What had Cousins so upset?
Karl acknowledged Sacramento’s 1-7 start exacerbated any problems.
But what were those problems in the first place?
Sources within the Kings have long said that Karl speaks more to the media than he does his actual team. And his penchant for naming names in front of cameras is unnerving for his players.
Be it mentioning that Rudy Gay is out of shape following a game or dropping the all powerful “no one is untradeable” comment, Karl’s attempts to agitate do not have the same motivational effect they once did. In most cases, they have the exact opposite effect.
According to a person familiar with the inner workings of the team, Karl hasn’t just irritated the players — playing Rajon Rondo 48 minutes on Monday night, for example — but also, the front office.
Karl, 63, has delegated more coaching responsibilities to assistants than in years past. He ought to adjust how he talks to players given that they see him as more distant now.
This isn’t college football, where a disciplinarian coach can serve as a de facto CEO, lording over a large team from a distance. Sacramento has just 15 players. Karl must connect with each of them personally.
Many players don’t mind a coach criticizing them to the media – as long as the coach also delivers the same message first behind closed doors. There has to be a level of respect serving as a foundation.
Fortunately, this seems like the type of issue that can be fixed in a team meeting. It’ll require Karl acknowledging the players’ concerns and adapting, but that’s well within his capabilities.
And, yeah, winning would help, too.
Karl’s disconnect with the front office might be another matter. But at least Kings general manager Vlade Divac said Karl would coach the rest of this season. That gives Karl a chance to repair that relationship, too.