Only A Matter Of Time For Westphal


HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — The news that the Kings relieved Paul Westphal of his duties earlier this afternoon didn’t even rate a raised eyebrow here at the hideout.

“What took so long?” someone shouted from the back.

Was there any other possible outcome in a situation that had become a certifiable mess in recent days?

The Kings’ 2-5 start to this season coupled with Westphal’s repeated clashes with second-year big man DeMarcus Cousins will no doubt be held up as reasons for his dismissal, and they had to play a factor in this decision.

But his 51-120 record in two-plus seasons was bound to cost him his job sooner rather than later (and now Keith Smart assumes those duties for the team). It was only a matter of time for Westphal, who you should have known would not finish the season on the Kings’ bench after the craziness that transpired last weekend (when he said Cousins demanded a trade, Cousins was suspended and then comes back to the team and denies Westphal’s claim).

Kings co-owner Joe Maloof made that clear to our David Aldridge earlier today:

“It was probably time,” Maloof said “Paul’s a class act, just tremendous. But it just wasn’t working out. We thought it was best to make a change and give Keith a chance.”

Joe Maloof said Kings general manager Geoff Petrie made the recommendation to fire Westphal to him and his brother Gavin. Smart will be the Kings’ coach for the rest of the season.

“We try to leave the basketball decisions to the basketball people, but anybody can see it wasn’t working out,” Joe Maloof said. “Gavin and I called Paul. He was very appreciative and said thanks for the opportunity. We thanked him for his hard work and his work in the community. It wasn’t a bad call. It was a very nice call.”

Joe Maloof said that while the dynamic between Westphal Cousins was “part of the decision,” the bigger issues were the lack of development of all the Kings’ players and the owners’ hope that Sacramento could snap out of its rut and still be a factor in the Western Conference playoff race.

“I think we all knew something had to be done,” Maloof said. “We know we have a lot of (young) players but we were expecting to do well this season. We have a couple of guys who are in their third year in the league. We still have 60 games. We still have a shot…Geoff came to us and said it probably was never going to work between those two guys. It was probably best to move on. (But) none of the guys were playing up to their potential. It didn’t make sense, our play on the court. It just didn’t make sense….crazy things can happen. We’re trying to win and we’re trying to see what (Smart) can do.”

The rebuilding process was supposed to be in its second or third phase by now for the Kings. Instead, they’re heading back to the drawing board with a new coach and the March 1 deadline to approve a plan to help finance a new arena still looming, otherwise the franchise can explore relocation again.

The clock is ticking … on everybody!



  1. Leon says:

    ROFL! i can’t believe Sacs hire Keith Smart. It is like they prefer to hire coaches that have no clue.

  2. Guy says:

    A coach of a young team needs to be a guide and a mentor to help the new talents develop to their potential.
    Westphal was a bad fit.
    Sac. has the talent in Evans, Cousins and Jimmer as well as Thornton – at this point they should have been on an upward track, a team is not supposed to be a lottery team for three consecutive seasons.
    Last year was terrible – rotation was hectic, coach’s relationships with his players problematic and the team sucked.
    Look at players like Landry and Haws and how well they do with teams, see Evans – a former ROY who got stuck and did not develop to his potential.
    All these issues are coach’s responsibilities – sending Westphal home is the right move.

  3. Sosay says:

    unfortunately theres only about 4 nba coaches who have really mattered since the 80’s. you look at this team, do they really need someone to draw x’s and o’s on a board, or do they need someone who can cajole these egos and different and interesting personality types together and get them on the same plane and working towards a collective goal. they really need a phil jackson, but that will never happen. i just get the feeling this team is getting contracted at the end of the year

  4. legwkio says:

    Even Tyreke said that they have no idea what they’re doing in the court. A coach has to let his players know what they have to do on the court and upon seeing Sacramento games I can clearly see that he’s not a good coach for this team. Just look at their offense, so simplistic and predictable.
    The main reason for me that Westphal was fired because of the play on the court. The numbers speak for themselves so here’s hoping that Sacramento will at least be competitive under Smart.

  5. Hubert says:

    I agree that a coach with a 51-120 record can and should be fired because he is mainly responsible for the results of a sports team.
    But what I don’t like is that a young and spoiled brat as Cousins gets away, and even gets rewarded, for his immature behavior. It looks like he set an ultimatum: coach out or me! And the owners choose the guy who is just in the league and has yet to prove himself. It’s the world upside down. I think they should have traded Cousins and let somebody else deal with him and start a clean slate.
    But if Westphal lied about the trade request, then, indeed, he should be fired.

  6. Peter Perry says:

    It was time to fire Paul Westphal i agree.Paul Westphal record was 51-120 the numbers speak the truth in this case.

  7. Peter says:

    The Kings are a laughing stock , Westphal should have been fired last year.I am not sure if Smart is the man for the job but time will tell.A few other coaches are under pressure as well like Skiles , Saunders , Gentry and Mike D’Antoni , people need to realise it’s business and NBA is about winning.

    The next coach that will most likely be sacked is probably Saunders or Gentry.Washington are still young but sooner or later you need to deliver results.As for Phoenix they are a team going nowhere fast really , Stoudemire leaving meant the wheels fell off bus.I feel for Nash & Hill who are great players but need to move to a team with a chance for a championship.No point staying at the Suns , only positive this season so far is Morris and Gortat.

    • bballjunkie says:

      Spot on Peter, some of these coaches don’t coach to win. Their coaching for paychecks, like each year they will do better? Like contracts can’t change things, I am proud of this kid regarless of age standing up, he may not have been in the league long but does recognize when it aint going to work. I’m still smarting about the moves Spolster didn’t make in the series, and the more talent you give these coaches the worse it will get. Smart move Sacramento, not saying Smart is the answer but you just gave your players a vote of confidence to play harder.