Longtime NBA coach Brendan Malone has resigned from the Sacramento Kings coaching staff just a week before the team’s regular-season opener against the Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena.
According to The Sports Exchange, Malone decided the demands of the job were too much after 27 years of NBA coaching. Malone was hired to be the lead assistant for his son, new Kings coach Michael Malone, in June.
“His departure is not indicative of a loss of passion for the game or his desire to help our franchise succeed, but rather a decision based on factors associated with the rigors of coaching in the NBA,” said Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro.
Brendan Malone was an assistant coach for most of his career, coming to the NBA with the New York Knicks under Hubie Brown in 1986-87.
Michael Malone said his father has already made a big contribution to the Kings.
“I’m thankful that I had my father on our staff during the summer and throughout training camp as I transitioned into a head coaching role,” Michael Malone said. “He was my father long before we became colleagues and while I’ll miss his presence on the bench, he will always be an invaluable source of counsel on all matters basketball and otherwise.”
While it is a difficult transition at an awkward time for Sacramento, it’s better in the long run if the elder Malone leaves now if he doesn’t believe he can hold up under the stress of returning to an NBA bench after a year away.
Michael Malone was an assistant to Mark Jackson with the Golden State Warriors for the last two seasons and, depending on the source, gets some or the lion’s share of the credit for the defensive turnaround of the Dubs in 2012-13.
Brendan Malone, meanwhile, was rapidly closing in on 50 years in coaching, dating back to his beginning as the high school level in New York City in 1968.
Once he got to the NBA and had his new boss, Brown, fired early in his first year with the Knicks, he stayed on under interim coach Bob Hill and new head coach Rick Pitino in 1987-88. Then he left for Detroit.
There, he spent seven seasons on the staffs of Chuck Daly, Ron Rothstein and Don Chaney from 1988-95, including both of Daly’s championship clubs in 1989 and 1990.
He left Detroit in 1995 to become head coach of the expansion Toronto Raptors, hired by former Piston Isiah Thomas, the Raptors’ first GM. That lasted just one season. The fledgling Raptors were 21-61 in their inaugural season before Thomas fired Malone, citing philosophical differences.
Malone would never get another head coaching opportunity in the NBA, save for an 18-game interim stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers at the end of the 2004-05 campaign, when he took over for Paul Silas and Cleveland was 8-10.
Malone returned to the Knicks after his firing in Toronto, spending three seasons (1997-2000) under Jeff Van Gundy.
Proving that bygones could, in fact, be bygones, Malone was an assistant under Thomas for three seasons with the Indiana Pacers from 2000-03, returned to the Knicks under Chaney in 2003-04, went to work for Silas in Cleveland in 2004-05. In 2007, he joined Stan Van Gundy’s staff with the Orlando Magic, leaving when Van Gundy was fired in 2012.
Malone was also a collegiate assistant at Fordham, Yale and Syracuse before becoming head coach at Rhode Island from 1984-86.