Sacramento Kings lose top assistant coach Igor Kokoskov to Turkey

Sacramento Kings (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Sacramento Kings (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /

The Sacramento Kings are set to lose one of their top assistant coaches, Igor Kokoskov.

The Sacramento Kings are gearing up for the NBA’s return in Orlando later this month, but they’ll now also be forced to prepare for the loss of top assistant coach, Igor Kokoskov.

As first reported by Marc Stein of the NY Times, Kokoskov is set to return to Europe to take over as the head coach of Turkish basketball powerhouse, Fenerbahçe.

Fenerbahçe is Turkey’s premier basketball team and one of the best teams in the EuroLeague. Kokoskov will take over for legendary Serbian coach Željko Obradović who stepped away from the team last month.

Kokoskov joined Luke Walton‘s staff last summer and spent his first season with the Sacramento Kings this past year. Prior to that, the longtime NBA assistant spent a year in Phoenix as the Suns’ head coach during the 2018-19 season.

The Suns finished the year with a woeful 19-63 record and Kokosov was promptly fired. Nonetheless, the 48-year-old has nearly 20 years of experience as an assistant coach in the NBA and is well-regarded around the league.

Kokosov started his assistant coach career back in 2000 when he became the first non-American to be hired as a full-time NBA assistant coach under Los Angeles Clippers head coach Alvin Gentry.

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He would later spend time with the Orlando Magic, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Utah Jazz before earning his first head coaching job with the Suns in 2018.

This won’t be the soon-to-be-former Sacramento Kings assistant coach’s first time coaching in Europe.

Kokosov also has plenty of experience coaching in Europe having been the head coach of the Georgia national team from 2008-2015. His most successful tenure overseas came as head coach of the Slovenian national team where he led them to a gold medal in the EuroBasket back in 2017.

Since 2019, he has also served as the head coach of the Serbian national team coaching current Kings Nemanja Bjelica and Bogdan Bogdanovic. His familiarity with those two players possibly influenced Walton’s decision to add him to the coaching staff.

The Athletic’s Jason Jones is reporting that Kokosov is expected to travel with the Kings to Orlando and finish out the season with the team. Whether that includes a postseason berth remains to be seen.

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Regardless, this is a major opportunity for Kokosov and a significant blow to the Kings coaching staff.