Rajon Rondo isn’t playing in the NBA Finals, but that didn’t stop him from making headlines Monday.
Rondo told media that the Sacramento Kings never jelled as a team last season and that the tension between DeMarcus Cousins and the coaching staff was unlike anything he had seen or experienced in his 10-year NBA career. Rondo, who will be a free agent this offseason, also said the Kings didn’t “sacrifice enough” and play as a team.
George Karl, who went 44-68 with Sacramento before getting fired in April, addressed Rondo’s comments Tuesday.
“Well, Rajon is a very smart basketball player,” Karl said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “I think (they) should probably get him on there to let him talk that out. For me, I’ve kind of put it in my rear-view mirror and I’m ready to move on. In a lot of ways, I think we won more games than they won the year before.”
Indeed, the Kings went 29-53 last season and 33-49 this season. Sacramento hadn’t won 30+ games since 2007-08.
“That’s always somewhat been the judge of a successful season,” Karl said of the Kings’ increased win total. “Hopefully they can have a great summer in the free-agent market and figure out how they want their roster to be. I wish them the best.”
Karl’s relationship with Cousins – or lack thereof – was well-documented. In fact, Karl almost lost his job in November after a public dispute with Cousins, who averaged 26.9 points and 11.5 rebounds this season. Karl survived then.
Five months later, he didn’t.
“It was a hell of a rodeo, I can’t deny that,” Karl said. “But I’m blessed to be an NBA coach and have been for a long time and I still hope to do it one more time. I think the best thing for me to do is move on and move onto the next adventure, not the past adventure.”
Karl, 65, has coached 1,999 games in his career. He is 1,175-824 (.588) and in 2013 was named NBA Head Coach of the Year.
He hopes for another head-coaching opportunity.
“I don’t want to walk out of my career on a losing season,” he said. “I’d like to have a chance to play in the playoffs and be a part of a team that maybe has a hope and a dream of winning a championship. I’ll cross my fingers and cross my legs and hopefully I’ll get lucky.”