The Sacramento Kings desperately want to turn the page on the past 10 seasons — they are moving into a new building and see that as a new era and a chance to change the dynamic around the team.
They also have a new coach in Dave Joerger they are counting on to lead that change.
Caron Butler was on the kings Last season and was on ESPN’s First Take Friday, and talked about the impact former coach George Karl had on the locker room (hat tip Eye on Basketball).
“As players, from All-Star break and everything, I mean, as far as we knew, he was fired. We’re in Philadelphia a game before All-Star break and all of a sudden it’s like, ‘You’re not moving [on], I’m coming back.’ It was deflating to the locker room, it was deflating to the guys, and we tried to move forward and tried to do the best that we possibly could. But that was deflating to the team, it was a big blow and it was tough to move forward.”
Everyone in the locker room and, frankly, around the league knew the Karl/DeMarcus Cousins relationship was doomed. From the start. The franchise needed to move on.
Joerger is trying to move on, trying to create a new culture. So far so good, at least to hear Willie Cauley-Stein say it. Here is what he told Jared Zwerling on the NBPA’s website:
“Yeah, I’ve spoken with him. A lot of it is just expanding my game out, allowing me to become something instead of being labeled as something. He’s giving me a chance to label myself, whereas other coaches in the past that automatically label you as something else.”
We’ll see if he and the organization can carry some of that momentum into the fall.