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Western Notes: Kings, Karl, Matthews, Suns

The hiring of George Karl as coach of the Kings shows that second-year GM Pete D’Alessandro has won a power struggle in Sacramento, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. D’Alessandro and Karl have a history together with the Nuggets, as do Kings assistant GM Mike Bratz and analytics expert Dean Oliver. It was the GM who pushed for Karl’s hiring and prevailed despite rumored opposition from minority owners and star player DeMarcus Cousins. “I think any time there’s a coaching vacancy, if you’re a serious team, and George Karl is a free agent, he should be the first name that pops into your mind,” D’Alessandro said. “He’s top tier, both in terms of basketball acumen and what he has accomplished.”

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • As Karl assembles a staff, a name to watch is Tim Grgurich, tweets Scott Howard-Cooper of The veteran coach could be Sacramento’s top assistant next season.
  • In New York for Saturday’s three-point shooting contest, the Trail Blazers’ Wesley Matthews didn’t sound like a man with plans to leave Portland, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders“To be honest with you, I haven’t even really thought about being a free agent, man,” Matthews said in response to a question. “I’m extremely happy in Portland and we have a great thing going there and that is where my mind is.” Matthews, who has become one of the elite three-point threats in the NBA, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • The Suns are more apt to try and trade Isaiah Thomas than to deal Goran Dragic before the trade deadline and the guard understands the trade rumors surrounding his name, writes Shlomo Sprung of Sheridan Hoops. “I can’t comment on it too much just because it’s out of my control,” Thomas told Sprung. “The game of basketball, especially the NBA, is a business and nobody is ever safe. You just have to be professional and come to work every day.” Thomas signed a four-year deal worth slightly more than $27MM last offseason.

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

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