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George Karl discusses DeMarcus Cousins, Vivek Ranadive, Vlade Divac

On a recent podcast, George Karl went in-depth discussing a variety of the issues he had in Sacramento.

Former Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl has a new podcast, and in the latest episode he went into great detail discussing his time with the Sacramento Kings. Vance Walberg, who served as an assistant under Karl in Sacramento, was a guest on the show as well. I'll be discussing some key moments, but the whole thing was a really fascinating listen (outside the podcast host, who is useful in guiding the conversation but way too effusive with his praise of Karl and Walberg every step of the way).

It is also worth noting that all stories are from the perspective of Karl and Walberg. Karl certainly doesn't paint himself as perfect -- he says it was a mistake to say no player is untradeable -- but he tends to put the blame on everyone but himself -- he says it was a mistake to say no player is untradeable because his team wasn't mature enough to handle that.

Carmichael Dave shared some snippets of the podcast on Twitter, and I'll share those hear so you can hear some of the more relevant parts of the show.

On Vlade's hiring:

This is perhaps the most believable anecdote, where Karl and Pete D'Alessandro were blindsided by the hiring of Vlade Divac to oversee them.

On why he wasn't fired at the All-Star break:

This was rather surprising to hear. Karl says that he'd always heard that the other owners basically said that Vivek would need to pay Karl's salary if Karl was fired early.

In this clip Vance Walberg discusses his firing:

It seems clear that Nancy Lieberman was a hiring that had been directed by Vivek, and that the other coaches didn't view her as part of core group of coaches. Vivek's meddling is a running theme throughout the show.

Walberg shared his version of the confrontation between George Karl and DeMarcus Cousins:

Karl shares his version of events on the podcast as well. After this segment Karl and Walberg discuss how they felt the organization did not back them up in holding Cousins accountable for the outburst.

Finally, Karl and Walberg were asked if Vivek is the biggest problem for the Kings:

One other aspect of the podcast I found interesting that Dave didn't capture was a section where Karl talked about roster building. He talked about how outside of Cousins and Rudy Gay there wasn't much talent to work with. He says that's where the idea of trading Cousins came from in the first place, was the idea of getting multiple players back similar to how Denver did when they traded Carmelo Anthony. He also talked about how he felt they needed a top 15-20 point guard. No mention of how his buddy Pete D'Alessandro had let Isaiah Thomas go the summer before.

It's a fascinating listen, but again you absolutely need to take Karl with a grain of salt. I have no idea how accurate his statements are, but there are certainly parts of it that ring true from what I recall of the team at that time.

One nice theme throughout the podcast was that poth Karl and Walberg spoke glowingly about the city of Sacramento and about Sacramento Kings fans. Both had nothing but positive things to say, and said they hope the Kings organization can be successful because the fans deserve it.

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Marty
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May 29, 2020 1:47 pm

Apologize if it’s already been posted.

Straight to playoffs got twice as many votes as any other option.

https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/29241787/majority-nba-gms-vote-restart-season-going-straight-playoffs

Jman1949
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May 29, 2020 2:38 pm
Reply to  Marty

Likely that the 16 votes for €œstraight to playoffs€ came from the 16 GMs whose teams would automatically qualify under that scenario.

Otis
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May 29, 2020 2:44 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

There’s likely some self-serving going on, but I tend to agree with the idea of limiting the number of people involved in this whole thing.

I mean, it’s still a pandemic until we’ve got a vaccine or herd immunity.

RikSmits
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May 30, 2020 5:54 am
Reply to  Otis

There is also some self-serving going on from teams and fans (cough

Spoiler
Kings
) that want to expand postseason play to more teams than the regular 16.

BestHyperboleEver
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May 29, 2020 3:23 pm
Reply to  Jman1949

There are a couple playoff GMs, that are on record as being pro-play-in. We can also assume that bottom tier teams would prefer straight to playoffs over scenarios where they play meaningless regular season games.

RobHessing
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May 29, 2020 1:53 pm

Coming up on part 2 of the podcast: Breakfast!

comment image

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
Nostradumbass 19
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Nostradumbass 18
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May 29, 2020 1:58 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Room service breakfast call is on Vivek

comment image

Last edited 2 years ago by Klam
RobHessing
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May 29, 2020 2:39 pm
Reply to  Klam

“They threw in free biscuits!”

