The Sacramento Kings have made it official and let go head coach George Karl.
From the Kings' press release:
Sacramento, CA ---- The Sacramento Kings announced today that George Karl will not be retained as head coach for the 2016-17 season, according to Vice President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Vlade Divac.
"After evaluating the team's performance this season, I determined it was necessary to move forward with a new voice from the head coaching position," said Divac. "I have a great deal of respect and admiration for George and his accomplishments throughout his nearly 30 years in the NBA. On behalf of everyone in the Kings organization, I thank him for the contributions made during his time in Sacramento and wish him good fortune in the future."
Hired on February 17, 2015, Karl compiled a 44-68 record in one and a half seasons in Sacramento. Overall, he ranks fifth all-time in NBA annals with 1,175 head coaching victories through 27 seasons in Cleveland (1984-86), Golden State (1986-88), Seattle (1991-98), Milwaukee (1998-2003), Denver (2004-2013) and Sacramento (2015-16).
This wasn't a surprise, and in fact, many of us thought he'd be fired sooner. I had a post all ready to go back in February after the Kings lost to the Nets heading into the All-Star break because absolutely everything I'd heard up to that point was that Karl was gone. For whatever reason, Vlade decided against firing Karl mid-season and decided to ride out the final couple months. Not much changed, and as a result, Karl is gone.
It's disappointing how this turned out after how excited we were about getting a Hall of Fame coach after the disaster that was the Michael Malone firing. Karl never really fit in with this Sacramento Kings team and he also wasn't given the power he was accustomed to in previous stops like Denver. Still, there's no question he did a poor job coaching this Kings team, even leaving all the "extra-curriculars" like his beef with Cousins out of it.
The Kings will now be looking for their fourth coach since Vivek Ranadivé took over the team in 2013 and their 8th since not re-signing Rick Adelman in 2006. The only coach to have gotten at least two full seasons in that time is Paul Westphal.
Vlade Divac will be addressing the media at 1:15 pm Pacific time, and we'll keep you updated on any other news that comes out.
UPDATE 11:00 AM
George Karl has released his own statement:
"While I would have loved to continue on this journey, I am very proud of our work and I want to thank Kings management for the opportunity to have coached this exciting team with such a bright future. It's my heartfelt feeling that the magnificent new arena will be hosting many Playoff runs and an eventual Championship, which the Sacramento fans, some of the most loyal and supportive people I've ever known in my many years in the NBA, very much deserve. With a profound humility, moving forward, I wish nothing but the best for this franchise and its players."