DeMarcus Cousins and George Karl aren’t exactly getting along right now and it seems ready to tear the Sacramento Kings apart.
Not that the Kings need much help in that regard while sitting 11th in the Western Conference at 25-40. But as most likely know, Cousins got hit with a suspension for a shouting match with Karl. He made his return but didn’t exactly mince words when speaking with the media, instead just tossing his coach under the bus to anyone who would listen.
Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports’ captured Cousins’ outburst:
“That wasn’t a suspension from the organization. That was a suspension from the head coach,” Kings center DeMarcus Cousins said.
— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) March 14, 2016
The topic came up in the first place because Vlade Divac, the Kings president of basketball operations, had said the suspension came from him. Whether it did or didn’t doesn’t really matter now, it’s clear the band-aid slapped over the relationship between Cousins and Karl just got ripped off and set aflame.
The public angst between the two started back over the summer when Karl put himself in Cousins’ crosshairs by saying anyone was tradable. Not that a coach shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever he wants, but it’s different on a team like the Kings, who have to do whatever it takes to keep the best center in the game happy and there for the long haul.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that Scott Davis of BusinessInsider.com notes it might be the coach on his way out the door soon:
It seems like a no-brainer that Karl will be fired. His relationship with Cousins was rocky from the start, as Karl was hired as a replacement for Mike Malone, the only coach Cousins has gotten along with in the NBA. Karl made a comment last year that Cousins was not un-tradable, which further bothered the 25-year-old big man. Attempts to patch up the relationship have seemed half-hearted, and though the Kings showed the slightest bit of patience in giving Karl this season to try and take the reins, this kind of contentious atmosphere can’t continue.
Difficult situation, right? Karl isn’t a bad coach by any stretch of the imagination, but a franchise has to take the star player over the coach. Ask the Cleveland Cavaliers how important coaches are when weighed against a locker room.
The problem is where the Kings go from here. Cousins isn’t exactly taking over games and propelling mediocre talent around him to new heights. Instead, it seems like it’s headline after headline of issues, which can’t be helping things in the minds of potential trade partners, should it ever go that route.
Maybe this situation has an obvious end game, with Karl moving to greener pastures and the front office frantically trying to find a coach who meshes well with Cousins. Maybe. Either way, Cousins and the Kings remain one of the more interesting non-playoff teams to watch down the stretch, for better or worse.