Former NBA star Vincent Askew's stint with the newly formed Kentucky Mavericks lasted all of four days.
Askew and the Bowling Green-based Mavericks, one of the newest additions to the American Basketball Association, officially parted ways Saturday night. So the team, which is roughly two weeks old, is already looking for its third head coach. Mavericks president Jason Smith said Sunday that Russellville's Otis Key — who will now serve as the Mavericks' interim head coach — was originally named head coach before stepping aside for Askew.
Askew and Smith differ on the specifics of Askew's departure. Smith claims Askew was fired. Askew says he resigned.
Smith suggested finance was the main issue.
”This is a first-year organization and we need to make a name for ourselves, and we can't do that if we don't have reliable or trustworthy employees,“ Smith said. ”Whether it be the front office, the dance team, the players — whatever, we have to be honest with each other.
”We aren't the Dallas Mavericks, we're the Kentucky Mavericks. You can't expect me to buy your house, buy your car and pay your bills — it's our first year and we're trying to get established.“
Askew maintains that he stepped down, saying that he decided it wasn't the best situation for him at this point in his career.
”I have goals in basketball and I want to be somewhere more where I can teach the game,“ said Askew, who said he will now serve as general manager of the ABA's Los Angeles Push — a hiring the ABA's Web site announced Wednesday, the same day Askew told the Daily News he would coach the Mavericks.
”They (the Mavericks) were all professionals, they were nice guys, but I'm in a situation right now where I have to know in March or April that they're going to be there — and I'm sure they will — but that's just where I'm coming from.“
While Askew didn't agree with Smith's description of the parting, Askew also noted that money was involved.
”It's not that I'm greedy or anything,“ Askew said. ”But ... it needed to be a bit more. I have a family, a house and kids to think about also.“
Smith said the Mavericks are working on a strict budget and could not afford to overspend on one part of the organization.
”We started from my finances and a business loan — a nice, nice business loan.
”And I'm not going to spend the whole thing on the coach.“
With Askew out of the picture, Key — a former Russellville High School and Austin Peay player and a former player and coach with the Harlem Globetrotters — will serve as the team's head coach on an interim basis. Smith said the team is interviewing several coaching candidates, including Key, and he hopes to make a decision by Friday, when the team also plans to have its roster finalized.