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Are the Sacramento Kings serious? One day after Los Angeles Cilppers coach Tyronn Lue signed a contract extension reportedly worth about $70 million over five years, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported that the Kings have offered coach Mike Brown an extension worth $21 million over three years, with bonuses that could bump that number to $27 million.

Brown wants around $10 million annually, per The Athletic. This jibes with previous reporting from Yahoo's Jake Fischer and The Athletic's Sam Amick and Anthony Slater.

For context, in addition to the Lue deal, here are some recent head-coaching contracts:

  • Monty Williams, Detroit Pistons: Six years, $78.5 million ($13.1 million per year)
  • Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs: Five years, more than $80 million (more than $16 million per year)
  • Doc Rivers, Milwaukee Bucks: Three and a half years, $40 million ($11.4 million per year)
  • Erik Spoelstra, Miami Heat: Eight years, more than $120 million (more than $15 million per year)
  • Steve Kerr, Golden State Warriors: Two years, $35 million ($17.5 million per year)
  • Mike Budenholzer, Phoenix Suns: Five years, more than $50 million (more than $10 million per year)

Last week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Sacramento and Brown had tabled extension talks and The Kings Beat's James Ham reported that the Kings' "failure to repeat the success of [2022-23] hasn't sat well with ownership." Hmm!

A quick refresher on the Brown era: Two years ago, in his first season in Sacramento, Brown became the first unanimous winner of the Coach of the Year award. The Kings finished No. 3 in the Western Conference with a 48-34 record and the best offense in the NBA before losing to the Golden State Warriors in seven games in the first round. In Brown's second season, Sacramento won only two fewer games (46-36), but dropped all the way to No. 9 in the West. It beat the Warriors in its first play-in game, then lost to the New Orleans Pelicans and failed to qualify for the playoffs.

The 2023-24 season was not ideal for the Kings. They went from a historically dominant offensive team to a merely above-average one (116.2 points per 100 possessions, 13th in the NBA), and their improvement on defense (114.4 points per 100 possessions, 14th in the NBA, up from 24th the previous season) did not quite make up for that dip. There were positives (i.e. the improvement of Malik Monk, the emergence of Keon Ellis) but, ultimately, the negatives (i.e. the regression of Kevin Huerter, late-season injuries to both Huerter and Monk) more or less canceled them out.

In a way, this past season should be clarifying for Sacramento. This team went 30-52 the year before Brown was hired, and this confirms that it didn't turn into a full-fledged championship contender overnight. The Kings were blessed to be virtually injury-free in 2023, and they need more two-way talent. The West is unforgiving.

This stalemate with Brown, however, raises questions: Does owner Vivek Ranadivé value the identity that this coaching staff has instilled in the team? Does he think that this year's roster was so good that a long playoff run should have been expected? The franchise is not really going to throw away any semblance of stability it has in a misguided attempt to hold Brown to account, is it?

Brown's contract is guaranteed through the end of the 2024-25 season, and there's still a month to resolve this situation before it drags into free agency. Already, though, these public negotiations are giving Kings fans -- and people who like to make "Kangz" jokes -- reason to remember the weird ways in which the Michael Malone and Dave Joerger eras ended. Brown's reported ask isn't out of step with the market, so why play hardball?