Karl coaching Kings amid reports he could be fired

HOUSTON (AP) George Karl is slated to coach the season finale for the Sacramento Kings amid reports that he could be fired as soon as Thursday.

The Kings will wrap up their 10th straight season without making the playoffs Wednesday night in Houston. Multiple reports (http://bit.ly/1oYw6we , http://es.pn/1Noim4m , http://yhoo.it/1qS84F3 ) indicate that Karl will be fired after the team returns home.

Karl didn't address his job security directly, but did talk about whether it would be difficult to coach on Wednesday night amid the reports that he would be fired.

''It's easy to coach,'' he said. ''This is a fun game for everybody. This is free swing. You've got a team that's going to come after the game at a high, high level. If we're going to match them we're going to have to be ready to play.

''Competition is probably the least thing (reporters) write about or talk about, but the pride to be a competitor is probably the key to being an NBA basketball player and some of these guys haven't had that challenge and they're going to have it tonight.''

Karl has a 44-67 record since taking over Sacramento in February 2015 and being handed a four-year contract. His job has been in jeopardy much of this season as he has had multiple run-ins with DeMarcus Cousins and has been unable to turn the struggling franchise's fortunes around.

Karl is the eighth coach in Sacramento since the team last went to the playoffs in 2006 under Rick Adelman. The Kings are 33-48 this season, leading to another change before the team moves into its new downtown arena next season.

The Kings have struggled for any stability, even after Vivek Ranadive bought the team from the Maloof family following the 2012-13 season and kept the franchise in Sacramento.

Mike Malone was fired 24 games into his second season as coach despite a close relationship with Cousins and some improvement on the court. Tyrone Corbin took over in December 2014, but lasted just two months before the team turned to the veteran Karl, who has the fifth-most wins all-time with a record of 1,175-823 heading into the final game.

While the Kings won 30 games for the first time since 2007-08, their defense has once again been a major problem. The team has allowed a league-worst 109 points per game and given up an NBA-record 829 3-pointers.

Then there were the issues between Karl and Cousins that boiled over last month when Cousins was suspended for one game by the team for yelling at Karl during a timeout huddle.

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