The Sacramento Kings and George Karl have agreed to the framework of a deal for him to take over as coach, a person familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the discussions were private. The plan is for Karl to coach the Kings in their first game following the All-Star break Feb. 20 at home against Boston, meaning Tyrone Corbin will be coaching his final game for Sacramento on Wednesday night at Milwaukee.
Karl is attending funeral services for former North Carolina coach Dean Smith this week. The Kings are expected to announce the deal in the coming days after the contract has been signed.
Karl will be Sacramento’s third coach this season.
The Kings (18-33) made the surprising move to fire Michael Malone in December after an 11-13 start in his second season as coach, even though they had shown progress until All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins was sidelined for an extended period with viral meningitis. Sacramento slid even further after promoting Corbin from lead assistant, losing 12 of its last 14 games and 20 of 27 overall since Malone’s dismissal.
Karl is a proven winner in the league and a familiar face for Sacramento’s front office.
Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro and assistant general manager Mike Bratz are among those who worked with him in Denver, and team adviser Chris Mullin played for Karl with the Golden State Warriors from 1986-88.
Karl last coached in the 2012-13 season, when he won NBA Coach of the Year with the Nuggets before being fired following a first-round playoff loss to the Warriors. The Nuggets made the postseason all nine years under Karl. They advanced past the first round only once during his tenure, losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2009 Western Conference finals.
The 63-year-old Karl, a cancer survivor, is one of nine coaches in league history to eclipse 1,000 wins. He has 1,131 victories as a head coach, with stops in Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle and Milwaukee, earning a reputation for turning around teams.