HoopsHype Michael Malone rumors

December 21, 2014 Updates

The Sacramento Kings shocked many in the NBA world when they abruptly fired head coach Mike Malone last week. Malone is respected in league circles and most rival scouts, coaches and executives believe he had been doing a good job coaching the team. He was also popular in the Kings’ locker room, particularly with star DeMarcus Cousins. NBCSports.com

December 18, 2014 Updates
December 17, 2014 Updates

“There is a never a good time to fire someone,” Ranadive explained later in the privacy of his office. “It’s a terrible thing. First of all, I want to say for the record that Michael Malone is a good man, an honorable man. He did a good job for us, and I believe that he was absolutely the right choice given the context of when we got him. I was handed the keys to the kingdom. This place was literally and figuratively falling apart. The roof was falling down. We hadn’t sold a single ticket. There was chaos in the locker room and the draft was weeks away. What we needed was order, structure, discipline, stability, a strong culture, and defense. And the experts in the league said he would bring all those things.” Sacramento Bee

The Kings’ basketball think tankers – Pete D’Alessandro, Chris Mullin, Mike Bratz – began lobbying Ranadive for a coaching change several weeks ago. According to the owner, D’Alessandro and Mullin flew to Las Vegas eight days ago, where he was attending a software conference, and persuaded him to change coaches, partly to change the culture but mainly to start scrapping the old offense. The push was on to replace the isolation plays and sluggish tempo with a faster pace, ball and body movement, quicker decisions, smaller lineups, and in essence, a more creative, free-flowing system. Sacramento Bee

“The NBA has increasingly become like the high-tech business,” said Ranadive. “Just because you invent the iPhone doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels, because someone is building a better phone. Just because you win 50 games doesn’t mean the status quo is OK, or that you don’t try to get Ray Allen. Good enough just isn’t. You have to get better. So, we felt it was time for us to pivot, to (play) defense and offense. And we think we can make the playoffs.” This year? Again, the boss didn’t duck and run. He laid it on the table. “Absolutely, with DeMarcus (Cousins) coming back,” he said, “we have a chance to make the playoffs.” Sacramento Bee

December 16, 2014 Updates

"In that (technology) world, it's constant: the next thing, the next thing, the next thing," D'Alessandro told USA TODAY Sports from inside his office. "Pro sports is really similar if you think about it. ... To me, it's a much more similar type of field. A tech attitude, if you will, I think will lead to success in a more expeditious way. "That drive becomes almost a cultural drive, as opposed to, 'Well this person is really driven, and that person is really driven.' It's, 'this organization is driven.' I do think that this (Malone decision) comes from the way (Ranadive) has run tech companies. I think we're very open. We've been a very open system. We always talk about how open systems beat closed systems, and that's a very tech term but it's very true. We seek input as an organization from a lot of people." USA Today Sports

For all the focus on the Kings' solid start to this season that was so much better than anything they'd had in these parts for quite some time, Kings officials were growing tired of what they describe as a near-constant pushback from Malone on the ideological front. USA Today Sports

From Malone's reluctance to endorse the offering of contract extensions for DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay to his preference that departed point guard Isaiah Thomas was re-signed in free agency to the pursuit of a new lead assistant coach during the summer, there were disagreements about personnel and style of play at every turn that brought them all to this tipping point. USA Today Sports

"I don't know if there was a point in time when you could say, 'Yeah this isn't (working),'" D'Alessandro said. "The respect always was there, but I just think we both knew that the vision for how to play wasn't the same. ... You start to see it evolve, and then you say, 'Let's just be honest about it then. Let's just be honest, and agree to disagree.' But then something has to happen. That's the league we're in." USA Today Sports

What's more, there are lessons to be learned here for Ranadive that shouldn't be forgotten: Call the coach yourself when you're firing him (Ranadive did not); speak to the media to help explain the decision when it is the talk of the town and you're typically so willing to engage with the press (he did not); and as a reminder, never, ever hire the head coach before putting together your front office. USA Today Sports

Five minutes into an interview set for 10 minutes, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was asked about his future with coach Michael Malone. Ranadive quickly glanced at one of his PR people. It was the look. "Last question," the PR guy jumped in. This was early-October, barely into the exhibition schedule, and evidence of a chasm between Malone and management was already growing. NBA.com

“Everybody knows my relationship with Malone,” Cousins told a swath of media members. “I learned a lot from him. I’m very thankful to be able to play for coach Malone. But at the end of the day, you know, this is a business and everything doesn’t always work out the way we want it to. I wish nothing but the best for coach. I hate it had to end this way, but he has my respect. He’s a great coach.” Cowbell Kingdom

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