A battle royal in Portland:Kings lose to Trail Blazers 122-120 in OT

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Photo credit: Craig Mitchelldyer, AP Photo

by Charlie O. Mallonee

We spit on your statistics about back-to-back games in the NBA

The statisticians, experts, journalists and oddsmakers all had written off the Sacramento Kings as having any chance to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night in the Rose City:

  • The Kings had suffered a devastating loss to the Lakers 101-91 on Thursday night in Sacramento
  •  The game in Portland was the back end of a back-to-back home/road set with the average chances to win the game at 37.3-percent historically
  • The Trail Blazers are seen as a more talented team than the Kings and are expected to make the playoffs and possibly go on to the second round while Sacramento is expected to be in the Draft Lottery … again
  • The game in Portland would be the Kings 11th contest in 17 days and the team needs a break to rest and recoup
  • Sacramento entered the game a 6.5 to 9-point underdog

What no counted on was the Kings forgot to read the script before the game and they came to play. Somehow they survived a first half that ended with the Blazers leading 62-57 and came out ready to to battle in the second half despite all of the odds being against them.

The Kings rode the play of Cousins, Gay, Koufos, Afflalo and Collison in the second half to outscore the Blazers 49-44 to force the game into overtime.

The teams tied the game up five times in the five-minute overtime session. With the Blazers up by two points with 14.3 seconds to play, Cousins missed a 26-foot jump and Rudy Gay missed a 16-foot desperation turnaround fadeaway shot with one-tenth of a second left on the clock. When the horn sounded, Portland had won the game 122-120 but they knew they had been in a battle royal.

Cousins was a different player on Friday night

Cousins put his inconsistent Thursday night performance behind him to lead the Kings in scoring with 33 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and one steal. Cousins did all of this after being assessed a technical foul in the first quarter for exchanging shoves with Meyers Leonard. Cousins knew his limitations and worked with them of Friday night.

Rudy Gay is proving to everyone that he is worth the new NBA pay scale

Gay may have given notice that he plans to opt out of the last year of his contract with the Kings but he is not playing like a man who does not care. In fact, it is just the opposite. Rudy Gay is giving it his all on the court every night and not in a selfish way.

Against Portland, he posted a double-double scoring 29 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Gay also added three assists, two steals and one block. He shot 50-percent from the floor (9-for-18) including going 2-for-4 from 3-point range. Gay went 9-for-10 from the free throw line.

If Vivek Ranadive and Vlade Divac are serious about building a contender, they need to get out the checkbook and get ready to start participating in the bidding war for one Rudy Gay.

Has there been a changing of the guard?

The man on the point who made it happen on Friday night for the Kings was Darren Collison. Collison played almost 40 minutes scoring 20 points while dishing out four assists and hauling in five rebounds.

The Kings starting point guard Ty Lawson played just 15 minutes and had four assists. That is not to imply Lawson has become obsolete but most observers felt that Collison would establish himself as the number one point guard at sometime after his return. It appears Collison decided he would declare himself number one a little sooner than anyone expected.

Ty Lawson will not be going anywhere. He still has a very vital role to play for this Kings team. Look to see more sets with Lawson and Collison on the floor together in a “small ball line up”.

Head Coach Dave Joerger’s thoughts on the game

  • Our team played hard
  • We were playing on fumes – 11 games in 17 days
  • Turnovers were catastrophic – 15 that resulted in 25 Trail Blazer points
  • Portland’s guards were fantastic – starters Lillard and McCollum combined for 67 points
  • Rudy (Gay) and Cuz (Cousins) gave their all on the court at all times in the game
  • It was a fun basketball game
  • Our group is resilient – they can take a punch – they don’t go away
  • He’s (Cousins) engaged – he’s all in

What’s coming up for the Kings

Thankfully for the Kings after the brutal 11 games in 17 days schedule they have four days off. There will be some practice/shoot-arounds, but they will also be lots of rest on the agenda.

The Kings next game will be on Wednesday night at the Golden 1 Center when the San Antonio Spurs come back to town. The Kings will have four more home games before heading back out on the road.

Hello Biggest Little City in the World

Three of the Kings rookie players have been assigned to the Reno Bighorns of the NBA D-League. Skal Labissiere, Georgios Papagiannis and Malachi Richardson will be playing with the Bighorns.

