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Paul Westphal: Sacramento Kings Part Ways with Head Coach

SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 29:  Head coach Paul Westphal of the Sacramento Kings stands by the bench during their game against the Chicago Bulls at Power Balance Pavilion on December 29, 2011 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 5, 2012

The Sacramento Kings have fired head coach Paul Westphal, according to Ken Berger of CBS Sports.

Sacramento currently sits at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 2-5 record and accumulated just 49 wins in Westphal's first two seasons with the team. Assistant coach Keith Smart will coach the Kings in tonight's game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

It's clear that Westphal was on an extremely short leash heading into the season, and a slow start sealed his fate. The Kings haven't made the playoffs since the 2005-06 season and will begin the search for a new coach that will lead them to the postseason.

The team has also been going through a rough patch recently concerning center DeMarcus Cousins. It's a drama surrounding a possible trade request by the talented post man, but it's unclear if that situation played any role in Westphal's departure.

Talent doesn't appear to be the problem in Sacramento. The Kings just have to wait for their young players to develop into consistent threats before they take the next step back into contention.

For that reason, it's a bit surprising that the former All-Star guard was relieved of his duties so quickly into a new season. The ownership group must have made up their minds to go in another direction, though, and when that happens it's best to sever ties immediately instead of dragging the process out.

Westphal has also been the head coach of the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics during his career. He also made a stop at Pepperdine, where he led the Waves to one NCAA Tournament in five seasons at the helm.

All told following his release today, Westphal's career coaching record sits at 391-341 (.534).

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