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George Karl Reportedly to Be Fired Before 2016 NBA All-Star Break

Sacramento Kings head coach George Karl reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press
Danny WebsterAnalyst IIIFebruary 8, 2016

On Saturday, ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported the Sacramento Kings were mulling over the thought of firing head coach George Karl, and it appears as though they have made their decision.

On Monday, Stein reported the Kings are "likely" to fire Karl after they play their final game before the All-Star break against the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday.

Karl's future in Sacramento took a turn for the worse when the Kings lost 128-119 to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, per Stein. Not only was it Sacramento's sixth loss in seven games, but it was a loss to the Eastern Conference's second-worst team.

Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reported Friday that discussions about Karl's future were an "overreaction to the loss" in Brooklyn but also that Karl had lost support within the locker room and the front office.

One person who was vocal about Karl's performance was former Kings guard and current CSN Bay Area analyst Bobby Jackson.

"I think I could come off this set and do a much better coaching job right now," Jackson said, per Sactown Royalty.

CBS Sports' Matt Moore also shared his thoughts on the situation:

After the loss to the Nets, Sacramento followed that with another 128-119 loss to the Boston Celtics and lost by 20 points to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday.

On Jan. 23, the Kings extended a season-best winning streak to five games with a 108-97 victory over the Indiana Pacers and were eighth in the Western Conference—a full game ahead of the Utah Jazz.

Fast-forward to Monday, and Sacramento has lost for the eighth time in its last nine games. It is now 21-31 and five games back of the Jazz for the No. 8 spot in the West.

If Karl is dismissed, it will mark the second time in less than two years that the Kings have made a midseason coaching change. After a 5-1 start, Sacramento fired Mike Malone only 24 games into the 2014-15 season.

Chris Mannix of The Vertical noted in a column Monday that firing Karl is a lose-lose situation for the Kings and the coach:

The NBA is a results-driven business, and Sacramento's recent woes, along with its stunning indifference to defense—the Kings surrendered 46 points to Boston in the first quarter, the most any team has given up in a quarter this season—will provide ownership with enough cover to justify paying the remaining $10 million-plus Karl is owed through 2018.

Yet firing Karl won't trigger a turnaround, won't morph the Kings into a Western Conference contender overnight. For that, changes, philosophical or otherwise, must happen higher on the masthead.

Sacramento had appeared ready to turn a corner. DeMarcus Cousins is an All-Star again, averaging 27.1 points and 11.2 rebounds per game, and Rajon Rondo is averaging a league-high 11.8 assists per game. But it also appears owner Vivek Ranadive's patience has worn thin, and he is destined to make another change.

Karl's record as Kings head coach is 32-50. He has accumulated 1,163 wins and 806 losses in his 27 seasons at the helm of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Seattle SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets and Kings.

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