Mike Malone one and done with the Hornets?

Published: June 6, 2011

The Hornets were good at one thing last year:  Defense.  In the largest improvement by any team on either side of the ball, the Hornets improved 14 spots from the 22nd ranked defense to the 8th ranked defense.   Despite the inordinate amount of time we spend looking at the offensive issues this team has, defense really was the story for New Orleans last year.

It’s possible – and looking probable now – that the defense may suffer a blow this off-season.  Monty Williams’ lead assistant and defensve guru, Mike Malone, is being strongly pursued by both Los Angeles and Golden State warriors, according to tweets by Marc Stein of ESPN.com.  The Lakers job has to be a consideration for Malone, not just because it’s one of the more glamorous places to work, but because the Lakers just recently hired Mike Brown, formerly of the Cavaliers, to coach their team.  Prior to joining the Hornets, Malone was Brown’s lead assistant in Cleveland.  By all reports, Brown wants to re-create the partnership that did make Cleveland a strong defensive team for years.

At the same time, the Warriors and their new Mr. MoneyBags owner is ready to throw big money at Malone to become newly hired Mark Jackson’s lead assistant in Golden State.  Marc Stein even mentioned they’d consider giving Malone the title of associate head coach.  If I were Malone and not willing to return to the Hornets, the Lakers job would be pretty enticing, but I’d take the Warriors job, using the following line of thinking.

  1. The Warriors will help me make it rain
  2. Mark Jackson is an cliche-spewing windbag that some people can’t stomach even for two hours while watching an NBA game.
  3. This Warriors roster may have the worst defensive talent of all time.
  4. Mark Jackson is bound to irritate the crap out of all my bosses.
  5. I let Mark talk his way out of a job, while perhaps pulling off the greatest coaching job of all time by turning the team into at least a moderately decent defensive squad.
  6. I ditch the “associate” part of my title and the Warriors help me make it rain even more.

Tell me what you think.  If Malone isn’t staying, should he roll with the Warriors or Lakers?

Update: Looks like Malone agreed with me.   Did you?


  1. CP3nBrees

    June 6, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    There was rumors couple days ago saying the Hornets are trying to get Bucks assistant Kelvin Sampson to replace Malone, he is said to be a defense minded coach & strong leader.

  2. 42

    June 6, 2011 at 11:34 pm

    He reportedly met with the Lakers today. I think when he left to go on his trip, he was possibly being considered for the head job. If that’s not an error in the the article I read it from, or my error by misreading one that didn’t say it, I think that might color the situation with the Warriors.

    Additionally, I know folks are talking about all the money being thrown around, etc., but the reports were that LA was going to cutting back drastically on coaches’ salaries, and Golden State be trying to make a splash, but a possible bump in revenue from Sacramento leaving the region isn’t happening . . . so maybe their will to spend is over stated. After all, they got a guy with no COACHING experience, not even an assistant like Monty . . . this guy had tried a failed a few times, passed over by nobodies . . . is the money really going to be that good? Maybe, but I’m not convinced.

    I agree with your other points . . . .working for a boss that’s likely to fail is a wonderful way to advance.

  3. Uptown Sammy

    June 7, 2011 at 12:13 am

    I think Mike Brown is a dumb ass, i would avoid him like a OKC meth whore

  4. OkiThor

    June 7, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Mark Jackson with Golden State. Better prospects staying with Monty.

  5. 42

    June 7, 2011 at 8:20 am

    Ummm… Looks like Ryan “I run this blog, so shut your damned dirty mouth, 42” Schwan had this read rightly.

    Let’s see if the reports are correct.


  6. edbballin504

    June 7, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I heard late last night that its official, Malone is going to GSW.

    How does he leaving effect the Hornets going forward? Do we take a step back [again] or can will stay the defensive team we were last year without Malone?

  7. QueenBee

    June 7, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    “2. Mark Jackson is an cliche-spewing windbag that some people can’t stomach even for two hours while watching an NBA game.”

    LOL!!! Cliche-spewing windbag. I love it. LOL!

  8. QueenBee

    June 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Malone helped the defense but the Hornets were a top 5 defensive team in 08/09 and 07/08. The Hornets defense mainly begins with Chris Paul. He was out for most of 09/10 and the Hornets defense took a dip. Those top 5 seasons Malone wasn’t even on the staff. We also didn’t have a defensive wing player like Ariza on the team. The Hornets can remain a top 5 defensive team. The players will have to want to play defense though. They did it in 07/08 and 08/09 without Malone, they can do it again.

    • 42

      June 7, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      We had Tyson then. Malone is worth Tyson? So we add a player and can make for him, or a coach with a like mind.

      How was Cleveland’s defense?

      I thought he ran their offense for a time, and I thought he was involved in our offensive coaching. Am I wrong here, too?

      If I’m not wrong, are we losing our vaunted defense? Isn’t Monty a defensive / player development guy?

      • QueenBee

        June 7, 2011 at 6:59 pm

        Yeah we did have Tyson but we didn’t have Ariza. One defense player out, one in. I’m not sure if Malone ran Cleveland’s offense. I thought Kuester had more to do with their offense. I’m curious to see if Monty is going to replace Malone with a coach that focuses more on offense or defense. And it appears Monty is more of a defensive guy. He harped on defense all season long. Actually, I think he needs to get at least 2 more guys in here. One for both offense AND defense. 😉

      • 42

        June 7, 2011 at 7:31 pm

        So even less of a ‘Malone effect’? Maybe he got West and Okafor in sync.

  9. QueenBee

    June 7, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    I’m guessing Mark Jackson knew he needed a defensive minded assistant because how many times have we heard Mark Jackson say he’d “take a great offense over a great defense any day”? SMH. Idiot. LOL.

  10. James Online

    June 7, 2011 at 7:34 pm

    As a Marco Belinelli fan who lives in the San Francisco Bay area, I have mixed feelings about Michael Malone’s decision to sign on with the Warriors. GSW is an up and coming team in an excellent market with great living conditions. With all the uncertainty around the NOLA franchise, it makes sense that he’d jump ship while he still has bargaining power.

    Malone did a fantastic job developing young Marco into a starting shooting guard for a decent team. As Monty pointed out, Marco’s defense during the Lakers’ series was one of the few bright spots down the stretch. And after the All Star game, Marco was one of the league’s deadliest three point shooters. It’s a pity he couldn’t find the stroke after the first game v. the Lakers, but he’ll be better than ever next year, wherever he plays (maybe Golden State?).

    Whatever, Malone leaving the Hornets after just one year certainly isn’t a good sign for the Bees. It’s going to be hard for Monty to find a partner like him, and with the situation with West and Paul so shakey, we can only hope for the best. I fear the team is unlikely to match last year’s performance because the commitment to the franchise just isn’t there.

    As for the comment about the “rich” Warriors’ owners, that is just not the case. They scraped to get the $ together to buy the team andgot a head coach for a reasonable rate.
    Watch out for the Warriors next year. I’m going to be much more comfortable with Malone on the bench, but lament that he won’t be working with Marco, unles….

    • sundance

      June 7, 2011 at 9:22 pm

      Since you’re a STH, it would be interesting to hear from you if Lacob ever explains why he would sign a head coach allegedly for less money than the assistant. My feeling is that he thinks Jackson has a better chance of attracting FAs.

      • James Online

        June 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm

        You could be right. I’m in Ecuador and unable to get all the nuances. Personally,
        I was hoping the Warriors would hire Malone as head coach. There must be
        a reason he doesn’t get hired for the head job. He’s been an assistant for too
        long, but maybe that’s his role–like an assistant director, but assistant coach
        with a lot of ability to work with individual players and strategize defenses.

        I have very mixed feelings about Mark Jackson. Lots of cliches and not always
        very astute observations. Certainly better than Don Nelson!

        Hornets have a great young coach in Monty but let’s see how things go without
        Malone. I’m hoping for the best and look forward to trips to NOLA next year
        to take in games.


  11. Pingback: Should Hornets Fans Be Worried About Mike Malone Leaving? « Swarm & Sting | A New Orleans Hornets Blog

  12. QueenBee

    June 8, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    OT: Today at 4pm CT, 5pm ET, ESPN CLassic is airing 2005 Wake Forest vs. UNC game.

  13. chiefyoungblood

    June 9, 2011 at 2:21 am

    hard loss ,great guy to have along side monty .

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