Dave Joerger agrees in principle to coach Kings

Adrian Wojnarowski

Dave Joerger has agreed in principle to a three-year, $12 million contract to become head coach of the Sacramento Kings, league sources told The Vertical.

The deal includes a team option for a fourth season that could make the contract worth $16 million, sources said.

A news conference to introduce Joerger could come as soon as Monday afternoon.

Joerger was fired Saturday as the Memphis Grizzlies’ coach after trying to seek permission to discuss the Kings’ opening. For Sacramento, Joerger is a playoff-proven coach who'll try to redeem a floundering franchise.

Dave Joerger (Getty Images)
Dave Joerger (Getty Images)

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and Joerger met on Monday and discussions moved to a swift conclusion with an agreement. The Kings fetched Joerger and his family in a private jet for a Sunday visit in Northern California, and Joerger and Kings vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac spent considerable time discussing a partnership.

The Kings showed their seriousness in Joerger by sending a private jet Saturday that gathered him in Tennessee and his wife and children in Nebraska, bringing them together to Sacramento, league sources said.

After Joerger was let go by Memphis, the teams no longer had to concern themselves with working out a draft-compensation agreement, and the framework of a potential deal started to take shape immediately, league sources said.

Joerger will have the autonomy to hire his own assistant coaching staff, and there’s doubt about his commitment to bringing members of his Grizzlies staff with him to the Kings, league sources said. Elston Turner is expected to join him, and another candidate – veteran NBA and college coach Bill Bayno – is likely to join Joerger on the bench, sources said.

After months of internal acrimony, Memphis fired Joerger on Saturday morning. For the second time in three years, Joerger and his agent had sought Memphis’ permission to speak to other teams about head-coaching openings, with the Kings foremost in those conversations, sources said.

As it became clearer that Joerger didn’t believe in the talent assembled in Memphis – nor wanted to honor the two years left on his contract – Memphis made the move to let him go.

In three seasons as head coach, Joerger was 147-99 (.598) and 9-13 in the playoffs. The Grizzlies reached the conference semifinals in 2015, losing to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. Joerger spent 10 years in the minor leagues as a coach before reaching the NBA as a Memphis assistant in 2007.

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