Kings Notes: Karl, Iske, Divac, Cousins

George Karl must return to his usual frenetic self to be successful as coach of the Kings, argues Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee, citing questions over how much the 64-year-old cancer survivor has left as the “overriding concern” within Kings ownership and the front office. Team officials and close friends of Karl have noticed his energy level has dipped since the start of the season, even though he insists otherwise, Voisin writes. People from inside and outside the organization have noticed lead assistant Chad Iske bearing heavy responsibility, tweets Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. See more on the Kings, who’ll try to snap a six-game losing streak tonight against the Pistons:

  • Some Kings players are pining for the defensive focus that former coach Michael Malone brought and have concerns about Karl’s defensive schemes, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee. However, the players aren’t always defending with effort, Jones believes, citing a comment from Karl about “lazy” defense at times. “I never said they don’t like the system,” vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac said of the players. “They just didn’t buy in, yet.”
  • Divac said he called Tuesday’s team meeting, Jones notes in the same story. DeMarcus Cousins originally indicated it would be a players-only affair, though Omri Casspi said Cousins did share a text message with the players that reiterated his commitment to the team, as Jones relays. “[Cousins] was the one to send out a text to the players [Monday] night about how he cares about the team, wants to win and he feels like he has the right pieces here,” Casspi said. “So we’ve all got to step up.”
  • The team’s mood was remarkably lighter Tuesday following the meeting than it was in the locker room after Monday’s game, observes James Ham of “All problems are fixable,” Caron Butler said. “They all are. If they weren’t fixable, I don’t think I would be over here sitting, talking to you guys.”
  • The continued failure of the Kings to build a successful team around Cousins makes it worth pondering if Sacramento would be better off trading him and starting over, even though he’s a foundational star, SB Nation’s Tom Ziller opines.
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