The fact is these young players would not be seeing any significant playing time in Sacramento. The second fact is they need significant playing time to prepare for the NBA. The solution is to play significant minutes in the D-League.

Do not expect to see the players move from Reno to Sacramento often unless they are needed to cover a roster spot because of an injury to an active player.

We will keep you up to date on their progress in the D-League on a weekly basis.

 

The Golden 1 Center opens on Thursday night ; the Spurs beat the Kings 102-94

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings

Photo credit: Sergio Estrada USA Today

Charlie O. Mallonee

Sacramento – Thursday night had all the pomp and circumstance of a Hollywood premiere as the long awaited official opening of the NBA home season took place for the Sacramento Kings. The NBA commissioner was there along with the former commissioner David Stern who sat with Governor Jerry Brown. Out-going mayor Kevin Johnson received his standing ovation for his efforts to build the arena. In-coming mayor Darrell Steinberg and members of the city council managed to get some face time.

Former Kings player Chris Webber and Washington Nationals manager Dusty Baker were seated courtside. If you were anybody in Sacramento or thought you were anybody, you were in the Golden 1 Center for the game on Thursday night.

DeMarcus Cousins officially welcomed the fans to arena on behalf of the team. Majority owner Vivek Ranadive took great pride in welcoming fans to the state of the art arena the ownership group promised them when they bought the team.

The opening was really something to see. If you missed it, you can go to Kings.com and take in the highlights. It will be worth your time.

Then, there was the game between the unbeaten San Antonio Spurs who shocked the Golden Stated Warriors on Tuesday night in Oakland and the 1-0 Sacramento Kings who dominated the Phoenix Suns on the road in their season opener on Wednesday night.

The Kings knew they would be in for a fight because they had to face the team that is picked to win the Southwest Division – even without Tim Duncan- on second half of a back-to-back, away-home schedule. Even though the team was full of adrenaline to do well in front of their faithful fans at the opening of the Golden 1 Center, the task before for them was a difficult one at best.

The Kings played with tenacity and gave the crowd cause to cheer often,but ultimately the talent of Spurs and the fatigue of the back-to-back games caught up to them in their pursuit of a win. The Spurs defeated the Kings 102-94 in first ever regular season NBA game in the Golden 1 Center.

Kings (1-1)

DeMarcus Cousins led the attack for the Kings against the Spurs. He scored 37 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to record a double-double in the game. Cousins shot 10-for-22 from the floor, 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point arc and went 14-for-16 from the free throw line. The Kings big man spent much of the second-half under the basket involved in a very physical battle with LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio front line. At times, Cousins temper seemed to be very close to boiling over, but he managed to keep it in check.

Rudy Gay had to do battle with Kawhi Leonard all night. Gay finished the game with 17 points with 10 of those points coming at the free throw line. He hauled 7 rebounds, had two steals and two assists as well.

Ben McLemore finished with 10 points in the contest. His best efforts came in the first-half. McLemore shot 3-for-4 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Unfortunately for him, it will probably be back-to-back turnovers that resulted in back-to-back personal fouls in the fourth quarter that many of the fans will remember.

Ty Lawson did his job at point guard for the Kings. Head coach Dave Joerger had said that Lawson would see heavy minutes of playing time and he worked 35 minutes on the floor versus the Spurs. Lawson dished out nine assists and turned the ball over just one time. Lawson added seven points, four rebounds and one steal.

Kosta Koufos scored eight, Arron Afflalo seven, Matt Barnes and Willie Cauley-Stein three points each and Anthony Tolliver had two points.

As a team, the Kings shot 40.0-percent (28-for-70) from the floor after shooting 51.4-percent in the first-half. They went 6-for-20 (30.0-percent) from beyond the 3-point line while going 32-for-38 (84.2-percent) from the free throw line. They matched the Spurs by grabbing 40 rebounds. The Kings tallied 22 assists against 15 turnovers.

Spurs (2-0)

To no one’s surprise, Kawhi Leonard led the Spurs scoring against the Kings. Leonard scored 30 points shooting an impressive 11-for-21 from the floor. He was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free throw line. Leonard also distributed five assists and recorded five steals. He played the last half of the fourth quarter with five personal fouls but it did not seem to slow him down.

LaMarcus Aldridge – the supposed discontented member of the Spurs who wants to be traded – added 16 points and five rebounds while giving DeMarcus Cousins fits under the basket for the entire game. Aldridge played hard and did not give off any signals that he was a player who wanted to be in another uniform.

