Pacific Notes: Karl, Kupchak, Suns

Former Kings coach George Karl placed much of the team’s locker room woes on its star players, who never gelled this past season,  the coach admitted, according to James Ham of “There’s no question our locker room had tension,” Karl told Michelle Dapper of KCRA-TV. “There’s no question that our locker room had, whatever you want to call it — disconnect. How I tried to solve it or how we tried to solve it — to be honest with you, I think it’s more on the players as much as it is on the coaches. The stars of the team, I think got to take more responsibility sometimes for the leadership of your team. I think that’s probably where it broke down. I think the coach – me, and I think Rajon Rondo, Rudy Gay and Cuz (DeMarcus Cousins) were the three guys that we never kinda got together.”

Karl did admit that he didn’t spend much time in the locker room during his tenure, also adding that Sacramento trading away Cousins may be the best move for the franchise in the long run, Ham notes. “I can’t deny that ‘what if coaching this team without DeMarcus?’” Karl said. “It’d be exciting. Some roadblocks would be taken away.”

Here’s the latest from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak indicated that he is entering the summer under the assumption the team will not have a first-round pick, Baxter Holmes of writes. “That’s how you have to plan, yes,” Kupchak said. “And I’m fine either way. I would love to have the pick. I want to keep the 32nd pick. But you have to look at it both ways, and if it doesn’t work out where we get the [first-round] pick, we get the pick next year and we still have the ability to improve the team this summer.” If the Lakers’ first-round pick falls outside of the top three in the NBA draft lottery, it will go to the Sixers.
  • The Suns need to decide which combination of players will form their backcourt of the future with Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight and Devin Booker all likely to vie for starting slots, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes in his offseason primer for the franchise. Another upcoming decision the front office will need to make is regarding the center position, Marks adds. With Tyson Chandler signed for three more seasons and Alex Len set to enter the final year of his rookie contract, Phoenix may not want to pay both players big money and may need to make a tough call on whom to retain, Marks writes.

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