HoopsHype Paul Westphal rumors

June 15, 2013 Updates
September 28, 2012 Updates

While a full-length training camp and ample practice time in season is important to all the teams, it especially means a lot to the Kings. It gives head coach Keith Smart, who had the interim tag removed this summer, the opportunity to really put his system into place after having to take over early last season when Paul Westphal was fired. Even though the situation wasn’t ideal, Smart shined and won over the locker room in a big way. “I’m happy,” Evans said. “He is a good coach. He worked his way up and deserves it. If you need help he’s going to let you know. He really gets us to believe to trust each other, see the big picture, and rally around each other so I’m glad that he’s back because he’s a big part.” HoopsWorld

March 16, 2012 Updates

I continue to hear that Paul Westphal pushed very, very, very hard for the Kings to trade second-year center DeMarcus Cousins, so hard, in fact, that his persistence helped push him out the door. There was no way the Kings were moving Cousins for Nene, the Denver Nuggets center swapped to the Washington in the deal involving JaVale McGee. George Karl has long coveted Cousins. But McGee? Karl did a phenomenal job coaching Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp, not to mention Kenyon Martin, J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony, etc. But, man, I can't wait to see George trying to coach McGee. Sacramento Bee

February 21, 2012 Updates
January 17, 2012 Updates

Has your approach changed with Smart as your coach? DeMarcus Cousins: "It has. Everything has been positive right now. Coach isn't scared to speak his mind. He's going to tell the truth. He's going to tell you how it should be and how it's not going to be. He sets his guidelines and we all go by them. That's something that we needed from the beginning. Coach is going to be real. If you mess up he's going to tell you, 'You messed up.' That's all we needed from the beginning." So you didn't have that structure under Westphal? DeMarcus Cousins: "We didn't, honestly. And it showed." USA Today

January 12, 2012 Updates
January 7, 2012 Updates
January 6, 2012 Updates

The Kings needed a new voice after opening the season 2-5 under Westphal. The 61-year-old coach had lost the players this season over complaints about his limited offense and constant lineup changes, sources close to the team said. That the firing came just four days after Westphal had another in a string of blowups with Cousins – and banished Cousins from the team for a game – showed just how strained the pair’s relationship had become. Yahoo! Sports

"I think we all knew something had to be done," Joe Maloof told David Aldridge of NBA.com and TNT. "We know we have a lot of (young) players but we were expecting to do well this season. We have a couple of guys who are in their third year in the league. We still have 60 games. We still have a shot.... Geoff came to us and said it probably was never going to work between those two guys. It was probably best to move on. (But) none of the guys were playing up to their potential. It didn't make sense, our play on the court. It just didn't make sense." NBA.com

The Westphal-Cousins dynamic was "part of the decision," Maloof said, but hardly the overriding issue. Which is fair. The development, or lack thereof, of Cousins is huge for the future and management has a right to expect progress. But Cousins has not gotten along with a lot of people besides the head coach. The same front office knows this. "It was probably time," Maloof said. "Paul's a class act, just tremendous. But it just wasn't working out. We thought it was best to make a change and give Keith a chance." NBA.com

Who else was going to take the hit? Last summer, assistants Truck Robinson and Mario Elie, who wouldn’t let Cousins and Evans slide, were notified they would not be invited back. It was easy for the Maloof brothers to cash in Westphal’s chips; he’s the league’s lowest paid head coach at less than $1 million. New York Post

The Kings fired Westphal Thursday after two-plus seasons as coach, cutting ties amid a slow start and an escalating dispute with Cousins that threatened to consume the locker room. Assistant Keith Smart, let go by the Golden State Warriors in April after one season at the helm, signed a deal to become the team's new head coach. With the Cousins-Westphal spat showing no resolution, Kings owners Joe and Gavin Maloof finally decided to take action. Instead of trading away a promising young big man, they made Westphal the first firing of the lockout-shortened season. "We're in a situation here where you can't take a philosophical vacation because things are happening in real time," Kings president of basketball operations Geoff Petrie said. "You start to keep seeing the same things over and over again, you can't sit around and meditate forever about how you're going to approach them or try and change them." ESPN.com

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof told SI.com that Paul Westphal's statement alleging that second-year center DeMarcus Cousins demanded a trade was not approved before being released. The statement clearly played a significant part in Westphal's ousting Thursday, and Maloof's revelation contradicts what was said by Westphal in the wake of his decision to send Cousins home for Sunday's game against the Hornets. Westphal previously indicated that team president Geoff Petrie had spoken with the Maloofs about the letter, but Joe said that was not the case. Petrie and Westphal did not return calls for comment, but a source with knowledge of the statement said Petrie certainly played a part in its publication. SI.com

The statement not only detailed the alleged trade demand, but was also highly critical of the mercurial player who was sent home. "I didn't know about any letter," Maloof said by phone Thursday. "We didn't know about any of that. ... We didn't know about the statement or anything like that. "They made a basketball decision, to sit him for a night and that's the only thing that we do know." When asked if he was upset by the letter, Maloof said: "Well, we've owned the team 13 years and it's our belief that you keep basketball situations in house and not make them public. That did upset me. ... It's always been our history to keep things in the organization and not to make it public. As far as I was concerned, [Cousins] would sit the bench one night and that's all there was to it." SI.com

January 5, 2012 Updates

The Sacramento Kings today relieved Paul Westphal of his head coaching duties, according to President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie. Current Kings’ assistant coach Keith Smart will serve as head coach in tonight’s game versus the Milwaukee Bucks. “I want to thank Paul for all of his effort on behalf of the Kings,” said Petrie. “Unfortunately, the overall performance level of the team has not approached what we felt was reasonable to expect. I wish him the best in his future endeavors.” NBA.com

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