George Karl has opened up about his relationship with DeMarcus Cousins and the Kings front office in a new interview, his first since being let go by the team after just over one season as head coach.
Karl told the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin that he felt he never had the full support of owner Vivek Ranadive and general manager Vlade Divac, citing a locker room tirade Cousins directed at the coach in early November as the moment he realized the team was focused on the power forward.
“Vlade was right there. When they supported Cousins instead of me, I felt, ‘OK, I’m in the compromise position. Cuz has the power.’ They sent that message many times, too many times sent it to the players. And the players wanted someone to stand up to Cuz, and they wanted it to be their coach. But at that point, I realized that you either compromise or you blow it up, and my job was to make us a better basketball team and get to the end of the year.”
The coach also said that Sacramento would have to be willing to cede control to whoever is hired to fill his former position if they wish to succeed.
“Whether or not they trade Cuz,” Karl said, “they have to empower their coach. They have to let him coach. It takes a few years to build a program. It becomes a culture, an energy force.”
The Kings went 44–68 in under Karl, who has a career winning percentage of .588.