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Kings Coach Keith Smart Will Return Next Season, Per Report

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.

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