Report: Kings' infighting has caused George Karl to exile Lieberman

The Sacramento Kings are a mess. Despite the star play of All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings are 26-41 and have gone 2-8 in their last 10 games. 

Cousins was suspended for one of those losses after he berated Kings head coach George Karl in a loss to the Cavs. And then after his first game back, Cousins openly told the media that it was Karl that suspended him not the Kings.

Karl has just not been a good fit with Cousins and the Kings. He was basically fired before the All-Star break but the Kings reconsidered, changing their minds and allowing Karl to finish the season. Karl is expected to be fired once the season ends though as USA Today's Sam Amick reports, which is probably best for all parties involved. According to Amick, there is infighting within the Kings coaching staff and assistant coach Nancy Lieberman has been "exiled" because Karl doesn't trust her. Amick also says that the Kings will likely fire Karl and if a new coach can't turn things around, may look to trade Cousins at next season's trade deadline.

From Amick:

Yet with Karl still expected to be replaced after the season, there is a belief within the organization and around the league that Cousins won’t be truly available unless the situation doesn’t significantly improve leading up to the Feb. 2017 trade deadline. He’ll have a long line of suitors then, too. After all, this is a talent-driven league and Cousins – headaches be damned – is a supremely talented player.


The wildly talented Cousins is a lot of things, but he’s no dummy. He sees the justifiable criticism of Ranadive, whose refusal to stand by the only NBA coach who truly connected with Cousins, Michael Malone, in Dec. 2014 was one of the many plot twists that helped cause this mess. He sees the in-fighting on the coaching staff, with assistant coach Nancy Lieberman identified as a Ranadive confidante and thus unofficially exiled by Karl months ago.

Watch any Kings game and you will see that Lieberman still sits behind the bench, but if Karl is basically ignoring and not involving her, that sounds like a very hostile work environment for the Hall-of-Fame coach. 

"Exile" is a rather harsh word as well and can possibly help explain why Cousins' frustration reached a boiling point when he screamed at Karl. Ranadive and the Kings' management have allowed for a rather toxic work environment to take shape and it is affecting the orgainzation from the top down.

The only good news for the Kings is that they have only have 15 games left until the season mercifully ends. After that, perhaps some positive changes can be made.

With the Kings, Nancy Lieberman is on the outside looking in.
With the Kings, Nancy Lieberman is on the outside looking in. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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