According to Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee, the Sacramento Kings and George Karl are having "intense conversations" about bringing Karl aboard the leaking vessel that is the 2014-15 Sacramento Kings' season as their next head coach.
"While a change is not imminent, multiple sources told The Bee late Friday that the combination of Karl's innovative coaching and immediate availability has won over team officials who weeks ago expressed concern about a possible personality clash with All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins.
The overriding factor at this point appears to be financial: Karl would command an annual salary upwards of $4 million, a major potential sticking point given that the Kings will continue to pay Malone through the 2015-16 season. Additionally, teams with more attractive rosters are expected to have coaching vacancies at the end of the year, and Karl, who maintains a high profile partly owing to his ESPN appearances, is thought to be heavily pursued.
One other note of interest, though, is Karl's preference to remain in the West, along with his personal affinity for Sacramento. Though he referred to himself as a "Seattle guy," he was a vocal advocate of keeping the Kings in Sacramento."
We've known for some time that Karl winding up in Sacramento was a real possibility, but the timing of this report is, well, odd, to say the least. It's odd because just yesterday Karl took to his personal Twitter account, mentioning the Orlando Magic specifically, to let it be known he wants back in the NBA coaching ranks.
Perhaps mentioning the Magic directly was not a coincidence and was done to put pressure on the Kings' front office to offer him the job now because, well, he has other options. Leverage is a powerful negotiating tool, and Karl has a lot of it.
The Kings also, you know, still have Tyrone Corbin signed on for the rest of the season. Team front offices have never been known for their ethics, just look at how the Michael Malone firing was handled, for example, but having serious talks to hire another coach because the guy you backed coaching the rest of the season - Corbin - is not meeting expectations either raises a lot of organizational red flags.
George Karl has been available for hire all season; the Kings didn't have to hand Corbin the reigns for the rest of the season, but they did. If the Kings do end up agreeing to Karl's price it would be the Kings third - yes, third - coach roaming the sidelines in Sacramento this season. To be successful in the NBA, you have to have stability and continuity; the Kings currently adhere to neither of those qualities. That's a problem.
Still, Karl would be a very nice get for a team that's in the kind of situation the Kings currently find themselves in, which is a very dysfunctional one. Theoretically, Karl should mesh nicely with general manager Pete D'Alessandro and eccentric owner Vivek Ranadive. That kind of chemistry between the coaching staff and management is one of the more underrated relationships in today's NBA, just look at the 2014-15 Golden State Warriors, for example.
Karl has won, to a large degree, everywhere he's gone in his coaching career. He's a safe hire, arguably the best free-agent coach on the market, and should help energize the Sacramento fan base in knowing they've got a proven winner on the sidelines for the first time in a long time.
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