Troubling news on Sacramento Kings contract talks with Mike Brown, ominous comparison from insider


The Sacramento Kings went 16 years without making the playoffs from 2006-’22, becoming one of the worst franchises in professional sports until Mike Brown’s arrival. Now that Brown has helped turn the team into a perennial playoff threat, the Kings are reportedly dragging their feet in contract talks.

The Kings, the only pro team in California’s capital, had struggled for more than a decade before landing Brown as their coach. From the 2006-’07 to 2021-’22 seasons, Sacramento failed to even record 40 wins in an 82-game season.

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Thanks to the hiring of Brown, along with the trade for Domantas Sabonis, Sacramento snapped its playoff drought last year with a 48-34 record. While it only made the NBA Play-In Tournament, this past year was the first time the Kings posted winning records in consecutive seasons since 2004-’06. However, it appears Kings owner Vivek Ranadive isn’t happy with the team’s performance under Brown.

NBA insider Marc Stein wrote about the “broken down” contract extension talks between the Kings and Browns. He specifically noted that the franchise was disappointed by how it performed in the playoffs the last two years, which has given ownership pause on extending Brown’s contract at his asking price.

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“Extension talks for Sacramento’s Mike Brown, however, have broken down as Brown enters the final guaranteed season of his original four-year deal. The sides hold what has been described as a mutual option for 2025-26…Yet it appears that the combination of Brown’s desire for a significant salary bump and the Kings’ postseason disappointments of the past two springs has given his bosses pause.”

Marc Stein on the situation between Mike Brown and the Sacramento Kings

As detailed by James Ham of The Kings Beat, the Kings have enjoyed Brown at a bargain price in recent years and paid him even less than they did former coach Luke Walton (.422 winning percentage). Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that Brown is seeking a salary in the range fo $10-12 million per year, which would still be a few million less than the highest-paid NBA coaches.

  • Mike Brown salary (2024-’25): $4.9 million, free agent in 2025

During a May 22nd appearance on ESPN 1320, long-time Kings’ reporter James Ham admitted that the current situation with Brown feels very reminiscent of what occurred with former coach Mike Malone.

“I think this is very similar to the feel of what happened with Malone.”

James Ham on the Sacramento Kings’ situation with coach Mike Brown

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Malone, now a championship-winning coach with the Denver Nuggets, was hired by Sacramento in 2013. After a 28-54 record in his first season, he had the Kings off to a 5-1 start early during the 2014-’15 NBA season. Then, DeMarcus Cousins dealt with viral meningitis and Malone was fired with an 11-13 record.

The decision to fire Malone was widely criticized by fans, reporters and analysts at the time and remains one of the franchise’s worst decisions under Ranadive. If Sacramento chooses not to extend Brown, there’s a real possibility that decision will overtake Vivek’s move to fire Ranadive as one of the biggest blunders by the franchise.

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