Yahoo Sports reporter and habitual Woj-bomber Adrian Wojnarowski reported late Monday night that Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl has an “intense desire” to trade franchise cornerstone DeMarcus Cousins that will tear the Kings apart if one or both men remain with the organization into training camp.
Well, so much for not writing about Boogie leaving.
As an Editor-In-Chief of a FanSided site, I have to write about an article per day. I usually have no problem with that–I have a lot to say. But this one has actually made me momentarily speechless. I really can’t understand how George Karl would do this to the Kings, and to Cousins.
I mean, this would be worse than the Harden trade, which was absolutely terrible. But there’s at least a case to be made there. Paying the luxury tax was avoided, and the Thunder still had freaking Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the roster.
This Cousins trade would leave Sacramento with Rudy Gay as the team’s best player, depending on what Vlade Divac can get in return for Boogie. And it would trade away an already-signed bargain of a three-year contract on Boogie, considering the incoming salary cap boost and the fact that he’s the best young center in the NBA.
The worst part is the return of this potential trade probably wouldn’t even be that great. Teams now know, thanks to Karl, that either coach or star player must go. If Sacramento retains their coach, they must trade Cousins. That gives the other team(s) in negotiations leverage–the Kings need to make a deal, the other teams just want to.
So there’s a pretty simple answer here–fire George Karl. Like, now.
According to that Wojbomb article I linked earlier, Karl didn’t just ask Vivek Ranadive to trade Cousins–he went to Vlade and to the other players themselves to try to get them to band together against Boogie!
Unsurprisingly enough, the players told Cousins immediately. Who would’ve thought the brotherhood between NBA teammates wouldn’t be broken by a 64-year-old head coach who’s only been with the organization for a handful of months? Except for, you know, everybody.
Cousins did not take last night’s news lying down, by the way. He sent out a three emoji tweet that most likely implies Karl is a snake in the grass, and if this report is true (considering it’s a Woj article, it almost certainly is) then he’s right.
I don’t care if we’re talking about Demarcus Cousins or Nik Stauskas, coaches cannot try to turn teammates against each other and retain their jobs. It destroys team chemistry and more importantly, trust.
I would be willing to bet the majority of the Kings players–guys who have gone out and battled with DeMarcus Cousins night after night, some for multiple years–no longer trust Karl and potentially even the entire Kings organization. How could they?
I know for a fact the fans don’t. I’ve seen a lot of tweets like the ones before and after this paragraph, but do you know what I haven’t seen, even once? A single Kings fan that thinks this is even close to a good idea. There’s not a debate, or even a discussion. Trading Boogie will be the most unpopular move in Sacramento Kings history.
I’ve seen (at least) dozens of fans claiming they’ll either follow Boogie and be a fan of his new team, or quit following basketball entirely if Cousins is dealt. Just check out this Reddit thread on the Kings subreddit if you don’t mind a lot of swearing. They’re pretty justified in that, though.
I mean, this is an All-NBA caliber center that just so happens to love Sacramento who the organization can’t seem to stop alienating. And he’s going to get traded, because the replacement of the coach who actually had the Kings playing playoff basketball (before Boogie had to sit out with viral meningitis) doesn’t LIKE him? It’s ridiculous.
So essentially there’s two options here. The Kings fire Karl and begin asking “how high” whenever Boogie says jump, and hope to convince us all that Karl went rogue and the organization is fully behind DeMarcus Cousins, no questions asked.
Or they trade Boogie, get a package back that’s probably a few draft picks and mid-tier veteran players, lose a lot of games over a long period of time, lose the trust of most (if not all) players currently on the team and lose a massive (probably bordering on the majority) portion of the Sacramento fanbase.
Right now, off the top of my head, I can think of three great head coaches that are currently unemployed. Scott Brooks, Monty Williams and Tom Thibodeau are all available. They’ve all faced criticism about their coaching ability, but Brooks brought the Thunder to the Western Conference Finals just three seasons ago, and Thibs and Williams both got teams to the playoffs this season.
Another thing all three have in common, though? They’re all known as coaches who are loyal to their players. Whether it be Thibs with Derrick Rose, Monty with Anthony Davis or Brooks with Kevin Durant, these guys protected their star players, and all had great relationships with them.
Buying out Karl’s contract will cost Vivek somewhere around $10-$12 million, in addition to having to shell out big bucks to pay yet another coach and also make the organization look pretty stupid.
Keeping George Karl at the expense of DeMarcus Cousins?
That’ll cost Vivek the city of Sacramento.
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