Mike Malone Rumors

After interviewing Mike D’Antoni for their head coaching vacancy, the Nuggets sat down with former Kings coach (and Cavs and Warriors assistant) Michael Malone on Tuesday, league sources confirmed. With leverage on Denver’s side now with the vacancies filled in New Orleans and Orlando, the view in coaching circles remains that the job ultimately will go to interim coach Melvin Hunt.
Although sources have not confirmed, potential candidates for the Pelicans’ vacancy could include former Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks, former Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson, Warriors current lead assistant Alvin Gentry, Pacers assistant and former Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan, former Sacramento Kings and Pelicans assistant Mike Malone, Chicago Bulls assistant Adrian Griffin,University of Kentucky coach John Calipari, former New York Knicks and Houston Rockets Jeff Van Gundy.
Cousins’ agents, Dan Fegan and Jarinn Akana, have expressed frustration with the Kings’ destabilized environment that ownership began with the curiously timed firing of coach Michael Malone in December, sources said. Along with Cousins, the agents had been fully supportive of Malone and were shocked with a dismissal that’s been a prelude to the season’s collapse.
After all, team and league sources say Cousins made it clear he didn’t want Mike Malone fired with the Kings 11-13 and murmurs of Cousins being an MVP candidate before he contracted viral meningitis. Ranadive, a source says, told Cousins he had to do it because Malone didn’t get along with GM Pete D’Alessandro and had been insubordinate by missing a meeting.
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Orlando will begin a national coaching search and, according to sources, plans to cast a wide net. Scott Skiles, the former Magic guard, is a leading candidate. Mark Jackson, Mike Malone and Vinny Del Negro figure to eventually be on the interview list. If the Magic go with a stop-gap the rest of the season — assistant coach James Borrego is the interim coach — several league sources believe Orlando could make a run at Chicago’s Tom Thibodeau, should the relationship between Thibodeau and the Bulls become too toxic to continue.
Don’t cry too many tears for ousted Kings coach Mike Malone, who was fired by Sacramento a month ago. “The Kings probably did him a favor,” one general manager told Sporting News. “They let him go with his reputation intact. He was doing a good job there, and his resume is going to show it. If he stayed on in a situation where he had problems with the owner or whoever, things might have gone South on him, but this way, he is going to be a pretty good commodity.”
Former Sacramento coach Mike Malone was at practice today and will travel with the team on the rest of this trip. He coached Williams at Cleveland, knows Martin and he walked out of practice today chatting with Thaddeus Young. Saunders said he’s done that before with other coaches who have been fired because “the first three days you get 120 calls. Everyone tells you how great you are and two weeks later, no one talks to you.” Saunders said he invited Malone to come down and travel with the team and he accepted. “It’s good to have him and it’s something hopefully that will help him, too,” Saunders said.
Owner Vivek Ranadive has wanted the Kings to play a faster style of basketball, and D’Alessandro – who has worked with Don Nelson in Golden State and Karl in Denver – has sought a similar style. Ranadive has been a hands-on owner and expected the Kings to compete for the playoffs this season. After a 9-6 start, Cousins had been lost for nine games with viral meningitis but his absence couldn’t save Malone.
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The impactful Kings’ hiring of former Warriors legend Chris Mullin as an “advisor to the chairman” in Sept. 2013 only added to the conflicting nature of their internal dynamic, as he was a longtime friend and colleague of D’Alessandro’s who has a significant voice in all personnel matters. Mullin, like D’Alessandro, favors a coach with a more sophisticated offensive style and was widely known to be critical of the way the offense was run.