VIDEO: Highlights from games played Feb. 9
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Divac keeping Karl around after all — Overnight on Monday, news broke that the Sacramento Kings were preparing to fire coach George Karl sometime before the All-Star break. It seemed a near certainty as national media and local media had similar reports on the goings on. But then yesterday afternoon, the Kings decided to reverse field and keep Karl around. Why the sudden change of heart? Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee has the explanation:
Instead of firing his coach as had been reportedly imminent, Kings general manager Vlade Divac began discussions with George Karl on Tuesday about how to pull the team out of its slide.
“We are not firing George,” Divac told The Sacramento Bee. “We have to sit down, work together and figure out how to turn this around.”
The Kings (21-31) have lost four consecutive games and eight of nine. They are in 10th place in the Western Conference and end a four-game trip Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers in their last game before the All-Star break.
Before this slump, the Kings won a season-best five consecutive games and moved into the West’s eighth and final playoff spot. Entering Tuesday, they were five games behind the eighth-place Utah Jazz.
Tuesday’s conversation between Divac and Karl focused on the Kings’ three-point and transition defenses and overall lack of defensive energy – three areas that have plagued the team all season.
Divac does not believe firing Karl is the solution.
“We have some issues, but it’s not that we can’t win,” Divac said. “This is how we are now. It can be painful to watch. I can only imagine what it’s like for the fans.”
The Kings are giving up a league-high 10.7 three-pointers per game and 14.6 fast-break points per game, 23rd in the league.
Players have been unhappy with many of the defensive schemes and what they see as a lack of adjustments to address the problems.
“We’ve just got to take pride in defense,” guard Rajon Rondo said after Monday’s loss at Cleveland.
Rondo noted the Kings have allowed at least 120 points in five of their past eight losses.
“We’re giving up 30 a quarter a night; we’re giving out career highs, season highs, first of whatever. It’s frustrating,” he said. “We just can’t keep laying down. We’ve got to have some kind of fight and find a way.”
The ease with which opponents score has caused many to question the pride of the players and their commitment to defense.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Tyreke Evans is planning to undergo surgery on his right knee and is likely out for the remainder of the season, league sources told The Vertical.
Evans will visit specialists this week to finalize his surgery details, sources said.
Evans underwent arthroscopic surgery in the same knee in October and recently again experienced pain in the knee. The Pelicans announced on Sunday that Evans would rehab his knee until after the NBA All-Star break.
Evans served as a playmaker and scorer alongside New Orleans star Anthony Davis and is now the Pelicans’ third consecutive rotation player lost to extended time. In January, Quincy Pondexter underwent season-ending surgery and Eric Gordon had finger surgery.
No. 3: Anthony committed to Knicks, won’t waive no-trade clause — A little less than two years ago, then-free-agent Carmelo Anthony spurned some offers in new markets to stick with the New York Knicks. In short, he believed in the vision then-coach Derek Fisher and team president Phil Jackson had for the Knicks. Fisher was fired Monday and New York appears to have an unclear path, but neither of those things are leading Anthony to find way out of his commitment, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday:
Anthony said he doesn’t intend to waive his no-trade clause before February 18 deadline, he still believes in Knicks president Phil Jackson and he wants to remain in a Knicks uniform.
“Yeah, I’ve been through worse,” Anthony said before the Knicks played the Wizards Tuesday night. “I’ve been through worse. At this point you become kind of immune to all . . . that goes on and the politics. You become immune to that. So my goal is to continue playing basketball, focus on the group of guys that I have in there and leave that faith to management, to the front office.”
Anthony sounded genuinely surprised that Jackson fired Derek Fisher Monday and replaced him with Kurt Rambis.
“This is something I didn’t see coming,” Anthony said. “Nobody saw coming. So you have to continue to put your trust into Phil. At this point, what could you do? Can’t shy away from that. can’t go against it. So for me it’s continue.
“I have to trust in it. I decided to stay here. I decided to make that decision to trust in the Knicks and trust in Phil. I have to continue doing that.”
He is the only Knick remaining from the team that won 54 games in 2013 and the lone leftover from when Jackson was hired in March 2014.
“It’s tough,” Anthony said. “At night when I kind of wrap my brain around it and put everything into perspective as far as how many coaches I’ve been through since being here, how many different teammates I’ve been through since being here . . . so we’re trying to find some kind of consistency when it comes to that. But the business of basketball, it’s a tough business.”
VIDEO: Carmelo Anthony talks after the Knicks’ home loss to the Wizards
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Former Milwaukee Bucks standout Larry Sanders may try to make an NBA comeback sometime soon … From Al Horford to Jeff Teague, the Atlanta Hawks could be looking at making a major trade in the next week … Gordon Hayward played the hero last night and got his first-ever win in Dallas … ICYMI, Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside got ejected last night for elbowing San Antonio Spurs rookie center Boban Marjanovic … TNT analyst Chris Webber says the New Orleans Pelicans need to get Anthony Davis some roster help and fast … As the Detroit Pistons prepare to retire Chauncey Billups‘ No. 1 jersey tonight, relive his Top 10 Pistons plays …