Kings head coach George Karl said he is “confident” that he can repair the strained relationship between him and All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins
Karl was hired by the Kings in February after the team replaced interim coach Tyrone Corbin, who had served in that capacity after the Kings fired Mike Malone in December.
The relationship between Karl and Cousins took a turn after a Yahoo! Sports report indicated that Sacramento and the Los Angeles Lakers discussed the frameworks of possible trades involving Cousins. Karl had reportedly “soured” on Cousins during the season, and ESPN.com reported that Kings owner Vivek Ranadive hads considered the possibility of firing Karl.
But Karl insists that he and Cousins can get along.
"I just said hello to him this afternoon," Karl said to Yahoo! Sports. "I don't think it's something we have to rush through. You got two guys that are very frustrated with losing, two guys that are somewhat stubborn and two guys that love to compete. Sometimes, that doesn't work the first time you hang around. But you have to take your time to make it work. I'm very confident to make it work."
Kings general manager Vlade Divac added that "it's going in a good direction. I have a goal for the two to be in a great place and they will be."
The Kings made several moves during the off-season, first drafting forward/center Willie Cauley-Stein with the sixth pick in the NBA draft. Sacramento also signed point guard Rajon Rondo to a one-year, $10 million contract and added Marco Belinelli, forward/center Kosta Koufos, forward Caron Butler and re-signed forward Omri Casspi.
"Ownership jumped up and made a play that probably cost them some money," Karl said. "And then Vlade jumped up and got a lot of the guys that we wanted. And now as coaches we have to jump up and do our job."
Cousins, 24, averaged 24.1 points and 12.7 rebounds and earned his first All-Star selection last season. Cousins will be entering the second season of a four-year, $65.6 million contract extension he signed before the 2013-14 season.
- Scooby Axson