Despite making a few decent free agent signings this offseason, the Sacramento Kings’ largely remain a mess.
The biggest problem is a feud between star center DeMarcus Cousins and head coach George Karl.
During the offseason, Cousins was involved in trade rumours, with Karl pushing those rumours and trying to gather support in the Kings’ front office, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski added in that report that Karl and Cousins hadn’t spoken since April.
If they truly hadn’t spoken since April — the report came out in late June, before the NBA Draft — Cousins and Karl broke their silence when they shared an awkward handshake at the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League Monday night.
Neither men looked particularly excited to see each other:
Last week, Vlade Divac, vice president of basketball operations for the Kings, admitted the relationship between Karl and Cousins is “not pretty right now.” He added that he believes he could help mend the relationship, though:
“Well, I’ll be honest with you, it’s not pretty right now, but I’m focused on bringing a better team this year and I think I did a pretty good job in this free agency and now I’m going to be focused on the two of them.”
“I really think I can create a healthy environment here and everybody should be on the same page by October.”
If Divac knew both Cousins and Karl would be at Summer League at the same time, perhaps he instructed Karl to go over and say hello. Some of it may have been for optics, too, as a cameraman and photographer followed Karl over and captured the moment.
The Kings are in a tough spot and forcing the two to make amends may be the best option. Trading one of the best centres in the NBA isn’t a good way to rebuild a team that hasn’t made the playoffs in 11 years, but firing one of the most respected head coaches in the NBA because your star player doesn’t like him doesn’t make your team an appealing destination for future coaches.
As Divac suggested, this icy handshake may just be the first step to repairing a relationship over the next three months.
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