Kings GM and vice president of basketball operations Vlade Divac will lead the effort to find George Karl’s replacement as head coach, according to Sam Amick of USA Today. Sacramento fired Karl earlier today after he compiled a disappointing 33-49 record in his first full season on the job. Divac said he will talk to former Kings coach Rick Adelman to get his opinion on possible candidates, and he plans to consult with Karl as well. “It’s a blessing to work with a guy [owner Vivek Ranadive] who is saving this franchise, building the new arena [that’s set to open in October] and letting me do my job the best I can,” Divac said. “So he has trust in me, and so far I’m so happy with my owner being behind me.” Along with hiring a coach, Divac is planning an addition to the front office, rumored to be former NBA executive David Morway.
There’s more news tonight out of Sacramento:
- Divac is committed to keeping center DeMarcus Cousins despite ongoing disciplinary problems, Amick writes in the same story. Cousins clashed with Karl virtually from the time he was hired as coach, and the Kings suspended the center for a game in March, leading some to speculate that his time in Sacramento was nearing its end. “DeMarcus is our franchise player, and all heat is going to be on him,” Divac said. “Even my decision about George, [people are] all going to talk about DeMarcus. But it’s not true. He’s just one of the people we have, obviously the most valuable, and we are planning to build around him.” Cousins has two seasons and more than $32.5MM left on his current contract.
- Divac wanted to fire Karl over the All-Star break, but opposition from minority owners stopped the move, tweets Marc Stein of ESPN.com.
- Sacramento’s “radioactive” coaching situation will scare big-name contenders away, predicts Chris Mannix of The Vertical. The columnist expects the Kings to contact Tom Thibodeau, Scott Brooks and Kevin McHale, but Mannix believes all three will steer clear of Sacramento. He adds that the Kings should have fired Karl in February and replaced him with Corliss Williamson. Instead, the front office got rid of assistant coach Vance Walberg, which further sabotaged Karl’s standing with the players.