Source: Coaching search narrowed to three veteran names

Kings set to interview Jackson, Clifford, Brown for head coach opening

And then there were three.

According to a league source, the Sacramento Kings narrowed their list of potential head coaching candidates from seven to three Saturday afternoon. General manger Monte McNair will press forward with a list that includes Mark Jackson, Steve Clifford and Mike Brown, and the remaining four candidates have been informed that they are no longer in the running.

McNair and his staff held interviews via Zoom this week for round one of their coaching search and hope to either bring in or travel to the finalists this week for in person meetings.

Not making the final cut was veteran Mike D'Antoni, as well three up and coming assistant coaches in Milwaukee's Darvin Ham and Charles Lee, and Boston's Will Hardy.

The Kings feel they have a strong group of candidates heading into the second round of interviews. A league source confirmed that all four of the other candidates interviewed well, but in the end, the Kings have decided to move forward with a trio that all have head coaching experience and a history of being solid on the defensive end. 

Jackson, 57, is the surprise of this group. The former All-Star point guard has by far the least amount of experience out of all seven original candidates. He's coached just three years in the NBA from 2011-14, leading the Golden State Warriors to a 121-101 record. 

Following his dismissal, Jackson returned to the broadcast booth, where he has worked as a lead analyst. His time with the Warriors did not come without controversy, and there are plenty of questions from his past that should be answered if he is in fact the ultimate choice.

Outside of his three years with the Warriors eight years ago, Jackson has no other coaching experience, although he did spend 17 seasons in the NBA as a player. Kings owner and chairman Vivek Ranadivé was also a minority owner with the Warriors during Jackson's tenure and has first hand knowledge of how the team was run during this time.

Clifford is an interesting add to the list. The 60-year-old spent 13 years as an assistant coach in the league, working primarily under brothers Jeff and Stan Van Gundy. He earned his first head coaching job during the 2013-14 season when he led the Charlotte Bobcats to a 43-39 record and the first of four playoff appearances in his career.

Over eight seasons in the league as a head coach, Clifford amassed a 292-345 regular season record and a 5-16 record in the postseason. Clifford last coached the Orlando Magic during the 2020-21 season and spent last season as a consultant with the Brooklyn Nets. 

Last on the list is Brown, who is currently busy coaching on the Golden State Warriors' staff as one of Steve Kerr's lead assistants. The 52-year-old worked for six seasons asan assistant coach in Washington, San Antonio and Indiana before finally getting his first shot at running his own team in 2005. 

Brown spent five seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers from 2005-2010, posting a 272-138 regular season record and a 42-29 record in the playoffs. With LeBron James in tow, Brown led the Cavs to the NBA Finals in the 2006-07 season, before being swept by the Spurs. 

Following his time in Cleveland, Brown coached a little over a season with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2011-12 and made his way back to the Cavs for one more stop in 2013-14. He has a career record of 347-216 in the regular season and a 47-36 record in the post season over eight total seasons as a head coach. 

Since joining the Warriors for the 2016-17 season, Brown has earned two NBA Championship rings.

The plan now is to get all of these candidates to Sacramento for a second round of interviews. With the process moving along quickly, there is potential for McNair to announce the Kings' 20th head coach in the Sacramento era by later this week or perhaps the second week of May at the latest. 

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