The Kings’ ongoing drama has taken a new turn, according to Yahoo! Sports.
The team is gauging the interest of University of Kentucky coach John Calipari in coaching the Kings and running the front office. Calipari had a similar role with the New Jersey Nets, going 72-112 from 1996-99.
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, however, told The Bee later this morning the report was “categorically untrue.” Ranadive appeared in Sacramento Superior Court today to testify in the ongoing arena trial.
Calipari coached Kings All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins in college in 2009-10. Cousins has been feuding with coach George Karl for months.
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The Yahoo! report said the Kings are seeking ways to fire Karl “with cause” to get out of paying him the remainder of his salary. Karl is owed about $10 million. Firing Karl would be due to his trying to broker a trade for Cousins without permission from the team.
The report said Calipari had not been offered a job with the Kings. If he were and accepted it, Calipari would be the Kings’ fourth head coach and the third man to oversee the front office since last December.
Calipari said via his Twitter account that his conversations with the Kings have been about Cousins and Kings' first-round pick Willie Cauley-Stein, two of his former players, and that he has not been offered a job.
Vlade Divac serves as vice president of basketball and franchise operations and ran the team’s draft. The Kings selected Willie Cauley-Stein, who played for Calipari at Kentucky.
Calipari is one of the most successful college coaches of all time (593-174) and won the 2012 National Championship. But there has always been speculation he wanted to return to the NBA since his first stint did not go as well as he’d hoped.