ESPN’s Marc Stein reported yesterday that the Denver Nuggets "formally met" with Michael Malone about their head coaching vacancy this week. Malone joins a list of candidates for the Nuggets job that includes Melvin Hunt and Mike D’Antoni.
I don’t think I’m alone in rooting for Malone to find a head coaching position somewhere. He was a solid-at-worst coach for a year and some change in Sacramento, and after his unceremonious firing (and the subsequent class he handled it with), he’ll always have a fan in me.
He also has a fan in fellow former King Isaiah Thomas, who is very publicly advocating for Malone’s coaching ability.
How ironic would Malone in Denver be, considering how the Kings landed George Karl shortly after he was let go?
One has to wonder what kind of effect this would have on the Kings ability to trade for Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried, or any of George Karl’s other old toys. The Kings have been rumored to be a distinct possibility for Lawson, especially as he is hoping for a trade.
I’m inclined to believe that business will win out, and if a trade makes sense for both sides, it’ll happen regardless of any bad blood between Malone and the Kings organization.
On the other hand, James Ham alluded to the possibility of a fist fight between Malone and D’Alessandro on the Cowbell Kingdom Podcast last week if they ever cross paths again, so who knows?
I think it’s safe to say that the potential Malone-led Nuggets won’t be doing the Kings any favors, though. Malone probably knows the pieces on this Kings roster better than Karl, so any hope of dumping a bad contract, or walking away with an unequal talent swap doesn’t seem plausible with Malone at the helm. Malone was an employee of the Sacramento Kings at this time last season. He knows exactly how they think, exactly how they approach the draft, and exactly how they value their own players. That is the recipe for a dangerous trade partner.
This could be a blessing is disguise, to be honest. The longer I look at this draft class, the more I like the position the Kings are in. I’m not so sure Ty Lawson, or any of the Nuggets bigger pieces are the answer. Not if the 6th overall pick is what they covet.