Chaos is the name of the game in Sacramento.
With the late night firing of head coach Michael Malone on Sunday, the floodgates have opened. Every scribe from Sacramento to Mumbai is opening their notebook and clearing out every last oddity that they have heard over the last 18 months about the Sacramento Kings.
It’s ugly. Unsavory even, but it will run its course, that is the reality of the 24-hour news cycle. But this story is turning into a Hollywood thriller. There are new and exciting surprises around every corner. A car chase, a guy with a chainsaw, maybe a ticking bomb with a red and a green wire – who knows what’s next?
It’s all a diversion. An intricate confidence game to poll the audience.
The Sacramento Kings ownership and management are crowd sourcing the NBA audience about the potential hiring of George Karl, Chris Mullin or Mark Jackson as the new head coach of the team.
Stick with me here for a second.
We’ve seen it before at draft season. A collection of data-heads fill a conference room sharing their advanced metrics on potential selections. It all comes down to one simple question:
“Stauskas or Payton?”
That is what we are seeing here, just on a larger scale. The entire NBA following is weighing in in real time.
Everyone knows that George Karl is a perfectly perfect coach for the Kings’ style of play. He knows the management team well from his time in Denver with both Pete D’Alessandro and Mike Bratz. He coached a young Chris Mullin with the Golden State Warriors in 1986-88.
Karl has a career winning percentage of .599 over 25 years of NBA coaching. He is a legend that led the Nuggets to 57 wins two years ago and was voted Coach of Year.
He is available because the Nuggets imploded in the first round of the playoffs and went a different direction.
Adding to the allure of Karl is the fact that he has turned to the airwaves and made it known that he would love to take over a team with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay.
This is the guy. He is the man that can not only speed up the tempo, a prerequisite for any coach, but has an incredible history of success. At 63-years-old, he still has time to turn around one more franchise and he needs just 224 wins to surpass Don Nelson and become the NBA’s all-time leader in wins.
So why are we even hearing Mullin’s name mentioned? And what is the deal with the late night meeting with Mark Jackson?
Mullin, the former player and current adviser to Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé has never coached an NBA game. That doesn’t mean he can’t coach, plenty of teams are going this route, but why risk it?
The easy answer is that Mullin is willing to listen to Ranadivé, in the same way that Ranadivé listens to Mullin. He’s willing to try some of the outside-the-box ideas that the tech-mogul would like to implement. Maybe he is willing to give the Grinnell-style offense that we are seeing with the Reno Bighorns a look. Maybe a Nelson-style or even emulating what Karl has done in the past, but with a few twists.
Jackson is perhaps a bigger gamble than Mullin. The former Warriors frontman has a record of 129-109 record over three seasons in Golden State and 98 wins over his final two seasons. While some of the Warriors players loved him, the former All-Star point guard rubbed plenty of people wrong in the organization and his salary demands will be high.
While Jackson doesn’t have the credentials of Karl, he does have a tight bond with Mullin. The two played college ball together at St. Johns and competed against each other in high school.
After seeing the two together on Tuesday night in Ranadivé’s executive lounge, it is clear that they are very close.
Sacramento doesn’t have time to once again assemble a team to break down the numbers. After firing Malone, they need a new coach now and the easiest way to get the data they need is to run it out there and see what the reaction is.
The question isn’t, “Karl or Mullin or Jackson?” It is, “what does the basketball world think?”
Clearly there is a reason that everyone and their mother has some version of what should be a private conversation between Ranadivé and Mullin. It’s the reason why the Kings’ cloak and dagger act with Jackson was done in plain view.
We are all being crowd sourced. That doesn’t mean that the Kings are going to go with the opinion poll, it means that they are looking for an intelligent outside discussion. It’s an interesting approach. Next generation type stuff. Or is it?
There is no reason not to continue the discussion here. Feel free to give us your opinion via the poll below and in the comments section.