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February 9, 2016 | 3:49 pm EST Update
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The Sacramento Kings will keep George Karl as their head coach despite several reports that he could be fired during the NBA All-Star break. Kings general manager Vlade Divac said in a statement released Tuesday that Karl would not be dismissed. “George will remain our coach. We are collectively working out our issues,” Divac said in the statement. Divac called Karl while the coach was at lunch in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Divac told Karl in a roughly five-minute conversation that they would work together and that better defense was needed. Karl took the lunch-time call privately with the expectation that he would be fired, a source told Yahoo Sports.
Storyline: George Karl Hot Seat?
A person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that it’s highly unlikely Karl will be fired during the All-Star break, meaning he gets to coach at Philadelphia on Wednesday before reassessing the sordid state of his team during the break. The Kings’ schedule from there is quite ironic, as they host the Denver Nuggets and former Kings coach Michael Malone on Feb. 19 only to then play at the Nuggets on Feb. 23. The Kings’ decision to fire Malone in Dec. 2015, of course, led to their latest dysfunctional episode.
Karl is 33-50 as head coach of the Kings after being hired nearly a year ago. The Kings (21-31) have playoff aspirations, but have lost four straight games and eight of nine. “He is not a quitter,” a source close to Karl told Yahoo Sports, adding that Karl never had any intention of resigning during the recent turmoil. Divac and Karl spoke in-depth Tuesday about improving the team’s defense, a source told Yahoo. The Kings are last in the NBA in points allowed at 109.1 per game and last in opponent 3-pointers made at 10.7. Sacramento plays its final game before the All-Star break Wednesday at Philadelphia.
Storyline: George Karl Hot Seat?
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