After relieving Paul Westphal of his duties early in the 2011-12 season, the Sacramento Kings quickly stripped the interim label from Keith Smart’s title, giving him a two year contract good through the ’12-13 season. The second year was a team option which the Kings exercised five months ago in March, but that contract still gave Smart the “lame duck” status as the contract was to run out at season end.
No longer will he or his players have that worry.
This afternoon, the Kings announced they have extended Smart’s contract through the ’13-14 season, removing any question marks about his future in the California Capitol.
I personally really enjoy Smart’s ability to connect with his players, which I think is a very unappreciated trait – something that has lost its way in the current NBA landscape. He’ll never be confused with Tex Winter when it comes to the clipboard, but as a head coach, the ability to control and harness your players is a vital necessity to success.
All that said, the extension did catch me off guard. In a league of “what have you done for me lately”, you usually don’t see players or coaches extended without some immediate results, results that come in the form of stats, be it wins and losses or player averages – not smiles and team unity. I guess it’s the Kings’ way of saying good job on growing the youth and giving both he and the team a sense of stability for the next two seasons.
It’s an extra year – a cheap, extra year, though the timing is certainly…unique.
Still, good for Coach Smart. Great guy who appears to have this current core following his lead.