HoopsHype George Karl rumors


March 1, 2015 Updates

“This is what he loves to do,” said Kim Van Deraa, Karl’s longtime companion and mother of the couple’s 10-year-old daughter, Kaci. “And we understand that. I’ll never forget sitting in our living room in Denver that night, and George says, ‘Kaci, I might have this opportunity to coach the Sacramento Kings. What do you think?’ Her response was, ‘Daddy, you need to coach. You love to coach.’ We both understood how important it was for him to get back on the sidelines. When you’re a coach, it becomes who you are.” But George Karl isn’t just any coach. His journey isn’t just any journey. He knows all about sleepless nights and tortured dreams. Success, failure, second chances, doors opening, doors slamming; there isn’t much he hasn’t experienced. Sacramento Bee

During his first head-coaching job, when he was 33, Karl guided the modestly talented Cavaliers into the playoffs (1984-85), but he was fired a year later when the team slumped. He was hired the following offseason by former Golden State owner Jim Fitzgerald after being recommended by general manager Don Nelson, and he led the Warriors into the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons. But he lost the job during a tumultuous second season that included Chris Mullin’s absence for alcohol rehabilitation, the trades of aging, veteran players, and Karl’s erratic behavior that included thrashing Joe Barry Carroll’s locker. “George was young and kind of crazy,” Papa said, “but there was more to it than that. Fitz wanted Nellie to coach. The team wasn’t very good. George wound up with a reputation and was banished to the CBA, then to Spain. But I always tell him, ‘You should be the winningest coach in the NBA.’ Just do the math over those four years when he was unfairly ostracized. I think he is every bit the coach Don Nelson is, and I think very highly of Don Nelson. Two of the greatest coaches I’ve ever seen. George is that caliber.” Sacramento Bee

But along the way, the man once nicknamed “Furious George” learned a few lessons, too. He could charm with his charisma, his accessibility became an ally, and his increasingly tempered demeanor allowed him to become a better communicator. “I never really knew why Whitsitt brought me back,” Karl said. “I was known as a volatile guy, which early in my career I probably was. Bob helped me control my ego, and he would mentor me, direct me, instead of yelling at me. He told me, ‘You coach the team. I’ll take care of your image.’ “But it always bothers me when people say, ‘Well, he didn’t get along with’ this person or, ‘He’s volatile.’ They should also have to say, ‘That was 25 years ago.’ How many coaches have stayed seven years (Seattle), six years (Milwaukee) and eight years (Denver)? You can’t last that long if you’re volatile.” Sacramento Bee

Cancer, he said, changes everything. Karl is approaching his five-year anniversary from bouts with prostate and throat cancers. His son, Coby, recovered from thyroid cancer and plays professionally in Germany. Karl’s other daughter, Kelci, is the deputy chief financial officer in the Department of Social and Health Services in Washington state. “The cancer made George think about his mortality,” Van Deraa said. “You’re scared. He still thinks about it. When you feel normal aches and pains, your concerns are much deeper. But there is a reason he got this job. It was very difficult for him not to be on the sidelines. He wanted to do it one more time. So why not?” Sacramento Bee

February 28, 2015 Updates
February 26, 2015 Updates

Even DeMarcus Cousins, their franchise center, is not untouchable, according to a source with insight into Karl's thinking. "At the trade deadline, everyone was available," the person said. Including Cousins? "Every single person (on the Kings roster) was available." Although Karl does not hold a front office title, "he definitely has control" of future personnel decisions, the source said. Bleacher Report

George Karl's first power move as Sacramento Kings coach was to trade for Andre Miller, a trusted old hand from his Denver days. Expect more of the same this summer. Sources say Karl would love to acquire Ty Lawson—if the rebuilding Nuggets were to make him available—or any other members of his last Nuggets team, which won 57 games in 2012-13. Karl wants players who move the ball and push the tempo, and that could mean wild upheaval on the Kings roster. Bleacher Report

February 23, 2015 Updates

Also making an appearance in the league’s top 30 turnover machines are small forward Rudy Gay (2.6 per game) and point guard Darren Collison (2.5), ranked 25th and 29th respectively among qualified players. Gay has been a culprit of too many dribbles, while Collison has been guilty of forcing feeds. But to be clear, this has been a team-wide epidemic. “Turnovers, basically, I tell them all the time, don’t be Magic Johnson,” Karl told the media after his first practice. “Just be a good basketball player. And good basketball players don’t make bad decisions. Make good, solid decisions, don’t try to make the Magic Johnson pass, because that’s when I think instead of throwing a pass that gets made 98 percent of the time, which it should be, we throw passes that have a 60/40 ratio, and that’s not even good for a quarterback in football.” Cowbell Kingdom

February 21, 2015 Updates
February 20, 2015 Updates
February 19, 2015 Updates

"I'm not afraid of my energy level," Karl said. "The only thing I'm afraid of are my bad knees. I got bad knees that hurt a lot. I might have to sit down a little bit more. But from the standpoint of work ethic and putting the time in and having the process that I know produces success, I'm excited about that." NBA.com

"Those thoughts" about whether he could physically commit to, say, three full seasons "came to my mind." He is already planning to "pull back" in 2015-16 and delegate more, once he has a chance to put a preferred staff together rather than cobbling on the run during a season. (Expect Karl to make a push for the highly respected Tim Grgurich, one of his long-time top lieutenants.) NBA.com

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.