Dewayne Dedmon and David Lee both had an impact in the game off the bench with 12 points each. Dedmon also had seven rebounds while Lee dished out two assists and had two steals.

San Antonio shot 45.6-percent (36-for-79) from the floor and 33.3-percent (6-for-18) from 3-point land. The Spurs went 24-for-27 from the charity stripe. They recorded 40 rebounds, 23 assists and 10 assists. The Spurs turned the ball over nine times.

What they had to say after the game

“Good game, good effort,” said Kings head coach Dave Joerger. “As competitors, you never want to say you played hard but you lost. But I liked a lot of the things I saw tonight. I thought we ran out of gas a bit. I think out turnovers were deadly and I think they made some tough, tough shots down the stretch. I thought our half-court defense was very solid. When our defense was on the run after turnovers, it’s very difficult to get back and defend.”

“Yeah, it was a big night for everybody. Us, playing in front of the fans and for the fans. This is a lot – this is a new era of basketball in Sacramento and it was good to be a part of it,” said Kings forward Rudy Gay. “Obviously the fans drive us to a new level. This was a playoff atmosphere and it’s good to have that.”

“Coach Joerger is a hell of a coach,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. “He’s got them playing defense already after one game because of the way they played defense in Memphis. That’s because he knows what he’s doing, obviously. But, that’s a tribute to those guys to pick that up and jump in. If they sustain that, that’s going to be a good basketball team. You can see his stamp all over it defensively.”

Notes

The first home game at Golden 1 Center was a sellout with 17,608 in attendance.

The Kings next opponent is the Minnesota Timberwoles on Saturday  night at 7:30 PM at the Golden 1 Center.

The Spurs will have their home opener on Saturday night when they host New Orleans.

Dave Joerger hired as Kings head coach

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–The Sacramento Kings have reached agreement with former Memphis Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger to become the new head coach of the Kings. Joerger was fired by Memphis on Saturday.

According to reports, the Kings sent a private jet to fly Joerger and his family to Sacramento. Joerger met with vice president and general manager Vlade Divac on Sunday and with owner Vivek Ranadive on Monday.

The contract is supposedly a three-year deal worth $12 million. There is reportedly a team option for a fourth year worth an additional $4 million.

“I am thrilled to welcome Dave to the Sacramento Kings,” said Divac. “He is a strong and passionate leader with a proven track record of producing results. Dave shares our focus on creating a long-term culture of winning and I look forward to a bright future ahead for the Kings with his leadership on the court.”

Joerger was the head coach in Memphis for three seasons. His teams were known for their tenacious, physical defense that would break down the opposition. Based on past track records, Joerger is a 180-degree opposite in coaching style from George Karl. Expect Joerger to be a defense first type coach.

Joerger has been coaching professionally since 1997. He paid his dues coaching in the minor leagues in the International Basketball Association, the Continental Basketball Association and the NBA Development League. Joerger spent six seasons as an assistant coach in Memphis working primarily as a defensive specialist before ascending to the head coaching position.

The Kings Rudy Gay played for Memphis when Joerger was an assistant for the Grizzlies.

Joerger posted a record of 147-99 in his three seasons as head coach in Memphis. His teams made the playoffs all three seasons. The team’s best playoff finish was when they made it into the conference semi-finals in 2015.

 

Kings: new building, new attitude, new logo

 

kings logosby Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings unveiled their new logo package today at an event held at outside the new Golden 1 Center. This is the first update of the corporate logos since 1994.

The new logos pay tribute to the logos of the Cincinnati Royals, Kansas City Kings and the original Sacramento Kings but retains the royal purple color that was established in 1994.

“When the Kings moved to Sacramento in 1985, the city was transformed. Today, we aim to do it again,” said Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadive. “This brand kicks off a new era for our franchise as we move into the most technologically-advanced, most environmentally-friendly arena in the world. As Sacramento becomes the next great American city, this identity honors our heritage while moving us forward.”

Some of the Kings thunder was stolen by sportslogos.net who revealed the designs on Saturday on their website. Sportslogos.net discovered the logos when the NBA filed for copyright protection in Europe. The website was not able to disclose the color scheme for the logos because the copyright filing only had to reveal the logo design in black and while.

For fans who just cannot wait to have the latest Kings gear, items with the new logo designs are available online today.

