Mike Malone: He's worked with some of the NBA's best players and been where Kings haven't – deep into the playoffs.

Kings coaching candidate has chops

Published: Thursday, May. 30, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1C
Last Modified: Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013 - 5:38 pm

The Kings have had mixed results hiring coaches with connections to the Golden State Warriors.

They hit it big with Rick Adelman, but things didn't work out quite so well with Eric Musselman and Keith Smart, all previous head coaches for the Warriors.

Now they're looking again to Oakland for help with their coaching staff.

Warriors assistant Mike Malone is thought to be the prime target of new Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive. Malone is so highly regarded, he could be hired before the Kings bring in a new head of basketball operations.

Malone is thought to be a leading candidate in the Clippers' search to replace Vinny del Negro because of his relationship with Clippers point guard Chris Paul, with whom he worked in New Orleans.

But the Kings can't hire Malone until the sale of the team closes at the end of the week and Smart, the only coach from last season under contract for next season, is told that he is being replaced.

One player who has spent time with Malone and the Kings said Malone would bring noticeable results if he is hired.

"He has the potential to have an immediate impact on the team," Warriors forward Carl Landry said Wednesday. "If he does get the job, he'd probably be the best coach they've had since Adelman."

Landry played for the Kings before spending two seasons in New Orleans with Malone, who was an assistant for Monty Williams. Landry signed with the Warriors as a free agent before this season, reuniting with Malone in Oakland.

Landry believes Malone – a defensive strategist who also has coached in Cleveland – could change the culture of the Kings in the same manner Tom Thibodeau shook things up in Chicago.

The Kings have had seven consecutive losing seasons and the players on their roster can play selfishly, even when it leads to more losses.

Landry said Malone has the background to deal effectively with the Kings players. Malone is the son of longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone, and he's also worked with top players like Paul, LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

"Just his experience in the league, he'll be able to bring it to the table and help the young players," Landry said. "He's a guy that's been to the Finals, been in Cleveland with LeBron, so he's seen a lot and is usually in the playoffs still. … So he has that experience and he knows what it takes to win."

Landry also said Malone's personality would be a good fit with the Kings. Though Malone is easy to get along with, Landry said, he demands attention to detail and maximum effort to earn playing time.

But, Landry said, Malone isn't a dictator.

"Sometimes you forget he's your coach, he's just so cool," Landry said. "And those are the type of guys NBA players want to play for. Sometimes you get a coach that's like a father or a drill sergeant and it's tough to play for a coach like that."

Golden State assistant general manager Travis Schlenk remains a candidate to replace Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie. He has already interviewed with the team.

According to published reports, Ranadive also wants to meet with Memphis Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, whose role has been diminished under new managing partner Jason Levien, a former agent who once worked for Petrie in the Kings' front office.

Follow The Bee's Jason Jones on Twitter @mr_jasonjones and read more about the team at www.sacbee.com/kings.

© Copyright The Sacramento Bee. All rights reserved.

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