George Karl's days in Sacramento are soon to be over. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the Kings are planning to fire Karl in the coming days. Whether that means he's coached his last game (a 120-100 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, their 8th loss in 9 games) or will coach the game in Philadelphia on Wednesday hardly matters at this point. He's gone, almost exactly a year after the Kings hired him in the first place.
This news is as unsurprising as it is depressing. Just two weeks ago the Kings were in the thick of the playoff race and playing their best basketball in years. They then started on this most recent stretch with some incredibly uninspired play that just seemed to get worse and worse. Now the Kings find themselves at 21 and 31, needing to win 19 of their next 30 games for a realistic chance at the playoffs. This team is not good enough to do that, especially considering some of the competition directly after the All-Star break.
There was a report from Chris Mannix earlier today that suggested that Karl has lost the locker room. Rajon Rondo's post-game comments seemed to confirm that fact, as do DeMarcus Cousins' grumblings about a "bigger issue" after a recent loss. This team, which has never really fully bought in to Karl, has clearly stopped buying in at all.
George Karl has not done a good job as coach of the Kings, and probably should be let go. But with or without him, this organization's got some serious issues, from the owner on down. Vivek Ranadivé made a point before the season to say that this season was about "us against the world". Nobody believed in the Sacramento Kings. This group was too dysfunctional, couldn't get along and wouldn't be able to fight together through potential rough patches. It was inevitable that the Kings would meltdown again. We chose to hold out hope. Here was a roster with clearly more talent, a future Hall of Fame Coach and the best Center in the NBA. Surely we could prove the doubters wrong.
World 1. Us 0.