to the G League, Jones adds.
  • Clippers owner Steve Ballmer doesn’t believe in tanking despite the team trading away Blake Griffin to the Pistons late last month. Ballmer made the statement at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and the quotes were relayed by ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz. “I think bottoming out is a dangerous game,” Ballmer said. “If you have to play it, maybe you have to play it. Then again, superstars don’t want to go to teams that look like absolute losers. … In a way you’re being dismissive of your fans by taking that big a step back.”
  • Warriors center Zaza Pachulia was not disciplined by the league for falling onto Thunder All-Star Russell Westbrook on Saturday, Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post tweets. Westbrook called Pachulia a dirty player after the incident.

Dave Joerger To Resume Coaching Kings Within Week

After suffering a health scare during Sunday’s game in San Antonio, Kings head coach Dave Joerger has been cleared to return to the team’s sideline, the team announced today in a press release. Joerger is expected to resume coaching the Kings sometime within the next week.

Joerger experienced some light-headedness during the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Spurs and had to take a knee on the sideline. He returned home to Sacramento and underwent a series of precautionary medical evaluations and tests this week, with the results suggesting that he’s in “fine health,” according to the Kings.

Assistant coach Elston Turner will assume interim head coaching duties until Joerger is ready to return, beginning with Tuesday night’s game in New Orleans. Sacramento’s next game will be at home on Friday, so it’s possible Joerger will be good to go for that contest.

Pacific Notes: Rivers, Looney, Bennett

If Austin Rivers is going to silence naysayers who claim his career has been propped up by his head coach father, now is as good an opportunity as any. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times spoke with the 25-year-old Clippers guard about life after Chris Paul.

Rivers averaged 12.0 points per game in 74 games for the Clippers last season but drove that up to 16.1 in 29 games as a starter. With Paul and shooting guard J.J. Redick  no longer with the squad, he could see a lot more time as a primary scoring option.

Rivers also spoke about the rumor that Paul requested a trade because Doc Rivers, then still the president of basketball operations, refused to trade his son in an effort to bring Carmelo Anthony to the Clippers.

I talked to him after that rumor came out, confronted him about it and he said it wasn’t coming from him or coming from his camp,” Austin said. “So we left it at that.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Although the mission was to get the Kings into the postseason when he signed on with the team, head coach Dave Joerger is comfortable with and committed to the rebuild at hand, too, Ailene Voisin of the Sacramento Bee writes.
  • Now down to 232 pounds, the lightest he’s been in years, 24-year-old Anthony Bennett is ready to resuscitate his career, Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes. The former first-overall pick is on a non-guaranteed deal with the Suns.
  • The Warriors could wait until the deadline to accept Kevon Looney‘s fourth-year option, Anthony Slater of the Athletic writes. The forward has been hard-struck by injuries over the course of the past few years but could finally be ready to show potential.