Thursday, April 23, 2009
Natt fired as coach of Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Sacramento Kings fired interim coach Kenny Natt and his four assistants Thursday, a week after the club finished with the NBA's worst record.
The Kings, once a model of stability during eight consecutive winning seasons and playoff appearances under coach Rick Adelman, will be looking for their fourth coach since Adelman was fired in 2006 by owners Joe and Gavin Maloof.
Natt, a longtime NBA assistant for Jerry Sloan and Mike Brown, was promoted after Sacramento fired Reggie Theus on Dec. 15. Natt went 11-47 in charge of the Kings, who finished 17-65.
Natt wasn't thought to be in the Kings' long-term plans, which was confirmed when the club formally announced it wouldn't pick up his contract option for next year.
Sacramento also fired assistant coaches Rex Kalamian, Jason Hamm, Randy Brown and Bubba Burrage. The Kings didn't disclose the status of Shareef Abdur-Rahim, the former Kings forward who became an assistant on a one-year contract this season.
The Kings' next coach will inherit a stripped-down roster after several salary-shedding moves by president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie during the season. Sacramento also has the best shot at the No. 1 pick in the upcoming draft in the lottery next month.
Sacramento is close to rock-bottom after its unimpressive roster stumbled through the season in front of quiet crowds at half-empty Arco Arena, where the franchise had sold out 354 consecutive games before the 2007 season opener. The Kings had the lowest average attendance in the league this season leading up to the final week, and the club doesn't appear to be making much progress on its effort to build a new arena.
The Kings' coaching chaos has been a prime factor in their downfall. Eric Musselman, the former Golden State coach chosen by the Maloofs to replace Adelman, made it through just one contentious 33-49 season before being fired with two years left on his contract.
The Kings waited two months between firing Musselman and hiring Theus, the former Sacramento guard with scant head coaching experience. He was fired after a 6-18 start to his second season.