After the Memphis Grizzlies and Dave Joerger completed their fallout, he quickly signed an inexpensive, multi-year deal with the Sacramento Kings to be their fourth head coach since Vivek Ranadivé took over the team in 2013. For the Kings, Joerger was the only possible hire that could repair the disastrous relationship between DeMarcus Cousins and the franchise.[Jeff]
The Kings have been searching for a coach that could mesh with the mercurial superstar ever since they inexplicably fired Michael Malone (due to backroom dealings by then-GM Pete D’Alessandro). Malone was straight-forward and direct with Cousins, which garnered Cousins’ respect and kept Cousins in line. The tenures of Ty Corbin and then George Karl were fraught with issues due to Cousins butting heads with them. The front office knew that they needed a coach who could get Boogie in line. In Memphis, Joerger was part of the coaching staff that turned Zach Randolph from a literal criminal with a bad reputation into a model citizen. He knows exactly how to curb the worst instincts in a player to keep them in line, and this is precisely the coach Cousins needs.
If Boogie Cousins had a catchphrase, it would be “Loyalty is Love.” Cousins frequently repeats the phrase on social media and has a limited clothing line emblazoned with the saying. In his introductory press conference, Dave Joerger preached one thing for his relationship with the franchise and his players: Loyalty. He stated it was the most important thing for him, for the players, and for the front office going forward. This must have been music to Cousins’ ears, whose last coach started off his Kings tenure by trying to get him traded.
Joerger’s focus on loyalty makes sense, given recent reports that Joerger’s firing comes after increasing “mutual animosity” between the front office and Joerger. This current iteration of the Kings comes directly from a mutual animosity between Michael Malone and Pete D’Alessandro which led to a complete tear-down of the team. What stands now is a GM in Vlade Divac who actually got to choose his own coach (which hadn’t happened for any GM under Ranadivé) and a head coach who are on the same page. An organization that had been torn asunder due to conflicts between the front office and the head coach took the most plausible path: a teddy bear of a GM in Divac and a head coach who has learned his lesson and escaped a toxic situation in Memphis. Neither side will repeat the sins of the past.
Joerger to the Kings developed so quickly because it made perfect sense. An inexpensive young head coach with a history of rehabilitation and maximizing talented but troubled big men who is reticent to make waves is exactly what the Kings need right now. They had exactly what they needed in Michael Malone, and inter-office politics ended up having him shuffled off the team. That mistake literally set the team back years, and they are determined to make sure that does not happen again. For Sacramento, it wasn’t that Dave Joerger was the best option, it was that he was the only option.