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George Karl to Sacramento Kings: Latest Contract Details, Comments and Reaction

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 12, 2015

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 25:  Head coach George Karl of the Denver Nuggets leads his team against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Pepsi Center on February 25, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Nuggets defeated the Lakers 119-108. 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 Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

After taking more than a year off from coaching, George Karl is back in the NBA after signing a deal to be the Sacramento Kings' head man.

Continue for updates.


Karl Receives Standing Ovation from Crowd at Debut

Friday, Feb. 20

The Kings provided video of Karl being introduced as Sacramento's new coach:

Sacramen2 Kings @SacramentoKings

Watch as @CoachKarl22 is introduced to the Kings faithful! #RetroForRed https://t.co/TTsViDxNWA


Kings Officially Introduce Karl as Head Coach

Tuesday, Feb. 17 

The Kings officially announced Karl is Sacramento's head coach. General Manager Pete D’Alessandro commented on the move:

We’re fortunate to be taking a step towards returning this franchise to prominence with one of the best coaches in basketball on our sideline,” said D’Alessandro. “George knows how to win, as evidenced by a lifetime track record of success and ability to maintain consistency throughout his three decades in the game. We’re excited to welcome him to Sacramento.”

Karl also spoke about his return to coaching:

“I'm extremely excited for the opportunity to coach again in the NBA, and I'm thankful it's happening in Sacramento," said Karl. “I'm looking forward to the challenge of helping guide the franchise back to greatness. We have an owner in Vivek Ranadivé who is committed to winning, a roster with some impressive components already assembled and an exciting new development downtown. Anyone who follows basketball, even at a casual level, understands that Kings fans are renowned for their passionate support of the team. I've coached against the Kings in some important moments over the years and was always amazed by the level of energy they bring to the game. We're going to provide them with more instances to display that enthusiasm.

James Ham of ESPN.com provided comments from Karl, who spoke about his perspective of Demarcus Cousins:

James Ham @James_HamNBCS

George Karl compares DeMarcus Cousins to the talent level of Shawn Kemp and the personality of Gary Payton.

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reported Gary Payton has expressed interest in joining Karl's staff.


Kings Announce Deal in Place 

Thursday, Feb. 10

The team announced it had a deal in principle with the coach on Thursday:

The Sacramento Kings today have reached an agreement in principle with George Karl, the sixth-winningest coach in NBA history with 1,131 career victories, to become the team’s head coach, according to General Manager Pete D’Alessandro.

A press conference formally introducing Karl will be scheduled when the agreement is finalized.

Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski and SportsCenter provided financial details of the agreement Thursday morning:

George Karl has reached agreement on a four-year contract worth nearly $15 million to become coach of the Sacramento Kings, a league source told Yahoo Sports.

Sacramento plans to make a formal announcement soon.

The $14.5 million deal will include a $1.5 million buyout provision on the $5 million owed Karl in the final year of the contract, a source told Yahoo Sports.

Karl will earn $1.25 million for the rest of the 2014-15 season, which will begin with his Kings debut after the All-Star break on Feb. 20 against Golden State. Karl is set to earn $3.25 million in 2015-16 and $5 million per season in the final two years of the deal, a source said.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee reported Wednesday night that Karl, 63, and the Kings agreed to terms, with a "formal statement to be released Thursday morning."

As for Tyrone Corbin, who had served as interim head coach for the team after Michael Malone's surprising firing following an 11-13 start, he "plans to leave the organization and will not be a part of Karl's staff for the rest of the season, a source said," according to Wojnarowski.

Wojnarowski reported on Feb. 9 the two sides were working on hammering out a deal:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

Yahoo Sources: Sacramento, George Karl progressing on four-year deal worth between $4M-$5M annually to become coach. http://t.co/evZRlXsmq7

Karl spent the 2013-14 season and part of the 2014-15 campaign as an ESPN analyst after parting ways with the Denver Nuggets following the 2012-13 season. His ouster came on the heels of winning the 2013 NBA Coach of the Year Award.

Karl's departure from Denver came as somewhat of a surprise considering he led the Nuggets to a 57-25 record during his last season on the sidelines. The Golden State Warriors upset Denver, a No. 3 seed, in the first round of the playoffs. Karl had one year remaining on his contract at the time.

Although Karl and Sacramento have reportedly come to terms, he emerged as a candidate for several other jobs during his time away from coaching. Following the Orlando Magic's firing of Jacque Vaughn as head coach on Feb. 5, Karl tweeted about his desire to possibly take that job:

George Karl @CoachKarl22

I wanted to address everyone's questions & comments in regards to my coaching career. Here is my official statement. http://t.co/i4rN5wjoRh

During the previous offseason, Karl generated some interest as well. Following Mike D'Antoni's decision to resign as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 2014, Karl emerged as a top candidate, according to Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times:

Additionally, Karl became a candidate for the Brooklyn Nets' head coaching job after Jason Kidd was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks, per ESPN's Marc Stein:

Those opportunities never came to fruition, but Karl's patience eventually paid off.

At nearly every stop over the course of his 25-year NBA head coaching career, Karl has been a winner. In fact, he is one of the winningest head coaches in NBA history, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

George Karl ranks 6th on the NBA's all-time wins list, but can he become the 1st winning Kings coach since Adelman? http://t.co/gOQuPvMw2U

He led the Cleveland Cavaliers and Warriors to one playoff appearance apiece in just two years with each club in the 1980s. He truly hit his stride when he became the head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics in 1991-92.

CHICAGO - JUNE 5:  Gary Payton #20 of the Seattle SuperSonics discusses strategy with head coach George Karl in Game One of the NBA Finals against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on June 5, 1996 in Chicago, Illinois.  The Bulls won 107-90.  NOTE TO
Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty Images

In seven seasons with the Sonics, he led the team to the postseason every year and reached the NBA Finals in 1995-96, where Seattle lost to the Chicago Bulls. Karl's Sonics teams won at least 57 games in five consecutive seasons and were a model of regular-season consistency.

Karl then moved on to the Bucks, and his teams overachieved for five seasons. The Bucks reached the playoffs in four of those seasons and got as far as the Eastern Conference Finals in 2000-01. Karl eventually took the Nuggets' job starting in the 2004-05 season.

Although he spent nine seasons with the Nuggets and reached the playoffs each time, Denver was ousted in the first round on eight occasions. The Nuggets won just two playoff series under Karl as they reached the Western Conference Finals in 2008-09.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Karl's teams missed the playoffs just once in his past 21 seasons of being a head coach.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Something has to give. George Karl has reached the playoffs 20 of his last 21 seasons. The Kings have missed the playoffs the last 8 years.

Karl has a ton of work ahead of him; the Kings are among the worst teams in the Western Conference, and owner Vivek Ranadive has proved to want his say in the franchise's direction. They have a ton of young talent, though, and there is reason to believe Karl will accelerate their development for the remainder of this season and beyond.

The 63-year-old Karl is one of the most respected minds in the game today. Perhaps he got a bit stale in Denver after nine years, but he'll bring a fresh voice to a team that certainly needs one.

Karl has always been about doing more with less. He made the Nuggets perennial contenders in the Western Conference, even after they traded Carmelo Anthony. Denver didn't have a superstar player on the roster, but it played team ball and was an extremely tough squad to beat, especially at home.

Look for Karl to bring that same mentality to his new team.

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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