Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive has spoken to team officials regarding firing head coach George Karl, according to a report by Chris Broussard of ESPN. The Kings have fallen under scrutiny for their handling of the growing rift between Karl and superstar center DeMarcus Cousins.
The sports world has been buzzing about the possibility of Cousins being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers after word leaked that he was unhappy with the way things were going in Sacramento. The conversations between the rival franchises got as far as the creation of the framework of a deal, but talks apparently fell apart from there.
The Kings were reportedly asking for a package that included the Lakers 2nd overall draft pick, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, and the Lakers taking on some of the Kings long-term salary. It's believed that the Lakers would only offer the 2nd pick or at most the pick and Jordan Clarkson. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak is determined to keep Julius Randle out of the deal, with reports that Randle's recovery from a broken leg is going extraordinarily well and that he is wowing coaches in workouts.
With the two sides far apart, it appears as though talks of trading Cousins to the Lakers have been tabled for now.
Karl was considered to be the driving force in the Kings' organization pushing for a trade, citing Cousins work ethic as a reason to move on from the talented-but-moody big man. In a recent interview Karl was given the opportunity several times to plainly state that he did not want Cousins traded, but each time he refused to do so, adding qualifiers like "if he comes in committed".
With the franchise in turmoil it appears as though owner Vivek Ranadive and Vice President of Basketball Operations Vlade Divac want to see Cousins remain in Sacramento while Karl wants him gone. With the rift looking as though it's becoming irreparable, Ranadive is considering parting with Karl, who was hired only a few months ago, rather than trade away his franchise player.
No one knows how things will turn out between Karl, Cousins, and the Kings, but it's unlikely that Ranadive will hand over their top player without robbing the Lakers of as many assets as possible. Until something changes, any trade talk should be met with some skepticism.
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