 

It’s official: the George Karl era has ended

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

SACRAMENTO–In the worst kept personnel move ever, the Sacramento Kings have fired head coach and future Hall of Famer George Karl. Multiple media sources – including this one – had been reporting that Karl would be dismissed since Wednesday morning.

The termination comes as no surprise to anyone who has been following the Kings for the past 18 months. DeMarcus Cousins did not want the team to hire Karl in the first place. Karl was almost fired over the summer for trying initiate a trade for Cousins, and vice president and general manager Vlade Divac wanted to terminate Karl in February when the team was in midst of turmoil. This was a relationship that was doomed from the very beginning.

“After evaluating the team’s performance this season, I determined it was necessary to move forward with a new voice from the head coaching position,” said Divac. “I have a great deal of respect and admiration for George and his accomplishments throughout his nearly 30 years in the NBA. On behalf of everyone in the Kings organization, I thank him for the contributions made during his time in Sacramento and wish him good fortune in the future.”

This will be the first time the  Vivek Ranadive ownership group has a head of basketball operations in place before hiring a head coach. Michael Malone and George Karl were hired before the general manager was in place and the results have been disastrous and resulted in both coaches being fired.

There have been reports that the minority owners have been upset over the handling of the hiring and firing coaches by Ranadive. For instance, Karl walks away with a reported $6.5-million due him for the remainder of his contract. Investors hate to pay “dead money” to anyone knowing they will have to pay out big dollars to the new coach that takes Karl’s place.

The assumption is that Divac will have heavy input into the hiring of the next coach. Not that Ranadive will be left out of process but he will probably allow the experts to do their job in order to avoid another hiring fiasco.

The coaching merry-go-round has become a joke in the national press that covers the NBA. Ryen Rusillo   of ESPN Radio spent almost five minutes decrying the coaching situation in Sacramento as ridiculous during his nationwide show on Wednesday. That is just one example of ridicule that is being flung at the Kings organization’s inability to hire and retain a head coach.

Hiring the right coach for this situation is critical. First, the coach must be able to adapt to the direction of the team as set by Divac who is said to want a more defensive approach on the floor. Secondly, the new head man (or woman) must be able to adapt to the available personnel. Finally, DeMarcus Cousins must buy in on whoever the Kings want to hire. That is not a good thing for management but they have empowered Cousins and will have to obtain his cooperation to make it work for the next coach.

Some of the names that are being floated are coaches with experience. Ex-Houston coach Kevin McHale, ex-Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek, former Bulls and Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro, ex-Cleveland coach David Blatt, former Warriors head man Mark Jackson and Charlotte assistant coach Patrick Ewing have been mentioned as possible candidates for the job. The search will also include top assistant coaches from around the league who are looking for their first job as a head coach.

The names of Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks have come up but both are expected to take higher profile jobs.

The interview process is expected to take some time because the Kings cannot afford to make another major hiring mistake as they move into the new arena.

Reports have Karl being fired by Kings on Thursday

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Bee and other news organizations are reporting that Kings head coach George Karl will be fired on Thursday when the team returns home from Houston. Sports Radio Service’s Kings Podcast predicted that Karl would not be retained as head coach based on his statements in the pregame and post-game news conferences on Saturday.

Karl has been on the “hot seat” since last summer when he sent up some trial balloons about possible trades for All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins. Reports had majority owner Vivek Ranadive wanting to dismiss Karl at that time.

Karl was also rumored to be close to termination in November following a confrontation with Cousins in the locker room after a game. Karl wanted Cousins suspended for two games but was overruled by vice president and general manager Vlade Divac.

Cousins was suspended for one game without pay in early March following a tirade during a timeout aimed at Karl (stop me if you are seeing a pattern here).

That fact is Cousins was against the Karl hiring from the beginning. Reports had Cousins “camp” telling management they thought Karl was not a good fit for the team and Cousins. The chances of a working relationship between coach and player was doomed from the beginning.

Karl is still owed $6.5-million from the 4-year contract he signed in 2015. He will be the fourth head coach to be fired by the Kings under the Vivek Ranadive ownership group.

League sources – speaking under the condition of anonymity – have indicated the Kings are interested in several people to take Karl’s place. The usual suspects of Tom Thibodeau and Scott Brooks have been named and are reportedly not interested in Sacramento.

