Best Friends

It’s hard to see how the Sacramento Kings can avoid firing George Karl when this season is over, unless they plan on replacing most of their players in one mega trade extravaganza, including DeMarcus Cousins, who has probably had enough of his head coach.

Karl was almost fired in February, when it became clear the Kings weren’t about to go on a late-season playoff push, as their streak of missing the postseason grows to an entire decade. Karl has done a lot of things in basketball, but him failing to turn the Kings failing ship around had huge warning signs all over it, even when it was just a rumor circulating. Turns out all the worrying about Karl and Cousins not getting along were there for a reason.

It’s not just the 29-44 record for a team that’s built to win now, without too many young players developing (a comparison with the Minnesota Timberwolves), too many coaches in the last few years, but the overall behavior from Karl, who seems to be trying to push his bosses to fire him by the way he’s commenting on some of his players recently. Maybe Karl has been heading in this direction from the moment he allegedly failed to get Cousins traded, although that was what got him in trouble with the team’s biggest star in the first place.

Karl recently suspended Cousins for one game after the center yelled at him during a timeout. Cousins isn’t the first or last person to refer to Karl as a snake in the grass for his backhanded compliments and his wheelin and dealin behind the scenes. Karl saying some less than nice stuff about Seth Curry after a recent game didn’t go unnoticed by Cousins, who had to react during a postgame interview by Curry, who is finally beginning to find his place in the NBA after falling in and out of rosters.

I think Seth will be a combo guard, play both 1 and 2. I think usually those guys when I look at them, I see them probably trying to score a little bit too much and I think he probably should become more of a playmaking point as much as a scoring point. But he’s going to be around for a couple years. He’s definitely going to have a few more years of someone; I think we have him for one more year. I think he has a tenacity to him and a good basketball feel to him. Now he’s just got to be confident and consistent.

Karl isn’t just pissing off Cousins and Curry. He’s been underplaying his rookie, a number six overall pick, Willie Cauley-Stein, all season. Cauley-Stein recently complained about minutes, while Karl has done everything he can to try and tell the world WCS gets his points because players around him help him do what he can’t do himself: His offense has been blessed by a lot of good plays by other people. A lot of his success has been we’ve made really good passes. It’s easy to make dunks and lobs.

Karl hasn’t been very kind to Ben McLemore, who the Kings have thought about trading on and off, just like they’ve been thinking about firing Karl. The Kings were on the right path for one brief moment in recent years, but then they went ahead and fired Mike Malone. Since then nothing has really gone well despite their intentions of competing in a West that’s not as difficult as it was in recent years. If Cousins is the center of their present and future, Karl’s words and behavior in the second half of this season will cost him his job, despite the Kings not being too keen on firing him and paying him to not work.

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