SACRAMENTO, Calif. - The Sacramento Kings fired coach Eric Musselman on Friday after just one tumultuous season. The Kings went 33-49 and missed the playoffs this spring after reaching the postseason eight consecutive times under Rick Adelman.
Sacramento Kings coach Eric Musselman gives instruction to his team during the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, in a Wednesday, April 11, 2007 photo. The Sacramento Kings fired coach Eric Musselman on Friday after a losing season in which the team failed to make the playoffs for the first time in nine years. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
"There is no particular joy in making this decision," said Geoff Petrie, the Kings' president of basketball operations. "However, I feel it is in the best interest of everyone going forward."
Adelman was dropped by Sacramento owners Joe and Gavin Maloof last summer against the apparent wishes of Petrie. The Maloofs then chose Musselman, a longtime NBA assistant coach who presided over two decent seasons with the Golden State Warriors from 2002-04.
But Musselman's season was a disappointment from Oct. 20, when he was arrested on a drunken-driving charge. Musselman later pleaded no contest to the charge and served a two-game suspension in February.
The Kings, who won two Pacific Division titles and reached the 2002 Western Conference finals under Adelman, struggled under Musselman, despite returning largely the same roster that scared the San Antonio Spurs in a first-round series last season. The unpleasant locker room was filled with infighting, and veterans Ron Artest, Mike Bibby and Brad Miller failed to take charge.
After weeks of rumors surrounding Musselman's departure, the Kings made the move after Musselman met with Petrie on Friday. The Maloofs must pay Musselman about $5 million for the remaining two seasons of his contract.
The Kings don't intend to start a coaching search until Petrie returns from an upcoming scouting trip to Europe.