Other names that are being floated include  Vinny Del Negro, Boston Celtics  assistant Jay Larranaga, ex-Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt, Atlanta Hawks assistant Kenny Atkinson, ex-Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, Charlotte Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing and ex-Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale. Ironically, Del Negro was in Sacramento on Saturday night for the Kings final game in the old arena.

No matter who the Kings settle on as their next head coach, if DeMarcus Cousins does not buy in on the choice then Sacramento had better looking for their fifth head coach. That is a horrible situation to be in but the Kings created the problem when they allowed Cousins to become more important than his coach.

Striving for stability Kings sign Divac to multi-year deal

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by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings desperately need to create a stable organization for the team, fans and investors. The organization took a major step toward stability by signing Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac to a multi-year contract today.

Divac was named to his current post on August 31, 2015. Prior to being placed in charge of basketball operations, he was Vice President of Basketball and Franchise Operations.

“My commitment to the Sacramento Kings goes back to my days as a player and I’m grateful to continue playing my part in creating a winning future for the Sacramento Kings,” said Divac. “I know that we have what it takes to be a successful franchise and I look forward to continuing to improve and build on the progress that we’ve made.”

Hopefully, this move is the first step in stabilizing the basket operations. With Divac firmly in charge, the Kings should be able to hire a coach that is philosophically compatible with team’s direction and personnel. The installation of a coach who will be around longer than a single season will also help the team meet a goal of becoming stable and successful on the court.

The Kings have not officially parted ways with current head coach George Karl, but it is hard to visualize Karl being retained after the end of this very disappointing season. Divac would be free to hire a head coach that could gain the confidence of the team.

The other major move Divac needs to make is to remove the title of general manager from his business card and hire an experienced G.M. who can handle the nuts and bolts of the salary cap plus trades and free agent signings. This would let Divac run things from the 10,000-foot level and deal with the overall direction of the team, league business, scouting and oversight of the D-league team in Reno.

Vivek Ranadive and the other owners are hoping that they can look back on this day as the one changed the Kings from an “also-ran organization” into real competitor in the National Bassketball Association.

Some of the information in this report was provided by the Sacramento Kings Media Department

Kings Update: No trades and one assistant fired

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Former Kings assistant coach Vance Walberg

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The NBA trade deadline was Thursday at 12:00 PM (PST). The deadline came and went without the Kings being able to make a move.

There had been multiple reports that the team had made Rudy Gay, Kosta Koufos, Marco Belinelli and Ben McLemore available on the trade market. Cleveland and Chicago had been rumored to be interested in one or more of those players.

One scenario had the Bulls Pau Gasol and his expiring contract coming to Sacramento in exchange for Koufos and McLemore. The deal would have also altered the draft pick provisions of the selection the Kings owe the Bulls.

There had also been rumors that Cleveland was interested in a trade for Koufos.

Ultimately, the Kings were unable to make any trade so the current roster will stay intact. That does not mean the playoff push is over but it does mean that the current players will have to make the adjustments on defense in order to make the team more competitive.

Walberg terminated

In a surprise move, the Kings fired assistant coach Vance Walberg on Wednesday. The move was reportedly made despite a protest from head coach George Karl. Karl and Walberg have been colleagues and friends for years. Walberg was a member of Karl’s coaching staff in Denver.

Walberg is known as the father of the “dribble-drive motion offense” also known as the “Memphis Attack”. The dribble-drive motion offense has been used successfully in the NBA by Denver and at the college level by Kentucky. Walberg has taught the offense in clinics around the world.

George Karl instituted the offensive scheme in order to meet the expectations of Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive. Ranadive wanted his team to play uptempo basketball more in the style of the Golden State Warriors.

The Kings offense has not been the problem. The team ranks number three in points scored at 107.1 per game. The defense has been the problem.

Sacramento gives up more points per game than any other team in the association at 109.1. The team has not been able to transition from the uptempo offense to defense all season.

The firing of Walberg would indicate that Vlade Divac feels that the offense needs to change in order for the team to play better defense.

The Vertical.com has reported that former Cavaliers and Lakers head coach Mike Brown is being considered to replace Walberg. Brown is known for his defensive expertise.

 

In a surprise move Karl will continue to coach the Kings

 

IMG_2244by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Sacramento Kings made a surprise announcement today that George Karl will remain the coach of the team. Multiple sources had been reporting that Karl would be fired between now and the All-Star Break.

