1:36pm: There’s “no way” the Kings would replace Karl with Lieberman, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com. The team isn’t going after Calipari, either, a league source insists to Sean Cunningham of KXTV-TV in Sacramento (Twitter link).
11:55pm: Kings owner Vivek Ranadive would like to make assistant coach Nancy Lieberman the interim head coach if the team elects to fire George Karl during the season, sources tell Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher for a video report. Such a move would make Lieberman the first woman ever to serve as head coach of an NBA team. Vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac would lean instead toward Corliss Williamson, another current Kings assistant, in the event of a Karl firing, Bucher adds, though Divac said last week that Karl would remain the coach throughout the season. Ranadive continues to eye John Calipari as a would-be long-term successor to Karl and plans to make the Kentucky coach an “offer that Calipari simply cannot refuse,” according to Bucher.
Lieberman became just the second female ever to hold a full-time assistant coaching position in the NBA when the Kings hired her over the summer. She previously served as head coach of the Mavs D-League affiliate, leading the Texas Legends to the D-League playoffs in 2010/11, the only time the team has ever made the postseason. She also served as a head coach and GM in the WNBA after a decorated playing career.
Williamson is a former Kings player and teammate of Divac who rejoined the franchise as an assistant in the summer of 2013, a few months after Ranadive bought the team. Williamson served as a head coach at the University of Central Arkansas prior to joining Sacramento’s staff.
Ranadive’s interest in Calipari has grown stronger in recent months, as Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead reported last week. The Kings denied a report this summer that they reached out to Calipari, and while the one-time Nets coach has insisted time and again that he doesn’t want to leave Kentucky, rumors that he wants back into the NBA have been persistent.
Does Lieberman deserve a shot as an NBA head coach? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.