HoopsHype Paul Westphal rumors


January 6, 2012 Updates

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

January 2, 2012 Updates

The Sacramento Kings' already-frustrating season evolved into an utter mess on Sunday, when coach Paul Westphal released a statement saying DeMarcus Cousins has demanded a trade and the agent for the second-year big man quickly denied the claim in an interview with SI.com. "When a player continually, aggressively, lets it be known that he is unwilling/unable to embrace traveling in the same direction as his team, it cannot be ignored indefinitely," Westphal said in the statement. "DeMarcus Cousins has demanded to be traded. In the best interest of our team as we go forward, he has been directed by me, with the support of management, to stay home from the New Orleans game [on Sunday night]." SI.com

"Certainly you've heard of the cliché, 'the tip of the iceberg.' Well, this is certainly the tip of the iceberg [with Cousins]," Westphal said before Sunday's game. "You can only have so many chances before something has to be done and this time something had to be done. "I hope that DeMarcus has a change of heart and joins up with full reinstatement. ... This will give him the best chance to do that, and if he chooses not to do that, then we'll be better off going forward in the same direction. ... I think DeMarcus has to do some soul searching and decide if he's going to join me in a way that's desirable and acceptable to this organization." SI.com

Asked again late Sunday about his reasons for the dramatic and very public spanking of Cousins, Westphal replied: "He asked to be traded. We're going one direction. He's going anything direction. It's that simple." But, of course, it's not that simple. Cousins, in only his second year, has made significant progress by any measure. This is not the same player who was drafted with the No.5 overall pick in 2010 and showed up at the Las Vegas Summer League woefully out of shape. Sacramento Bee

Teams interested in Cousins have called the Kings, but none believe the team will seriously consider trading him so early in his career. Several rival executives expect the Kings will eventually make a coaching change and try a tougher style with Cousins. “Once you saw that release only came from Westphal, that was a telltale sign that this was a coach venting and not a call to the league by management and ownership that they were trading Cousins,” one Eastern Conference executive told Y! Sports. Yahoo! Sports

January 1, 2012 Updates

There has been concern since the opener against the Lakers, when the Kings prevailed because their defense stiffened in the final three minutes, not because of improved body and ball movement.Then they wilted after the first quarter in Portland. Then they wilted in the first quarter against the Chicago Bulls. Then they wilted in the first quarter against the Knicks, a team averaging 87 points a game upon arrival.Yet, there they were Saturday night, the same old Kings with a few new faces in the mix, the death-by-dribbling offense taking them down a perilous path. There was no extra pass, and often not even a second pass. There was no sense of shared purpose. There was no rotating for rebounds. There was very little movement and even less energy. There was a steamy locker room afterward."I think we're pretty down," Westphal conceded. "The fact is, we have to bounce back. The games are coming fast." Sacramento Bee

December 16, 2011 Updates
November 30, 2011 Updates

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