There is "rapidly diminishing belief" that George Karl will become the Sacramento Kings' next head coach, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports. Resistance from DeMarcus Cousins' camp reportedly stalled the talks.
Earlier Saturday, The Sacramento Beereported that the Kings and Karl have had "intense conversations" about the team's head coaching position.
Tyrone Corbin has been serving as the Kings' interim coach since they fired Mike Malone in December.
Resolution of the Kings' coaching situation is expected by Sunday, reports Wojnarowski. The Kings are reportedly prepared to play out the rest of the season with Corbin as their coach.
At the time of Malone's firing, the Kings were 11-13. Under Corbin, the team has fallen to 17-31, good for 12th place in the Western Conference.
From the report:
But the Kings’ ongoing slump – and jarring absence of competitiveness – has prompted principal owner Vivek Ranadive and his front office, headed by general manager Pete D’Alessandro, to move more quickly. The situation was exacerbated Thursday by a blowout loss to the visiting Dallas Mavericks on a night that was intended to celebrate former Kings star Mitch Richmond and was attended by Hall of Fame center Bill Russell.
The Bee reports that though a coaching change is "not imminent" and Karl's salary could be a major sticking point, Kings officials have been won over by Karl’s innovative coaching and "immediate availability."
A separate report from ESPN said the Kings are still deciding whether they want to change coaches again "so soon."
Karl has not coached in the NBA since 2012-13. After that season, the Denver Nuggets fired him to close an eight-year tenure with the team that included eight playoff appearances.
Karl, who currently serves as a TV analyst on ESPN, has also had head coaching stops in Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee.
Over 25 seasons, the 63-year-old has compiled .599 win percentage.
Meanwhile, according to a report from USA Today, there is concern over how hiring Karl would Cousins, the Kings' star center. From the report:
Karl's personal past with a number of influential members in and around the Kings organization remains relevant as well, as he previously coached Kings advisor Chris Mullin and has history with the two agents who represent franchise centerpiece DeMarcus Cousins as well. Cousins' day-to-day agent, Jarrin Akana, worked with Karl in Denver and was re-assigned from assistant coach to scout when Karl took over for coach Jeff Bzdelik in 2005. Dan Fegan, Cousins' lead agent, represented Karl's son, Coby, as a player for years before he was eventually replaced. That circle, by all accounts, has been against the notion of adding Karl.
To that end, D'Alessandro's ability to change their minds is key here as well. While it appears D'Alessandro is endorsing Karl with or without the support of his team's top player or his representatives, he would prefer to have agreement on that front if Ranadive ultimately approves the hiring. There is some concern within the organization, however, that hiring Karl could create substantive conflict going forward when it comes to Cousins.
Other candidates include assistant coaches Alvin Gentry and Nate McMillan as well as current head coaches Scott Brooks and Tom Thibodeau, the Bee report says.
The Kings will play at the Utah Jazz on Saturday.