Dave Joerger’s time with the Sacramento Kings has come to an end.
The team announced Thursday that Joerger has been fired as head coach, confirming several media reports.
Joerger just completed his third season as the Kings’ head coach and oversaw a jump from 27 to 39 wins, but that total was not enough to snap the franchise’s playoff drought, now up to 13 consecutive seasons. The Kings lost 17 of their last 26 games down the stretch, a disappointing conclusion to a once-promising season. Overall, Joerger compiled a 98-148 record with the Kings.
“After evaluating the season, I determined that we need to move in a different direction in order to take us to the next level,” Kings general manager Vlade Divac said. “On behalf of the entire Kings organization, I want to thank Dave for his contributions to our team and I wish him all the best.”
On Thursday morning, the Kings announced a contract extension through the 2022-23 season for Divac, who has held the team’s GM role for four seasons. According to The Athletic, Divac’s new agreement gave him the power “to make the final call” on the team’s coach, which ultimately paved the way for Joerger’s impending dismissal.
This tumult didn’t come out of nowhere. Back in November, Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes reported that disagreements between Joerger and the Kings’ front office could lead to the coach losing his job. Months later, that has all come to fruition.
Kings have intriguing young core
Five of Sacramento’s top six scorers are 26 or younger. Whoever takes over as head coach will have one of the league’s better young groups to work with.
Buddy Hield, the team’s 2016 first-round pick, led the way at 20.7 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent from long distance. De’Aaron Fox, a 2017 first-rounder who starts alongside Hield in the backcourt, made impressive leaps in play in his second season, averaging 17.3 points and 7.3 assists while improving from 30.7 to 37.1 percent from 3-point land.
Forward Marvin Bagley, the No. 2 overall pick in 2018, put up 14.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game while primarily coming off the bench. Bogdan Bogdanovic (14.1 ppg), Willie Cauley-Stein (11.9 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Harry Giles (7.0 ppg) are all promising prospects as well.
Who could replace Joerger?
Names are already rolling as the potential replacement for Joerger in Sacramento, including Lakers head coach Luke Walton, 76ers assistant Monty Williams and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina, according to various national NBA reporters.
Walton has been the head coach of the Lakers for the last three seasons. He was widely expected to be fired at the conclusion of the regular season, but the abrupt resignation of Magic Johnson threw that supposed plan into a state of flux. Whether he remains with the Lakers moving forward is anybody’s guess.
Williams is in his first season on Brett Brown’s bench in Philadelphia. He previously was the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans for five seasons, compiling a 173-221 record. Messina, a native of Italy, has been with the Spurs under Gregg Popovich since 2014. He spent many years as a head coach in the EuroLeague.
More from Yahoo Sports: