Reno Bighorns coach to join Sacramento Kings’ Summer League staff

Reno Bighorns coach Joel Abelson at the annual D-League Showcase (Photo: Jonathan Santiago)

Looking for continuity and synergy between the two clubs, the Sacramento Kings have retained Reno Bighorns head coach Joel Abelson for a second season and they plan on putting him to work this summer, Cowbell Kingdom has learned.  Not only will Abelson be back in Reno, but he has been asked to join the Kings in Las Vegas during Summer League, where he will act as an assistant coach.

Abelson led the Bighorns to a 27-23 record and a berth in the D-League playoffs, despite playing most of the season without highly touted NBA prospects.  Sacramento made good use of their newly formed partnership with the Reno club last season, sending rookies Ray McCallum and Royce White to the hybrid affiliate and calling up forward Willie Reed for late season depth.

McCallum showed incredible growth following two separate stints under Abelson and produced big numbers down the stretch for the Kings following a late-season injury to starter Isaiah Thomas.  In seven games with the Bighorns, the 23-year-old guard averaged 20 points, 4.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds.

White spent most of the season out of basketball before being allocated to Reno during a pair of 10-day contracts with the parent club.  He spent four games with the Bighorns, posting 8.8 points and 4.3 rebounds over 24.8 minutes per game.

Abelson and Bighorns assistant Ty Ellis were seen helping last Saturday’s pre-draft workout in Sacramento.  Working alongside the Kings coaching staff in Las Vegas should further develop the bond between Sacramento and the Bighorns.

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About: James Ham

James Ham is co-owner and senior editor of Cowbell Kingdom, providing extensive Kings coverage through news analysis, in-depth interviews with players and staff and daily coverage of breaking news. Along with providing original content for the site, including the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast and his weekly Sunday Musings column, James also provides game day coverage for NBA.com and is one of the producers behind the award-winning, independent documentary "Small Market, Big Heart".