Brendan Malone, a coaching veteran in the NBA ranks for almost three decades, has surprisingly resigned from his son Michael Malone’s staff. The Sacramento Kings announced this afternoon that no replacement will be made at this time and that Chris Jent will assume the elder Malone’s responsibilities as lead assistant coach.
“As a veteran of 27 seasons in the NBA coaching ranks, Brendan brought a wealth of experience and knowledge to our organization, and we were all fortunate to have had an opportunity to work with him,” said Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro in a statement issued by the team. “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.”
Malone is most known for his time as an assistant coach under Hall of Famer Chuck Daly. Malone orchestrated the defenses of the fabled Detroit Pistons teams that won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. He went on to become the first head coach in franchise history for the Toronto Raptors and later spent time as an assistant with the New York Knicks, Indiana Pacers and Orlando Magic.
“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,” said Michael Malone in a prepared statement. “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.”
Update (7:47 pm): Malone was asked about his father’s departure during pregame of tonight’s game. Here is the transcript of the Q&A.
Was his decision to resign an ongoing dialogue between him and his father or did it come out of the blue?
No, it was a complete shock to me. I was in the office early yesterday and he came in and he said, ‘I’m leaving.’ I said, ‘Where you going?’ And he said, ‘No, I’m leaving, heh.’ So it was a surprise, it was something that I think he was wrestling with for a while. And it’s tough to handle – very emotional because it’s not just a coach with an assistant coach; there’s a father-son dynamic in there. But to his credit, I wouldn’t be here without him. He helped me get started here. But in his gut, in his mind, in his heart, he didn’t feel he had what it took to do the job the right way and get through the season. And he wasn’t just gonna collect a paycheck like some guys do in this league. If he couldn’t give me his all, he didn’t want to be a burden to me and the staff. So, disappointing obviously, but I fully support him and I realize that I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in without him.
Did you try to convince him to hang on?
No, you know what out of respect to him, it was emotional and it was a decision that was not easily made by him. So I didn’t want to try to make it a little bit more difficult for him. He made the decision, he talked to my mother about it, he felt that’s what was best for him and I support that. And I wish them obviously all the best.
Even though he’s no longer part of the staff, you’re still expecting him to offer his input throughout the season?
Oh yeah, you can believe that. *laughs* You know even if he goes back to New York and it’s one, two o’clock in the morning, I’ll still be getting a post-game text with everything we did wrong. So he’s still a part of it. All the players reached out to him yesterday, which I think really meant a lot to him, all the coaches and he will still be a valuable sounding board and set of eyes for me as we move forward during the season. Whether he’s not on the bench, he’ll still be there supporting me and I know that.
Do you feel that you could add to your coaching staff later on during the season or do you feel good with what you have moving forward?
It’s a great question. I kind of thought about that yesterday. But I really felt we’re two games away from opening night and to bring somebody from the outside in with the chemistry that we’ve created amongst the staff, amongst the team, that can be a real crapshoot. And I don’t wanna kind of disrupt what we have built so far. So you know Chris Jent, I’ve worked with, I played against Chris in high school – we go way back. He’s more than capable to be a lead assistant. Corliss (Williamson) will be on the bench obviously and then I’ll move Micah Nori on the bench from behind the bench. Micah’s been in the league for 15 years, and he knows the league inside and out. So we’ll get through the season. Pete D’Alessandro and myself will sit down after the season and see if we liked how it worked, if we feel we need to bring somebody in and at that time, we can make that decision. But I feel very confident moving forward with the staff that we have.