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Paul Westphal Fired By Kings

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The Sacramento Kings have announced that Paul Westphal has been fired as head coach. Keith Smart takes over for the Thursday game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here's what Geoff Petrie had to say in the Kings' press release:

"I want to thank Paul for all of his effort on behalf of the Kings," said Petrie. "Unfortunately, the overall performance level of the team has not approached what we felt was reasonable to expect. I wish him the best in his future endeavors."

It's worth noting that the release doesn't deem Smart the new interim head coach -- it states that "Keith Smart will serve as head coach in tonight's game versus the Milwaukee Bucks." My money is on Smart becoming the interim head coach for the remainder of the season, but that could leave open the possibility of the team seeking to bring a new head coach in or allowing one of the other assistants the opportunity to take the job.

The Kings went 51-120 under Westphal. He very infamously sent DeMarcus Cousins home on Sunday and brought him off the bench in the last two games, both blowout losses. Cousins had 26 points on Wednesday.

UPDATE 1: From Sam Amick ...

Per this tired routine, Kings GM Geoff Petrie spent recent days distancing himself from the coach in discussions with Maloofs and others.

UPDATE 2: From David Aldridge ...

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof says while the Cousins/W'phal dynamic was part of the issue, "none of the guys were playing to their potential."

UPDATE 3: From Scott Howard-Cooper:

Keith Smart will coach the Kings the rest of the season, via @daldridgetnt.