Yahoo! Sports announced late Sunday night that the Sacramento Kings have fired Michael Malone. He was hired in 2013-14 and led the Kings to a 28-54 record.
The Kings started out well this season, being one of the "shocker" teams of the season due to their success. However, a few too many blown leads and a virus to DeMarcus Cousins leaving him sidelined has the Kings in a recent slide. Sacramento has lost eight out of their last 10 games and three in a row.
Malone was the lead assistant for Mark Jackson during their tenure together in Golden State with the Warriors. There were reports of Jackson and Malone not getting along at the time.
Reports state that the Kings management is disappointed with the player development, game management and their sub-.500 record.
There will be more news coming out on this story within the next few days as this is easily the most surprising move of the young NBA season.
1:03 a.m. ET -- 12/14/14- Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports provided several updates via his official Twitter account. Here are a couple of the updates & insights provided by him, announcing Ty Corbin would take over as interim head coach and a likely candidate for the now vacant head coach position.
Furthermore, this really shouldn't come as a surprise to fans. If anything, fans ought to be saying "about time." There have been several instances where management and coaching have not seen eye-to-eye in Sacramento. The case, more often than not, is that the two sides bring different ideologies to the table. The prime example is tempo. In the Western Conference, many teams bring an up-tempo style offense to the court. That's exactly what management wanted the Kings to have. However, they felt that Malone's tempo on offense was too slow.
2:15 a.m. ET -- 12/15/14- According to multiple reports, Sacramento already has a couple former head coaches in mind to replace Malone. Headlining that tiny list is former SuperSonics, Bucks & Nuggets coach George Karl, former Warriors coach Mark Jackson, and former Bulls & Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro.
3:06 a.m. ET -- 12/15/14- Many fans are surprised at the firing of coach Malone. While owner Vivek Ranadive was hoping for a playoff berth in the highly-contested Western Conference this year, the Kings came out of the gates strong. However, Sacramento has come down to Earth, aching from the viral meningitis that is keeping superstar center DeMarcus Cousins out for an indefinite period of time. Losing eight of their last 10, management thought it was now or never to make a trade. Here are a few reactions from experts on Twitter.
3:12 a.m. ET -- 12/15/14- Though this was released to the public less than an hour ago, it's worth noting that management thought that Malone didn't meet the win-loss record expectation/goal thus far, even given DeMarcus Cousin's injury. This comes four days after owner Ranadive responded to a fan on Twitter, telling the fan to wait until Cousins is back in the lineup (presumably admitting that the team was faltering without their best player).
3:26 a.m. ET -- 12/15/14- It's also worth noting that management, primarily Ranadive and D'Alessandro, held the interviews for Malone's top assistant coaching job. However, Malone got the final say and hired Corbin to be his assistant. According to various sources, Malone does not believe that Corbin undermined him for the head coaching position. Even if he did, Corbin would still, like Malone, be coaching on borrowed time. Corbin's style is similar to Malone's. If management had a problem with Malone's style, they'll likely have similar problems with Corbin's.
3:36 a.m. ET -- 12/15/14- CSNBayArea.com's Bill Herenda share's a previous interaction he had with owner Ranadive:
Herenda also provided a brief summary of the Kings' season thus far.
3:51 a.m. ET -- 12/15/14- Chuck Hayes, who played under Malone to begin last season, provides his personal insight into the announcement of the firing of Malone.
7:49 a.m. ET -- 12/15/14- A source with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo! Sports that the signing of Royce White was the beginning of the end of this "doomed" partnership between management and Malone. While management decided to sign White, Malone was lobbying for them to grab a backup point guard. The source said this:
Pretty soon, they're telling Malone 'Why aren't you putting him in the games?' That's when it really started to get bad between him and the guys upstairs.
12:42 p.m. ET -- 12/15/14- The fact that Ranadive decided to hire a coach before he hired a general manager is about the biggest rookie mistake an owner can make. The general consensus out there is that this is the penultimate reason for the destroyed relationship between the front office and Malone.
1:54 p.m. ET -- 12/15/14- Sources say that another big contributor to the destruction of the relationship between the front office and Malone happened during the Las Vegas Summer League, when Ranadive decided to try and make a push to trade for Josh Smith. Malone didn't want Smith, and Ranadive did. Ranadive apparently told people outside of the Sacramento franchise that Malone didn't want Smith, but he didn't care that he did.
2:00 p.m. ET -- 12/15/14- It's funny when you look at the history between Ranadive and Malone. At one point (back when Ranadive was spearheading the operation to buy the Kings), Ranadive was a minority owner for the Golden State Warriors and Malone was an assistant coach there. Before Ranadive even bought the Kings, he reportedly knew (and wanted) that Malone would be his coach. He even had this to say on Malone:
[Malone is] one of the best and most talented coaches in the game.
This relationship was doomed from the start because of an unconventional and very appalling dynamic executed by the front office.
2:35 p.m. ET -- 12/15/14- Marc Stein of ESPN reports that the Kings are expected to part ways with assistant coach Chris Jent before Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. That is also around the time Malone's firing will be made official.