George Karl Is New Sacramento Kings Head Coach

George Karl Is New Sacramento Kings Head Coach

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  • The Sacramento Kings fired Tyrone Corbin and hired George Karl to be their new head coach on Feb. 12.
  • Karl signed a four-year, $15 million deal with the Kings, per ESPN.

The Sacramento Kings fired Tyrone Corbin and hired George Karl to be their new head coach on Feb. 12.

George Karl is the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings. 

The Sacramento Bee broke the news on Feb. 12 while also saying the Kings fired Tyrone Corbin. Karl will be Sacramento’s third head coach in the 2014-15 NBA season. He will coach his first game against the Boston Celtics on Feb. 20.

The Kings will introduce Karl as their new head coach in a press conference next week.

ESPN reporter Marc Stein’s sources tell him Karl is set to earn $15 million over four seasons as Kings mentor. Karl was attending a private funeral service for his former head coach at North Carolina, Dean Smith, on the same day he was officially announced as Sacramento’s new coach. 

The Sacramento Bee’s Tom Couzens stresses Karl is the team’s “first proven head coach” since it fired Rick Adelman almost nine years ago. Karl, as the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history, has 1,131 victories. The Kings have fewer than that: A total of 1,014 since they moved to Sacramento 30 years ago.  

Since Adelman’s dismissal, the Kings have had a less-than-stellar track record in terms of their coaching hires. Among his successors were Eric Musselman (33-49), Reggie Theus (44-62), Kenny Natt (11-47), Paul Westphal (51-120), Keith Smart (48-93), Michael Malone (39-67) and Corbin (7-21), per Couzens.

In Karl, the Kings get a head coach who has led his teams to 22 playoff appearances in the 25 seasons he’s coached in the pros. The number of times Karl made the playoffs as head coach exceeds that of the Kings, who have made the playoffs just 10 times since the move to Sacramento in 1985. The teams Karl coached in the past were the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks and Denver Nuggets, per Couzens. 

Kings All-Star forward DeMarcus Cousins spoke about Karl’s impending hiring prior to his team’s 104-86 loss to the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 10. He insisted he was never against Karl being his new head coach, per a separate ESPN update:

“I don’t fire coaches or hire them. Everyone knows I liked and respected Coach [Michael] 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 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.”

According to the Kings’ official website, Corbin will continue to work for the organization as a front office advisor. 

Kings general manager Dave D’Alessanrdo told the team’s official website he holds Corbin in high regard. He said,”I have the utmost respect for Tyrone as a coach and person. He’s a man of integrity, a consummate professional that managed a difficult situation with class and professionalism. I look forward to continuing to work with Tyrone moving forward.”

For his part, Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy told ESPN before his team’s 104-87 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Feb. 11 his heart goes out to Corbin, whom he felt was mistreated by the Kings:

“I think it’s an unfortunate situation the way it’s been handled. I think Tyrone Corbin has been treated very, very poorly by their organization. I think the way they’ve treated him is unfortunate and inexcusable for one of the real class acts in our business. 

“To have a very public coaching, not search, courting going on and while you’re asking him to coach games, I think he’s handled it with a great deal of class.

“But you don’t need to do it the way they’re doing it now. That thing’s been in the news for two weeks now, and Tyrone’s coaching and they obviously don’t have any problem treating him like that. 

“I have a hard time understanding that one, I really do. Tyrone Corbin is a class act. He was a class act as a player. He’s a class act as a coach and he’s being treated very, very poorly.”

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