The Sydney Kings have parted ways with head coach Chase Buford, sources told ESPN.
Buford had a team option for the 2023-24 NBL season, which the Kings chose to decline, sources said, as the 34-year-old continues to be in consideration for an opportunity with an NBA team.
Buford was appointed head coach of the Kings in 2021, and won two championships in as many seasons with the team.
The Kings confirmed later on Tuesday afternoon that they had chosen not to take up Buford's team option.
There was a mutual desire for Buford to return for his third season with the Kings, sources said, but the team wanted an exclusive commitment for the upcoming NBL campaign. Those discussions began in October of 2022, the Kings say. Buford is still in the midst of securing a coaching job in the NBA.
"The timing is challenging but we are at a point where we must make a call to ensure we have certainty about key roles," Kings Chairman and Majority Owner, Paul Smith, said.
"We wish nothing but the best for Chase, this is a difficult decision but one that is made from respect to Chase and his ambitions, but also the best interests of the Sydney Kings.
"Chase has played a monumental role in the success of the club over the past two seasons. The Sydney Kings and the entire Hoops Capital fraternity extend a huge thank you to Chase, Kelly and the Buford family that has become, and will always be, Sydney Kings."
Buford, the son of San Antonio Spurs CEO R.C. Buford, was known for his passionate demeanour, and his analytics-heavy style of coaching, quickly helping to lead the Kings to the 2022 NBL Championship; the franchise's first title in 17 years.
Buford has been reached for comment.
The Kings have begun what they're calling a 'global search' for a new head coach.