“Keith’s extension gives us the stability we need to continue

the development of our team,” Kings President of Basketball Operations

Geoff Petrie said in a statement. “He has the commitment, energy and

vision necessary to succeed in building a winning team. We are all

looking forward to working with him as we pursue an exciting and

productive future.” The 47-year-old Smart, air max 2012hired as an assistant last

summer, took over for the fired Paul Westphal in January after a 2-5

start. The Kings went 20-39 the rest of the way under Smart during the

lockout-shortened season and then selected Thomas Robinson of Kansas

with the fifth overall pick in the NBA draft. The extension provides

Smart the job security he has never had. The Golden State Warriors

decided not to extend Smart’s contract last year after he hastily

replaced Don Nelson before training camp and led the franchise to a 36

-46 record — a 10-game improvement from the previous season. Smart

also had a stint as the Cleveland Cavaliers’ interim head coach for

the final 40 games in 2003 after taking over for John Lucas. No interim

tag this time. Smart, the former Indiana guard best known for hitting

“The Shot” against Syracuse to win the 1987 NCAA title, is 65-116 as

an NBA head coach. He already has built a strong relationship with

Kings players, notably volatile big man DeMarcus Cousins, in his short

time in California’s capital city and gained the backing of the Maloof

family that owns the team. Smart will be charged with leading a

talented young roster that has yet to blend. Sacramento has missed the

playoffs six straight years, and the franchise’s future is still

uncertain without a long-term arena solution. “I’m excited to

continue this process with the Kings,” Smart said. “We’re trying to

get our franchise moving in the right direction. The goal is to keep

moving in that positive direction, and I’m glad that I get that

opportunity. It’s been great working with Geoff and his staff and

communicating with the Maloofs in this process.” ___ Follow Antonio

Gonzalez at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP Copyright 2012 The Associated

Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,

broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 


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