Sources: Kings furloughs hit basketball ops, G League staff originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Facing the most difficult financial times in recent history due to the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on day-to-day business, the Kings are making more cuts. This time it has reached the basketball operations side of the franchise.
A league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that a group of full-time employees have been furloughed effective Sept. 1, with a tentative return date sometime in November pending the official start of the 2020-21 season.
It’s a tough blow to an organization that is currently running a skeleton crew in the front office after general manager Vlade Divac and his lead lieutenant Peja Stojakovic stepped down in mid-August.
“Given uncertainty about the start of next season due to the ongoing impacts of the pandemic, we have made the difficult decision to furlough a handful of full-time positions across our basketball operations departments primarily around support roles,” Joe Dumars, interim executive vice president of basketball operations said in a prepared statement.
The furloughed employees will continue to receive health benefits from the team during their hiatus.
A league source confirmed that essential basketball operations personnel, like front office, analytics and scouting, were not impacted, although the team’s G League affiliate in Stockton was hit hard, as was the Kings’ training, development and equipment staff.
According to multiple NBA sources, Stockton general manager Anthony McClish, as well as assistant GM Drake U’u are sidelined for the foreseeable future. Both are furloughed, as is Stockton lead trainer, Katie Babcock.
McClish, U’u and Babcock have done very good work in the G League over the last few years. With McClish at the helm, the team has posted a 83-60 record over the past three seasons in Stockton/Reno, which is the second-best mark in the G League over that span.
With uncertainty surrounding both the NBA and G League seasons, cuts were deemed necessary. The Kings certainly hope it’s not to the detriment of the product on the court or the development of young executives.
With new management in Sacramento, this group is mostly left in limbo as the NBA draft and free-agency period approaches.
The Kings have taken massive financial losses, like most teams in the league. It’s not just basketball. Concerts, events and additional business opportunities have also been lost during the pandemic.
Hopefully for all parties, the Kings are able to retain the staff they are currently furloughing. If not, the franchise will have a long list of needs when basketball eventually returns.