Kings Change Their Mind, Karl Stays (For Now)

If there is anyone to feel sorry for in this George Karl is fired, no he isn’t fired Sacramento Kings mess, it is Corliss Williamson. Williamson was on the cusp of his first NBA coaching gig. George Karl was out the door and Corliss was set to enter his second act, after retiring from the NBA as a champion and Sixth Man of the Year award winner. He had been coaching at small colleges as an assistant and then as a head coach until he signed on with the Kings two years ago and stayed throughout the myriad of Kings changes. And then his opportunity was ripped away as quickly as it took Vlade Divac to say, my bad, we love George Karl. We, as in everyone not playing for Karl. And so it is in this three ring circus with a bunch of clueless ringleaders. It’s bad news for Corliss Williamson who goes back to his old life holding a clipboard. While George Karl, of the nine lives, is back doing what he does very well. Losing more often than he wins.

A long, long time ago, the phrase “organizations win championships” was tossed around like a pejorative. Michael Jordan and Phil Jackson sneered at it. but it was true. Jerry Krause, GM of the Bulls, was right. You need the appropriate personnel in the front office who can evaluate and acquire talent, maintain financial flexibility with reasonable contracts, develop personal relationships with those beneath them, and execute a plan, a philosophy, a style of play.

The Kings don’t know what they don’t know. They hate George Karl. They love George Karl. They were supposed to fire him in November. They changed their minds. They were supposed to fire him after tomorrow’s game with the 76ers. They changed their minds. But what if they lose to the worst team in the NBA because the players have quit on Karl and just don’t care anymore? What if they get punked in Philly? Is Vlade still going to love George Karl?

It doesn’t take long to break trust and it can take forever to repair it. The Kings players are accountable for a lot of what has gone wrong. Their lack of energy, disinterest and overall selfishness is deplorable and partly responsible for guiding this ship into an iceberg. But, to be fair to them, they have to have someone in the organization to trust, who has their best interest. They need a leader. Is that Vlade Divac who keeps yanking their chain with the Karl melodorama? Is it Vivek Ranadive, clueless owner extraordinaire?

Welcome to the Sacramento Kings who will be in the lottery ten years in a row, once they are eliminated from playoff contention this year. It will be a NBA record. Every NBA team eventually gets better after being in the lottery. Only the Kings get worse.

George Karl will be back after the All-Star break. He will be the captain of a ship that has dumped all its cargo overboard. He will try to stem the tide with a couple of oars, all he has left, to handle the rush of sea that is coming on the Sacramento shore. Spurs. Clippers. Thunder. Grizzlies. Cavaliers. Another storm is coming for team turmoil. You can bet on it.


photo via llananba