Have the Sacramento Kings lost their front-runner? According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Kevin McHale has withdrawn his name from the running for the job as the Kings coaching search drudges through Week 3.
McHale, 58, spent the last five seasons with the Rockets before being let go 11 games into the 2015-16 season. The Hall-of-Fame big man was well liked within the organization, but it’s known that he was not fond of the idea of living in California. In addition, he was handed a check for $12 million on his way out the door in Houston and he has jumped right into television work during the playoffs.
With McHale out of the picture, the Kings still have plenty of names to sift through and the list may have gotten a little bit longer Thursday morning.
The Indiana Pacers decided not to extend head coach Frank Vogel a contract for next season, making him a free agent. The 42-year-old amassed a 250-181 record over seven seasons, including six playoff appearances.
“I want to thank Frank for his time in Indiana,” president of basketball operations Larry Bird posted in a prepared statement. “We know he’ll be successful down the road and end up getting a job, but for us, I just feel like it’s time to move in a different direction.”
His seventh-seeded Pacers were eliminated from the playoffs by the Toronto Raptors over the weekend. The Sacramento Kings would be crazy to not at least call and test the interest of Vogel.
With Vogel out in Indiana, it changes the landscape dramatically for the Kings. It adds another team to the mix, but it also adds more competition. The Kings will now compete with both the Pacers and the Houston Rockets, who were told by interim head coach J.B. Bickerstaff that he is not interested in the job earlier this week.
Vogel’s departure may also take another candidate off the table for Sacramento. Nate McMillan spent the last three seasons working under Vogel and is well liked within the organization. The Kings are expected to sit down with McMillan for an interview later this week to discuss their open coaching position.
Reports are already surfacing that Houston would like to sit down with Vogel about their vacancy. The Rockets will hold an extensive coaching search, much like the Kings, but the addition of Vogel to the talent pool may change things.
The slow approach may have come back to bite Vlade Divac and the Sacramento Kings. There are still plenty of candidates to work with, but there is also competition from quality organizations.
Sacramento will continue its search throughout the week. David Blatt, Mark Jackson, Ettore Messina, Patrick Ewing, Henry Bibby, Elston Turner, Jeff Hornacek, Corliss Williamson and James Borrego have either sat down with Divac this week or are expected to soon.
The merry-go-round is still spinning at top speed. Where it will stop is a complete mystery.