A little under two weeks ago, a report came out from Yahoo’s Chris Haynes that some within the Kings front office were at odds with head coach Dave Joerger over the minutes of rookie Marvin Bagley. The Athletic’s Sam Amick clarified soon after that whatever beef existed was mostly between Joerger and Kings assistant GM Brandon Williams.
While Vlade Divac quickly came to his coach’s defense in the media and fans showered Joerger with a standing ovation during the next game in a show of support, this ongoing feud does not seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
From Sam Amick today:
If Thursday’s Kings shoot-around was any indication, the chasm between Joerger and Williams is larger and more contentious than ever.
According to sources, Joerger on Thursday asked that Williams not be present for the team’s shoot-around in advance of the Kings’ home game against the Clippers. Williams, who had returned from an extended stretch of travel on Wednesday that had helped avoid these sorts of conflicts, subsequently left the shoot-around with Divac as a result of Joerger’s request. Joerger, the sources say, believes that Williams was the source of the story and is upset with the organization for not levying any discipline against Williams.
While everyone in and around the organization has been careful not to confirm or deny that Williams was the source of the report, it is widely known that Williams was seen talking at length with Haynes during the Kings matchup against the Lakers on Nov. 10th. If it is true that Williams was indeed the leak, that’s a serious case of undermining to both Joerger and Divac, and one that would seem to justify a significant punishment.
Instead the Kings have done nothing, perhaps hoping that bygones will be bygones. Williams has been part of a front office that has made significant decisions and has played a big part in them, including the reformation of the medical and training staff as well as the decision to take Marvin Bagley with the 2nd pick.
But the Kings can’t afford to have internal discord rip them apart. At 10-10, the Kings are playing the best basketball they have in years, and Dave Joerger deserves a lot of credit for that success. He’s adapted to his squad, having them play a fun brand of very fast basketball, and has slowly brought along the young guys while granting them more rope as they earn it. Bagley for instance, has seen his role and minutes expanded in recent weeks, and has played well in that time.
The Kings need to present a unified front, and actions speak louder than words. It seems clear that Joerger and Williams won’t be able to co-exist long term, and if Vlade Divac truly wants to show his coach that he’s got his back, there’s only one thing to do. Continued infighting only serves to cheapen Sacramento’s surprising success, akin to lipstick on a pig. It’s time to get the house in order.
UPDATE 2:43 PM:
Vlade Divac has released another statement
Kings GM Vlade Divac issues a statement re: our story...— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) November 29, 2018
"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. And that's what we're going to do." https://t.co/pC7NlRS4Q1
It’s a very tepid response, and one that won’t assuage fears that these issues will keep popping up.