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Sacramento Kings interim coach Keith Smart, who replaced a fired Paul Westphal in early January, will remain the team's head coach, according to Sacramento co-owner Joe Maloof, and reported by SI.com.
"Yes," Maloof said emphatically when asked if Smart's option would be picked up. "With no disrespect to our past coaches, we really have someone who everybody likes now. The players like him, the basketball staff likes him, we trust him, and he knows the game. Keith Smart is a wonderful coach, and we're lucky to have him. ... Yes, we'll pick it up. We want him to be our coach forever."
There had previously been rumors both that Smart had been signed already through the 2013 season and that the Kings were still keeping their options open at that position moving forward, but it now appears the truth is that a longer-term deal is in order.
Asked if Smart might be given a new, long-term deal, Maloof said, "We really like him. I think our objective is to keep him as long as we can."
With the Kings now looking very likely to remain the city, it makes sense for them to sign a coach that has brought some stability to a franchise that has had five coaches since 2006. Smart has connected with the players and, as Maloof points out, is respected and liked by the rest of the staff.
For all news and information regarding the Kings, please visit Sactown Royalty.
Everyone thought it was over.
Sam Amick of SI.com wrote a story detailing how Kings co-owner Joe Maloof did not know anything about Westphal's statement that claimed Cousins demanded a trade from the team. Maloof says he did not approve of such a statement being released.
"I didn't know about any letter," Maloof said. "We didn't know about any of that. ...We didn't know about the statement or anything like that."
"Well, we've owned the team 13 years and it's our belief that you keep basketball situations in house and not make them public. That did upset me. ... It's always been our history to keep things in the organization and not to make it public. As far as I was concerned, [Cousins] would sit the bench one night and that's all there was to it."
Maloof said that Cousins sitting for one game was considered a basketball decision and nothing more. Nevertheless, Westphal is gone and Keith Smart is now in line to follow Eric Musselman, Reggie Theus, Kenny Natt and Westphal in trying to right a ship that was driven by Rick Adelman during the Kings early 2000s heyday.
The Kings are now 3-6 and 12th in the Western Conference.
The Sacramento Kings have had a tumultuous start to their 2011-12 season. Besides getting off to a bad start on the court, it was clear that tensions were running high behind the scenes. DeMarcus Cousins started talking loudly about a trade and lost his spot in the starting five. A clear shakeup was in order and head coach Paul Westphal was dismissed.
SB Nation's own Tom Ziller penned a great post on Wednesday about the shortcomings of Westphal. Notably, his failure to establish any sort of team identity or clear game plan after two years at the helm. If a team has nothing to stand for, they have no clear aim or direction.
Perhaps they have one now. After Keith Smart was named the new coach, the Kings hosted the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night in their first game under the new regime. After trailing mightily at halftime, it seemed like it was going to be another of those games where Sacramento curled up and played out the string to its inevitable end and another defeat. Instead, they regrouped and rallied. They took a late lead and held on for a 103-100 victory in which Cousins notched a double-double.
It's only one game, but it's a start. The 1-0 record under Smart speaks volumes.
For all news and information regarding the Kings, please visit Sactown Royalty.
DeMarcus Cousins never meshed well with Paul Westphal and the second-year big man had lost his spot in the starting lineup after an alleged altercation in the locker room a few nights ago. With coach Westphal fired earlier on Thursday afternoon, new head coach Keith Smart, who reportedly worked well with Cousins in the preseason, has given the 21-year old center his spot back in the starting lineup.
DeMarcus Cousins said he is back in the starting lineup tonight.— JasonJones (@mr_jasonjones) January 6, 2012
This is probably for the best. The Kings are determined to figure out a way to have Cousins succeed in Sacramento and he has a favorable matchup with Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut out for tonight's matchup. In addition to Cousins, Tyreke Evans, Marcus Thornton, John Salmons and Chuck Hayes are the other probable starters. Expect to see Jimmer Fredette, J.J. Hickson and Jason Thompson see a bulk of the minutes off the bench.
The Kings will face the Bucks tonight at Power Balance Pavilion with tipoff set for 7 p.m. For more on the team, head on over to Sactown Royalty.
The Sacramento Kings have had quite an interesting last few weeks. After knocking off the Lakers in front of a sold out crowd at Power Balance Pavilion, the team has seen DeMarcus Cousins take a leave of absence and coach Paul Westphal get the boot after a little more than two years. Assistant coach Keith Smart was named the interim head coach on Thursday, but that lasted just three hours or so.
According to multiple reports, Smart has already signed a deal to become the head coach of the Kings through the 2013 season. While the common thought process would be to test out an assistant coach and see how those in the organization react with him in charge, the Kings felt it was in the best interest of everyone to sign the former Warriors head coach to a two-year deal.
Keith Smart has agreed to a two-year coaching deal with the Kings, source tells Y! Sports. Agreement guaranteed through the 2012-'13 season.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 6, 2012
For those of you who are as confused as I am, the only explanation I can offer is that Keith Smart has coached in the league before and he has reportedly worked well with Tyreke Evans and DeMarcus Cousins. Then again, just how good of a coach can he be if the Warriors fired him after one season?
For more on the madness in Sacramento, head on over to Sactown Royalty.
Keith Smart didn't have to wait too long to get his second chance as an NBA head coach. He joined up with the Sacramento Kings as an assistant coach after being relieved from his coaching duties with the Golden State Warriors. Now with Paul Westphal gone, Smart takes the head chair.
It's not exactly an inspiring hire. Smart went 36-46 in his only season in Golden State, and he faced many of the same criticisms Westphal faced in Sacramento. Namely, that the offense was disorganized, the team didn't cater to its strengths. There were many questions about how effective he was in really trying to improve the Warriors, because Golden State didn't look like a great basketball team last year.
Smart won't be relying on a high baseline rate of success. Westphal had the Kings looking like a really weak squad by the start of 2012; any significant improvements would probably be enough to keep Sacramento fans satisfied in his performance.
To discuss Smart on the Kings, head to Sactown Royalty.
With the Sacramento Kings firing Paul Westphal, many emotions and questions from all over the spectrum are coming to the surface. One of the best outlets for anything Kings related is SB Nation's resident Kings expert and NBA mastermind Tom Ziller, who had some intriguing things to say on twitter:
Y'all don't need to blame this one fully on Cousins. Westphal used his own rope.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) January 5, 2012
By his own rope Ziller means of course means that whole fiasco with DeMarcus Cousins a few days ago. You remember, Westphal sent out a statement telling everyone that Cousins was sent home?
What the hell was the point of Petrie letting Westphal put out that statement on Sunday?— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) January 5, 2012
No one may ever know. But the fact of the matter is the Kings are in disarray, and there are few places to turn for answers right now.
Westphal's gone, but this franchise is more of a mess than ever. Petrie has a lot to answer for.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) January 5, 2012
And according to SI's Sam Amick, GM Geoff Peterie had been 'distancing himself' from the team as of late, isn't going to help either. This team may be a mess, but Ziller still keeps looking forward:
If Petrie keeps his job and Smart isn't hired as the full-time head coach, big money on Brian Shaw getting the gig this summer.— Tom Ziller (@teamziller) January 5, 2012
For more on the firing of Westphal or more on the Kings in general, head over to Sactown Royalty.