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Sacramento Kings set to hire George Karl as head coach


Barring some late-phase drama — which certainly wouldn’t be uncommon from these erratic Sacramento Kings — George Karl is set to return to the NBA, following the All-Star break.

ESPN’s Marc Stein and Chris Broussard, among other sources, report this development.

Karl will take over for Ty Corbin, who took over for Mike Malone. Karl will be the team’s third coach this season, and the fifth coach in the five years of über-talented center DeMarcus Cousins’ career. 

The deal in place between Karl, who has 1,131 wins over 27 years as a head coach, has been a rumored possibility since Malone was fired, but it picked up more steam last week when the Orlando Magic fired Jacque Vaughn. When the potential job market for Karl doubled, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro — with whom Karl has experience from their time together with the Denver Nuggets — got to work.

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Karl has coached a variety of styles, but has never led an offense with a centerpiece like Cousins. In his time the with Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, he has gained a reputation as an uptempo offensive guru who’s happy to boast rotations with an abundance of guards.

His fit with Cousins, thus, seems slightly dubious — but Karl’s style has also been a consequence of his personnel. It’ll be fascinating to see how he adjusts to the possibilities Cousins presents, and how he utilizes one of the more tantalizing talents in the league.

More important than anything for Sacramento, though, is that they empower Karl, as they failed to do with Malone or Corbin. Without continuity, stability, or sanity, this franchise isn’t going anywhere. While it remains to be seen what kind of fit Karl is with Cousins, Rudy Gay, Ben McLemore and the rest of the Kings core, the pieces do seem to be in place for some serious growth. Now the organization just needs to learn some patience, stand back, stop meddling, and let it happen.

— John Wilmes