Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo said that the Sacramento Kings had too many distractions to be successful in 2015–16, and credited much of that distraction to the frayed relationship between center DeMarcus Cousins and former coach George Karl.
Speaking on ESPN’s “The Jump,” Rondo suggested that the team struggled to work together.
“There were too many distractions on and off the court,” Rondo said via ESPN. “The organization as a whole, I don’t think was together completely. I think as a team you have to want the best for the next man beside you, and that wasn’t the case with the Sacramento Kings.”
Rondo went even further in his description of the relationship between Cousins and Karl, saying that nothing else in his career can compare to it.
“Too much tension. I’ve never witnessed or experienced a thing like that in my 10-year career,” he said.
Karl was eventually fired after the season, and former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger was hired to get the franchise under control.
On Tuesday, Karl responded to Rondo’s comments, saying that he is ready to move on from his time in Sacramento.
“Well, Rajon is a very smart basketball player,” Karl said on CBS Sports Radio. “I think (they) should probably get him on there to let him talk that out. For me, I’ve kind of put it in my rear-view mirror and I’m ready to move on. In a lot of ways, I think we won more games than they won the year before.”
He did admit that this coaching job was not easy.
“It was a hell of a rodeo, I can’t deny that,” Karl said. “But I’m blessed to be an NBA coach and have been for a long time and I still hope to do it one more time. I think the best thing for me to do is move on and move onto the next adventure, not the past adventure.”
Rondo, who becomes a free agent on July 1, said that he’d be willing to consider re-signing with the Kings and would like to continue playing with Cousins.
The Kings went 33–49 season, finishing 10th in the Western Conference standings.