In the last week, the Kings marched very methodically and very publicly toward hiring George Karl.
Sacramento announced Karl’s hire today, but not before catching the ire of Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy.
Van Gundy – who employs former Kings coach Michael Malone’s father, Brendan Malone, as an assistant – via Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:
“I think it’s an unfortunate situation the way it’s been handled. I think Tyrone Corbin has been treated very, very poorly by their organization. I think the way they’ve treated him is unfortunate and inexcusable for one of the real class acts in our business.
“To have a very public coaching, not search, courting going on and while you’re asking him to coach games I think he’s handled it with a great deal of class.”
“I didn’t like that obviously with Brendan on the staff, but coaches get fired all the time,” Van Gundy said. “But then you give Tyrone the job and if you want to make a change, even if people don’t like it, obviously as an owner you have a right to make a change and that’s up to you.
“But you don’t need to do it the way they’re doing it now. That thing’s been in the news for two weeks now and Tyrone’s coaching and they obviously don’t have any problem treating him like that. I have a hard time understanding that one, I really do. Tyrone Corbin is a class act. He was a class act as a player. He’s a class act as a coach and he’s being treated very, very poorly.”
This isn’t Van Gundy’s only critique of another organization’s recent handling of a coach. He also slammed the Magic – who just fired Jacque Vaughn – for changing coaches too frequently, which is pretty rich coming from a Pistons coach.
This charge is particularly hypocritical considering Van Gundy’s treatment of the Kings in 2007. Van Gundy was still under contract with the Heat, and when he didn’t believe he could join Orlando, he traveled to Sacramento to negotiate with the Kings. Then, Miami and the Magic reached an agreement on compensation.
Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel:
Van Gundy agreed to become the Magic’s coach, signing and faxing a copy of his contract back to Orlando from a Sacramento Kinko’s.
Van Gundy did not keep the Kings abreast of the developing situation in Orlando, however.
“I’m not happy with the way I handled the whole thing,” Van Gundy said before the Magic faced the Kings on Tuesday night.
“I was not forthcoming on that day and I should have been when things started to break in Orlando.
“I was totally acting in my own self interest.”
To the contrary, the Kings were pretty forthcoming with Corbin. He was struggling, and they replaced him with a better coach. How else were they supposed to go about it?
They had to make sure all their ducks were in a row – including with franchise player DeMarcus Cousins – and negotiate a contract with Karl. In the meantime, they needed someone to coach their games.
That was Corbin, who got a new contract after Sacramento fired Malone. Corbin will still get his money, and so it’s hard to get too upset about this.
I get why coaches stick up for other coaches. They understand the perils of the profession, and they don’t like when one of their own gets fired. But if they whine about every dismissal, they lose credibility on their reasonable complaints.
Corbin just wasn’t up to the job. That – not the Kings’ treatment of him – was the problem.