Joe Davidson

KHTK sports talk co-host kept off air after calling Kings’ Divac a ‘moron’

Searing commentary on the Kings’ trade of talented if tempestuous All-Star DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans left ripple effects at the franchise’s flagship radio station.

Damien Barling, one of three co-hosts on KHTK 1140’s afternoon talk show “The Lo-Down,” was kept off the air by station management Wednesday for critical comments about Kings general manager Vlade Divac on Monday.

In an apparent sign of solidarity, Barling’s radio partners, Jason Ross and Ken Rudulph, briefly went on the air at noon Wednesday, explained the situation, then went silent. The station aired a nationally syndicated talk show.

Sources with knowledge of the situation who were unauthorized to speak on the matter confirmed Barling was not suspended or fined by the station. All three will return Thursday.

The station released a statement Wednesday afternoon: “We respect the right of all of our on-air hosts and employees to voice their professional opinions on a range of topics. However, we do not condone malicious personal attacks on or from anyone. Comments of that nature do not reflect the views or sportsmanlike conduct of this station.”

At a news conference Monday, Divac explained his decision to trade Cousins and admitted there was a better offer on the table before he sent Cousins and Omri Casspi to the Pelicans on Sunday night for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and two future draft picks. Barling then went on the air and called Divac a “moron.”

“That was embarrassing. That was absolutely embarrassing,” Barling said after Divac’s comments.

Ross asked: “In what way?”

“In every single way imaginable,” Barling continued. “That dude is not fit to be the general manager of a basketball team. This is real life.

“You just heard a general manager say publicly at a press conference, ‘We had a better deal two days ago.’ You moron! You can’t say that!”

Barling added a moment later: “Are you serious? I don’t even know what to say. If you’re a Kings fan, you should absolutely be embarrassed by that. That was awful. That was absolutely awful. You cannot do that. You can’t do that. Awful. That’s awful, dude. Absolutely incredible”

Barling, Ross and Rudulph could not be immediately reached for comment.

Joe Davidson: 916-321-1280, @SacBee_JoeD

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