February 8, 2016 | 11:10 pm EST Update
The Sacramento Kings are going ahead with a coaching change and plan to fire George Karl in coming days, league sources told ESPN. NBA coaching sources told ESPN that the Kings have decided internally that a change on the bench is needed, and is most likely to happen after Sacramento plays its final game before the All-Star break Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
After Sacramento’s listless 120-100 loss Monday night in Cleveland, with Karl’s dismissal increasingly regarded as an inevitability in league coaching circles, sources said that the decision to proceed with a change on the bench is being made by Kings general manager Vlade Divac.
Sources said Ranadive, who took ownership of the Kings in May 2013, has left the decision whether to fire Karl or keep him in place fully with Divac. The owner twice bucked NBA convention by hiring a coach — first Mike Malone, then Karl — before hiring his GM.
Although final details continue to be worked out, former Kings forward Corliss Williamson remains the overwhelming favorite to take over as interim coach, as ESPN reported early Saturday.
But Divac, sources said, is only seeking an interim coach for now and wants to take his time with a proper coaching search in hopes of bringing some much-needed stability to the position and the organization.
Sources said rising dismay both within the front office and among players with Karl’s defensive schemes, practice policies and general leadership have had a demoralizing effect on the players, who have slumped into a 1-8 funk in the wake of a recent five-game winning streak that briefly had Sacramento in the West’s eighth playoff spot.