MONDAY, 4:27pm: The Kings have officially picked up Smart's option for 2012/13, the team announced today. In the press release, Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie praised the job Smart has done "taking control of the direction of the team."
FRIDAY, 11:00am: Not only does the future of the Kings in Sacramento look much more stable than it did a week ago, but the team's future coaching situation is taking shape as well. Kings co-owner Joe Maloof tells SI.com's Sam Amick that the team will exercise coach Keith Smart's option for the 2012/13 season.
Smart, who has a 10-18 record as Sacramento's head coach, was promoted to replace the fired Paul Westphal earlier this season. According to Amick, the team had been leaving the door open to potentially pursue a bigger-name coach this summer, but has decided to retain Smart going forward.
"With no disrespect to our past coaches," Maloof said. "We really have someone who everybody likes now. The players like him, the basketball staff likes him, we trust him, and he knows the game. Keith Smart is a wonderful coach, and we're lucky to have him…. Yes, we'll pick it up (Smart's option). We want him to be our coach forever."
The Kings' coach has another fan in second-year forward DeMarcus Cousins, who clashed with Westphal but has nothing but praise for Smart. When Cousins expressed a desire to remain in Sacramento long-term a couple weeks ago, he credited Smart for helping to make him a better player.