PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Sacramento Kings coach George Karl said Wednesday he has a positive outlook after meeting with team general manager Vlade Divac amid a losing streak and speculation about his job.
Karl said before the Kings-76ers game in Philadelphia that he and Divac are on the same page.
“I’ve always felt good about Vlade. I don’t think Vlade and I have a disconnect other than we want to win more games than we’re winning right now,” Karl said. “And that’s fine with me. Everyone should want to win more games.”
Sacramento is 21-31 and has lost eight of its last nine. After Wednesday’s game, Karl said the team would go home for the All-Star break to “regroup and recuperate.”
Divac said in a statement that Karl “is our coach and we’re collectively working through our issues.”
He told The Associated Press before the game that the team’s defense must improve. Sacramento is allowing a league-worst 109.1 points per game and has given up 120.8 over a four-game losing streak.
“Defensively, we are not good,” Divac said. “That’s something we have to improve big. It would make a difference. Our offense is stable, but defensively we go on and off.”
Divac said he believes in his players, but didn’t rule out adding pieces to help defensively — or in other areas — before next Thursday’s trading deadline.
“We do have what we need, but still like every other organization, if it’s something that will improve us we will do it,” he said. “But, now, we are happy with the group.”
Karl declined to offer more specifics about their meeting.
The coach said speculation about his job won’t add extra pressure.
“That’s your world,” he said. “My world is basketball, the gym and players. Your world is interpretation, innuendo, gossip. I’m not into it.”
Kings star DeMarcus Cousins and Karl have struggled to work together. The All-Star center has not hid his emotions or frustrations.
Karl says he thinks the team’s funk is temporary.
Meanwhile, he says he won’t be bothered by the criticism that comes with losing.
“When you’re younger, you’re always a little more into what people are saying and what people think of you,” said the 64-year-old Karl, who is coaching his sixth NBA team after time in Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle, Milwaukee and Denver.
“As you get older, I think you learn you have no control over that. You can do your job perfectly in this league and if you don’t fulfill expectations, you’re going to be criticized,” he said.
Last year, Karl became the Kings’ third coach in one season. He took over following the 2015 All-Star break, succeeding Tyrone Corbin. Corbin had been promoted from top assistant to replace the fired Michael Malone. Karl coached Sacramento to an 11-19 record for the rest of the season.
The Kings are in 10th place in the Western Conference and haven’t made the playoffs in 10 years.