Sacramento Kings assistant coach Nancy Lieberman was on SiriusXM NBA Radio again yesterday, and continued her summer long barrage of positive comments and good energy towards the Kings, George Karl, DeMarcus Cousins, and this upcoming season.
Lieberman on the Kings organization, Via SiriusXM NBA Radio –
"It really is a family environment. I haven’t’ seen anything other than that. George and DeMarcus are on the same page."
Lieberman on the Cousins, Karl relationship, Via SiriusXM NBA Radio –
"I think the more they are around each other, the more they are going to appreciate each others strengths, rather than look at each others differences. That’s where Vlade comes in, because he’s going to show you the best of each other, and these are areas where those two can really bond if given the time. I think a lot of this was blown up. Sometimes you have a little thing, a disagreement, and then people blow it out of proportion. DeMarcus is a really great guy."
Now, a cynic could argue that Lieberman is just toeing the company line here, and that all of her comments about the Kings organization, coaching staff, Cousins, Rondo, Karl, etc. has been of the ‘what is she supposed to say?’ variety. That’s fair to a point. Does some of it sound a little too good to be true? Sure. Could she be putting a little positive spin on a situation that certainly needs it as old wounds begin to heal? Yes. Could she actually be telling the complete, no spin, no fluff, true story? She could.
And yet, I don’t really care what her angle is. I certainly hope Cousins and Karl are, indeed, good. I hope the organization feels like a family environment, etc. but even if it’s not, even if things are still rocky, even if everyone is still walking on eggs shells, I’m glad the organization has someone out there like Lieberman at least attempting to cool everyone down.
This interview came post group hug, so it’s entirely possible that George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins did squash their beef, and are, for now, on the same page, whatever that dumb cliché actually means. We just don’t know.
As others have said, their relationship right now is irrelevant if the team doesn’t win this season. Of course, ‘win’ is kind of subjective in this instance. At some point, we’ll have to define what ‘winning’ this season is actually referring to, because my expectations for this team shifts on a regular basis. At times, I feel like the Kings must make the playoffs in order to call this season a success. When I’m feeling a little more grounded, getting to .500 feels like a major step in the right direction. I’m still working that one out.
But with that being said, things have to progress in a pretty straightforward manner in order to get anywhere. While the Cousins, Karl dynamic will rely on how the team responds on the court, I don’t want to downplay Lieberman’s comments, or completely dismiss the photo they took together in Vegas last week. All of this means something. It’s progression. Rome wasn’t built in a day, insert another idiom here, etc.
The situation in Sacramento is improving. Is it improving at an appropriate pace? I don’t know. Should it be getting better, faster? Maybe. Is their still work to be done? I’m sure.
It’s fragile. It could come crumbling down at any moment, but I’m happy to hear a calming voice coming from the Kings organization. True, Untrue, hint of spin, whatever, I think telling the public that Sacramento is OK has some value. I grew very tired of hearing George Karl reference Cousins’ commitment level in the media. I loved hearing Vlade Divac put everyone in their place in his press conference after the draft, but there is a time and a place for everything. The media negotiating has to end at some point, and it sounds like it has. To the disappointment of basketball twitter, the emoji war is at a cease-fire. A necessary step back has been taken. All sides are talking again. Now, this relationship needs nourishment, and that is exactly what Nancy Lieberman is giving it. Her work is appreciated.
The Kings have DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay in Vegas with USA Basketball. Training Camp will be here before you know it. Things don’t have to be negative right now, and you could even argue that they need to be positive. Regression, at this point, would be devastating.