Sources: Karl reaches deal to coach Kings
Updated: February 12, 2015, 9:32 AM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com
Challenges Facing George Karl
George Karl has reached a deal to become the next coach of the Sacramento Kings, league sources confirmed to ESPN.com on Thursday.
The Kings are expected to announce the deal on Thursday or Friday, with a formal news conference likely to take place after All-Star Weekend.
Terms have not been released, but Karl, an ESPN analyst, will get a four-year deal worth an estimated $ 15 million, sources said.
Karl, who is attending a private funeral service for former North Carolina coach Dean Smith on Thursday, will take over as Tyrone Corbin’s successor and Sacramento’s third coach of the season starting next week.
Sources told ESPN.com earlier this week that team officials informed Corbin that the Kings’ games Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago and Milwaukee likely would be his last two in charge. Corbin sports a record of 7-21 since the Kings abruptly fired Michael Malone in mid-December despite Malone’s strong relationship with Kings star DeMarcus Cousins.
The 63-year-old Karl — who rejoined ESPN after leaving the Denver Nuggets on the heels of winning NBA Coach of the Year honors for the 2012-13 season — ranks sixth all time among NBA coaches with 1,131 wins. He coached in Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee before his run with the Nuggets. After Karl joined the Nuggets midstream in the ’04-05 season, he led them to a 32-8 finish.
All-Star power forward DeMarcus Cousins formally weighed in on the Kings’ coaching situation before their game in Chicago on Tuesday night, insisting in an interview with ESPN.com that he has had no input for or against Karl. Two nights earlier he had gone on a cryptic postgame rant amid reports that he and his representatives were voicing opposition to Karl’s hiring.
“I don’t fire coaches or hire them,” Cousins told ESPN. Everyone knows I liked and respected Coach Malone. I didn’t want [Malone’s firing in December] to happen.”
“I’m not involved in any coaching decisions right now. I’ve heard that George Karl is a great coach. If that is the direction that the organization chooses, I’ll support it. Out of respect for Coach [Tyrone] Corbin, I hadn’t planned on making any comments about what is rumored out there. But at this point I felt some things needed to be clarified.”
He clarified his stance on the team’s coaching situation further after Tuesday night’s 104-86 loss to the Bulls when he said, “All of [us] got thrown into this. To the best of our ability, we try to get it done. Work with what we have and try to leave the least amount of excuses possible.”