Kings Rumors: Rondo, Koufos, Cauley-Stein

George Karl is looking forward to the challenge of handling Rajon Rondo, even though the point guard has clashed with coaches in the past, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Rondo signed a one-year free agent deal with the Kings last month after a stormy half-season in Dallas. He joins an already-rocky situation in Sacramento where Karl and DeMarcus Cousins are trying to repair their relationship after early-summer trade rumors. Karl is aware of the clashes Rondo had with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, but he wants to offer the point guard a new start in Sacramento. “I just sold him on how I like to let my guys have freedom,” Karl said. “I talked to him once before he signed and it’s going to be fun coaching him. I think he wants to lead our team but he also wants to be part of the decision-making, and that can be somewhat combustible but it can also work at a high level because I think we’re all trying to make the team the best.” 

There’s more news out of Sacramento:

  • Signing Kosta Koufos and drafting Willie Cauley-Stein has given the Kings a logjam at center, Washburn notes in the same story. Although it may mean pushing Cousins to power forward, Karl is confident he can find ample playing time for all three. “Kosta is solid fundamentally, doesn’t make many mistakes, defensive-minded, tough-minded,” the coach said. “Willie is a young athlete. We have to show him how to play. I think it’s a great combination and how much we play big is all going to be determined on how successful it is.”
  • The only surprise in Nancy Lieberman being named an NBA assistant coach is that it took so long, writes Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee. Lieberman was a college star and Olympic silver medalist back in the 1970s, coached the Mavericks’ D-League team into the playoffs and has worked as an assistant general manager. Despite that, her entry into coaching at the NBA level didn’t come until after the Spurs broke down the barrier by hiring Becky Hammon. “I’m like the loyal dog,” Lieberman said. “My only frustration was wondering if this was ever going to happen – if somebody was ever going to take a look at me and say, ‘She can do this.’”
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