When the Kings were talking about firing George Karl in February – not to be confused with them talking about firing Karl in November (something the Kings’ deny) or them talking about firing Karl now (effective after the season) – word leaked about the interim coach.
Owner Vivek Ranadivé reportedly preferred Nancy Lieberman, and general manager Vlade Divac reportedly preferred Corliss Williamson.
Sacramento kept Karl, but unsurprisingly, the situation created problems.
Sam Amick of USA Today on DeMarcus Cousins:
The wildly talented Cousins is a lot of things, but he’s no dummy. He sees the justifiable criticism of Ranadive, whose refusal to stand by the only NBA coach who truly connected with Cousins, Michael Malone, in Dec. 2014 was one of the many plot twists that helped cause this mess. He sees the in-fighting on the coaching staff, with assistant coach Nancy Lieberman identified as a Ranadive confidante and thus unofficially exiled by Karl months ago.
Sources close to the Kings deny all of this — that Lieberman is in anyway a confidante of Ranadive, or that she has been pushed into the background by Karl.
You can decide which side to believe, but Amick is very well connected and has been reporting out of Sacramento for many years.
Ranadivé has been loyal to Cousins, whose relationship with Karl has alternated between quietly poor and loudly poor. If the coaching change rumors are to be believed, it’s understandable Karl would side against Lieberman, though this doesn’t happen in well-functioning organizations.
On the bright side for Ranadivé, he has long tried to model the Kings after the Warriors, a team he previously owned a share of. With a head coach distrusting an assistant coach due to allegiance to ownership, Sacramento looks just like Mark Jackson’s Warriors.