HoopsHype George Karl rumors

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March 16, 2015 Updates

Me: You like him as a person? GK: I've had some really good, serious talks about him. I think it's hard, because of the skepticism of his agent and all that. It's a process right now. I'm not saying the trust is with capital letters yet. But I think it's on the page. That's all I can ask for. I hope he understands that the process is not going to work coming in the middle of the season, taking a team that was basically a possession, defensive-minded team, and turning it into a running team. I think we're getting a good pace, but we're not doing it that well. NBA.com

Me: You said a long time ago, you could see yourself finishing your coaching career back in Madrid (Karl coached European powerhouse Real Madrid for two seasons in the late '80s and early '90s). GK: I'm not saying that's out of the question. Two games a week? That excites me. College doesn't excite me, because you just deal with so many nightmares of getting grades, getting them in school, and keeping them eligible. That stuff doesn't turn me on. Dealing with pros, having two or three days to prepare, that's good stuff. That motivates a coach. NBA.com

Me: Was there anything that you took from your time in television that was at all helpful when you returned to coaching? George Karl: Two things that come to mind. I didn't hate the referees as much as I do now. So observing the referees from a distance, you really do realize that they're the best in the world. But when you are on one side of that fight ... I think what the NBA is trying to do with the referees is pretty cool. They are trying to figure it out. They are trying to make it great. It never will be for a coach, but from the outside, it's pretty impressive. NBA.com

The second thing is just understanding the pace of the game. For years, everybody said you can't win playing fast. I think that's going to be broken here very soon, with Golden State, Atlanta. At Denver, we felt you had to be balanced. I think most championship mentalities in the last 25 to 30 years has been tilted toward being defense first. I think now it's tilted now toward maybe it's balanced, and offense could be first. You could win ... I think the superstar syndrome, I think it's important. I mean, you want the best players. But I don't think the best players necessarily means you're going to win. I think San Antonio showed us a team, magnified and multiplied the idea of a good team. It's probably the way a coach should play when he's not in a big market, or doesn't have the superstar. I think more coaches, more organizations are figuring that out. NBA.com

March 9, 2015 Updates
March 8, 2015 Updates

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the Kings do look different playing for George Karl. Spoelstra only had an eight-game sample to evaluate before the Kings played the Heat on Saturday at American Airlines Arena. But he said the Kings are taking on Karl’s personality. “It’s amazing,” Spoelstra said. “It’s uncanny how his teams, going all the way back to Seattle, will play with that pace and attack mentality. Since the All-Star break, their team is starting to shape up with that type of personality.” Sacramento Bee

March 6, 2015 Updates
March 3, 2015 Updates
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

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