Dave Joerger

Western Notes: Capela, Brunson, Kings, Roberson

Clint Capela‘s thumb injury could cost him a $2MM bonus, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. The Rockets center has a 2,000-minute criteria tied into the team reaching the Western Conference Finals and for a defensive rebounding percentage above 30%. He has another bonus for attempting 150 or more free throws and a free throw percentage above 65%. He is currently shooting 62.6% from the line. Through 42 games, Capela has played 1,436 minutes. He is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mavericks rookie Jalen Brunson and veteran Devin Harris will pick up the minutes vacated by backup point guard J.J. Barea, who suffered a torn Achilles on Friday, according to Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. Brunson played 30 minutes against the Warriors on Sunday but Harris will see his role expand as well. “He’s going to be ready and he’s going to be there for us,” coach Rick Carlisle said of Harris.
  • Kings assistant coaches under Dave Joerger are having their options for next season picked up by the front office, Sam Amick of USA Today tweets. That group includes Bryan Gates, Elston Turner, Bob Thornton, Jason March, Duane Ticknor, Larry Lewis, Bobby Jackson, Phil Ricci and Dan Hartfield. It’s a way of aligning the contracts of the staff with Joerger’s deal. The surprising Kings are currently a game above .500.
  • Kings GM Vlade Divac warned members of the executive board to stop meddling in the team’s affairs, Sam Amick of USA Today reports. Divac made the pronouncement during a conference call with 13 members of the  executive board, along with lead owner Vivek Ranadive. Divac has been frustrated by internal complaints and used the forum to demand respect, Amick adds.
  • Thunder shooting guard Andre Roberson remains sidelined indefinitely, coach Billy Donovan told Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman and other media members. “He’s worked hard, he’s doing all he needs to do but he’s still in the rehab process.”  Roberson suffered a season-ending left knee injury last January and suffered a setback in late November when an MRI revealed an avulsion fracture in the knee.

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.”

Joerger: Fox, Bagley Are Next Westbrook, Durant

Kings head coach Dave Joerger made some headlines after he praised standout rookie Luka Doncic following Sacramento’s tilt against the Mavericks on Sunday. Despite some skepticism about Doncic’s ability to translate his overseas success to the NBA, the 19-year-old is the early frontrunner for Rookie of the Year.

“Perhaps there was an idea that there was a ceiling on him.,” Joerger said, per ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “I don’t see it, unfortunately for us. But he’s great for them and he’s great for our league”.

Some interpreted Joerger’s comments as veiled criticism of the organization, given his reportedly tumultuous relationship with certain front office members — the Kings passed on Doncic in the NBA Draft and instead used the second overall pick on Duke’s Marvin Bagley III. Doncic was taken third overall by the Hawks and traded to Dallas.

On Monday, Joerger clarified his comments, stating this praise for Doncic involved “no veiled shots at anybody,” per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). Instead, Joerger used a high benchmark to predict the ceiling on the Kings’ young core of Bagley and De’Aaron Fox, the fifth overall pick in 2017.

“When we drafted Marvin at 2, we were high-fiving like crazy,” Joerger added. “We got the right guy for us. This isn’t going to be a story in three days and it’ll be definitely buried five years from now when we have the next Durant-Westbrook. That’s how good they’re gonna be.”

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.