The Kings have less than 10 games left in yet another disappointing season that will undoubtedly lead to major changes. One of those moves will likely involve firing head coach George Karl. Not only has Karl posted just a 40-63 in a little over a year but he's also alienated nearly every player on his roster.
This current batch of players aren't the first group to find Karl smarmy and snake-like. But in hindsight (and at the time), hiring an ornery head coach to work for a rudderless organization led by a mercurial star was not the best idea.
Karl's issues with DeMarcus Cousins are well documented. Karl reportedly wanted to trade Cousins this offseason. Cousins responded with a not-so passive-aggressive tweet. Their way of diffusing tension was an awkward handshake during the Summer League. In November, Cousins cursed out Karl in the locker room. Karl was almost fired in February and reportedly only remained in part because the team's minority owners didn't want to pay him not to coach. Karl then suspended Cousins directly for a game in March. Yada yada yada, here we are.
But recently, Karl has started taking shots at some of Cousins' teammates, too. Via Sactown Royalty, here is what Karl had to say about Seth Curry following Curry's impressive 12-point performance Friday night against the Suns. (Emphasis mine):
"I think Seth will be a combo guard, play both 1 and 2. I think usually those guys when I look at them, I see them probably trying to score a little bit too much and I think he probably should become more of a playmaking point as much as a scoring point. But he's going to be around for a couple years. He's definitely going to have a few more years of someone; I think we have him for one more year. I think he has a tenacity to him and a good basketball feel to him. Now he's just got to be confident and consistent."
It's not every day you hear a head coach describe one of his players as someone who's "going to be around for a couple of years," especially following a big game.
Not surprisingly, Cousins noticed the slight and took another shot at Karl following the Kings' Sunday win over the Mavericks. Cousins interrupted Curry's post-game interview and "YOU'RE GONNA BE IN THIS LEAGUE A LONG TIME" into the microphone.
But Curry wasn't the only young player that absorbed an odd blow from Karl. Here's what the Kings head coach had to say about rookie big man Willie Cauley-Stein after he went for 26 points against the Suns and 21 on the Mavericks.
Karl on Willie Cauley-Stein’s big game: "His offense has been blessed by a lot of good plays by other people."— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) March 28, 2016
Karl on Willie Cauley-Stein: A lot of his success has been we’ve made really good passes. It’s easy to make dunks and lobs."— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) March 28, 2016
That's an odd way to praise a player. Cauley-Stein was the sixth pick in the draft, yet he's playing just 20 minutes a game this season despite averaging 12.1 points, 9.2 rebound and 1.8 blocks per 36 minutes. Cauley-Stein did complain about his minutes earlier in March, but if this is retribution by Karl, it's out of place.
Karl has also been particularly hard on Ben McLemore all season, though McLemore's play hasn't exactly proved his coach wrong. Regardless, Karl's approach isn't endearing himself to the Kings, nor is it establishing a winning culture in Sacramento.
But don't worry, Kings fans. Karl will no doubt be outed this offseason, giving owner Vivek Ranadive yet another chance to get things right. What could go wrong?
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