The Sacramento Kings, in a dramatic about-face, have decided against firing coach George Karl after a Tuesday morning meeting between Karl and Kings general manager Vlade Divac, according to league sources.
Sources told ESPN that, after Karl pledged to make some changes to address longstanding concerns about his defensive schemes and practice policies, Divac has decided to back the embattled coach.
ESPN reported Monday night that the Kings had decided to fire Karl during the forthcoming All-Star break. After what one source described as a lengthy and detailed meeting Tuesday in Philadelphia to talk through the problems that have plagued the team during its current 1-8 funk, Divac told Karl that he has management's backing.
"George is our coach and we're collectively working through our issues," Divac said in a statement.
The Kings are 21-31 and trail Utah by five games for the eighth and final postseason spot in the Western Conference.
Sources told ESPN on Monday that rising dismay, both within the front office and among players, with Karl's defensive schemes, practice policies and general leadership have had a demoralizing effect on the players, who have slumped into a 1-8 funk in the wake of a recent five-game winning streak that briefly had Sacramento in the West's eighth playoff spot.
Karl is the Kings' eighth coach since the 2006-07 season, the season has began the team's current playoff drought.
Sources told ESPN that Vivek Ranadive, who took ownership of the Kings in May 2013, left the decision on Karl to Divac. The owner has twice bucked NBA convention by hiring a coach -- first Mike Malone, then Karl -- before hiring his GM.
Divac wasn't installed as the Kings' lead decision-maker until after Karl was hired in February 2015. He replaced Pete D'Alessandro as Kings GM after Malone was ousted in December 2014.
Karl has an estimated $10 million in guaranteed money left on his original four-year, $15 million contract with the Kings. He nearly lost his job in November after a much-publicized blowup with center DeMarcus Cousins, but one source insisted Monday that the dispute was "the result of frustration over a lack of coaching."