Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has considered firing George Karl, who was hired as coach four months ago to help turn around the struggling franchise.
During the hiring process, Karl told Ranadive he was looking forward to coaching Cousins. But shortly after taking over the team, sources say Karl soured on Cousins. The quick about-face baffled and upset Ranadive, sources said.
No firing is imminent, but in discussions with members of the Kings’ basketball department, Ranadive has broached the subject of whether the team should get rid of Karl.
“He’s brought up the possibility of getting rid of George over the last few days,” the source said.
When Ranadive was considering hiring Karl in February, some members of the organization told him it was the wrong move. Ranadive has recently told at least one of those people that he or she was right in trying to dissuade him from the hire.
It’s too late to undo hiring Karl. Similarly, the Kings shouldn’t feel beholden to that decision. Compounding mistakes is the worst way to handle this.
Firing Karl now would certainly draw derision and mocking. That would mean a fourth coach in the last seventh months after the Kings fired Michael Malone, planned to keep Tyrone Corbin the rest of the season and then reversed course to hire Karl. It would also be expensive.
But it also might be the right move.
There’s worry firing Karl would inflate Cousins’ ego and make him too difficult to work with, and that’s a fair concern. But I’d be more concerned with Karl poisoning the franchise for Cousins. Right now, Cousins at least says he wants to stay in Sacramento.
The Kings shouldn’t let that get to the point of changing.
Ranadivé and Vlade Divac should try to ease tension between the coach and star center, and there’s still time for that. But if faced with a Karl-or-Cousins decision, the answer is easily Cousins.