George Karl Rumors
Heck, former player and veteran NBA coach George Karl said teammates drank at halftime of games back in the ’70s. They actually thought beer was hydrating. No, seriously. But times change. Just as commercial NBA flights fell out of fashion and team charters became the rule, “alcohol kind of stopped,” Karl says. “In general, players have become very serious about their profession. Players today have a more dedicated attitude about ‘This is big money.’ They’re very aware of having a plan, a plan of development, a plan of commitment, a plan of growing.”
For the next 14 months, Karl and Cousins staged public warfare. According to multiple sources who played for and served on the staff of the 2015-16 Kings team, Karl regarded Cousins as the most disrespectful person he’d ever encountered in basketball. He was bewildered by the Kings’ unwillingness to lead a coordinated front to discipline him. To Karl, Cousins’ behavior was sucking the franchise’s entire reserve of energy — affecting the performance of the entire roster.
By the account of this player, who’s still close to several people on the team, along with the account of virtually every other source who spoke about him, Cousins has improved in this regard this season, even pricing in the high-profile incidents. “I’m not saying [Cousins] is perfect,” says a teammate who requested anonymity. “But none of that stuff you heard about with George happens this year.”
George Karl: Coaches never retire. Coaches always want to be in the gym, and I’m one of those guys. I’m a lifer. I’ve put over 30 years into coaching, maybe 35 and now I may [try to get to] 40 years being a coach. I was a player for five or six and a coach ever since. I’ve always wanted to be a GM, I’ve always wanted to kind of run the game, and feel the game, and give to the game. But right now I’m 65 years old, so that’s got to be a decision by somebody else in an organization that thinks I can help them. I sure think I can help somebody along the way.
Karl: I think I’m open to anything right now. I am open to doing front office work, helping out with the personnel on an NBA team. I’m interested in college. I’m interested in helping people. I’m interested in European basketball, would I be interested in going back to European basketball? That’s a possibility. I mean, I’m open to anything, I’m not rushing into anything, [but] I think I’m open to conversations. What if, what if? I’m ready to go.
Do you plan on, ultimately one day, when it’s all said and done, maybe getting together with Carmelo, Kenyon, J.R. and maybe cracking back a brew? You guys did win a lot of games together, will there be phone calls made, at some point, just to talk as men? Karl: I would hope so. I’d hope so, when the storm calms down and the waves start hitting the shoreline, there might be opportunities in the world of basketball that we can cross, have a coffee or two, or a beer, I’d love those conversations. I think tough conversations make you even smarter. Tough conversations, when you express what’s inside your gut, makes you aware of things and makes you grow.