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Citing “philosophical differences,” Kings GM Pete D'Alessandro made it official at Monday afternoon’s press conference that Michael Malone is no longer Sacramento’s head coach and assistant coach Tyrone Corbin is the interim head coach.
However, even though a difference of philosophy existed between Malone’s old school defensive style and D’Alessandro’s affinity for an increased pace of play and analytics, the move sent shockwaves throughout the NBA.
Even Kings' star center DeMarcus Cousins found out about the firing via Twitter on Sunday night.
Malone was in his second year in Sacramento, and despite facing the NBA’s toughest early season schedule, he led the Kings to a surprising 9-6 start. Then Cousins then went out with viral meningitis and Sacramento went 2-7 without their marquee player.
At 11-13 with high profile wins over the Clippers, Blazers, Bulls and Spurs, and on track to improve upon last year’s 28 win season – a mandate from Kings owner Vivek Ranadive - it still wasn’t enough to save Malone’s fate in California’s capital city.
Malone departs Sacramento after roughly a season and a quarter with a 39-67 record.
The decision to axe Malone raises critical questions:
- Who’s call was it?
D’Alessandro assured the media that it was his call and the he is “empowered" by Ranadive.
- Why did the Kings make the move and why now?
“You do things when you feel the time is right, not when it looks good for the media . . . is this (Malone) the coach to take us to that phase (phase 2)? and we felt that no, at this time, this (Malone) wasn’t.”
- How does DeMarcus Cousins respond as the six-foot eleven center bonded with and produced for Malone?
Cousins acknowledged his close relationship with Malone, “I learned a lot from him and I’m very thankful to have played for Coach Malone,” said Cousins. “At the end of the day this is a business . . . He has my respect. He’s a great coach and I wish him nothing but the best. ”
Cousins remains committed to getting back on the floor to continue his production and channeling his fiery demeanor in the right direction.
“I’m going to take what I learned from Coach (Malone) and continue to grow as a player, teammate as a leader. There’s no reason to not continue on this positive path.”
- What ‘s next for Sacramento in philosophy and as the next head coach?
“I give full support to Tyrone (Corbin),” D'Alessandro said.
When asked if Corbin is the interim coach of the Kings for the rest of the season, D’Alessandro stopped short of confirming the “rest of the season” saying, “Ty is our coach and we will give him all the support necessary to succeed.”
[RELATED: Kings fire head coach Michael Malone]
Among those on the short list of successors to Malone are George Karl, Vinny Del Negro, Mark Jackson and Chris Mullin an advisor to Ranadive.
Karl told Sirius XM NBA Radio about the Kings opening, “If they’re interested in me, I’m interested in them.”
One thing is for certain the pace of play will increase in Sacramento but will the wins?
Oklahoma City comes in Tuesday night for the first test of D’Alessandro’s move.