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Otis
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May 29, 2020 2:44 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

LOL, not for George!

RobHessing
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May 29, 2020 2:47 pm
Reply to  Otis

“You really should give them breakfast.”

“Up yours, Rockefeller – I’ll fight you for it!”

comment image

ZillersCat
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May 30, 2020 6:50 am
Reply to  RobHessing

Cousins .. this is as good as it gets ..

I discovered that bleacher Reports images are 3096 x2048, it breaks the site 🙁

Last edited 2 years ago by ZillersCat
Otis
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May 29, 2020 2:48 pm

he says it was a mistake to say no player is untradeable — but he tends to put the blame on everyone but himself — he says it was a mistake to say no player is untradeable because his team wasn’t mature enough to handle that.

Not sure it was the team that wasn’t mature enough to handle that, but one specific player.

I’m sure George laughed his ass off when Vlade traded DMC – ten months after his departure.

Klam
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Nostradumbass 18
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May 29, 2020 3:06 pm
Reply to  Otis

And George was still getting paid by the Kings that season too.

Timmy_13
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May 29, 2020 3:47 pm
Reply to  Klam

This is why the Kings will never run out of coaching options. Free money and a 2 year paid vacation out of 4 contract years.

RobHessing
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May 29, 2020 4:30 pm
Reply to  Timmy_13

Sign me up!

“Honey, I just signed a four year guaranteed deal with the Kings. I’ll be home in two years.”

Timmy_13
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May 29, 2020 7:33 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Also, homemade breakfast for the foreseeable future!

Kingsguru21
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May 31, 2020 10:03 am
Reply to  Timmy_13

Mmmmm. Breakfast.

BestHyperboleEver
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May 29, 2020 3:17 pm
Reply to  Otis

Many of the fans weren’t mature enough to handle that.

MichaelMack
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May 30, 2020 2:19 pm

Good point

L-Train3.1
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May 31, 2020 2:02 am

I certainly was not.

Carl
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May 29, 2020 4:45 pm
Reply to  Otis

I’m sure George laughed his ass off when Vlade traded DMC €“ ten months after his departure.

I’m eagerly awaiting the photo of

Spoiler
Paul Westphal
George Karl reading
Spoiler
Sact…
Kings Herald and grinning.

Also, we need strikethrough text!

Last edited 2 years ago by Carl
Jman1949
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May 30, 2020 6:56 am
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I think we already have strikethrough text!

Carl
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May 30, 2020 9:58 am
Reply to  Jman1949

This is what happens when a guy who cuts grass gets a computer.

RobHessing
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May 30, 2020 11:15 am
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You’re the only person I know that owns a John Deere computer.

L-Train3.1
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May 31, 2020 1:53 am
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Does it come with the hat?

Carl
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May 31, 2020 5:19 pm
Reply to  RobHessing
comment image

Last edited 2 years ago by Carl
Hozr
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May 31, 2020 8:24 pm
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Did you keep confusing the power cord for the pull cord to start the computer?

CoreyBrewersD
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May 29, 2020 5:26 pm

Nice highlights thanks for sharing those, fun to hear even if it is half true it’s pretty good. How cool would an interview with George, Malone, and Joeger be? Maybe we could get Chris Harrison to host. Bring Vivek or Luke on after they finish for the confrontation…… Somebody get me a number for ABC programming.

Last edited 2 years ago by CoreyBrewersD
RikSmits
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May 30, 2020 6:10 am

I’ll just focus on two main things; once again confirmation of how deep Vivek was involved in basketball operations, forcing an assistant coach upon the coaching staff and then didn’t even let his coach and GM know that he had hired Vlade.

I know that we are trying to cling to something positive, and people can change,

I find it hard to believe that Vivek has really stopped his incessant meddling. The fact that his son has a relatively high position within the organization speaks volumes, IMO.

Too bad that #HereWe Billboard was overshadowed by the corona news and the NBA putting the season on hold.

