Head coaching searches are heating up in the NBA, and now the Los Angeles Clippers are expected to interview Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Malone "soon," according to Sam Amick of USA TODAY Sports. The Philadelphia 76ers are also interested in Malone, and the Sacramento Kings have emerged as a serious suitor now that the franchise is under new ownership.
The new connection between Malone and the Clippers highlights his past experience as an assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets, where he developed a relationship with point guard Chris Paul. With Paul set to be a free agent this summer, the Clippers are expected to do everything they can to convince him to re-sign with the team.
Malone is known as a defensive-minded coach who excels with scheming the finer strategic points of the game. Nate Parham of Warriors blog Golden State of Mind provided a short scouting report on Malone earlier in the offseason for curious Sixers fans:
[Malone is] the perfect complement to Mark Jackson and I honestly think he's a major part of the Warriors' success this year: he's the more experienced x's and o's tactical guy to Jackson's charismatic former player leadership. I don't think you can easily quantify the value of an assistant coach, but given Jackson's lack of experience (this being his first full season) I'd have to think that Malone is a huge part of the team's success and not easily replaceable.
One thing I am curious about is why he hasn't already gotten a job elsewhere: we were afraid of him getting a job elsewhere last offseason, particularly the Magic, and they filled the position with someone else. So I would want to know what they saw and do wonder if it's that he lacks some of the leadership qualities that Mark Jackson brings to the table.
For a breakdown of the entire field of Clippers coaching candidates, be sure to check out this post from Steve Perrin of Clips Nation.