Well this should be fun.
All season long, teams have been so embarrassed by the Sixers that the simple act of losing to them has caused front office fireworks. Usually, rumors surface after a loss that management is considering firing their coach, as there is no greater humiliation in sports.
Coincidentally, the Kings, as is always the case, are in the greatest turmoil. This is a team that has seen 8 different head coaches parade through their doors since Rick Adelman's departure in 2006. Of those 8 coaches, only Paul Westphal lasted more than two seasons. During that time, the Kings have not yet made the playoffs.
In other words, Sacramento has not exactly shown itself to be a paragon of stability. And that's even excluding the front office fiasco with Pete D'Alessandro and Vlade Divac, or the absurd tendencies of Vivek Ranadivé. All of which makes the news of the last couple days totally amusing, when you know how teams twice as steady as the Kings have reacted to losses against Philadelphia.
First, news surfaced on Saturday that the Kings planned to fire George Karl:
ESPN sources say that the Sacramento Kings are going ahead with a coaching change and plan to fire George Karl in coming days— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 9, 2016
ESPN sources say Kings hoped to delay talks about George Karl's future until All-Star break, but Friday's loss in Brooklyn sped up timetable— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 6, 2016
And then, in a glorious Kings moment, they suddenly shifted their stance yesterday afternoon, following days of speculation about who their replacement coach might be.
ESPN sources say that the Sacramento Kings, in a dramatic about-face, have decided to keep George Karl in place as coach .— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 9, 2016
The best part is that both the team and Karl were thoroughly checked out before this news broke. On his Kings-centric podcast with Sam Amick, Zach Lowe couldn't believe the complete and total lack of attention George Karl was paying to his own team. Only a few days before, Karl had bragged to Lowe about Rudy Gay's shutdown defense on Kevin Durant during a win over the Thunder, but Lowe pointed out that Durant hadn't even played in that game. Karl was so tuned out that he didn't even realize how his team had managed to upset one of the four best teams in the league.
Karl's not alone in putting out zero effort, either. After each of the Kings' last four losses, DeMarcus Cousins hasn't even bother to veil his unhappiness with Karl, telling the media rather obviously that he wants Karl gone. The players have stopped trying, giving up absurd amounts of transition opportunities and not covering anyone in the half court on defense.
All of which naturally sets the table perfectly for a game against the league-embarrassing Sixers. Should the Kings lose (again) to the Sixers, it's unclear what would happen. There is no better excuse to fire a coach than losing to the Sixers. But the Kings just bothered to publicly endorse him, which would make a reactionary firing look even worse.
Win or lose, it seems that Sacramento's season is slowly deteriorating even more. I don't know if it's better to keep a coach players actively ignore, or to fire him and hire their fourth coach in two years. All I know is that whatever happens with the Kings, Hinkie's going to be sitting on the sidelines smiling.
February 9, 2016