Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive knew he wanted Malone to be his head coach. And as he traveled to watch the Golden State Warriors in the playoffs as a minority owner, he studied Malone, an assistant on the staff.
Ranadive found he couldn't break Malone's focus.
"This man was 100 percent focused on the job at hand, which was the Warriors," Ranadive said Monday. "I tried to get his attention and he didn't even look at me. He had such intensity and such focus."
The Sacramento Kings introduced Malone as the franchise's 25th head coach Monday afternoon at Sleep Train Arena, hoping his intensity trickles down to a roster not known for focus.
It was part of a busy day for Malone, who was at the practice facility during a pre-draft workout and plans to begin traveling to meet with players in addition to hiring his coaching staff over the next couple of weeks.
"We're going to do everything in our power starting today, it actually started a few hours ago, to turn this franchise around and get back to where we were in the glory days of Kings basketball when they were in the playoffs every year," Malone said.
Ranadive said he is "100 percent sure" he has the right coach, so much so that the Kings still have not hired a new general manager.
"Without question he's the best out there," Ranadive said of Malone. "So when I had the opportunity to make him our head coach, I jumped at that chance."
Judging by comments from Malone and Ranadive, you can put to rest the DeMarcus Cousins trade chatter.
Said Malone of Cousins: "We all know on any given night he's the most talented big man in the NBA. And there's not many guys out there. You just don't get rid of those guys. He could be, and should be, the cornerstone of this franchise for years to come. That's my hope."
Ranadive has big plans for Cousins, too.
"We want to create a global brand, global franchise here," Ranadive said. "I'd like nothing better than a billion Indians to know who DeMarcus Cousins is."
PHOTO: Michael Malone talks to reporters after a news conference where he was named the new head coach of the Sacramento Kings basketball team by new Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, June 3, 2013. Malone, who was an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, is replacing Keith Smart. Associated Press/Rich Pedroncelli