Kings center DeMarcus Cousins is the latest in a series of stars who have clashed with George Karl during his long coaching career, as Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee examines. Sacramento GM Vlade Divac suspended Cousins for Friday’s game after his latest verbal tirade directed at Karl. It’s the most recent step in their tumultuous 13-month relationship that started when the Kings hired Karl in February of last year. “I’m the authoritative figure, and when you lose games, frustration evolves in many different ways, and sometimes it crosses the line,” Karl said. “Unfortunately, I’ve had many [difficult relationships] in my career, and fortunately some of them turned out to be very, very good.” He identified Gary Payton, Kenyon Martin and World B. Free as past stars whom he clashed with but now considers friends. Cousins is signed through the end of the 2017/18 season, which is also when Karl’s contract expires, but the coach was nearly fired before the All-Star break and is widely believed to be on the way out once the season ends.
There’s more news out of Sacramento:
- Karl played down the seriousness of a procedure he had on his neck Thursday to treat skin cancer, Jones writes in the same piece. Karl described the event as not “dangerous,” and he coached the next night.
- Cousins’ blowup this week bolsters the argument that Divac should ship him out of Sacremento, contends Andy Furillo of The Sacramento Bee. Furillo says Cousins has long displayed disrespect for the game as well as coaches, officials and other players. He picked up his league-leading 15th technical foul on Wednesday, then had to be restrained from attacking an assistant coach in the middle of a verbal tirade during a timeout. Furillo argues that the Kings need to trade Cousins, even if they can’t get equal value in return, before they move into their new arena next season.
- A dissenting view comes from Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee, who says Sacramento’s front office shouldn’t be so desperate to trade Cousins that it accepts a bad deal. Voisin expects Cousins to be sent somewhere this summer, maybe by draft day, and speculates about the Rockets, Mavericks, Celtics, Lakers and Clippers as possible trading partners.