Also, the statement that other owners were onwilling to pick up the tab for firing Karl is yet another confirmation of some serious divide within the ownership group. Hard to build up a contender when there is no unity at the top.

(N.B. It’s too bad that our first female coach was put in a position where the cards where stacked against her. Although her wisdom quotes rubbed me the wrong way. She also remained on teh staff – and payroll – for quite some time after she effectively left the team).

MyHumbleOpinion
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May 30, 2020 12:01 pm
Reply to  RikSmits

The main thing that comes out of this story to me, is how important it is to have everyone on the same page and lines of communication being completely open. That goes from the ownership group all the way to the last bench player in Stockton. Without those things it is an ongoing disfunctional organization.

L-Train3.1
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May 31, 2020 1:57 am
Reply to  RikSmits

I could be mistaken, but I recall hearing that DMC really liked Nancy Lieberman. Could that have been part of Karl’s dislike for her or was she, for lack of a better term, a Vivek stooge.

RikSmits
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May 31, 2020 3:04 am
Reply to  L-Train3.1

I think she was first and foremost a Vivek stooge and forced by him onto the coaching staff, which is a big no-no. A coach is normally allowed to put together his own staff on the NBA, so that already would be cause for resentment/lack of trust/an awkward situation.

Also, this was probably known to the players and DMC was Vivek’s favorite pet at the time, so i suppose he knew that Lieberman was in his “camp”, so to speak.

Either way you look at it, it was a giant [email protected] waiting to explode in everyone’s faces. And anyone with a bit of intelligence would be able to tell Vivek that. So I assume his lackey’s didn’t tell him and/or he didn’t listen to those who did tell him.

And here we are, with Vlade still at the helm and Vivek again paying another coach who was let go…

Last edited 2 years ago by RikSmits
Jman1949
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June 1, 2020 10:15 am
Reply to  RikSmits

It was my impression that Karl was the one who introduced the idea of hiring Lieberman early in his tenure:

€œI know Nancy and I think she’s a quality basketball person,€ Karl said after his first practice with the Kings Wednesday. €œI’ve known her for years. Again I don’t think those decisions are going to be made until summer time. At that moment, how my staff filters out, she’ll be someone I have interest in.€

Read more here: https://www.sacbee.com/sports/nba/sacramento-kings/kings-blog/article10658063.html#storylink=cpy

G-naps
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June 1, 2020 10:24 am
Reply to  Jman1949

Theres a lot of context missing from the Bee article. In his podcast Karl definitely alludes to not being the one who made the decision on Lieberman.

But as with all stories there’s 3 sides.

rcubed37
May 30, 2020 12:20 pm

It’s continually frustrating to hear that there are in essence two Viveks: there’s the socially-conscious, civic-minded business-driven version that is relatively rare in sports, and then there’s the continually-meddling, basketball-clueless version that is…less rare.

L-Train3.1
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May 31, 2020 1:59 am
Reply to  rcubed37

Ideally Vivek would be in charge of everything except basketball operations. Everything basketball related should be independent and run by Geoff Petrie or Sam Hinkie.

RikSmits
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May 31, 2020 3:19 am
Reply to  L-Train3.1

Obviously the bar is low, and obviously Petrie deserves credit for the glory years, but he has been quite underwhelming since.

RikSmits
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May 31, 2020 3:17 am
Reply to  rcubed37

Yes, and credit where credit is due.

On the other hand, as far as my research on the internet shows, Sacramento and Utah are so far the only two NBA franchises to furlough part of their full-time workers beginning tomorrow. Other teams have furloughed part-time employees, but we are one of two teams to furlough full-time employees, it seems.

How socially conscious and civic-minded is that?

Kingsguru21
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June 1, 2020 2:31 am

I could give 2 shits less about this, honestly. All of this is par for the course with how this group operates.

RobHessing
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June 1, 2020 8:26 am
Reply to  Kingsguru21

At my age, two shits is a lot.

Kingsguru21
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June 1, 2020 1:01 pm
Reply to  RobHessing

Ace Ventura believes you need more fiber in your diet. Perhaps you should eat more pet food?

Timmy_13
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June 1, 2020 2:48 pm

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