Kings Fire Natt, Eddie Jordan in Line?
... until the Kings declined the 2009-10 option on interim coach Kenny Natt's contract Thursday. The move had been expected with some certainty. But in comments related to the new opening, Geoff Petrie has raised some eyebrows about what kind of coach the team will seek.
Namely, he said he's after someone with a record of success as an NBA head coach. On the surface that wouldn't be a surprise: Eric Musselman (who didn't exactly have success in his Golden State stint) failed, Reggie Theus (a college coach) failed and Kenny Natt (a lifetime assistant) failed. At some point, it makes sense to shift the strategy.
But peel back a layer and Petrie's pronouncement kills two big rumors at the onset. Earlier this month, Kings sources told yeoman beat writer Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee that John Whisenant entered as a cheap favorite to get the head coaching job. Whisenant coached the WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs to a title, and has been friends with the Maloofs for ages. Whisenant is not exactly a consensus choice in Sacramento. Fans would riot in the streets, more accurately. Whisenant has no NBA experience, let alone success as an NBA head coach. That would seem to eliminate him from Petrie's list, potentially at the risk of alienating the Maloofs.
The other party it affects would be Ettore Messina, the legendary Italian coach currently running CSKA Moscow. A recent Peter Vescey column asserted that representatives from the Kings had already set up arrangements to touch base when Petrie and friends visit Berlin for the Euroleague Final Four next week (in which Messina will attempt to win CSKA a championship). Messina has no NBA experience. Further, Amick insisted today that Petrie has not been involved in any pursuit of Messina, and actually seems perturbed by the spreading of the idea Sacramento is chasing him.
In the end, Eddie Jordan remains the overwhelming favorite. E.J. took the Wizards to the second round of the playoffs in 2007, and has strong ties to Petrie, consultant/genius Pete Carril and the Kings. It's a no-brainer, really.