After a couple days of constant rumors that the Kings were looking to hire Golden State Assistant Mike Malone as their next head coach, the rumors turned substantive.
The Sacramento Bee's Jason Jones is reporting the Kings have a deal to hire Mike Malone to a four year deal, with the fourth year being a team option. Malone will replace Keith Smart, who was informed yesterday that he would not return. This is the first change to the basketball product by new majority owner Vivek Ranadivé.
Malone has been an Assistant Coach in Cleveland, New Orleans and Golden State and is widely credited with helping to improve the defenses of all three teams. Fixing the Sacramento Kings defensive problems will be one of his toughest tasks yet, as the team finished 29th in Defensive Rating and 30th in Opponent Points Allowed both of the last two seasons. The last time Sacramento was in the top 20 in either of those categories was 2005-06, Rick Adelman's last year as coach and the last year the team made the playoffs.
Malone will be the sixth coach of the Kings in the last 7 years. His predecessor, Keith Smart, finished with a 48-93 record (.340). According to Yahoo's Adrian Wojnarowski, Malone is set to bring in his father Brendan as an assistant coach. It remains to be seen if any of Sacramento's current Assistant Coaches will stay on under Malone.
The hire cannot become official until escrow closes on Friday. The Kings are still searching for a new General Manager, with Golden State's Travis Schlenk and Memphis' Chris Wallace already interviewed.