The Kings Fire Michael Malone
*Photo via USA Today
Late Sunday night the Kings fired Coach Michael Malone, after the Kings slipped to 11-13, losing seven of their last nine games without star player DeMarcus Cousins, who is suffering from viral meningitis. The move came as a shock to those in media, around the league, and even in the Kings’ locker room. Coach Malone was a popular figure with the players that had helped orchestrate the best start for the Kings in over a decade. The Sacramento fan base was equally in shock and took to social media to discuss their dismay and confusion over the sudden firing.
It wasn’t until Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!Sports released an article uncovering a range of differing viewpoints between owner Vivek Ranadive and the coaching staff that people outside of the organization became enlightened to the inner turmoil. Some of the key differences cited were decisions to trade for Josh Smith, the addition of Royce White, and implementing playing defense with 4 men, while the 5th defender cherry picked the oppositions basket. Malone, a staunch defensive fundamentalist, naturally clashed with this out-of-the-box progressive thinking.
The belief is that the Kings were looking for an opportunity to oust the former coach of the Kings and Boogie Cousins contracting Viral Meningitis was their golden ticket. The Kings went through a stretch where at one point they were 0-15 without Cousins in the lineup. This year they are 2-7 in the 9 games Boogie has missed.
For the interim Lead Assistant Coach, Ty Corbin, formally Head Coach of the Utah Jazz will fulfill Malone’s duties. A few of names that have appeared on the radar as permanent candidates include, former Coach of the Year, George Karl and former King, Vinny Del Negro. Karl, would be seen as an upgrade over Malone and runs a much more high-powered, fast-paced offens,. similar to the sentiments highly regarded by Kings ownership. Del Negro would be a tough sell for a fan base that generally liked Malone, despite a few questionable 4th quarter rotations, and considering there is league-wide belief that Del Negro missed expectations in his last two head coaching efforts.
Karl recently told Sirius Radio that if the Kings are interested in him he’s definitely interested in them. Another unconfirmed league source has said that the Kings organization has let it be known that the job in Karl’s to take or walk away from. This is all a very fluid situation revolving around a new ownership group that preached family and unity and just fired their first hire, who consequently has formed the first semblance of chemistry in the locker room in over a decade.
-By Dustin Bailey