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Kings hire Westphal as coach

THE Sacramento Kings sealed an agreement in principle with Paul Westphal on Tuesday to be their fourth coach in just over three years.

Westphal, a longtime National Basketball Association player and coach, went 267-159 during parts of seven seasons leading the Phoenix Suns and Seattle SuperSonics. He replaces interim coach Kenny Natt after the Kings finished 17-65, the worst record in the NBA and in franchise history.

"We set some parameters at the start of this coaching search to look for a successful, experienced leader, and Paul certainly meets those qualifications," said Geoff Petrie, the Kings' top basketball executive. "He has a wealth of experience in the NBA as both a coach and player."

Westphal is Sacramento's latest attempt to replace Rick Adelman, who was fired by owners Joe and Gavin Maloof in 2006 after eight straight playoff appearances and winning seasons.

The Kings fired Eric Musselman in 2007 after one tumultuous season, and NBA coaching newcomer Reggie Theus barely made it into his second campaign before being fired last December. Natt wasn't retained after finishing up a miserable season with Sacramento, which even slipped to the No. 4 draft slot in last month's lottery.

Westphal's impressive NBA coaching record includes one trip to the finals with Phoenix, but he has spent just one season on an NBA bench since late 2000, as an assistant in Dallas in 2007-08.


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