Kings general manager Vlade Divac told CSN California,”George is our coach and we’re collectively working through our issues.”

Yahoo Sports is reporting that Vlade Divac and George Karl had a conversation by telephone and the two agreed to work together especially on improving the defense. The Kings have given up an average of 125 points per game to their last three opponents.

The Kings have lost eight of their last 10 games. Even with the recent losing streak the Kings are just five games behind in the battle for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

Why did the Kings choose to stay with Karl? George Karl is the fifth winningest coach in NBA history. He is a sure Hall of Fame coach. Karl did not just get stupid and forget how to coach a team. He also has a great history of taking poor performing franchises and turning them into winners. Karl also has a history of having “prickly” relationships with star players and still being successful.

A second reason the Kings have chosen to keep Karl may be the need to appear to be a stable organization. Sacramento has fired three coaches in two seasons. If they would have fired Karl, the team and its management would have looked to be totally unstable in the eyes of the league, the fans and the press. No free agent or potential coach wants to join an organization that lacks stability.

The third reason may be money. Karl signed a four year $15-million contract and is still owed approximately $10-million. That is a large amount to be paying out as “dead money” while having to pay a new head coach a substantial amount. Even the deep pockets of Vivek Ranadive have their limits.

No matter what the reason – keeping George Karl is the right move for now. Karl deserves the chance to turn the team around and stay in the playoff hunt. If he is unsuccessful in that quest, then the Kings may look elsewhere for head man or woman to lead them into the “promise land” next year.

 

 

 

 

 

George Karl is still the Kings Head Coach … for now

Karl 1-2-16

by Charlie O. Mallonee

There are numerous reports that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and vice-president of basketball operations Vlade Divac were furious after Sacramento lost to Brooklyn on Friday night 128-119. The loss dropped the Kings record to 1-6 over the last seven games.

DeMarcus Cousins made reference to a “big issue” that the team needs to deal with in order to move forward. Cousins made it clear it was not just energy and effort. One did not have to stretch the imagination too far to include the coaching staff in the “big issue”.

George Karl has been under fire in since the off-season after it was revealed that he wanted to trade DeMarcus Cousins and reconfigure the team to fit his playing style. Reports surfaced then that Ranadive wanted to fire Karl but cooler heads prevailed and Karl was retained.

Then came the infamous shouting match that followed a Kings loss early in the season when DeMarcus Cousins “unloaded” on Karl. It was reported that Karl wanted to suspend Cousins and he was overruled by Divac and Ranadive. Frankly, that move took away the power of the head coach and gave it to Cousins. To his credit, Karl has tried to work around the problem.

Things were fine when Karl and the Kings won five consecutive games and put themselves in contention for the number eight spot in the playoff race. Now that the team has hit a rough spot and fallen to 10th in the Western Conference standings the talk of a coaching change can be found all over the internet.

The Kings problem is simple. They are not playing defense. Part of the reason the Kings won five straight games was the solid defense they played. Over the last seven games the defensive component has been missing. The Kings can score enough points to win but they cannot stop enough points to keep from losing.

George Karl was not hired to coach defense. Vivek Ranadive wanted his team to play an uptempo offense that scored 100-plus points per game. He did not like the more deliberate defensive style of Michael Malone who he fired for not installing an uptempo game. George Karl has delivered th0se 100-plus games but his team has given up 100-plus points to their opponents.

Vivek Ranadive wants the Kings to make the playoffs. Check that – Ranadive wants the Kings to win the NBA Championship now. The problem is the Kings are not anywhere near a championship level yet. If the Western Conference was not having a down year, the Kings would not be in the playoff race.

It takes time to cultivate a winning organization. In order to turn a team around, it takes five to seven years of solid drafts, player development and organizational stability. Ranadive has owned the team for almost three years and it has not been a stable organization (see the resumes of the three head coaches he has hired). Building a championship team is like developing a fine wine – it takes time.

Ranadive is going to fire George Karl. It may not be on Sunday after the Boston game. It may not be during the All-Star Break. It may not happen until the end of the season but George Karl is a “dead man walking”. He has been since Ranadive wanted to fire him for suggesting the team should trade Cousins during the off-season.

Another coaching change will just add instability to an unstable organization. Changing the coach will not bring the Kings a championship. Only time, solid drafts, good free agent signings and organizational stability will lead the Kings to where they want to be.

In the meantime hang on, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.