Per a report from Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, there is growing discord between the Sacramento Kings and head coach Dave Joerger. The crux of this rift seems to be Joerger’s preference of playing veterans like Nemanja Bjelica and Iman Shumpert over the younger options on Sacramento’s roster.
The Kings are off to their best start in years at 8-7. They had a successful East Coast trip and have been competitive in their games against Western Conference teams. Young players like De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield and Willie Cauley-Stein are playing the best basketball of their careers.
Yet that doesn’t seem to be enough for the Kings front office, who would like to see more minutes given to fellow youngsters Marvin Bagley III and Skal Labissiere. Bagley hasn’t started a game this year, despite being productive at 11.6 points per game on nearly 50 percent shooting from the field. Meanwhile, Labissiere hasn’t even been active for the majority of Sacramento’s games this year.
This is news that Boston Celtics fans should have more than a passing interest in, given 2019 NBA Draft considerations. Should the Kings first round pick fall at anywhere but first overall, that pick will convey to Boston. If that pick lands in the number one spot, the Philadelphia 76ers will get it and the Sixers pick will go to the Celtics instead. Or, in the highly unlikely scenario that the Kings finish with a better record than the 76ers, the Celtics will get the Sixers pick.
At 8-7 and around the edge of the Western Conference playoff picture, Boston’s best draft asset has rather tenuous value. Should the Kings fire their coach, despite the good start, it is likely things will tumble back in to disarray in Sacramento. That increases the value of that pick for Danny Ainge, either as a trade asset or to draft a player.
This #KingsPick has had a tumultuous journey. Sacramento originally traded the pick to Philadelphia, along with Nik Stauskas to clear cap space to sign Rajon Rondo and Zach Randolph. The 76ers then sent it to the Celtics, along with the number three pick in the 2017 NBA Draft in exchange for the number one overall pick in that draft.
Boston drafted Jayson Tatum, while Philadelphia drafted Markelle Fultz. To date, that trade has tilted massively in the Celtics favor. Yet, Boston fans would love to put the screws to the Sixers even further, by having that Sacramento pick come up high in the lottery. If the Kings fire their coach, it only increases the odds of that happening.
**Update: The Sacramento Kings released a statement from General Manager Vlade Divac about the reports of growing discord between the front office and the head coach. This statement reads:
“Dave has our full support and confidence. We continue to work together to develop our young core and compete.”