Two weeks ago, DeMarcus Cousins scored a then-career high 48 points as the Kings beat the Pacers for their fifth straight, and you could almost talk yourself into this misshapen collective of wonky players led by a too-old-for-this-shit coach who doesn’t give a fuck about defense maybe, maybe, coming together to make a serious run or at least, hell, make the playoffs. Now, they’re reportedly on the cusp of firing George Karl and it’s all gone to shit in a remarkably impressive short time span. God damn it.
Here’s the details, from Woj:
“An overreaction to the loss” was how one league source involved in the conversations on Karl’s job status described the organization’s response late Friday night.
As hours passed following the 128-119 loss to the Nets, there were indications that Karl could be spared long enough to coach the Kings on Sunday in Boston. Nevertheless, Karl has rapidly lost support in management and some parts of the locker room, league sources told The Vertical.
After this summer’s brouhaha—wherein Karl tried a power play, got rebuffed, then tried to laugh it off—it was only a matter of time before the team turned on their coach. Unless they’re winning (which Sacramento can only ever do for a short while before shooting their own dicks off), they get locked into this negative feedback loop where Boogie gets madder and madder, and then the fabric of the team starts to warp, and you get effort-free defensive performances like last night when they let the Brooklyn Nets hang 128 on them.
So, who is to blame? Here’s what Boogie told the Sacramento Bee:
“I’m not going to keep blaming these guys in the locker room,” said Cousins, who had his first triple double of the season with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. “Energy and effort is a huge part of the game, but I’m not going to keep blaming it on that. We’ve got a bigger issue, and we need to figure it out as a team.”
“I’d rather keep it in house, but we definitely have a bigger issue than just energy and effort,” Cousins said. “That can’t be the excuse every night. ... We’re going to work it out as a team, and hopefully we can fix this.”
Hmm, well those lines ain’t hard to read between. Ex-Kings legend and current broadcaster Bobby Jackson was far more direct and called for the team to fire Karl on the post-game broadcast:
This is now the second time this season that the Kings have almost fired Karl. They shitcanned a better coach (Mike Malone) for less (not playing fast basketball with a team not built to play fast basketball) last season. Vivek Ranadive is nothing if not trigger happy.
Whether or not firing Karl right now is the right move, this team’s inability to stay the course for the duration of a single season sure feels like a feature of the organization, not a bug. There is never not an existential freakout brewing in Sacramento. The Kings’ relevance starts and ends with DeMarcus Cousins, and the most efficient way to alienate him is to keep shifting the ground under him and cycling through coaches, GMs, and strategies.
Woj reports that not even Ranadive’s partners believe in him:
Across several years of instability with the team, Ranadive has progressively lost the support and belief of the multiple minority owners involved in the franchise, league sources said.
Lovely. The Kings are now 3.5 games out of the eight seed, behind two actual functional organizations. I’m not optimistic.
Photo via AP