The options of getting a head coaching gig from the NBA Coaching Carousel is getting smaller and smaller each day. On Monday there were 11 openings and now we are down to 7 by Friday.
The latest coaching employment happened Thursday when the Sacramento Kings hired the highest paid assistant coach at the time from Golden State Warriors – Mike Malone.
After the dust has settled from the bidding war to claim ownership of the Kings’ franchise and whether to move it from Sacramento to Seattle, the new ownership group (led by software exec and founder of TIBCO, Vivek Ranadive) quickly snatched the man they thought was perfect for the job before he was enticed by other teams looking for a coach (the LA Clippers were reported showing a lot of interest). It is reported that the contract is for 4-years/$9M with the fourth year as a team option. The official announcement should be today when the escrow closes.
Malone was Vivek Ranadive’s top choice and they are familiar with each other. Ranadive was a minority owner of the Golden State Warriors for the past three years before the recent purchase of the Kings.
Mike Malone is the son of former NBA coach Brendan Malone and has been an assistant in the NBA for over a decade, he made stops with the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, New Orleans Hornets before the Warriors gig; he is known to help upgrade teams defensively.
My Two-Cents: I believe this is one of the best hires so far for what an NBA team needs compared to the characteristics of the coach that was hired. The last time the Kings made it to the playoffs was in the 2005-06 season when Rick Adelman was the head coach; since Adelman’s firing, the organization ran through five coaches (Eric Masselman, Reggie Theus, Kenny Natt, Paul Westphal and Keith Smart) and none of them won more than 33 games and never seen the payoffs (the record is 187-371) in that 7-season span.
Now there’s a new ownership with a new coach that I believe will put a winning culture back to Sac-Town within Malone’s 3-4 year contract. First obstacle he must work on ASAP is the work ethic and mentality of the promising but underachieving center DeMarcus Cousins.