Now that the Sacramento Kings finally fired George Karl, everyone can freely discuss the league’s worst kept secret: Karl and DeMarcus Cousins just didn’t get along. Karl admitted as much in a recent interview with the Sacramento Bee’s Ailene Voisin.
“I never felt I got into a good place with Cuz,” Karl said, “and some of that was my stupidity when I said that no player is untradeable. I still believe that. But I should have been smart enough not to say it, and I in no way, at any time, thought DeMarcus was going to get traded.”
Karl opened up about the awkward handshake he and Cousins shared at the Las Vegas Summer League last summer and the infamous locker room incident after a loss to San Antonio, during which Cousins cussed him out.
“That night the bomb went off,” recalled Karl, his voice rising. “Vlade was right there. When they supported Cousins instead of me, I felt, ‘OK, I’m in the compromise position. Cuz has the power.’ They sent that message many times, too many times sent it to the players. And the players wanted someone to stand up to Cuz, and they wanted it to be their coach. But at that point, I realized that you either compromise or you blow it up, and my job was to make us a better basketball team and get to the end of the year.”
Karl said he wasn’t sure where he went wrong with Cousins, but at one point during the interview, his companion interrupted him to say he should have just given Boogie some love.
“Do you want my opinion?” Kim Van Deraa, his longtime companion, suddenly interjected from across the room. “I think DeMarcus needs to be loved. I kept telling George, ‘Go over and put your arms around him! He needs love.’ ”
“I don’t disagree,” he said, “but he needs players around him that are better fits. You could tell at the end of last year that Rudy (Gay) and Cuz didn’t work.”
Kim knows what’s up.