Kings met with Mark Jackson to discuss coaching vacancy, according to report
Could the former Warriors head coach be the next man to lead the Kings?
The Sacramento Kings met with former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson to discuss the team’s head coaching vacancy following a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night, reports Sam Amick of USA Today.
Jackson, currently an analyst for ESPN, was in Sacramento covering the nationally televised game between the Thunder and Kings. Afterwards, he reportedly met with Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro, advisor Chris Mullin and star center DeMarcus Cousins, “where they had requested that arena workers and others give them some privacy,” per Amick.
It’s not certain that the different sides were discussing Sacramento’s head coaching gig, since Mullin and Jackson are friends from their playing days, but that seems the most likely topic, particularly considering Cousins was involved. Could Jackson, less than a year after getting ousted in Golden State, really replace the recently fired Michael Malone?
Why it makes sense
The Kings seem content with letting interim coach Tyrone Corbin handle things on the bench for now, but Malone’s firing was a sign that the team wants to stir things up. Several big names have already come up in rumors, including Jackson and George Karl, and it seems likely one of them eventually takes the job.
Sacramento wants a coach who can take the team to greater levels of success, and Jackson is coming off a 51-win season in Golden State. The Warriors may not have believed that Jackson was the man to lead Stephen Curry and company to a championship, but he’s earned the opportunity to coach again somewhere else.
That makes Jackson a reasonable candidate in Sacramento, particularly given the apparent win-now aspirations of ownership. It didn’t take Jackson very long to turn the Warriors into a legitimate playoff team in the West, and with a core led by Cousins, it’s possible ownership thinks he could work similar magic in Sacramento.
Jackson is also friends with D’Alessandro and Mullin, two prominent voices in the Kings’ leadership. D’Alessandro was a video coordinator at St. John’s during Jackson’s senior season at the school, while Jackson and Mullin played together in college and the NBA for several years.
Why it doesn’t make sense
Just because the Kings have interest in Jackson doesn’t mean it’s being reciprocated. Jackson has given no indication he’s unhappy with his current role at ESPN, and even after getting fired from the Warriors, it’s possible he waits for a better gig to step back into the harsh waters of NBA coaching.
The Kings’ opening has some clear drawbacks, starting with the ownership of Vivek Ranadive and the recent handling of the Malone firing. Ranadive has developed a reputation as a meddling owner over the past couple years, culminating with the removal of Malone from his position partially because of the coach’s refusal to implement certain strategies.
If Jackson occasionally had trouble with the involvement of owner Joe Lacob in Golden State, it’s hard to imagine he’s too excited about the idea of butting heads with Ranadive. And given that other vacancies will arise in the near future, Jackson may prefer to wait and see.
Likelihood it happens
Jackson is a talented coach who’s destined to get another opportunity in the NBA soon, and the Kings are a team on the cusp in need of a leader. That makes for a pretty good fit, but it’s hard not to ignore the elephant in the room when you’re talking about an independent coach and an owner with a habit of getting involved. If Jackson is a candidate, he’s probably not the frontrunner. 3 out of 10.