Kings Reverse Course, Decide To Keep George Karl

2:26pm: Karl thought Divac was about to fire him when the GM called the coach at lunch today, but instead the two engaged in a conversation that lasted about five minutes and left Karl still in his job as head coach, Spears writes. It appears that brief dialogue constitutes the meeting between Divac and Karl that previous reports alluded to.

12:37pm: The Kings have scrapped plans to fire George Karl before the All-Star break and will keep the coach instead, sources tell Marc Stein of (Twitter link). The about-face came after Karl met with GM Vlade Divac today, Stein adds (on Twitter).

“George is our coach and we’re collectively working through our issues,” Divac said in a statement to ESPN, according to Stein, who initially reported the team’s plan to fire the coach.

It’s highly unlikely that the team will fire Karl during the All-Star break, at least, as he agreed during his meeting with Divac to make a renewed effort, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today. Improving the team’s defense was a key topic the two discussed, according to Marc J. Spears of The Vertical on Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), with transition defense, guarding 3-pointers and a lack of energy among specific topics, reports Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee (on Twitter).

The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski hears that the Kings had never made the decision to fire Karl, and that owner Vivek Ranadive had leaned toward canning him but Divac talked him out of it (Twitter link). That runs counter to Stein’s report that Divac was the one who was behind Karl’s impending dismissal. It’s Divac’s preference that Karl coach through the remainder of the season, Amick tweets. Divac said in November that Karl would remain coach for the rest of 2015/16, though former Kings GM Pete D’Alessandro said the same of interim coach Tyrone Corbin last season before the team replaced in with Karl in February 2015.

Today’s news represents the latest turn of events in a back-and-forth saga involving Karl’s job security, which first came into question in June. The Vertical’s Chris Mannix reported Monday that the front office had lost nearly all confidence in the coach and that multiple players were upset with him. An “obvious disconnect” exists between the players and Karl, with many in the locker room not on board with the coach, Jones tweets.

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