By firing Michael Malone, the Kings opened Pandora’s box.
Is Sacramento crazy enough to fire a coach exceeding expectations, to let its franchise player find out on Twitter, to let the owner dictate in-game strategy based on his experience coaching a youth team?
Now, everyone is turning over stones looking for more wonkiness from Vivek Ranadivé and co.
Let’s start with this doozy about Shareef Abdur-Rahim, who worked in the Kings’ front office with general manager Pete D’Alessandro and Advisor to the Owner Chris Mullin.
Abdur-Rahim expressed disagreement with D’Alessandro, Mullin, and Mitch Richmond during the draft process, and left the team shortly after an argument on draft night, per several league sources.
Maybe Abdur-Rahim was in the wrong, but in light of everything that has happened since, he’ll sure get the benefit of the doubt. I mean, just look at this behind-the-scenes video of the Kings’ war room on the night they drafted Nik Stauskas at No. 8:
I don’t know whether that was embellished for the cameras, but if not, that’s a whole lot of Stauskas/Elfrid Payton debate while on the clock. Well-run teams probably aren’t having that discussion at that point, especially with man who writes the checks speaking most.
That said, there might be more than meet’s the eye here. Abdur-Rahim was hired as an assistant general manager before Ranadivé bought the team, and he left as Director, Player Personnel/Reno Bighorns GM. That sounds like a demotion.
Moving onto people still in the organization, Mullin could become the Kings’ next coach if he wants, according to an anonymous general manager. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports adds context:
Owner Vivek Ranadive is giving serious consideration to hiring Chris Mullin to coach the Sacramento Kings, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
In the wake of Michael Malone’s firing on Sunday night, Ranadive has been soliciting counsel on Mullin’s candidacy and has grown increasingly intrigued with the kind of acumen and star power Mullin, an ownership adviser for the Kings, could bring to the franchise, sources said.
Mullin hasn’t come close to committing to the coaching idea, but there’s support in ownership and in the front office for him to give it significant thought, sources said.
It seems Ranadivé – who previously owned a share of the Warriors – is trying too hard to find the next Steve Kerr. Maybe that’s Mullin, but there are a lot of superficial similarities. I’m unconvinced Ranadivé has found additional meaningful reasons to make Mullin coach.
For now, Tyrone Corbin will coach the team. That’s because the Kings struck out on Alvin Gentry as lead assistant before he took a job with the Warriors.
Malone was absolutely threatened by the team’s move over the summer to hire a lead assistant from a pool that included Alvin Gentry, per several sources familiar with the matter. (Three league sources say Gentry was uncomfortable with the possibility that the Kings were setting him up to succeed Malone, and ended up taking an assistant job under Steve Kerr in Golden State. The Kings deny they had any such plans.)
Corbin might have been a comprise hire, a former head coach but not as threatening as Gentry and more highly regarded than Chris Gent. By the way, Gent is out, too.
Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: