Michael Malone‘s reputation among NBA executives remains high in spite of his firing from the Kings, as Sean Deveney of The Sporting News hears. He may have to wait a while for a job, since few teams seem ripe for a coaching change, Deveney writes. The Timberwolves are one of those few, according to Deveney, and Malone has been tagging along with Minnesota as an observer at the request of coach/executive Flip Saunders, as Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune notes. Saunders, who has a deal to coach the team that’s open-ended in length and Glen Taylor haven’t spoken about whether Saunders, who also serves as the team’s president of basketball operations, will continue to coach next season. All of this doesn’t mean that Malone is in any way a candidate to become the next coach of the Wolves, as it’s simply my own dot-connecting, but it’s worth keeping an eye on. Here’s more from around the league:
- There has also been some talk linking Malone to the Cavaliers, Deveney notes. With the Cavs not meeting expectations thus far this season, rookie coach David Blatt could be the one who takes the blame, Deveney adds. Malone was an assistant in Cleveland under former coach Mike Brown, which was during LeBron James‘ first stint with the Cavs, notes Deveney. James is a fan of Malone, which certainly wouldn’t hurt Malone’s chances should Cleveland decide to make a coaching change, the Sporting News scribe adds.
- Andray Blatche, who is currently playing in China, will become a free agent in February and is drawing interest from NBA teams, Jorge Sierra of Hoops Hype reports. “Top teams in both the Eastern and Western conference playoff race have begun the recruiting and courting process,” Andy Miller, Blatche’s agent, told Sierra. Blatche appeared in 73 games for the Nets last season.
- Florida sophomore Chris Walker considered entering the 2014 NBA draft but wisely decided to return for another season in college, Chris Mannix of SI.com writes. “I needed to get stronger, and I needed to learn the game,” Walker said of his decision. “When I go to the NBA, I want to go and actually play. I don’t want to sit or play in the D-League.” Walker, who is currently ranked No. 39 by DraftExpress, could use another season in school before jumping to the pros, Mannix adds.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.