Yesterday in Kings drama, USA Today's Sam Amick reported that Sacramento Kings assistant coach Nancy Lieberman has been 'unofficially exiled' from George Karl's coaching staff because of her connection to Vivek Ranadivé.
Sam Amick, via USA Today -
The wildly talented Cousins is a lot of things, but he’s no dummy. He sees the justifiable criticism of Ranadive, whose refusal to stand by the only NBA coach who truly connected with Cousins, Michael Malone, in Dec. 2014 was one of the many plot twists that helped cause this mess. He sees the in-fighting on the coaching staff, with assistant coach
Nancy Liebermanidentified as a Ranadive confidante and thus unofficially exiled by Karl months ago.
Your 2015-16 Sacramento Kings, everybody!
I wouldn't say this sheds a lot of light on the Kings' coaching staff dynamics, but it does provide us with further evidence of just how dysfunctional the Kings are, you know, just in case there was any doubt.
Amick reported last month that one of the reasons why Vance Walberg was fired from the Kings' coaching staff was because of 'friction' between him and Nancy Lieberman, so it's easy to speculate that all of this could be connected in some way, particularly since Amick's latest report cited Lieberman as being on-the-outs for months, and Walberg was let go in mid-late February. It hasn't been that long, and this has been an issue for a while.
What makes matters strange(er) is that Lieberman had been so outspoken prior to the season about Karl's involvement with bringing her on staff. This latest narrative twist suggests that Lieberman was a Ranadive hire, and while we know Ranadive is a fan of Lieberman to the point where rumors surfaced suggesting Ranadive would like to replace Karl with Lieberman around the All-Star break, the dots do connect. You can't rule anything out, obviously.
The coaching staff is supposed to be a beacon of solidarity and authority for the players, and while both the front office (Vlade Divac undermining George Karl by not suspending DeMarcus Cousins earlier in the season) and the players (tuning Karl out) share the blame here, the coaching staff as a unit probably deserves more blame than they are receiving outside of Karl.
It's Karl's staff, yes. Karl is taking a brunt of the blame for how this season has gone, yes, but the rest of his staff? Their inability to function as a unit is just as unacceptable.