Sacramento Kings general manager Vlade Divac said Tuesday the team will continue to work through its issues with George Karl as head coach amid reports the team was planning to fire him.
“George is our coach and we’re collectively working through our issues,” Divac said in a statement to ESPN‘s Marc Stein.
Stein reports that the Kings, who as recently as 24 hours ago were thought to be on the verge of firing Karl, have changed their minds on the matter and will keep him in place for the time being.
According to Stein, Divac and Karl met Tuesday in Philadelphia, where the Kings face the 76ers on Wednesday, and came to an agreement allowing the coach to keep his job. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports reports that owner Vivek Ranadive was leaning toward firing Karl, but Divac talked him out of it. Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that Divac and Karl talked on the phone for five minutes, the message being that the team planned to make it work and that the defense had to improve.
Karl, 64, is the fifth-winningest coach in NBA history but has thus far been unable to turn the Kings around. After several off-season acquisitions that reportedly led to postseason expectations from Ranadive and the front office, the team is 21–31 and has allowed an unsightly 376 points in its last three games. The Kings have lost eight of their last nine to fall five games behind the Utah Jazz for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.
The Kings next face the Sixers on Wednesday night at 7 p.m. ET.
- Jeremy Woo