So much for rumors, logic, or any combination of the two that could help right the wayward future of basketball’s most consistently mismanaged franchise. After months of speculation and recent poor performance led to the foregone conclusion of a coaching change, the Sacramento Kings have elected to retain George Karl.
ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported this shocking development on Tuesday afternoon, which was confirmed by general manager Vlade Divac minutes later.
Whispers of Karl’s potential dismissal first surfaced last summer, when his relationship with franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Cousins seemed to reach the point of disrepair. And though the sides supposedly mended fences before 2015-16 tipped off, Sacramento’s dispiriting start to the season and a locker-room shouting match made it abundantly clear Karl’s job was anything less than safe.
The Kings rebounded from a poor November to emerge as fringe playoff contenders in the Western Conference just after the New Year, quelling longstanding organizational concerns and springing optimism for the future. But that hope has proven unsurprisingly fleeting.
Sacramento has lost eight of its past nine games, and its embarrassing defeat at hand of the lowly Brooklyn Nets on Friday prompted widespread reports of Karl’s imminent dismissal. A pair of subsequent losses that shined even more light on the Kings’ sweeping defensive shortcomings only cemented those assumptions.
ESPN’s Stein, in fact, reported on Monday night that Sacramento would proceed with plans to fire the 64 year old.
How quickly things change in the NBA.
Where do the Kings go from here? For whatever reason, management believes staying the same course after yet another crossroads will lead to success. Let’s just say we disagree.