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THE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE YOUNG CENTER DEMARCUS COUSINS DID NOT HELP PAUL WESTPHAL
Thu, 05 Jan 2012 11:02 PM EST

If the Kings stood any opportunity at accomplishment this season, Paul Westphal had to find a way to control talented but volatile center DeMarcus Cousins. He couldn’t — and got sacked because of it. Baseball lines

The Kings fired Westphal following two-plus seasons as coach, cutting ties among a slow start and an escalating argument with Cousins that threatened to consume the locker room. Assistant Keith Smart, let go by the Golden State Warriors in April after one season in charge, reached a deal to become the team’s new chief coach. Baseball betting lines

With the Cousins-Westphal spat displaying no resoluteness, Kings’ owners Joe and Gavin Maloof ultimately made a decision to do something. Instead of buying and selling away a bright young big man, they made Westphal the 1st firing of the lockout-shortened season.

“We’re in a scenario here where you can not take a philosophical vacation mainly because things are going down in real time,” Kings President of basketball operations Geoff Petrie declared. “You begin to keep seeing the same things over and over again, you cannot sit around and meditate always about how you are going to grasp them or try and modify them.”

Finding to build momentum for a new arena venture, Sacramento stumbled at the beginning again this year.

An accomplished and athletic — even though raw — roster entered Thursday night’s home game against Milwaukee with a 2-5 record and in final place in the Pacific Division. Westphal ended with a 51-120 record in Sacramento.

The 61-year-old formerly coached the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics. In a press release released by the team, Westphal thanked the Maloofs, his coaching staff and players for the chance.

“As the job is far from finished, I am pleased with the strides we managed to make,” he said.

In the week, all of Westphal’s efforts in California’s capital shattered.

He abruptly released a declaration Sun. criticizing Cousins’ dedication to the franchise and excused him from the team’s game against New Orleans. He also said Cousins requested a trade, which the center’s agent denied.

Sacramento drafted Cousins with the 5th overall pick in 2010 after he spent one season at Kentucky. The 21-year-old was averaging 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds in twenty-six minutes per game this season.

Cousins’ behavior has been well documented returning to school and his one season at Kentucky, mixing in dramatic and astonishing plays with outbursts against players, coaches, trainers and arbiters. His conditioning has been questioned and so has his work ethic. Nevertheless he showed up for training camp in prime condition and was all set for a breakout season.

“Of course folks are going to tie ( Westphal’s firing ) to me,” Cousins said. “It will just show their ignorance. But like I mentioned it isn’t my decision.”

The Kings had high conviction for a major turnaround this year.

Grouped with 2009-10 rookie of the year Tyreke Evans, Cousins was anticipated to anchor the front for a young and emerging roster in the deep Western Conference. Sacramento ended 24-58 last season and missed the playoffs for the 5th upright year, although a late-season rise behind a healthy Evans provided expectation that maybe the Kings weren’t that apart off from producing the postseason again.

Turns out, the Maloofs couldn’t wait any for a longer period.

“We have a deep respect for Paul and he’s a sophisticated person. But it’s time for a change,” Gavin Maloof recounted at halftime of the Kings-Bucks game. “We just got to put all behind us, all the negatives and attempt and press forward and think constructive.”

The NBA and the Maloofs have given Sacramento a March 1 cut off point to confirm a scheme to help finance a new arena, or the organization could again explore relocation. The Kings before moved south to Anaheim, Calif, in April before the league’s Board of Governors decided to give Sacramento a fresh possibility.

Now the Cousins polemic is Smart’s obligation to face off.

Smart, the former Indiana guard famous for hitting “The Shot” in opposition to Syracuse that took the Hoosiers the 1987 NCAA title, spent 7 years as a helper with Golden State before he replaced the ousted Don Nelson just before training camp last year. The Warriors went 36-46 under Smart, a 10-game improvement from the prior season but not quite enough to pacify new owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber.

Smart stated that he never imagined his next possibility coming so shortly. While taking over for a fired coach isn’t the type of opening he envisioned, he feels good with the choice after Westphal passed along his acceptances.

“He announced, ‘don’t do anything foolish and reject this. I want you to coach this team,’” Smart recounted of Westphal.

“He felt it, and I felt that he meant it from the base of his heart.

Asked how he would approach Cousins differently after watching Westphal’s association with the center go sour, Smart smiled and recounted, “Probably has a satisfactory relationship with him.”

His job could depend on it.


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