While 16 teams remain alive for an NBA championship, the rest of the league is making plans for next season.
For three teams — so far — this means finding a new head coach. The Charlotte Hornets fired head coach James Borrego on Friday and joined the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings in their searches for a new bench leader. The Lakers and Kings previously parted with Frank Vogel and Alvin Gentry, respectively, after likewise missing the playoffs.
Per multiple reports, the Kings are lining up interviews with some well-known candidates. In a league that often leans on familiarity in coach hiring — for better or worse — it's a good bet they won't be the only team making these calls.
Per The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Kings intend to interview ESPN analyst and former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson and longtime NBA coach Mike D'Antoni for their opening. Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes confirmed that Jackson will interview with Sacramento next week. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Kings have also arranged interviews with ex-head coaches Mike Brown and Steve Clifford.
Will a new face emerge for a head coaching job?
But it's not all familiar faces. Wojnarowski reports that the Kings also intend to interview Milwaukee Bucks assistants Darvin Ham and Charles Lee and Boston Celtics assistant Will Hardy. Ham, 48, played six seasons as an NBA backup including as a rotation player for the 2004 champion Detroit Pistons. He's since served as an NBA assistant coach with the Lakers, Atlanta Hawks and the Bucks. He's spent his last nine seasons alongside Mike Budenholzer with the Hawks and Bucks.
Lee, 37, played professionally in Europe after starring for Bucknell in college. He joined Budenholzer's Hawks staff in 2014 and has been by his side since.
Hardy played for Williams College before joining the San Antonio Spurs as an intern in 2010. He was promoted to video coordinator and eventually assistant on Gregg Popovich's staff from 2016-21. He was also a member of Popovich's Team USA staff at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics before joining Ime Udoka this season with the Celtics.
The Kings remain in their perpetual state of rebuilding with a roster built around De'Aaron Fox, Domantas Sabonis and Davion Mitchell, all 25 or younger. Will they look to a known commodity with a mixed track record or roll the dice on a first-time head coach to lead their young team?