When the Sacramento Kings evaluate coaching candidates, they must consider DeMarcus Cousins. Hiring a coach with no regard to how he might mesh with the team's star would be shortsighted in any situation, but especially in a situation that failed because the team had hired a coach who didn't mesh well with DeMarcus Cousins. I mean, we just went through this with George Karl. So unless you want the team to repeat their past mistakes, they simply must consider Cousins. It would be foolish to think otherwise.
So let's now turn to Ailene Voison of the Sacramento Bee, and her piece titled "Kings shouldn't hire coach to accommodate Cousins".
The worst mistake Divac could make would be to hire someone based on whether he thinks that person would relate to Cousins, coax the poorly conditioned center into better shape, and overcome the six-year veteran's volatile mood swings and bullying personality.
Just hire the best man for the job. That's it. This can't be about Cousins. These six seasons have been brutal.
We'll ignore the barb that Cousins is out of shape, a criticism that withered on the vine and is simply incorrect. Let's consider what Ailene is suggesting here. Hire the best possible coach, and do so with zero regard for how he might fit with Cousins. If that's the premise of the coaching search, then the Kings need to call George Karl and tell him they changed their mind again and he's be un-fired.
George Karl brought a Hall of Fame resumé to Sacramento. He was a horrible fit for the roster, though, and the team failed because of that. If you want to hire another coach without considering how he would fit with your team's star, you're simply pissing money away.
More from Ailene:
The most interesting takeaway from the media session might be what the Kings' top basketball executive failed to say. When asked if Karl's termination meant he is committed to Cousins, who clashed repeatedly and angrily with Karl, Divac was uncharacteristically evasive.
"Anything about the players and how we are going to do in the summer," he said, "I don't want to talk about right now because our focus is to find a new coach."
Now, sure, this all changes if the intent is to trade DeMarcus Cousins. But again, if that's the plan, the Kings wouldn't have needed to fire George Karl. You can interpret this "evasiveness" as a sign that the Kings might be considering trading Cousins. But they should always be considering trading Cousins. If Vlade isn't considering every avenue to improve the team, he's not doing his job. Aside from this comment, though, the Kings still aren't showing any indication that they're moving on from DeMarcus.
So what else does Ailene have for us?
The disconnect between Karl and Divac, and Karl and Cousins, is rivaled closely by the discord within the fragmented locker room. Apart from Rondo, Cousins has few friends among his teammates. Several players privately have complained to management about his mood swings and disrespect for those around him, including his coaches and in particular Karl.
Uh huh. Sure. Should we ignore that this flies in the face of what every other local reporter has said this season? The reports that the roster gets along great despite the issues with Karl? That Cousins is hardly the only one angry at how Karl coached this season?
I agree with the premise that you don't let DeMarcus Cousins pick the next coach. But you can't reasonably believe that the organization should ignore the potential fit with the team's best player. Even if you aren't a fan of DeMarcus, as a fan of the team you want the next coach to be someone who could get the best out of him, no? And the NBA is littered with examples where teams ignored their best player's fit with a coach. It almost always ends terribly.
I want the Kings to hire the best coach possible. Vlade should hire a coach that he reasonably believes could work well with DeMarcus Cousins, and a coach who would be good for the team even if they move on from DeMarcus.